microwave kiln question

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    I am very very new to fused glass.  I took a class in a retirement village (i am a snowbird) and fell in love with making jewelry.  i have alot of 96 COE glass on hand here, but am now back at my home and won’t be back to my class i AZ until next fall.  I have been reading about microwave kilns and it appears to me that they all require 90 COE glass.  Is there a low priced kiln out there that I can use my 96 glass?  I don’t want to spend alot of money on this kiln as I realize that they can be very pricey!….I just would like to continue to make a few things for pure enjoyment and gift giving.    Another question:  how many layers of glass can be baked in a microwave kiln?  the info I have read seems to say TWO layers max.  The jewelry I made were two and three layers of glass.  Also can anyone tell me how large of a piece I can bake in the microwave kiln?  I hope these questions are not too stupid….I read the info about these kilns and they all give the measurements.  That is fine, but I could not find info about the actual size of piece I can bake in it.  Kissany info about the microwave kilns is greatly appreciated!

    Stephen Richard

    My first inclination is to say don’t get one.  But on reflection they can be useful for small pieces.

    If you are doing jewellery scale work, you won’t have to worry about going to 3 layers.  The reason for avoiding 3 layers on larger pieces, is that the kiln cools too quickly to anneal other than 6mm (t layers).  Of course you can use 3 layers of thin glass and not exceed the thickness suggested.

    The kiln will work with any fusible glass – S96, Bullseye, Uroboros, Artista, etc.  Although you cannot mix them in one project.

    Stephen Richard

    blogs at: http://www.verrier-glass.blogspot.com/ and  http://www.glasstips.blogspot.com/


    I would not recommend getting a microwave kiln unless you don’t want to spend more.  You have to watch them very closely and after the first minute of firing, you have to fire only 30 seconds at a time.  You can use any kind of glass, just not mixed.  Also, you will probably only fire one piece at a time as there isn’t much space. 


    I have a little microwave kiln, and it’s a lot of fun for making small things.  You don’t have a lot of control over the firing, so everything will probably come out full-fused and rounded.  But I’ve made some pretty things.

    You can definitely use 96 glass with it.  96 is slightly softer than 90, so it should fire a little more quickly, but not much.

    It is GREAT FUN for holiday events with the kids.  I keep nieces and nephews busy with my scrap glass and the microwave kiln.  We glue on a bail, and voila!  They have a pendant to take home.

    I also use it quite a bit to test glass reactions.  Some glass gets a cool dark line between pieces if fired together…like aqua blue and french vanilla.  If you put cranberry over french vanilla it might turn dark brown or plum.  It’s also good for testing random pieces of glass that are “striker” colors if you forget to label them…you never know what color they might turn and can be a surprise in your masterpiece!

    But if you really want to enjoy fused glass, splurge for a small kiln…even a little 9″ kiln that plugs into regular electric outlets will take you far (I have several kilns, and I still use this one more than any other kiln I own).  They even make smaller beehive-looking kilns that are relatively inexpensive if you only want to do jewelry.

    And if you’re retired, you will have many happy hours of fusing and it will be well worth it.  You can justify it in several ways…do you have a better half who likes to play golf or who has a woodworking tool habit?  Those can be valuable bargaining points when justifying the cost of a little kiln!!


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