Friday, 15 March 2013

Placement of Pieces for Firing


Placing pieces in the kiln, especially in oval and side fired kilns, is not about filling the kiln completely. Kilns have hot and cold spots, and the arrangement of the elements can have an effect too.

The first thing to determine with a new kiln - and immediately after any alterations to the kiln - is where the hot and cool areas of the kiln are. There is an extensive guide to this on the Bullseye site. In short, the method is to place strips of glass on short kiln furniture all around the kiln at the level(s) you will be firing. These strips should be of equal size and the kiln furniture the same distance apart. Take the temperature slowly up to slumping temperature. Observe when the visible glass pieces begin to slump. Let that continue until they are about half way down. Then proceed to the anneal. When cool you can open the kiln and see the areas where the glass has slumped most – the hotter areas – and where it has slumped least – the cooler areas. This will give you information on areas to avoid if you want an even finish all around the edges.

If your kiln is side fired, you need to consider the shelf placement in relation to the elements. The best arrangement is to have one element below the shelf and the shelf between elements so the radiant heat is not directly onto the edge of the shelf as that may lead to breaks.

Put glass on the shelf as centrally as possible. If the glass must be near the elements, baffle the glass from the direct radiant heat from the side elements.