I may have accidentially bought a kiln!


As some of you know, I’ve been playing at glass fusing for the last few months with a little microwave kiln and decided just after Christmas to ask people to donate towards a proper grown-up kiln for my birthday.

After doing *a lot* of research I decided on a kiln and I’ve been talking to a kiln-seller for the last few weeks. One thing led to another and I somehow ended up with £260 less in my bank account and a massive box waiting for me on my doorstep when I got in from work the other day. (Seriously the box was 70cm square!! The kiln’s not much bigger than a sheet of A4 paper)

Of course, I needed to try it out to make sure it worked and that it hadn’t been damaged in transit and that all the kiln walls were in good condition and that it actually, y’know, fuses glass so I cranked it up and set off on a test run.

This is my new kiln. Look at how wee it is! It’s about 28cm across and high so fits nicely on my work surface once I’ve moved the microwave. The box with the white dial off to the right is the temperature controller and the kiln plugs into that before plugging into the wall.

I decide to start off with two simple test pieces of class. I can probably do between four and six pendants at once or one or two larger pieces (like a coaster or something)

A slightly better picture of the test pieces.

My very high-tech temperature checker. It’s 100*C in the kiln at the moment and it’s only been on for about half an hour. Only another 720*C to go. His Lordship complains that it smells of burnt sugar. Apparently that’s the water in the kiln burning up (if you don’t use it for a while or leave it in cold/damp warehouses for a bit the kiln walls absorb water – it’s a natural happening according to what I’ve read).

It’s staring to get nice and hot in there.

Getting there, only problem is that it takes so very long, otherwise the glass could explode and that would be a bad thing. The kiln’s been on for 2 1/2 hours now. If I’d been doing it in the microwave it would have been done in about half an hour. And I’ve still got another hour of heating and a night of cooling to go.

840*C, very hot in there now and I’ve got the open the blooming thing to get the temperature down. Eek! His Lordship worries that I’m going to burn my face off or something.

Of course, you’ll notice that the temperature probe is in the hole in the door. This makes opening said door very difficult. And even better the probe’s not red hot too. Good thing I can multitask.

Kiln at 800*C see the hot heating elements in the side? I have to open and close the door repeatedly quickly until the heat drops to about 600*C. I remember that there’s a hole in the back of the kiln to put the temperature probe in (d’oh!). Once the temperature is back below 500*C I switch the kiln off and leave it overnight to cool.

Next morning I check out my bits of glass, they’ve all fused rather nicely, still some bubbles between the layers which is a bit weird but not a terrible thing. I need to read up on why this happens and how to prevent it though.

Next I need to have a go with Dichroic glass. Probably try that out after my birthday when I’m actually allowed to have my kiln and use it properly.

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