|the electric kilns catalogue||larger kilns at paragonkilns.co.uk or tumblers at electrictumblers.co.uk|
Most people want a kiln for the material or process that's enthused them, such as annealing beads, casting, firing ceramics, crucible work, enamelling, fusing glass, heat treating, knife making, lampwork, pottery, vitrigraph, or metal clays.
After a few successes, and a few failures, many experiment with other materials, make larger pieces, try combinations, fire more at a time, and become interested in everything else. Some start a business, run classes, or open a shop.
Fortunately, although kilns are usually designed for a specific material or process, there's always flexibility. For example, the Paragon SC2B is a 1095°C bead-annealing kiln but, as silver clay fires at between 800°C and 900°C, it could also be used for Art Clay and PMC. And glass fusing, dichroics, enamelling, and other metal clays.
As another example, the Paragon Janus 1613 is a 1290°C ceramics kiln but, as most glass work is done below 925°C, it could also be used for annealing, casting, fusing, sagging, and slumping. And heat treating, porcelain, pottery, and raku.
Cherry Heaven TV has made an on-line photo book featuring popular kilns: click the Cherry Heaven TV player above. It starts with the Paragon SC1, SC2, SC2 Pro, SC3, and SC4, and continues with the BlueBird, Caldera, CS ClamShell, F Elite, FibreFuse, FireFly, Fusion, GL, Home Artist, HT, Janus, KM, Mini, Ovation, Pearl, PMT, Pro-1, Pro-7, TNF, Trio, Vulcan, and Xpress.
Choosing a kiln isn't as simple as choosing a kettle or an electric drill. There are lots of things to think about now, rather than a few days after you've started using it. So here are some pointers:
do you want a plug-in kiln or can it be wired in
do you have a voltage other than 230-240, or a three-phase supply.
a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise respray: normally blue
front opener or top opener
table-top or floor-standing
what maximum temperature do you want: annealing, heat treating, glass, metal clays, or ceramics
manual control or automatic digital programmer
an advanced 12-key programmer that can control gas injection or a kiln vent, or connect to a computer
any bead doors, windows, or peepholes
do you want to move your kiln and put it away
internal dimensions and shape: width, depth, height, round, square, tall, or flat
will the kiln go through doorways
does the room have any ventillation
fire a few things occasionally or a lot regularly
heats up quickly for classes
home hobby, small business, or commercial studio
how many stacked-up shelves
do you want a special colour
any upgrades or options
There are full descriptions, including various options and upgrades, on the appropriate pages: use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. In addition, there's a lot of general help: use the help link.
Generally, smaller kilns can be plugged in anywhere and stand on a worktop. Larger kilns have a stonger construction, weigh more, need to be wired in, and are more expensive. They usually include legs or a stand but, if they don't, you'll need a stong table.
The following table lists most of the kilns, although almost every one is available with options such as bead doors, windows, or both, and a range of upgrades. For example, the SC series has 14 different versions.
|KILN||MAX °C||MATERIALS AND PROCESSES|
|14-9SSP||925||china paints, dolls, glass annealing, casting, fusing, sagging, and slumping, lampwork, raku|
|BlueBird||650-815||glass-bead annealing, dichroics, glass fusing, sagging, and slumping, jewellery, silver clay|
|Caldera||1290||beads, ceramics, china paints, enamels, glass work, metal clays, porcelain, vitrigraph|
|Dragon||1290||annealing, ceramics, china paints, dolls, glass work, heat treating, porcelain, pottery|
|F||650-925||annealing, dichroics, glass fusing, sagging, and slumping, jewellery, metal clays, lampwork|
|FireFly||1290||ceramics, china paints, dichroics, enamels, glass work, metal clays, porcelain|
|Fusion, CS, and FibreFuse||925||glass annealing, fusing, sagging, and slumping|
|GL||925||glass annealing, casting, fusing, sagging, and slumping|
|Home Artist||1095||china paints, dolls, glass annealing, casting, fusing, sagging, and slumping, lampwork, raku|
|HT||1095-1290||annealing, ceramics, china paints, glass work, heat treating, porcelain|
|Janus||1290||annealing, ceramics, china paints, dolls, glass work, heat treating, porcelain|
|Kitiki MiniKiln||1000||dichroics, enamels, fusing glass, jewellery, metal clays|
|KM||1290||knife making, annealing, ceramics, china paints, dolls, glass work, heat treating, porcelain|
|Pearl||925||glass annealing, casting, fusing, sagging, and slumping|
|PMT||1290||annealing, ceramics, china paints, dolls, glass work, heat treating, porcelain|
|Prometheus Pro-7||1100||dichroics, enamels, fusing glass, jewellery, low-fire ceramics, metal clays|
|SC||1095||bead annealing, dichroics, enamels, fusing glass, jewellery, low-fire ceramics, metal clays|
|TNF||1290||annealing, ceramics, china paints, dolls, glass work, heat treating, porcelain|
|Trio||925||glass annealing, casting, fusing, sagging, and slumping|
|Vulcan||1290||crucible work, annealing, ceramics, china paints, dolls, glass work, heat treating, porcelain|
|W||925||annealing, glass work, heat treating, lost-wax casting, jewellery|
|Xpress||925-1290||annealing, ceramics, china paints, dolls, glass work, heat treating, metal clays, porcelain|
|PARAGON'S NAMING SYSTEM|
Although there was probably a useful naming and numbering system years ago, it's now inconsistent, even within a series, making it dificult to compare models. So it's worth trying to understand the background:
Paragon's kilns are divided into series: the BlueBird, Caldera, CS, Dragon, F, Firefly, Fusion, GF, GL, Home Artist, HT, Janus, KM, Ovation, Pearl, PMT, SC, S, SNF, TNF, Viking, Vulcan, W, and Xpress.
The names often include suffixed numbers to represent one or more of the internal dimensions in inches, a series variant, the number of sides, or the thickness of the firebricks. Examples are the KM18D, SC3, Fusion 10, and TNF27-3.
And suffixed letters: A means painted, B means a stainless steel case, D means digital, E means a manual front-opening fibrebrick enamelling kiln, F means lamp working, GF means Glass Fusing. GL means glass, J means a medium-size front-loading square kiln, KM means knife-making, Q means a front-loading square kiln, S means manual, SC means digital front-opening small-ceramic-fibre kilns, not silverclay, TNF means Touch 'n' Fire, ADTSD means painted finish, digital programmer, with top, side, and door elements, X means a plain collar, and XL means extra large.
To make things worse, the KM14D has been renamed to KM14T. D meant depth and was used for some other kilns. T meant tall, but now means tilted front, even though other kilns with tilted fronts don't use T.
Some names are helpful: the 14-9SSP has a firing chamber about 14in across x 9in high and the TNF-27-3 is about 27in across and has 3in thick firebricks. However, the TNF-82-3 isn't 82in anywhere, the TNF-66 isn't 66in inches across, and the Fusion 8 isn't 8in across, but 8-sided.
To make the common variations clearer, I use B for a bead-annealing door, W for a glass viewing-window, and BW for both, for every series that has these options. And I've included the actual dimensions in each kiln description. So rely on these rather than the kiln names and numbers.
|THE POWER SUPPLY|
The hotter the kiln, the more power it needs. The larger the kiln, the more power it needs. Kilns up to 3120W can use a regular mains socket. Above that, you'll need a dedicated power supply straight from the fusebox. To learn more about power supplies, use the help link below the menu bar near the top of the page.
Kilns made for the EU use regular single-phase 230V-240V mains so have 230V-240V 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 custom kiln can have a factory-fitted EU plug.
Most kilns can be re-engineered for 110V, 200V, 208V, 220V, or 240V, single phase or three phase, or 440V three phase. If you're interested, mail or call.
A kiln's maximum operating temperature sets a limit on the materials and processes you can work with. 1290°C is about the highest temperature for standard kilns: above that, the materials and construction change and the cost increases.
The maximum temperature is not directly related to the wattage: so a 4800W kiln does not get twice as hot as a 2400W kiln. The temperature depends on the general design, elements, firing chamber volume, and programmer set-up.
Very generally, kilns for annealing glass heat to 650°C, kilns for glass fusing, sagging, and slumping to 925°C, kilns for jewellery and metal clays to 1095°C, and kilns for ceramics and porcelain to 1290°C. And here are the melting points for a few common materials:
|THE INTERNAL SIZE AND SHAPE|
For rectangular kilns, the inner dimensions are given as width, depth, and height. This convention is the same as that used for kitchen cupboards: for example, 900mm wide, 300mm deep, and 1200mm high. For kilns with more than four sides, it's width and height.
Sometimes people ask for a kiln with a specific internal volume. However, two cooking pans might have the same volume but one is a tall-ish milk pan and the other is a wide-ish omelette pan. So, think carefully: you might start off with panels, plates, and bowls, but then want to make jars, pots, and vases.
|DIGITAL PROGRAMMERS 00:00:00|
Most modern kilns use an electronic programmer, a 3-key, a 12-key, or a Touch-Screen, which allows you to set up accurate drying, heating, holding, and cooling sequences: and do something else whilst the sequence is running. To learn more, use the programmers link below the menu bar near the top of the page.
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.