Electric Kilns Electric Kilns
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The Paragon Caldera XL Ceramics Kiln
Cherry Heaven TV
Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer
Paragon Caldera XL Ceramics Kiln
Paragon Caldera XL Ceramics Kiln
Paragon Caldera AW Glass Kiln
Paragon Caldera AE Enamelling Kiln
Paragon Caldera AC Glass Kiln
Paragon Caldera AB Bead Kiln
Paragon Caldera A Vitrigraph Kiln
Paragon Caldera SW Glass Kiln
Paragon Caldera SE Enamelling Kiln
Paragon Caldera SC Glass Kiln
Paragon Caldera SB Bead Kiln
Paragon Caldera S Ceramics Kiln
Paragon Caldera S Ceramics Kiln
Cherry Heaven TV
The French Flag The Italian Flag The Spanish Flag The Swedish Flag
UK To EU Plug Adapter
Ceramic Block
Ceramic Cloth
EU Plug
UK-EU Adapter
Kitiki Cutters
Kitiki Flush Cutters
Kitiki Flat-Nose Pliers
Kitiki Pointed-Nose Pliers
Kitiki Bent-Nose Pliers
Kitiki Round-Nose Pliers
Potter & Brumfield Relay
Dorset, SW England
UK Plug
The AX-4 Digital Controller
MiniKiln Closed
Prometheus Pro-7
Bartlett V6-CF Digital Controller
Paragon BlueBird Open
Lauscha by Carrie Fertig
Activated Charcoal Granules
Paragon Caldera A Closed
Paragon Caldera AB Closed
Paragon Fusion CS14D Open
Paragon Fusion CS14SB Closed
Paragon Caldera XL Closed
Paragon FireFly A Closed
Paragon Fusion 7 Open
Paragon Fusion 8 Open
Paragon GL18ADTSD Open
Paragon HT-14D Closed
Paragon Janus 1613 Open
Paragon KM18D
Paragon-Orton Vent Master: Unassembled
Paragon-Orton Vent Master: Suction Cup
Paragon Pearl 18 Open
Paragon PMT21
Stainless Steel Pans
Paragon SC-2 Black Open
Paragon SC2 Open
Paragon SC2B Open
Paragon SC2W Open
Paragon SC4 Closed
Paragon SC1 Closed
Paragon SC1 Open
Paragon SC1W Closed
Paragon SC2BW Open
Paragon SC2D Pro-3 Open
Paragon SC2 Shelf Kit
Paragon SC-2 Jade Closed
Paragon SC-2 Black Closed
Orton Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer
Orton Sentry 2.0 Digital Programmer
Bartlett Sentinel Touch-Screen
Paragon SC-2 Pink Open
Paragon SC-2 Pro Black Open
Paragon SC-2 Turqoise Open
Paragon SC-2 Purple Open
Paragon SC-2 Navy Closed
Paragon SC-2 Berry Closed
Paragon ST-8 Table
Paragon TNF 1613 Closed
Paragon GL24 Table
Paragon Xpress 1613 Top Row Bricks
USB Plug
Paragon Xpress E-12A Open
Paragon Xpress E-12AB Closed
Paragon Xpress E-14 Closed
Paragon Xpress Q-11A Open
Paragon F500 Open
Paragon Caldera-S Ceramics And Glass Kiln
Paragon Caldera-S Ceramics And Glass Kiln
Paragon Caldera-SW Ceramics And Glass Kiln
Paragon Caldera-A Ceramics And Glass Kiln
Paragon Caldera-AB Ceramics And Bead Kiln
Paragon Caldera-AW Ceramics And Fusing Kiln
Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln
Paragon Caldera-AC Glass Kiln
Paragon Caldera-AE Ceramics And Enamelling Kiln
Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln

Paragon Caldera Kilns For Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, Porcelain, And Vitrigraph.

Paragon Caldera kilns are generally used for ceramics, enamels, glass, metal clays, porcelain, and vitrigraph. They're 1290°C kilns with digital programmers, in Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise. Learn all about the Paragon Caldera kilns on this page.

There are three body versions: the manual Caldera-S with a rotary controller and analogue pyrometer, and the automatic Caldera-A and Cadera-XL with cone-fire ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmers.

There are seventeen in the series: the manual Caldera-S, SB, SC, SE, SW, SBW, SCW, and SEW, the automatic digital Caldera-A, AB, AC, AE, AW, ABW, ACW, and AEW, and the automatic digital Caldera XL. The B versions have a collar with a bead-annealing door, C have a plain collar, E have a collar with an enamelling door, and W have a heat-resistant glass viewing-window in the lid.

Unlike the broadly similar FireFlies, the Caldera-S and Caldera-A can accept a separate clip-on layer called a collar: a plain collar, a collar with a bead-annealing door, or a collar with an enamelling door, all of which increase the internal height.


For prices, use the shop link below the menu bar near the top-right of any page. They're for UK-EU voltage, CE-marked, TUV tested, and CL and CSA approved kilns, with safety switches, and include comprehensive manuals, a professional shelf kit, UK VAT, and UK mainland delivery. So, no other charges and you can start work straight away.


Cherry Heaven TV has made an on-line photo book featuring these popular kilns: click the Cherry Heaven TV player above. It starts with the manual Caldera-S, and continues with the digital Caldera-A, the digital Caldera-XL, and the Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer.

THE PARAGON CALDERA SERIES: PHOTOS

Paragon Caldera Kilns For Ceramics, Dichroics, Dolls, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, Porcelain, And Vitrigraph.

To look at the pop-up photos, hold your mouse over the zoom buttons below: you don't need to click.


Paragon Caldera-S Ceramics And Glass Kiln Paragon Caldera-S Ceramics And Glass Kiln.

Paragon Caldera-S Ceramics And Glass Kiln Paragon Caldera-S Ceramics And Glass Kiln.

Paragon Caldera-SW Ceramics And Fusing Kiln Paragon Caldera-SW Ceramics And Glass Kiln.

Paragon Caldera-A Ceramics And Glass Kiln Paragon Caldera-A Ceramics And Glass Kiln.

Paragon Caldera-AW Ceramics And Fusing Kiln Paragon Caldera-AW Ceramics And Fusing Kiln.

Paragon Caldera-AB Ceramics And Bead Kiln Paragon Caldera-AB Ceramics And Bead-Annealing Kiln.

Paragon Caldera-AC Ceramics And Glass Kiln Paragon Caldera-AC Ceramics And Glass Kiln.

Paragon Caldera-AE Ceramics And Enamelling Kiln Paragon Caldera-AE Ceramics And Enamelling Kiln.

Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln.

Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln.

Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer Paragon Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer.

STAY ON THIS RESOURCE, OR SWITCH TO ANOTHER?

Paragon Kilns, Electric Kilns, Kitiki Kilns, or Prometheus Kilns? Or Mail Or Call Cherry Heaven.

For your convenience, I've separated all the kilns into two very general groups on two separate internet resources, although there's cross-over. If you want to switch resources, use the links above the menu bar near the top of the page.


Electric Kilns is generally for smaller plug-in table-top kilns usually used for small-scale work such as annealing beads, Art Clay metal clays, dichroics, enamels, glass fusing, jewellery, lampwork, PMC silver clay, porcelain, and vitrigraph.

Paragon Kilns is generally for larger wired-in floor-standing or table-top kilns usually used for business-scale work such as annealing, casting, ceramics, earthenware, glass panels, heat treating, making knives, porcelain, pottery, and raku.

MANUAL OR AUTOMATIC?

The Manual Caldera-S With A Rotary Switch And An Analogue Pyrometer, Or The Automatic Caldera-A With A Digital Programmer?

The Caldera-A and Cladera-XL are automatic digital kilns. The Paragon Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer allows you to set up several firing sequences, each one with up to eight heating, holding, or cooling segments. You can choose the heating and cooling rates, target temperatures, and hold times, save the sequences, and re-use them.

A segment is one step in the sequence. For example: a segment could take 50 minutes to reach 1050°C, another could hold at 850°C for 20 minutes, or another could cool down to room temperature over 5 hours.

The programmer's cone-fire mode, up to cone 10, will simplify work with ceramics: just set the cone number recommended for the material.


The Caldera-S is a manual kiln. Its rotary controller does not allow you to set up sequences and segments: you have to stay by the kiln to adjust the heating and cooling rates, using the analogue pyrometer, and turn it off at the end.

For many people doing small-scale work occasionally, that's enough, although it helps if you buy a pocket digital timer to remind you that time's up. You can buy a digital reminder timer in the on-line shop.

THE PARAGON CALDERA SERIES: A GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Paragon Caldera S Ceramics And Glass Kiln Paragon Caldera A Ceramics And Glass Kiln Paragon Caldera AB Ceramics And Bead-Annealing Kiln Paragon Caldera XL Ceramics And Glass  Kiln

Paragon Caldera Kilns For Ceramics, Dichroics, Dolls, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, Porcelain, And Vitrigraph.

Paragon Caldera kilns are 1290°C square, top-opening, table-top, firebrick kilns. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise. Customised kilns are made to order, so can't be returned if the colour isn't exactly the same as in the photo.

There are three body versions: the manual Caldera-S with a rotary controller and an analogue pyrometer, and the automatic Caldera-A and Caldera-XL with cone-fire ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmers.

Unlike the broadly similar FireFlies, the Caldera-S and Caldera-A can accept a separate clip-on layer called a collar: a plain collar, a collar with a bead-annealing door, or a collar with an enamelling door, all of which increase the internal height.

There are seventeen in the series: the manual Caldera-S, SB, SC, SE, SW, SBW, SCW, and SEW, the automatic digital Caldera-A, AB, AC, AE, AW, ABW, ACW, and AEW, and the automatic digital Caldera-XL. The B versions have a collar with a bead-annealing door, C have a plain collar, E have a collar with an enamelling door, and W have a heat-resistant glass viewing-window in the lid.

They're ideal for your arts centre, ceramics studio, college, course venue, craft centre, engineering workshop, glass works, home, jewellery studio, medical laboratory, research unit, school, technical facility, or university.


Use them for firing ceramics, earthenware, porcelain, pottery, and stoneware, annealing beads and glass, bisqueware, ceramic art, painting china, crucible glass work, making dolls, fire polishing, glass art, glass fusing, sagging, and slumping, glass stringers, heat treating, knife making, lab testing, lampwork, lost-wax casting, mixing custom glass colours, pâte de verre, raku, staining glass, testing glazes, hardening and tempering blades, cutters, dies, and tools, vitrigraph, and many other materials and processes.

Small kilns are perfect for jewellery-making, so you can use most popular small-scale materials such as Accent Gold, Art Clay metal clays, BullsEye glasses, dichroic glasses, enamels, GlasClay, Image Transfer Solution, Metal Clay Veneer, PMC silver clay, Prometheus bronze clay, ProCopper clay, and SilverEtch.
And there's an increasingly diverse range of other metal clays, such as Cinter, Clay Mania, Creative, Goldie, Hadar Jacobson, Metal Adventures, Meteor, Noble, and PMC Sterling.

You can make architectural features, bowls, ceramic-art, decorations, figurines, mugs, ornaments, plant pots, porcelain dolls, raku vases, tableware, and tiles, as unique hand-crafted pieces or as repeatable stock for retail.


The Caldera-S and Caldera-A are stackable, with a separate bottom, an optional collar, the main body, and a hinged lid. Even if you don't need the extra versatility of a collar now, you might do later on: so read about these before choosing?

However, the collars don't have latches to connect to the base or the body, so be careful, when opening the lid, that the kiln doesn't tip backwards. Don't open it past about 90 degrees unless it can lean against a heat-proof support.

Vitrigraph uses a Caldera-A to make glass stringers. The bottom of the kiln is unclipped and set aside. The kiln body is put on a thick ceramic square with a central hole. The whole thing is lifted well away from the floor to allow moulten glass to fall through a small hole in a crucible and form long stringers. Ceramic squares are in the on-line shop.


If you're not sure that a Caldera is the right choice:

Glass kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 925°C. For these, look at the top-opening Fusion:CS Series or Pearl Series, or the front opening GL Series. These are not hot enough for ceramics.

Jewellery kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 1095°C. For these, look at the small front-opening SC Series or the medium front-opening Xpress Series. The SC series are not hot enough for ceramics.

Ceramics kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 1290°C. For these, look at the small top-opening FireFly Series, the medium front-opening Xpress Series, or the large Janus Series and PMT Series. These can also be used for glass work.

The HT Series and PMT Series look similar: except the HT has a bottom-hinged door and the PMT has a side-hinged door. HT kilns are normally 1095°C but can be upgraded to 1290°C.

The KM Series are 1290°C knife-making kilns, made for depth rather than width. You can choose a standard drop-down door or a side-hinged door.

If you're comparing the Caldera and similar-looking FireFly, the Caldera-S and Caldera-A are 171mm high inside and can hold three shelves whilst the FireFly-S and FireFly-A are 114mm high inside and can hold two shelves. The Caldera is only slightly more expensive than the FireFly and it can accept collars. Personally, I wouldn't buy a manual version.

To learn more about other kilns, use the appropriate links above and below the menu bar near the top of the page. Each series has kilns of different sizes with different options, so I've only included one of each in the table below:


VERSION DESCRIPTION MAX °C POWER W WEIGHT KG FIRING CHAMBER INTERIOR SIZE MM
Caldera-S manual 1290 1800 21 firebrick 203 x 203 x 171
Caldera-SW window 1290 1800 23 firebrick 203 x 203 x 171
Caldera-SC plain collar 1095 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-SB bead-door collar 1095 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-SE enamelling collar 815 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-SBW bead-door collar and window 1095 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-SCW plain collar and window 1095 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-SEW enamelling collar and window 815 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-A automatic 1290 1800 21 firebrick 203 x 203 x 171
Caldera-AW window 1290 1800 20 firebrick 203 x 203 x 171
Caldera-AB bead-door collar 1095 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-AC plain collar 1095 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-AE enamelling-door collar 815 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-ABW bead-door collar and window 1095 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-ACW plain collar and window 1095 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-AEW enamelling-collar and window 815 1800 26 firebrick 203 x 203 x 281
Caldera-XL automatic 1290 1800 34 firebrick 191 x 191 x 229
FireFly-A automatic 1290 1560 21 firebrick 203 x 203 x 114
SC 2 1095 1745 16 ceramic fibre 199 x 204 x 145
Xpress E12A 1230 2700 38 firebrick 216 x 305 x 222

Digital programmers allow you to set up sequences, each one with multiple heating, holding, or cooling segments: so you can choose the heating and cooling rates, target temperatures, and hold times, save the sequences, and re-use them.

There are no restrictive features such as single-sequence use or pre-set programmes. Pre-set programmes might seem to be an advantage but, having experimented and diversified, many people fire materials, or combinations of materials, at different temperatures and for different times than are recommended.


For help, or in the unlikely event of a fault, you can mail or call an engineer in the UK. However, checks, adjustments, and repairs are simple, needing little more than a PosiDriv screwdriver: watch the on-line videos using the watch-videos link or read the help pages using use the help link, both below the menu bar near the top of any page. Alternatively, we can service the kiln in our workshop at Cherry Heaven.


After looking at the kilns in detail, I'll introduce the accessories, options, and upgrades.

THE PARAGON CALDERA-S ANNEALING, CERAMICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, AND PORCELAIN

The Paragon Caldera-S Kiln For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-S Ceramics And Glass Kiln

The Paragon Caldera-S is a 1290°C, square, top-opening, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a built-in manual rotary controller and analogue pyrometer. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V-240V 1680W, so it can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with a switch that cuts off the power to the elements whenever the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The kiln has two clip-together parts: a firebrick base, and a firebrick firing chamber with a hinged firebrick lid. The outer steel case measures 330mm x 495mm x 349mm high, including the rotary switch and analogue pyrometer housing, other hardware, and the 70mm-high base, and has four lifting handles on opposing sides. The electrical components, located on the front, stay cool, even at extended hold times. The shipping weight is about 21Kg.

The firebrick firing chamber measures 203mm x 203mm x 171mm high, and heats from all four sides, with the fast-firing elements lying in grooves in the 64mm thick bricks. The kiln has a nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple.


The Caldera-S doesn't have an automatic digital programmer. However, the rotary controller allows you to set the elements-on time and therefore the heating rate and final temperature. It's a 20-100 style: on the lowest setting, the elements are on 20% of the time; on the highest setting, the elements are on 100% of the time.
The built-in analogue pyrometer shows the current temperature, so that you can control the heating and cooling rates and the hold temperature.


The accessories, options, and upgrades for this kiln are in the on-line shop:

List a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise respray: normally blue
List a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List ceramic fibre cloth
List ceramic block
List HEPA dust mask
List clear protective glasses
List glare-resistant glasses
List heat-resistant gloves


And finally, my opinion:

The Caldera-S is a high-temperature kiln, made for years of continual firing. It's small and heats up quickly, so popular for enamelling, fusing glass, testing glazes, and firing porcelain. But, unlike the Caldera-A, it doesn't have an automatic digital programmer.


The Caldera-S is stackable, with a separate bottom, an optional collar, the main body, and a hinged lid. If you don't need the extra versatility of a collar now, you might do later on: so read about these before choosing?

However, the collars don't have latches to connect to the base or the body, so be careful, when opening the lid, that the kiln doesn't tip backwards. Don't open it past about 90 degrees unless it can lean against a heat-proof support.

THE CALDERA-S: KILN FURNITURE

The Paragon Caldera-S Kiln Furniture.

There's a recommended kit, included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of kiln wash.

There's an extra recommended kit, not included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm shelf and four posts. You can choose 12mm, 25mm, or 50mm posts. Shelf kits are in the on-line shop.

Depending on the material or process, and the sizes of your pieces, stacked shelves will hold more work, free up your time, and reduce the unit firing cost: so you might want more kits. This kiln has room for three.

THE CALDERA-SB: WITH A BEAD-DOOR COLLAR BEADS, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-SB Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-SB Bead-Annealing Kiln

The Caldera-SB has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 281mm. It includes a 165mm x 50mm bead-annealing door, and a separate mandrel holder. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-S.

The collar has no heating elements, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 1095°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-SC: WITH A PLAIN COLLAR DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-SC Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-SC Ceramics And Glass Kiln

The Caldera-SC has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 281mm. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-S.

The collar has no heating elements, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 1095°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-SE: WITH AN ENAMELLING COLLAR DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-SE Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-SE Enamelling Kiln

The Caldera-SE has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 342mm. It includes a 165mm x 100mm enamelling door, and a separate mandrel holder. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-S.

The collar has no heating elements, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 815°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-SW: WITH A WINDOW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-SW Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-SW Ceramics And Glass Kiln

The lid includes a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant-glass viewing-window. The window allows you to take a quick peep at china paints, enamels, glass, and glazes to check on their progress. And you might find it interesting or reassuring to watch what happens during the firing sequence. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-S.

Heat is lost through the window, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 1150°C. To use the kiln at a higher temperature, push a small pad of ceramic-fibre cloth behind the glass. Ceramic-fibre cloths are in the on-line shop.


If you look into a red-hot kiln, even briefly, it's important to wear glare-resistant glasses to protect your eyes from IR and UV radiation. Glare-resistant glasses are in the on-line shop.

THE CALDERA-SBW: WITH A BEAD-DOOR COLLAR AND A WINDOW BEADS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-SBW Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-SBW Bead Annealing Kiln Paragon Caldera-SBW Bead Annealing Kiln

The Caldera-SBW has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 281mm. It includes a 165mm x 50mm bead-annealing door, and a separate mandrel holder. The lid has a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant-glass viewing-window. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-S.

The collar has no heating elements and some heat is lost through the window, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 980°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-SCW: WITH A PLAIN COLLAR AND A WINDOW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-SCW Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-SW Glass Kiln Paragon Caldera-SW Glass Kiln

The Caldera-SCW has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 281mm. The lid has a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant-glass viewing-window. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-S.

The collar has no heating elements and some heat is lost through the window, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 1095°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-SEW: WITH AN ENAMELLING COLLAR AND A WINDOW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-SEW Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-SEW Enamelling Kiln Paragon Caldera-SEW Enamelling Kiln

The Caldera-SEW has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 342mm. It includes a 165mm x 102mm enamelling door, and a separate, optional, bead-mandrel holder. The lid has a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant-glass viewing-window. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-S.

The collar has no heating elements and some heat is lost through the window, so the kiln's maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 815°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE PARAGON CALDERA-A ANNEALING, CERAMICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, AND PORCELAIN

The Paragon Caldera-A Kiln For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, Porcelain, And Vitrigraph.

Paragon Caldera-A Ceramics And Glass Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Caldera-A is a 1290°C, square, top-opening, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a cone-fire ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


The UK kiln is rated at 230V-240V 1680W, so it can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with a switch that cuts off the power to the elements whenever the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The kiln has two clip-together parts: a firebrick base, and a firebrick firing chamber with a hinged firebrick lid. The outer steel case measures 330mm x 495mm x 349mm, including the programmer housing, other hardware, and the 70mm-high base, and has four lifting handles on opposing sides. The electrical components, located on the front, stay cool, even at extended hold times. The shipping weight is about 21Kg.

The firebrick firing chamber measures 203mm x 203mm x 171mm high, and heats from all four sides, with the fast-firing elements lying in grooves in the 64mm thick bricks. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple.

The bottom of the firebrick lid, and the meeting surface of the top row of firebricks, are hardened and sealed with refractory cement for long life and minimal brick dust.

The programmer's electronic display prompts for heating rates, target temperatures, and hold times, making it easy to set up and re-use accurate heating, holding, and cooling sequences. The cone-fire mode, up to cone 10, will simplify your work with ceramics.


The accessories, options, and upgrades for this kiln are in the on-line shop:

List a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise respray: normally blue
List a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List ceramic fibre cloth
List ceramic block
List HEPA dust mask
List clear protective glasses
List glare-resistant glasses
List heat-resistant gloves

And finally, my opinion:

The Caldera-A is a high-temperature kiln, made for years of continual firing. It's small and heats up quickly, so popular for enamelling, fusing glass, testing glazes, and firing porcelain. But, unlike the Caldera-S, it has an automatic digital programmer.


The Caldera-A is stackable, with a separate bottom, an optional collar, the main body, and a hinged lid. If you don't need the extra versatility of a collar now, you might do later on: so read about these before choosing?

However, the collars don't have latches to connect to the base or the body, so be careful, when opening the lid, that the kiln doesn't tip backwards. Don't open it past about 90 degrees unless it can lean against a heat-proof support.


Vitrigraph uses a Caldera-A to make glass stringers. The bottom of the kiln is unclipped and set aside. The kiln body is put on a thick ceramic square with a central hole. The whole thing is lifted well away from the floor to allow moulten glass to fall through a small hole in a crucible and form long stringers. Ceramic squares are in the on-line shop.

THE CALDERA-A: KILN FURNITURE

The Paragon Caldera-A Kiln Furniture.

There's a recommended kit, included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of kiln wash.

There's an extra recommended kit, not included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm shelf and four posts. You can choose 12mm, 25mm, or 50mm posts.

Depending on the material or process, and the sizes of your pieces, stacked shelves will hold more work, free up your time, and reduce the unit firing cost: so you might want more kits. This kiln has room for three.

THE CALDERA-AB: WITH A BEAD-DOOR COLLAR BEADS, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-AB Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-AB Bead-Annealing Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Caldera-AB has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 281mm. It includes a 165mm x 50mm bead-annealing door, and a separate mandrel holder. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-A.

The collar has no heating elements, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 1095°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-AC: WITH A PLAIN COLLAR DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-AC Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-AC Glass Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Caldera-AC has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 281mm. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-A.

The collar has no heating elements, so the kiln's maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 1095°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-AE: WITH AN ENAMELLING COLLAR DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-AE Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-AE Enamelling Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Caldera-AE has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 342mm. It includes a 165mm x 100mm enamelling door, and a separate mandrel holder. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-A.

The collar has no heating elements, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 815°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-AW: WITH A WINDOW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-AW Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-AW Glass-Fusing Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The lid includes a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant-glass viewing-window. The window allows you to take a quick peep at china paints, enamels, glass, and glazes to check on their progress. And you might find it interesting or reassuring to watch what happens during the firing sequence. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-A.

Heat is lost through the window, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 1150°C. To use the kiln at a higher temperature, push a small pad of ceramic-fibre cloth behind the glass. Ceramic-fibre cloths are in the on-line shop.


If you look into a red-hot kiln, even briefly, it's important to wear glare-resistant glasses to protect your eyes from IR and UV radiation. Glare-resistant glasses are in the on-line shop.

THE CALDERA-ABW: WITH A BEAD-DOOR COLLAR AND A WINDOW BEADS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-ABW Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-ABW Bead-Annealing And Glass-Fusing Kiln Paragon Caldera-ABW Bead-Annealing And Glass-Fusing Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Caldera-ABW has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 281mm. It includes a 165mm x 50mm bead-annealing door, and a separate mandrel holder. The lid has a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant-glass viewing-window. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-A.

The collar has no heating elements and some heat is lost through the window, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 980°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-ACW: WITH A PLAIN COLLAR AND A WINDOW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-ACW Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-ACW Glass Kiln Paragon Caldera-ACW Glass Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Caldera-ACW has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 281mm. The lid has a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant-glass viewing-window. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-A.

The collar has no heating elements and some heat is lost through the window, so the kiln's maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 1095°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

To use the kiln at a higher temperature, push a small pad of ceramic-fibre cloth behind the glass. Ceramic-fibre cloths are in the on-line shop.

THE CALDERA-AEW: WITH AN ENAMELLING COLLAR AND A WINDOW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-AEW Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-AEW Enamelling Kiln Paragon Caldera-AEW Enamelling Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Caldera-AEW has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 342mm. It includes a 165mm x 102mm enamelling door, and a separate, optional, bead-mandrel holder. The lid has a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant-glass viewing-window. Otherwise, the kiln is the same as the Caldera-A.

The collar has no heating elements and some heat is lost through the window, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 815°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE PARAGON CALDERA-XL ANNEALING, CERAMICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, AND PORCELAIN

The Paragon Caldera XL For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, Porcelain, And Raku.

Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics Kiln Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer Sentry Digital Programmer

The Paragon Caldera-XL is a 1290°C, square, top-opening, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a cone-fire ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.

The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V-240V 1800W, so it can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with a switch that cuts off the power to the elements whenever the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The outer steel case measures 432mm x 508mm x 445mm high, including the programmer housing, other hardware, and the 70mm-high base, and has two lifting handles on opposing sides. The electrical components, located on the front, stay cool, even at extended hold times. The shipping weight is about 34Kg.

The firebrick firing chamber measures 191mm x191mm x 229mm high, and heats from all four sides, with the fast-firing elements lying in grooves in the 76mm thick bricks. The kiln has two electro-mechanical relays and a nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple.

The bottom of the firebrick lid, and the meeting surface of the top row of firebricks, are hardened and sealed with refractory cement for long life and minimal brick dust.

The programmer's electronic display prompts for heating rates, target temperatures, and hold times, making it easy to set up and re-use accurate heating, holding, and cooling sequences. The cone-fire mode, up to cone 10, will simplify your work with ceramics.

The Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer can be upgraded to a Sentry 12-key or a Sentinel Touch Screen. Both have advanced and time-saving features, including optional automatic control over an electric kiln vent, a gas injection system, and a USB computer interface.


The accessories, options, and upgrades for this kiln are in the on-line shop:

List a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise respray: normally blue
List a programmer upgrade from a Sentry Xpress 3-key to a Sentry 12-key: more useful features: factory fitted
List a programmer upgrade from a Sentry Xpress 3-key to a Sentinel Touch Screen: factory fitted
List an electric kiln vent: factory fitted at the bottom
List an auxiliary power output for automatic vent control: factory fitted: needs 12-key
List a USB computer interface: needs 12-key or touch: factory fitted
List a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List ceramic fibre cloth
List ceramic block
List HEPA dust mask
List clear protective glasses
List glare-resistant glasses
List heat-resistant gloves


And finally, my opinion:

The Caldera-XL is a high-temperature kiln, made for years of continual firing. It's small and heats up quickly, so popular for enamelling, fusing glass, testing glazes, and firing porcelain. It's 58mm taller inside than the Caldera-A but, as it has thicker firebricks, it will still heat to 1290°C on a regular mains socket.

The firing chamber is a one-piece construction, so it feels more durable and robust than the two-part Caldera-A. So, unless you need a bead-annealing door, an enamelling door, or a window, I'd recommend it instead of the Caldera-A.

THE CALDERA-XL: KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Caldera-XL.

There's a recommended kit, included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of kiln wash.

There's an extra recommended kit, not included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm shelf and four posts. You can choose 12mm, 25mm, or 50mm posts.

Depending on the material or process, and the sizes of your pieces, stacked shelves will hold more work, free up your time, and reduce the unit firing cost: so you might want more kits. This kiln has room for four.

WHY BUY A PARAGON CALDERA KILN?

The Paragon Caldera Kilns Compared To Kilns From Cromartie, Efco, Essex, Evenheat, Kilncare, Nabertherm, PotteryCraft, And Skutt.

I looked at the EFCO 110, 135, 150, and 180, the Evenheat KingPin 88, Evenheat PMC Kiln, Evenheat Set-Pro, Evenheat E-360, and Evenheat Sierra, the Jen-Ken, the KilnCare EN1, EN2, EN3, Maxi and Maxine, the Skutt FireBox 8, the Cromartie CFL012, the Northern Kilns NK Mini and NK Midi, and others which have a low international profile.

I can't always compare like with like but, for broadly similar kilns, the Caldera is larger inside, or gets hotter, or costs less. The Caldera-A has built-in digital programmer, not a separate box with loose cables, and includes a pro shelf kit.

I'd like to be able to recommend UK-made or EU-made kilns, but US-made Paragon kilns are such good value: buy Paragons and save enough to treat yourself to a luxury five-star weekend break.


Calderas are unique. They can accept a separate clip-on layer called a collar: a plain collar, a collar with a bead-annealing door, or a collar with an enamelling door, all of which increase the internal height. If you don't need that add-on yet, you might do later.

They're large enough to accommodate the charcoal-filled stainless steel container needed to fire some makes of bronze clay and copper clay, both described on this internet resource.

The Caldera has a 13A UK three-pin plug, so can use a regular 230V-240V UK mains socket. If you're not in the UK, use a plug adapter or cut off the UK plug and fit your own: it won't invalidate the guarantee. Or order it with your local plug.

To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with a switch that cuts off the power to the elements whenever the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price.

Although it's US-made, the programmer shows degrees Celsius, not degrees Fahrenheit as in the US. If you need to convert, this is how to do it. However, if you want to work in Fahrenheit, you can make a simple change to the programmer.

The fast-firing elements lie in pinless dropped-recessed grooves in the 64mm thick bricks. The firebricks have notch-joints in the corners, a much stonger and more durable construction than butt-joints or mitre-joints generally used in small kilns.

The bottom of the firebrick lid, and the meeting surface of the top row of firebricks, are hardened and sealed with refractory cement for long life and minimal brick dust.

At high temperatures, convected heat is minimal: it's nearly all radiated heat. The FireFly heats from all sides. so your work gets all-round radiated heat. Small kilns that heat from the top are unlikely to heat evenly, especially when using extra shelves or firing larger pieces.

The heavy-gauge nickel-plated copper wiring has high-temperature glass-braided insulation. The thermocouple, which senses temperature inside the kiln, is a long-life nickel-chrome.

It's widely believed that glass viewing-windows will cloud permanently or crack by about 925°C. The glass used in Paragon kilns has been time-tested at 1260°C.

The kiln includes a professional shelf kit and is tall enough for three to be stacked. They're made from cordierite, a very tough durable ceramic that resists thermal distortion and fracture. To keep costs down, some kiln makes ship with a softer fibre shelf which will deteriorate and crumble. Also, if you're making glass tiles, they dont provide even heat distribution.

Paragon kilns conform to the demanding UL 499 standard in the US, and are CE Marked for the EU. Paragon is Greek for Model Of Perfection.


For help, or in the unlikely event of a fault, you can mail or call an engineer in the UK. However, home checks, adjustments, and repairs are quick and easy, needing little more than a PosiDriv screwdriver. Alternatively, we can repair the kiln in our workshop at Cherry Heaven.

You can watch on-line service videos: use the watch-videos, link then choose from the guide. There's also an extensive support page: use the help link.

RECOMMENDED READING
General Help and FAQ's For Kilns

Kilns, Programmers, Kiln Furniture, Options, Upgrades, Firing, Kiln Logs, Accessories, Materials, Processes, And Tools.

The remaining sections are about digital programmers, options, upgrades, materials, and processes. Unless you're already successfully using a kiln, they're recommended reading.


Cherry Heaven has been a Paragon distributor since 2002, and commended every year for outstanding performance. Paragon kilns are good value: buy Paragons and you could save enough to treat yourself to a luxury five-star weekend break.

Anyone can buy a few kilns to resell and call themselves a specialist, but a distributor understands all the kilns, options, and upgrades, will stock spares, offer free competent technical support, can help you repair your kiln, provide on-line repair videos, has a repair workshop, and can access Paragon's international, informed, and supportive user-base.

If you need help, you can mail an experienced technician or call . Alternatively, to learn more about how your kiln works, use the help link below the menu bar near the top of the page.

THE PARAGON SENTRY XPRESS 3-KEY DIGITAL PROGRAMMER
Paragon Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon-Orton Sentry Xpress Digital Controller.

The Paragon Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer allows you to set up four firing sequences, each one with up to eight heating, holding, or cooling segments. You can choose the heating and cooling rates, target temperatures, and hold times, save the sequences, and re-use them.

It's easy to use: far easier than a central heating programmer. Here's a Cherry Heaven TV programme about setting a simple ramp-hold sequence. The ramp is the part where the temperature increases until it reaches the target temperature: the hold is the part where the temperature stays the same. UK-EU programmers will be in degrees Celsius.


Cherry Heaven TV provides on-line radio and television programmes on the Cherry Heaven TV Player. To use the player, click the controls or drag the time-line slider or volume slider to a new position.


00:00  00:00
KILN FURNITURE: A GENERAL INTRODUCTION IMPORTANT
A Paragon Kiln Shelf Kit

Kiln Furniture: Shelves And Posts.

Most kilns have a recommended furniture kit. Delivery companies have a low rate for parcels less than 30kg so, for smaller kilns weighing less than 30Kg, the kit is generally one shelf and four posts: included in the price because it fits in the box and doesn't add much to the shipping weight.

You get a professional, durable, cordierite shelf with four 12mm high posts. You don't get a soft, ceramic-fibre shelf, often described as free, that will gradually break up and need replacing.

Shelf kits usually include 25mm x 25mm x 12mm shelf posts, When flat, they're 12mm high: on their sides, they're 25mm. Other sizes, up to 150mm high, are available, so you can choose the shelf spacing that suits your kiln and your work.

The recommended kit is usually the simplest that works: not an expensive collection that I've put together for you. However, extra shelf kits allow you to stack your work, optimising your use of the firing chamber volume, the unit-cost of firing, and your time. And extra half-shelves or smaller shelves allow you to fire a mix of shorter and taller pieces.


For larger kilns weighing more than 30Kg, shelf kits are not included in the price because you'll probably want to choose your own mix of shelves, half-shelves, smaller shelves, and assorted-height posts.


One shelf should stay on the floor of the firing chamber all the time in case you accidentally spill or melt anything: solidified glass or metal is impossible to pick off without damaging the ceramic-fibre or firebrick.

Shelves are not meant to be an exact fit in the kiln. You need finger space all round and they mustn't scrape the kiln walls every time they're put in or taken out. Be careful lifting heavy shelves out of a top-opening kiln: if you drop them they will damage the firebricks.

Although they look tough, most ceramics break if they're dropped on a hard floor, so it's a good idea to have spare shelves, especially if your business depends on your kiln or you're running courses.


During firing sequences with heating, holding, and cooling segments, the elements turn on and off repeatedly. In a small kiln, with little residual heat, the inevitable temperature changes can make glass crack as it expands and contracts. A thick heavy shelf stores heat and, because it's resting on posts, the air circulates, helping to even out the normal temperature fluctuations.


If you're buying your first kiln, you're probably interested in one material, such as silver clay, or one process, such as enamelling. However, after a few successes, and failures, most people want to try different materials, make larger pieces, experiment with combinations, fire more at a time, and soon become interested in something else: or everything else. Some start a business or run classes.

You might want a full shelf, two half-shelves, several mixed shelves, a set of shelf posts, a bead-mandrel holder, glass separator, hot gloves, kiln wash, a knife-making rack, pyrometric cones, a tile holder, or other accessories.

Shelves are heavy, so kits ordered separately need a box and protective packing and attract an extra delivery charge. Outside the UK mainland, this might be expensive. So, if you think you'll need them, order them with your kiln, along with any other accessories, materials, parts, or tools.


For dichroics, enamelling, and glass fusing, put kiln paper on the shelf to stop the glass sticking: it's simpler and cleaner to use than glass separator. Bullseye Thinfire shelf paper, probably the most popular, ensures easy separation between your glass and the kiln shelf. One side feels slightly smoother than the other: that's the glass side.

Generally, glasswork needs radiant heat and will fuse, sag, or slump better on one shelf than between closely stacked shelves, although experienced glass artists often use several shelves succesfully.

Delicate pieces can be fired on a puffed-up ceramic-fibre cloth: on a shelf. Round pieces, that could roll to one side, can be fired on a hollowed-out ceramic-fibre block. However, if the kin has elements in the bottom as with the Mini-Kiln and Prometheus Pro-7, a cloth or block will act as insulator and the kiln might overheat.

Particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so wear a HEPA mask when cleaning out your kiln, mixing kiln wash, and working with ceramic-fibre blocks, ceramic cloths, and papers. And, ideally, use protective glasses.

If you want to touch anything hot, or move your kiln before it's cooled off, it's important to wear heat-resistant gloves. And, if you want to look into a red-hot kiln, even briefly, wear glare-resistant glasses to protect your eyes from IR and UV.


If your day-to-day work depends on your kiln and down-time will be disruptive or expensive, it's a good idea to have spares: extra shelves, a selection of posts, elements, a relay, and a thermocouple.

You can learn about ceramic blocks and cloths, charcoal, dust masks, glare-resistant glasses, glass separator, heat-resistant gloves, kiln vents, kiln wash, programmers, protective glasses, USB interfaces, shelf paper, tools, and other accessories, using the accessories link below the menu bar near the top of the front page. And they're all in the on-line shop.


Shelves are checked before despatch and are wrapped protectively. But they're not guaranteed and we cannot be responsible for any later damage.

OPTIONS AND UPGRADES: A GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Paragon SC2 Jewellery Kiln: Hot Pink With A RH Door Hinge

Options And Upgrades.

Individual kilns are described on this this page. However, it's important to learn about options and upgrades as some have to be factory-fitted. The photo shows a Paragon SC2 customised for a PMC silver clay studio: hot pink, a right-hand door hinge, and a maximum temperature set to 925°C so that students couldn't accidentally melt their silver.


An option is cosmetic or practical, such as a black respray, a right-hand door hinge, a peephole-vent, a bead-annealing door, a door or lid viewing window, or an EU plug.

An upgrade extends the standard specifications, such as a higher maximum temperature, a 3-key to a 12-key programmer, an electric kiln vent, a gas injection control system, an auxilliary power output, and an RS232 or USB computer interface.

Not every option or upgrade applies to every kiln, so mail or call if you need help. However, if they're appropriate, they're listed in the on-line shop, so just add up the ones you want: but order them with your kiln as they're often difficult, expensive, or impossible, to implement afterwards. It might help if you make a few notes of your own as you read?


Kilns use regular single-phase 230V-240V mains so have 230V EU elements, not 120V US elements. The smaller kilns have UK 13A three-pin plugs: so they're ready to go. If you're not in the UK, use a plug adapter or cut off the UK plug and fit your own: it won't invalidate the guarantee. Alternatively, a special-order kiln can have a factory-fitted EU plug.

Most kilns can be re-engineered for 110V, 200V, 208V, or 220V, single phase or three phase, or 440V three phase. If you're interested, mail or call.


Although standard EU and US kilns have the same maximum temperature, set by the design and the programmer, some 1095°C firebrick kilns can be re-engineered to run at 1230°C, 1260°C, or 1290°C, making them versatile mixed-media kilns. However, to use 1290°C full-on hour after hour, choose an industrial or professional model.

Also, to maintain 1290°C, some upgraded kilns might need thicker firebricks, so they'll be slightly smaller inside: about 12mm on each side. Mail or call if you're interested, or need help deciding.

The UK factory-set maximum temperature is based on a reliable average voltage of 240V. If there's a regional, national, or temporary voltage drop, high-temperature kilns might take longer to reach their specified maximum or not reach it.


Some kilns are normally blue, but can be factory-painted berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise. However, as they're made to order, they can't be returned if the colour isn't exactly the same as in the photo.

Changing the door hinge might be better if your kiln is in the corner of your studio or there's an obstacle that will make access difficult. Give this some thought.

Most of the medium-size top-opening kilns have a standard lift-up lid. Firebrick lids seem heavy to some people so, if you feel that a ceramic fibre lid, a hydraulic-assisted lid, or spring-assisted lid would be easier, mail or call.


If the kiln comes with a Sentry Xpress 3-Key ramp-hold programmer, you can upgrade to a Sentry Xpress 3-Key cone-fire ramp-hold programmer, usually preferred for ceramics. Cone-fire is implemented in the programmer's software and is very easy to use: just set a cone number and start the firing sequence.

Depending on the kiln, you can upgrade a Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer to a Sentry 12-Key ten segment ramp-hold, or cone-fire ramp-hold, programmer, with advanced firing features and connection options. The 3-key has a 12-month guarantee and the 12-key has a 30-month guarantee.

A Sentry 12-key programmer can be connected to your computer through a factory-fitted USB interface. The Control Master software allows you to control and monitor the firing, and analyse, arrange, print out, and save the data. If you want this feature, make sure you order the USB interface in the on-line shop.


Depending on the kiln, the 12-key programmer has a power-ratio feature: you can adjust the heat balance between the top and sides in 10% steps and control the heat distribution over larger pieces.

Kilns which only heat from the top, as opposed to the top and sides, don't have the power-ratio feature. However, the initial cost-saving has to be offset against fewer firing options.


With larger kilns, serious glass artists are always concerned about firebrick dust from the lid falling onto their work, so you could upgrade the standard firebrick lid to a factory-fitted ceramic-fibre lid with the elements threaded through pinless grooves in the fibre: or, as a luxury upgrade, with the elements completely embedded in the fibre.


Most kilns come with an electro-mechanical long-life nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple. However, if extra long-life and reliability are vital, you can upgrade to a mercury relay which has a lifetime of several million on-off cycles. The relay can switch 30A, so if you have a kiln that needs 50A, you'll need two relays.

If extra long-life and reliability are vital, especially at temperatures above 1100°C, you can upgrade to a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple.


Some front-opening kilns are just too large and too heavy for a regular worktop, so Paragon makes a strong steel table, 768mm x 768mm x 718mm high, with two shelves for your accessories. The luxury version, with castors, is 63mm taller. If you decide to buy on old wood table, the rigidity of the legs is vital otherwise it will collapse like a parallelogram.


Some bronze and copper clays, and some metals, need to be fired in activated charcoal granules in a stainless steel container. The SC2 and SC3, the Caldera-A, and the Xpress E9A and E10A can hold a one-litre container: most other kilns can hold a three-litre but check the internal size before you buy the container. It's important that the container doesn't touch the thermocouple.

Particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so wear a HEPA mask when cleaning out your kiln, mixing kiln wash, and working with charcoals, ceramic-fibre blocks, cloths, and papers. And, ideally, use protective glasses.

If you want to touch anything hot or move your kiln before it's cooled off, it's important to wear heat-resistant gloves. And, if you want to look into a red-hot kiln, wear glare-resistant glasses which protect your eyes from IR and UV.


Paragon kilns, made in the US, have been re-engineered and comprehensively tested for the UK, the EU, and most other countries. They're CE Marked and comply with EU safety standards. They're guaranteed for a year, and Paragon has an international, informed, and supportive user-base, and spares and repair centres.

The UK-EU digital programmer shows degrees Celsius, not degrees Fahrenheit as in the US. If you need to convert, this is how to do it. However, if you want to work in Fahrenheit, you can make a simple change to the programmer.


For help, or in the unlikely event of a fault, you can mail or call an engineer in the UK. However, home checks, adjustments, and repairs are quick and easy, needing little more than a PosiDriv screwdriver, and you can watch on-line videos. Alternatively, we can repair the kiln in our workshop at Cherry Heaven.

As with a lot of heavy consumer products made in the US but sold elsewhere, Paragon's guarantee covers replacement parts, not a return to the distributor or factory, and not any labour costs. However, as an example, replacing a programmer takes just a few minutes.

FIRING CHARACTERISTICS

How Electric Kilns Work.

Generally, as soon as a programmable kiln starts its firing sequence, it begins to heat up at a rate set by the programmer. It can't heat up quicker than it would do with the elements full on.

The thermocouple tells the programmer the current internal temperature and, depending on the sequence you've chosen, the programmer turns the elements on or off to control the sequence segments: the heating rate, the target temperature, the hold time, and the cooling rate. It can't cool down quicker than it would do with the kiln turned off. When the sequence is complete, the kiln beeps, and the sequence stops.


For safety, the programmer doesn't switch the full mains voltage. Instead it drives a relay, an electro-mechanical switch. The programmer uses a low voltage to activate the switch which turns the high voltage elements on or off.


When the target temperature is reached, the programmer switches the elements off. However, residual heat in the firing chamber allows the internal temperature to overshoot the target temperature briefly before starting to fall back.

This overshoot is more evident at low temperatures than at high temperatures, and in small kilns rather than large kilns. For example: 300°C will probably overshoot to 330°C whereas 800°C will probably only overshoot to 805°C before starting to fall back.

During the hold-time, with the elements still off, the temperature starts to fall. When the programmer switches the elements back on, the firing chamber will initially absorb some of the new heat before the temperature recovers. The continual switching of the elements on and off causes the internal temperature to oscillate either side of the target temperature.

This is similar to central heating. If you set it for 21°C, it probably oscillates, quite slowly, around 20°C to 22°C: and you won't notice. The accuracy will depend on where the thermostat is sited, how quickly it responds, how accurate it is, how long it takes for the radiators to heat up, and if you have doors and windows open. The temperature will probably be slightly different in each room.

So, regardless of the thermocouple temperature, the actual temperature of your work will be slightly different, depending on its position on the kiln shelf, the vertical spacing of any stacked shelves, and its nearness to the elements, a lid, a door, a bead door, or a window. Learn to take it into account if you're working with temperature-critical materials or processes.


Remember that glass needs radiant heat and will fuse, sag, or slump better on one shelf at the bottom than between closely stacked shelves.


Kiln doors and lids are not meant to be a perfect fit otherwise, at high temperatures, there'd be no room for expansion and movement, and the door could stick and the ceramic-fibre or firebricks could crack.

All kilns smell a bit, and even produce whisps of smoke, during the first firings, just like a toaster or a fan heater. If you're worried about fumes, open a window.

Eventually, with normal use, kilns discolour slightly, inside and outside, and some firebricks might develop hairline cracks. Your kiln is a versatile, robust, red-hot tool: not an ornament.

KEEPING A KILN LOG

Keeping A Kiln Log.

Using your kiln successfully needs critical research and frequent tests, especially as things that work for your friends and teachers might not work in the same way for you. It's also very important to learn how to creatively use unexpected effects. So, keep a firing log:


Buy a durable notebook. Use a new page for every firing, and draw diagrams of the shelves, their vertical spacing, and the position of your work on the shelves. Along with your work, put a few scraps at different places on the shelves to learn how things change. Describe the material, the shape of your work, the firing cycle, and the end result. Add a few photos and sketches, and mark the page corners with coloured dots or symbols as a quick reminder of your success rating.

A kiln log is vital if you're experimenting with temperature-sensitive materials or working with coloured dichroic glasses, enamels, glazes, or china paints, and a skilled artist will use the kiln log to advantage to re-create effects. It'll be particularly useful if you have to repeat a commission, or you have a long holiday before returning to your studio.


Some Paragon kilns have a Sentry 12-key or a Sentinel Touch Screen programmer which can be connected to your computer through a factory-fitted USB interface. The Control Master software allows you to control and monitor the firing, and analyse, arrange, print out, and save the data. If you want this feature, make sure you order the USB interface in the on-line shop.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO CLAYS
Clay

What Is Clay?

Clays are formed naturally over millions of years as rocks break up into minute particles. They consist of hydrous aluminium silicates and other compounds such as feldspar, iron oxides, mica, and quartz. Clays are collectively referred to as ceramics.

Clays are often divided into three main categories: earthenware, porcelain, and stoneware. Generally, they needs to be fired for several hours, although the exact chemical composition affects the firing temperatures and times, and the clays' colour, porosity, shrinkage, and strength.

EARTHENWARE, PORCELAIN, AND STONEWARE
Earthenware Flower Pot

Earthenware, Porcelain, And Stoneware

Earthenware is normally beige, red, or white. It has the lowest firing temperature of the three, usually about 1150°C. It's slightly porous, and stains and chips easily, so it's often glazed to protect the surface. Its porosity means it's good for making planters and oven steamers, but not good for pitchers or vases.

Porcelain is composed of kaolin, or china clay. Kaolin doesn't melt until 1800°C, so other compounds are usually added so it can be fired between 1250°C and 1400°C. For example, bone china is made by adding bone ash to the clay. It's known for its whiteness, hardness, smoothness, durability, and translucency. When tapped, it makes a distinctive ping: or ming.

Stoneware is normally beige, grey, or red-brown. It's usually fired between 1150°C and 1300°C. It's hard, durable, and resists thermal shock. Glazes bond well, so it can be made waterproof.

BISQUE
Bisque

Bisque

Bisque is clay which has been fired once, without a glaze, to a temperature just before vitrification. Firing changes the clay into ceramic material, without fully fusing it. A second, slower, firing melts the glaze and fuses it to the clay body.

POLYMER CLAY
Polymer Clay Flowers By Olga Zhukova

Polymer Clay

Polymer clay is a man-made material: tiny particles of polyvinyl chloride mixed with plasticizers and pigments. When it's baked, at around 125°C, the particles fuse and the clay hardens.

RAKU
Raku

Raku

Raku was originally a Japanese technique, but it's now become an internationally popular way to make decorative ware, with each piece having a unique blend of colours.

A bisque piece is fired to about 950°C, then glazed. It's removed from the kiln when red-hot, and put straight into a container of combustible material.

The flames, reducing atmosphere, and mix of chemicals stain the clay. When the piece is removed and quenched in cold water, interesting colours and shades remain: often unpredictable.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO METAL CLAYS
Silver Clay Acrylic Tools Clay Shapers Hand Tools

What Is A Metal Clay?.

Metal Clays are clay-like materials made of fine metal powders and water-soluble organic binders. Out of the packet they feel like modelling clay, so can be shaped using anything appropriate. If you don't like what you've made, you can roll it up and start again. Any scraps can be wrapped up and re-used, so there's almost no waste.

When you're happy with your work, it's dried so that the moisture can evaporate. At this stage it feels like a plaster, so you can still refine the shape: and even add more clay.

As it's fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid metal: real metal, not something that just looks like metal. The firing temperature isn't high enough to melt the metal otherwise your work would lose it's shape and liquify.


Although Art Clay and PMC silver clays were first to market, there's now an increasingly diverse range of other metal clays, such as Cinter, Clay Mania, Creative, Goldie, Hadar Jacobson, Metal Adventures, Meteor, Noble, and PMC Sterling.

I sometimes get asked if there's a platinum metal clay: there is, but it's an industrial product. Platinum melts at 1772°C, so a platimum clay would probably need to fire at around 1600°C: beyond the maximum temperature of conventional kilns.


All our tools have been chosen for their engineering excellence and clean functionality, to help you manage a creative and efficient work environment. And you'll enjoy using good tools rather than continually improvising. To learn more, use the accessories:tools link below the menu bar near the top of the page.

SILVER CLAY
Art Clay Silver Pendant

Aida Art Clay Silver And Mitsubishi PMC Silver Clay.

There are two popular makes of silver clay: Art Clay made by Aida Chemical Industries and PMC made by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, in Japan. They're both clay-like materials made of fine silver powder and water-soluble organic binders.

Art Clay Silver and PMC Silver, sometimes just called silver clay, metal clay, or precious-metal clay, are easy to fire: put your dried work on a kiln shelf and programme the temperature and hold-time.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid 999 silver: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


Although we chose to work with, sell, and provide classes in Art Clay, both makes fire in a similar way. So any kiln suitable for Art Clay will be just as good for PMC.

If you're currently using PMC, try Art Clay. There are differences in the feel, the shrinkage, the strength, the surface lustre, the product range, the pricing, and the general commercial setup if you're running a serious business.


To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, glass clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

BRONZE CLAY
Bronze-Copper Lobster Bangle By Gordon Uyehara

Bronze Clay And BronzClay.

There are three popular makes of bronze clay: Bronze Clay made by ClayMania, BronzClay made by Metal Adventures, and Prometheus Bronze ProClay made by Odak. They're all clay-like materials made of fine bronze powder and water-soluble organic binders. However, they're fired in different ways:

Prometheus Bronze Clay is easy to fire: wrap your dried work in kitchen tissue or ceramic cloth, put it on a kiln shelf, and programme the temperature and hold time. It can also be fired in charcoal.

Clay Mania Bronze Clay and MetalAdventures BronzClay fire in a special way. Fired normally, the surface would oxidise so, to minimize this, they're embedded in activated charcoal granules in a covered stainless steel container. Charcoal made from coconut shells produces a natural bronze colour, and charcoal made from coal produces a colourful range of patinas.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid bronze, an alloy of 89% copper and 11% tin: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.


The stainless steel container for the Paragon SC-2 measures 162mm x 176mm x 100mm, and holds 1 litre of charcoal. To fire larger pieces, or more pieces at the same time, you'll need a larger kiln, such as the Paragon Xpress E-12A. The container for the E-12A measures 265mm x 162mm x 152mm and holds 3 litres of charcoal.

The 1230°C firebrick E12A costs more than the 1095°C ceramic-fibre SC2. However, it's two and a half times larger than the SC-2 and is a versatile mixed-media kiln suited to continual high temperatures.

Particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so wear a HEPA mask when cleaning out your kiln, mixing kiln wash, and working with charcoals, ceramic-fibre blocks, cloths, and papers. And, ideally, use protective glasses.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


I can't recommend one clay as being the best. There are differences in the feel, the firing, the shrinkage, the strength, and the surface patinas, so try them and experiment: they're not expensive.
However, as Prometheus Bronze Clay is easy to fire and costs less than the others, try it first? It comes as 100gm of soft clay in a packet, or 10gm of creamy clay in a syringe with three tips that you can cut or shape.

There's also Creative Bronze, which is almost certainly Prometheus Bronze Clay renamed. I'll leave it you to work out why, in November 2014, ProBronze is £17.75 for 100gm and Creative Bronze is £23.95: both including postage.


Also, in November 2014, 100gms of Art Clay Silver Clay costs about 12 times more than Prometheus Bronze Clay. So, if you're still in the learning phase, you can try out ideas before possibly wasting your expensive silver clay. However, bronze is a beautiful metal so, as with many materials, you need to exploit its qualities and try to produce beautiful original pieces.

To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, glass clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

COPPER CLAY
Copper Earring By Zina Kuscynska Richterova

Copper Clay And CopprClay.

There are four popular makes of copper clay: Art Clay Copper made by Aida Chemical Industries, Copper Clay made by ClayMania, CopprClay made by Metal Adventures, and Prometheus Copper ProClay made by Odak. They're all clay-like materials made of fine copper powder and water-soluble organic binders. However, they're fired in different ways:

Clay Mania Copper Clay and MetalAdventures CopprClay fire in a special way. Fired normally, the surface would oxidise so, to minimize this, they're embedded in activated charcoal granules in a covered stainless steel container. Charcoal made from coconut shells produces a natural copper colour.

Art Clay Copper is easy to fire: put your dried work on a kiln shelf, and programme the temperature and hold time. In most kilns, several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time: so you might want more than one.

Prometheus Copper Clay is easy to fire: wrap your dried work in kitchen tissue or ceramic cloth, put it on a kiln shelf, and programme the temperature and hold time. It can also be fired in charcoal.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid copper: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.


The stainless steel container for the Paragon SC-2 measures 162mm x 176mm x 100mm, and holds 1 litre of charcoal. To fire larger pieces, or more pieces at the same time, you'll need a larger kiln, such as the Paragon Xpress E-12A. The container for the E-12A measures 265mm x 162mm x 152mm and holds 3 litres of charcoal.

The 1230°C firebrick E12A costs more than the 1095°C ceramic-fibre SC2. However, it's two and a half times larger than the SC-2 and is a versatile mixed-media kiln suited to continual high temperatures.

Particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so wear a HEPA mask when cleaning out your kiln, mixing kiln wash, and working with charcoals, ceramic-fibre blocks, cloths, and papers. And, ideally, use protective glasses.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


I can't recommend one clay as being the best. There are differences in the feel, the firing, the shrinkage, the strength, and the surface patinas, so try them and experiment: they're not expensive.
However, as Prometheus Copper Clay is easy to fire and costs less than the others, try it first? It comes as 100gm of soft clay in a packet, or 10gm of creamy clay in a syringe with three tips that you can cut or shape.

There's also Creative Copper, which is almost certainly Prometheus Copper Clay renamed. I'll leave it you to work out why, in November 2014, ProCopper is £17.75 for 100gm and Creative Bronze is £23.95: both including postage.


Also, in November 2014, 100gms of Art Clay Silver Clay costs about 12 times more than Prometheus Copper Clay. So, if you're still in the learning phase, you can try out ideas before possibly wasting your expensive silver clay. However, copper is a beautiful metal so, as with many materials, you need to exploit its qualities and try to produce beautiful original pieces.

To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, glass clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

GOLD CLAY
Gold Clay Pendant By Claudia S Atkins

Aida Art Clay Gold And Mitsubishi PMC Gold Clay.

There are two popular makes of gold clay: Art Clay made by Aida Chemical Industries and PMC made by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, in Japan. They're both clay-like materials made of fine gold powder and water-soluble organic binders.

Art Clay Gold and PMC Gold, sometimes just called gold clay, metal clay, or precious-metal clay, are easy to fire: put your dried work on a kiln shelf and programme the temperature and hold-time.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid 22 carat gold: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


Although we chose to work with, sell, and provide classes in Art Clay, both makes fire in a similar way. So any kiln suitable for Art Clay will be just as good for PMC.

If you're currently using PMC, try Art Clay. There are differences in the feel, the shrinkage, the strength, the surface lustre, the product range, the pricing, and the general commercial setup if you're running a serious business.


To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, glass clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO GLASS
Obsidian

What Is Glass?

The main component of glass is silicon dioxide, often called silica: found naturally and plentifully as sand. When it melts, at around 1700°C, it's like syrup on a cold day. When it cools, it forms a rigid brittle glass called quartz glass.

To lower the melting point, and reduce the cost of melting, chemicals are added: typically sodium carbonate and calcium oxide. Other chemicals, and different heating and cooling processes, produce a range of colours and mechanical properties.

Chemically, glass is defined as an amorphous solid but, as it's heated, it becomes softer allowing it to be blown, cast, coated, decorated, engraved, heat-treated. moulded, poured, pressed, sagged, and slumped.

A form of glass occurs naturally within the mouth of a volcano when the intense heat of an eruption melts sand to form Obsidian, a hard black-to-brown glassy type of stone, shown in the photo. Although it was used decoratively, when it fractures it has very sharp edges, many times sharper than a steel knife-edge, so was also used for tools and weapons, and the pitiful ritual of circumcision.

ANNEALING
Annealed Beads Made Into A Necklace

Annealing.

During annealing, fabrication stresses are relieved as the molecules cool and arrange themselves into a regular stable matrix. Successful annealing is the key to creating glasswork that will remain attractive and durable. It's quite a long process, so a kiln with an automatic comprehensive programmer is essential.

DICHROIC GLASS
Dichroic Glass

Dichroic Glass.

Dichroic glass has two different colours: a transmitted colour and a reflective colour, both of which change depending on the angle of view. For example blue-red will be blue in transmission and red in reflection.

During manufacture, quartz and metal oxides are vapourised onto the surface of the glass using a vacuum deposition process, forming a multi-layer crystal structure.

FIRE POLISHING
Fire Polished Glass

Fire Polishing.

To fire polish glass, return the items to the kiln and melt them just enough to give a smooth polished appearance. It needs a temperature of around 700°C, and is typically used to round the edges of glass between fusing and slumping.

Fire polishing already-slumped items is more difficult because the polishing temperature is close to the slumping temperature and it can distort the appearance of the piece. So it generally works best for flat items, rather than slumped ones. It has the slight limitation that the part of the item that touches the kiln shelf won't polish.

FUSING, SAGGING, AND SLUMPING
Fused Glass

Glass Fusing.

If two or more pieces of glass in contact are heated, they begin to soften and fuse together. With careful heating and cooling, the separate pieces of glass become one.

If glass is put on a mould and heated, it begins to soften and collapse, or sag, onto the mould: a common technique for making bowls and plates.

Sagging and slumping are often thought of as being the same. Correctly: during sagging, heated glass, supported at its edges, sags down in the middle to conform to a mould; during slumping, heated glass, supported at its middle, slumps down at its edges to conform to a mould.

SLUMPING BOTTLES
Slumped Bottle

Glass Slumping.

This a simple technique but it requires good ideas. A bottle, such as those used for wine, beer, cola, or champagne, is softened in a kiln so that it begins to flatten out or conforms to a mould. There are too many moulds to stock here but there are lots available on line. Or make your own from clay.

The bottles nead to be clean and dry, with all paper labels and tops removed. Put them in your kiln on a shelf, either with shelf paper or kiln wash to prevent the glass sticking to the shelf. Paragon make a kiln designed for this: the Trio. It's wide enough for most bottles but can still use a regular socket.

LAMPWORK AND BEADS
Beads

Lampwork And Beads.

Very briefly, lamp-working is the traditional name for glasswork that uses a flame to melt glass rods and tubes. As the glass softens, it's shaped by turning and using tools.

Early lampworkers used an oil-lamp, and blew air into the flame through a pipe. Later, propane, natural gas, or butane torches replaced the lamp, although kilns are now increasingly popular, particularly for annealing.

Beads are usually made on steel rods, or mandrels. When the beads are finished, the rods are removed leaving holes for threading the beads. Cold working techniques can be used, such as etching, faceting, polishing, and sandblasting.

PÂTE DE VERRE
Pâte De Verre

Pâte De Verre.

Pâte de verre involves making a glass paste, applying it to a mould, firing it, and removing the piece from the mould. The glass paste is usually made from glass powder, a binder such as gum arabic, distilled water, and colouring agents or enamels. It allows precise placing of colours in the mould, whereas other techniques often result in the glass straying from its intended position.

I think, currently, Daum is the only large commercial crystal manufacturer using the pâte de verre process for art glass and crystal sculptures.

TACK FUSING
Tack Fused Glass

Tack Fusing.

Tack fusing is the joining together of glass, with as little change to the shape of the pieces as possible. Tack fusing may be used either decoratively, or to assemble a large piece of glass from laminations.

Where tack fusing is used to apply small decorative details to a larger piece, you might want to partially melt the small pieces so that they change shape, usually becoming more spherical under the influence of surface tension, but without changing the shape of the carrier piece. This can be done by using an increased temperature, but only briefly. The carrier piece has a larger thermal mass, so heats up more slowly than the small decorations.

VITRIGRAPH WORK
Glass Stringers

Vitrigraph.

Vitrigraph uses a Caldera-A kiln to make glass stringers. The bottom of the kiln is unclipped and set aside. The kiln body is put on a thick ceramic square with a central hole. The whole thing is lifted well away from the floor to allow moulten glass to fall through a small hole in a crucible and form long stringers. Ceramic squares are in the on-line shop.

WARM GLASS

Warm Glass.

The term warm glass refers to fusing, slumping, and other glass processes which take place at temperatures between about 600°C to 925°C. Although that doesn't sound warm, it is when you compare it to glassblower's working temperatures, which often exceed 1100°C. The term warm glass is often replaced by kiln forming.

ELECTRIC KILNS

Electric Kilns: A Cherry Heaven Internet Resource.

is a Cherry Heaven internet resource. Cherry Heaven is a UK-EU distributor for kilns, and has been one of Paragon's top-selling distributors consistently from 2006 to : a pleasing outcome since the UK is only one third the area of Texas and one fortieth the area of the US.

As this is an on-line resource, there isn't a paper catalogue or a price list. However, you can mail or call a technician about kilns, power supplies, public area safety, a special project, business ideas, diagnostics, repairs, or reselling opportunities.


Art Clay UK Cherry Heaven Electric Kilns Electric Tumblers Kitiki Learning English Lucas Cameron Mini Kiln Oxford English Paragon Kilns Professor English Prometheus Kilns