Yes! I did it! I bought a kiln ........ now what?

silvamaeMarch 1, 2010

As I said in the post entitled 'Glass' I finally bought a kiln. It's small and used and only half mine, (my friend and I went halves on it) and I am still in the learning mode. It is a Paragon Caldera and has a Sentry Xpress Digital Temperature Controller on it. So I am experimenting, plus I have to buy some supplies before I can do much. Instead of using kiln wash, I plan to use fiber paper shelf liner so I need some of that. And you should only fuse 'compatible' glass (such as Bulls-Eye COE 90) and although I have a thousand pounds of glass, I have no idea what the brand or COE is, so I have to start over with supplies. Oh what a can of worms I have opened!

Here is a link that might be useful: Silva's blog

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You l'il heifer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want one so bad I can taste it, but you said it all in your post - "kiln wash, compatible glass, start over w/supplies"! That says it all for me. I simply can't justify buying another black hole to pour money down. I'm excited for you, and await your first projects. I had sooo much fun making little tiles last year in PV. However, I realize that I have so much stash, that I'll not need supplies for many years to come, just using what I have. So - hard as it is to face - there'll be no kiln for me. BTW - one of my ideas a few weeks back was to cut bottles into rings and slightly slump the rough edges off in a kiln. Lots of ways to use a kiln. You have stained glass stores near you in Austin - pay a visit, and you'll see the kind for fusing. The dichroic is what flipped my skirt in PV. Of course, one small piece that the teacher had - just a scrap - was $100. Uh huh! Have fun, SILVA.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 2:45PM
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You can also fire things like old bottles and make cheese plates and such out of them. It is an inexpensive way to start if your kiln is large enough to accomodate them. You can also break the bottles and make things out of them that way. I would be lost without my kiln. I prefer kiln wash for most projects over kiln is a lot cheaper to use too. You can also try the glass you have and see how it works together. I have done this alot and most projects have been fine in the end.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 6:34PM
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how cool, so many neat things. have you ever drooled over Martin Cheeks infusions? My friend that make jewelry described a process called pot melt - seems simple enough,,, can't wait to see what you make.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 6:44PM
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Thanks, all! Yes, I am tempted (being a maverick) to fire the glass I have - - take chances and see what explodes! That's probably what I'll do . . .

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 6:55PM
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Silva! Welcome to the wonderfully addictive world of Warm Glass! I don't post here much anymore(don't know if anyone even remembers me) because I really don't do much mosaics since I started fusing glass about 3 years ago. I was inspired to jump into glass fusing by someone here, and boy did I jump.

Here is a GREAT place to start, it's kind of what gave me the courage to buy my own kiln: The message boards over there are also fantastic. I recommend you spend some time reading everything there that you can. Also recommend Brad Walker's book 'Contemporary Warm Glass' as a good place to get started.

You absolutely should not fire glass of unknown COE together. It may not break right away, it can break days or even years later just sitting on a shelf. You can fuse together pieces that you know are from the same sheet, but often art glass not made for fusing will have devitrification issues.

If you want to check out what I've been cooking in my kiln you can check out my site. (I don't sell anything there so I think it should be ok to post) Feel free to ask any questions, I'll try to answer. I'll try to check here more often. Welcome to the Warm Side, you're going to have so much fun! :o)

Here is a link that might be useful: GlassFever

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 3:24AM
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Thanks, all. Well, Slow, I went to the glass shop today and blew money on Bullseye glass, kiln paper, glass powder, etc. etc. Thanks for your comments, nice. Smickerdoodle and gin gin, thanks for the helpful comments and advice. I have fired the kiln up a couple of times just using scrap on top of scrap to learn how to use the digital controller, and am please with the results. Next project: black tiles with a pattern of metallic copper and green leaves . . . I will post pics when done.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 7:13PM
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Congratulations silvamae, you are going to have all kinds of fun! I'm like you gin gin, I haven't posted here in ages. I too have discovered the exciting world of warm glass. I've been making dichroic jewelry and hitting the art show circuit for the last year and a half. If you don't mind me butting in, I have a couple of suggestions.
I think it would be more economical to use kiln wash instead of shelf paper. The shelf paper disintegrates after one firing, and even though they say if you are careful you can fire on it again, it pretty much turns to dust, which makes that hard to do.
My other recommendation is, if you sell your stuff at arts/crafts shows, try to get a vendors license so you can buy your supplies wholesale. I wish I would have known that in the very beginning, because glass is very expensive. I know I was paying at least twice as much, if not 3 or 4 times as much for glass at my local glass shop.
Good luck with your new kiln, you are going to love it!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 6:43AM
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Oh, dear. I just went to gin gin's link to see what the heck you guys are talking about. I mean, I just barely finished my first mosaic and now it turns out you can heat stuff up and make things like THAT? I love it. This is so bad.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 8:36PM
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Thank you all for the helpful advice! Yes, I tried the kiln paper and could only use it once; it disintegrated just like you said. Well, I have the kiln shelf coated with kiln wash so guess I don't need the paper anyway? I have a question for anyone familiar with kilns. The literature on this kiln says that I can fire ceramic, porcelain, etc. in it; not just glass. Now, I have some unglazed travertine tile on hand, and I just ordered some Mayco glaze from Clay-King, and I plan to glaze the tile and fire it. Do you know what will happen? Might it explode and ruin the kiln? Also, can I glaze over a piece of porcelain that was already glazed in the past (think broken plates) and re-fire it? Wonder what might happen there? Any input will be most appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 3:25PM
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To answer your first question,yes you can glaze and fire Talevera and no it will not explode. You can also reglaze tiles and fire them, be sure and get 3-4 good coats of Glaze on them. Unless you use stilts to hold them off the kiln shelf, do not allow your glaze on the sides or bottom as the glaze will run and stick to your shelf. The kiln wash protects but in most cases will not hold up to glaze. In order to glaze fire, you must have cones set up that are visible thru a peep hole unless you have a Kiln-setter on the controls, then you can use a cone that will melt and turn your kiln off after the proper temp has been reached. Most glaze fires to a cone 06 temperature and if it does not get that hot, the glaze will not be true to color and also may not adhere. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 9:21PM
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Thank you, thank you, flagtruck, when I get the glaze, I am immediately glazing and firing and I will report back on the results! My kiln does not have a window and I don't have cones, but it does have an automatic control and I was just going to google what temp Cone 06 equals and program that into the controls.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 11:23PM
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Smart Silva - I bet it will all turn out great. Can;t wait to see. Norton Cones, check their website for temps

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 8:49PM
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Here's the latest and it's far from perfect, but I'll get the hang of it eventually. Flagtruck, HELP!

Here is a link that might be useful: Silva's blog

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 7:40PM
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How fun, Silvamae. I took a fused glass class a few years ago and have all kinds of Bullseye glass scraps. I'm keeping them separate from my stained glass scraps I'm going to use for mosaics in case I ever do any more fused glass. It sure was fun. How big is your kiln?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 8:49PM
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Hi, Amerique2. The kiln is small; the shelf is 7" by 7". It's a Paragon Caldera. I am having problems learning how to program the digital temperature controller but that's just me, I'm sure. So far I have over-cooked everything! Tried to make tiles with glaze and had such a failure that I am going back to fusing glass!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 9:26PM
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Silva- when I fire to cone 06 it takes about 4-5 hrs start to finish. Since your chamber is so much smaller I am sure it will reach temp quicker than mine. Mine heats in stages, top middle and bottom, then close it up and let it do it's thing. I always set my safety shut off for 5 hrs just in case the cone and auto shut fail.
I like your design and colors. I have some gloss glaze I can send you if you tell me what color. I have 2 and 3 bottles of some colors. let me know

Here is a link that might be useful: cone temp

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 9:39PM
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Flag, thanks so much for the chart! Now, do you leave the kiln vented or opened a crack when you are heating up to the highest temperature? Then close it? I think I should have vented it while firing the copper glaze.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 11:05PM
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Silva, the first hour of heating it needs to be vented, mine has three elements lower, middle and top. I vent 30 minutes for the lower to heat up, then turn the middle on for 30 min and then turn on the top and close the peep hole vents and lower the top so it is all closed up and it stays closed until at least 12 hrs after it shuts off, then I usually crack the top a bit for faster cooling. Not too big a crack as the glaze will crack if cooled too quickly.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 11:05AM
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