Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Selecting a Kiln

Kiln Forming – Selecting a Kiln
You have been doing some fusing and slumping and now want to get into kiln forming in a serious way. So you need to get a kiln.

The basic kiln choices are ceramic vs. glass. The brand, model and size are up to you. But there is some helpful information on the advantages of each kind of kiln in this post.

Another consideration is the shape of the kiln. Generally the greater the area of the shelf in relation to its size, the better it will suit fusing and kiln forming. Oval kilns seem to waste some space, although they do not have cool corners like the rectangular ones do. Relatively deep and round kilns are best for casting and high temperature work.

Even before you buy the kiln you need to think about where you will be installing the kiln and that will have an effect on the model and size. Some considerations are here.

Think about the kind of work you want to do. This will change with time, but you cannot anticipate that now. Will you be doing jewellery scale, detailed work, lots of forming work, high temperature or even casting work. Each of these have different requirements.

Small kilns are best for jewellery and detailed work – they can be fired quickly and will reach the top and annealing temperatures with a minimum of delay.

If you tend to work larger then you should consider a kiln of about 40 cm square to start with, although smaller kilns will work if they have enough height.

Slumping and kiln forming put a premium on height. If you are going to be doing a lot kiln forming you should consider a kiln with at least 25cm from base to elements. Ex-ceramics kilns can be good for this.

If you are going to be doing a lot of high temperature work, such as casting, pot melts, pattern bars, etc. you might want to consider a brick lined kiln such as a ceramics one as they retain heat by design longer than those designed for glass.

There are a lot of models, so it is up to you to find the combination of style, shape, size and price that suit your present needs.