Top or side fire ?

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    Ok. As a aspiring artist who is using a microwave kiln to produce small pieces of jewelery which pretty much means pendants its time for me to get a real kiln.

    I know that I want to create larger pieces like bowls and chanel plates , panels and larger tiles.

    I am limited to 120 volt mainly due to $$$$.

    The paragon bench top 16 is one I have been eyeing.

    It however , is a side fire.

    So my question is , for larger bowls and plates would a top fire be more to my needs ?

    It just seems to me a top fire would be better for slumping big bowls.

    Any thoughts and comments would be appreciated.

    Thank you.


    Also I might add that I live about 25 minutes away from the bullseye factory and the paragon kiln is just a walk in and pick it up deal.

    Delphi glass has a 15 inch top fire but that’s mail order. I guess the only difference there is top and side fire , and having a kiln ” same day ” or waiting a couple days/week to have what I want.

    Thanks again.


    In my experience, one of the issues you will have is that larger pieces, that incorporate larger pieces of glass (rather than many small pieces), may require a longer bubble squeeze. In some instances, such as if doing those lovely drop-out vases in Paul’s new ebook, a side fire may actually be an advantage over a top fire if you are limited on vertical space and want to make the largest vase possible.

    My Skutt 1414 has both top and side, and so I typically do a longer bubble squeeze in it. It’s all about understanding your kiln and adjusting your firing schedules where necessary.

    Paragons are excellent kilns (I have two :)), and I wouldn’t think Bullseye would sell something unsuitable for glass.

    Dana W.

    Jester’s Baubles Fused Glass Designs


    Right. I don’t think bullseye would sell a item that is not good for fusing/slumping.

    I talked with a bullseye rep about my concern and was assured the kiln was suitable for my needs.

    I also talked with my “mentor” and she assured me it was suitable as well. Even though she uses a pretty dang big top fire.

    I just wanted as much input from other sources other than bullseye about it. Don’t think I’m gonna be much into vases. Mostly large plates bowls and those really cool chanel plates. But who knows.

    Thank you for your input though , it and any advice is greatly appreciated.


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