Monday, 26 December 2011

Kiln Furniture

You do not have to buy all your kiln furniture. Any refractory material – any heat resistant material that will stand up to the forming temperatures – that you have from broken shelves or used material will do.
The advantage to home made kiln furniture is that you can have exactly the shape you want. There are a number of possibilities.

Example of broken shelves

 Broken kiln shelves can provide supports and dams. They can be cut with a tile saw to give long strips that can be used as dams. Smaller squares and rectangles can be stacked to give height to other supports for the glass.

Cutting a shelf with a hand saw
25mm vermiculite board

Vermiculite in the form of a pressed board provides a medium strength kiln furniture. It can be cut with a wood saw, although it dulls cutting tools quickly. The board can also be carved with wood working tools although it is very abrasive, requiring tools to be sharpened before use on wood again.

25mm ceramic fibre board

Fibre board is not as strong or rigid as kiln shelves and vermiculite are, but is much more adaptable to curves and undulations. They can be cut with a knife and used with or without hardener – colloidal silica. If the hardener is used some kind of separator will be required to keep the glass from sticking. Dust masks are required for working with ceramic fibres.

Soft fire brick

Soft fire brick can be cut with a hand saw into many shapes and and sizes. They are suitable as supports and braces for dams.  There are also higher density bricks that are much heavier to resist the movement of dams.

3mm fibre paper

Fibre paper can be cut and stacked to provide shims to level shelves and moulds. Shapes can be cut into stacked layers of the material to provide dams for irregular shaped projects.

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