First kiln

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  • #9489
    kbuczek
    Participant

    I have taken a couple of classes, but there is not much in my area.  I loved what i learned and i have been looking at books and online tutorials for months.  I have decided to take the plunge  and go ahead and set myself up with a small workshop.  I find the kiln decision paralyzing!

    i would like to do slumping and casting, then learn other techniques.  I would like to work on household decorations such as bowls, vases, plates, etc.

     

    what would you recommend?  Electricity or space are not issues, and i know i want it programmable.

     

    thanks!

     

     

    #13130
    animac
    Participant

    Go big! Its tempting at first to spend less….BUT you will find yourself ending up with a teenie, a small, a medium, a large, then The Big One. So, I say stay inbetween. Get a tub, not too large and yet deep enough to stack and slump. Most useful size, for every fusing need, is the tub size.

     

    #13131
    wordana
    Participant

    I would go with a 24″-ish square clam shell, at least 9″ high.

    The rational?

    24″ is big enough to accomplish most large single pieces or a good number of small pieces. While a “tub” is nice, I have a Skutt GM1414 and it takes a LOT of glass to fill it. It seems like a big waste of space and energy if you need to slump a larger piece that has a sufficiently different firing schedule that you cannot fire it with other pieces.

    The clamshell is a little easier to load and it lets you easily get at the glass should you want to do combing or other manipulation while the glass is hot.

    The greater height (9″ or 13.5″) will let you do taller drops and drapes for vases, or more height on a pot or mesh melt.

    Get a square kiln, not octagon or round (more usable space).

    The SKUTT GM22CS fits this criteria, though it is pricey. The evenheat studio pro 24 also fits my criteria. You might also consider a 16″ or 19″ Paragon clamshell, though they are only 6.5″ tall (but less expensive).

    Just my 2 cents,

    Dana W.


    Jester’s Baubles Fused Glass Designs

    http://www.jestersbaubles.com

    #13132
    kbuczek
    Participant

    Thank you so much.  This gives me a lot of direction in so many details.  I will see where this takes me, im very excited!

    #13133
    kbuczek
    Participant

    I’m back.  The recommendations were a little pricey fo rme right now, but I talked to the owner of my local shop and he recommended the Evenheat GTS 18-13 with Rampmaster 13.  I think that would work nicely for me.    There are several options as in shut off switch, viewing window, latch…would you get any of those?  He is checking on price, but for what he told me so far it is goingto be around $1,400.  I found a cuple of places online that sell if for under $1,200.  Would you get it locally for the support he may give me, or go for the best deal?  Thanks again…you guys are so helpful!  I did get a little benchwork and some glass and cutting tools, so my adventure begins!

    #13134
    Callie
    Participant

    I recommend reading the wealth of kiln and kiln accessory information at Dogwood Ceramics: http://www.dogwoodceramics.com/product/paragon/paragon-information.htm  I recently purchased my first kiln, a Paragon Fusion 7, and found their information to be thorough and immensely helpful. 

    After much research, I opted for the mercury relay http://www.dogwoodceramics.com/product/paragon/support/mercury-displacement-relays.htm but decided to pass on the viewing window becuase it can negatively affect efficiency.  I will not do raking, so I also passed on the lid safety switch. Including the 13″ round shelf kit, the kiln cost around $900.

    It is smaller than I would like–can’t slump large wine bottles or make large trays, but I could not afford to jump up to the next size. At some point, I will trade up, but this is a great starter kiln, capable of far more than jewelry and trinkets.

    Hope that’s helpful!

    #13135
    wordana
    Participant

    I would not get a round or octagon kiln — they are not as effcient in usable space as a square kiln is.

    I have purchased all my kilns on line — two from Clay King and one from D&L Art Glass (you need a wholesale account to buy at D&L). I have two Paragons and a Skutt — both manufacturers provide excellent products. So far, knock on wood, I’ve needed very little support. What I have needed was easily accessible on-line or by phone/email.

    I love the viewing window. I do not notice significant cold spots in any of my kilns, and really, if you’re worried about efficiency, that goes out the door (literally) the first time you raise the lid to see what is going on inside the kiln. I’d rather peek through the view window than open the lid. In some instances, I still open the lid but most often I can check the progress of things through the window. I would not buy a kiln without one.

    I have the Fusion 14, which is shown here at Clay King: http://www.clay-king.com/glasskilns.htm

    My only complaint with the F14 is that when I do high temp firings (1650 degrees) (combing, raking, pot melts…), it takes it longer to get to temp — it’s a fairly large kiln for 120V. However, with almost everything I do, it has served me well. The F14 is $800, delivered, from Clay King, or add another $100 for shelf kit and view window. Make sure to factor in shelf and kiln posts — they may not be included in what your local guy is quoting.

    They also sell the Fusion 16 — I don’t know much about it but I assume it is similar in performance.

    2 cents,

    Dana W.

    Jester’s Baubles Fused Glass Designs

    http://www.jestersbaubles.com

    #13136
    jkbmrl
    Participant

    When I jumped into glass no one gave any advise as to what kiln to buy.  I have regretted my first kiln purchase to this day!  I bought a kiln that couldn’t fuse anything larger than a 12″ mold, In less than 6 months I was purchasing molds that did not fit my kiln.  All the new molds coming out that I really liked were just too big for my kiln. Had to purchase a larger kiln.  My first kiln was octagon-okay, but probably would not recommend, current is oval-and love it!  I wouldn’t purchase a kiln without a viewing window!  I have a shut off switch. I always caution on height of kiln, go for 13″ if you can.  I would also recommend Clay-King…great prices and I found very easy to work with.  If you want to purchase from someone local and the kilns are not on sale, I would ask when the next sale is.  You can make your decision as to wait, purchase from some where else or pay the current price.  I have bought both kilns I have online.

    Have fun fusing!

    Jeannie

    #13137
    jkbmrl
    Participant

    I forgot to mention looking at kilnfrog.com. I have heard that they are excellent.

    Jeannie

    #13138
    glassbymargot
    Participant

    Here is my experience… I started with a small Evenheat 6″ kiln. A waste of money. Quickly outgrew it. Then I bought the Paragon Pearl 22 (love it!) and eventually added a Skutt 14. I liked the Skutt, but sold it to upgrade to a Paragon 16. If I could only have one I’d get the Pearl 22 but the Paragon 16 is a good size too. What I’ve learned…. I prefer a clam shell model easier to get things in the kiln. I also upgraded to the ceramic fiber lids – cleaner. I don’t think a window is necessary or worth the extra money. I also like the controller on the Paragons better than on the Skutt, though the 3-key controllers could be designed better. In my experience, customer Service is better from Skutt than Paragon.

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