Kiln Progress

Work on the homemade bead annealing kiln continues. The elements arrived 9 days ago and are made out of 15 gauge wire. The coil is .315 inches in OD. The total resistance is 13 ohms, but that may be reduced to about 11 ohms to achieve a rating of 1.3 KW. That will be sufficient for an annealing temperature of 940 to 960 degrees F.

The project for today was to use the woodworking router to cut a lip around the edge. This will allow the top and bottom (floor) to support the three sides. The lip is 2.5 inches wide by 1/2 inch deep.

The overall interior size will be 11 inches wide, 13 inches deep and 8 inches high. The total cubic volume is .662 cubic feet. The depth will be perfect when using 12 inch mandrels. However 9 inches is also a commonly used mandrel length.

The layout for the kiln elements is completed. The track for the element will be about 75 inches in length. This will be placed in the upper layer of brick. The idea is to keep the elements high so as to not inadvertently hit an element with a mandrel when the kiln is turned on.

The next task is to make up a router template to place a 3/8 inch wide by 1/2 inch deep slot for the elements.

Variations of Black and White Classic Necklace

What fun I am having with the design of the Black and White Classic Necklace. Take a look at for a larger image of this Black and White Necklace.

Classic Black and White Necklace Alaska Handmade JewelryThis design has been well received. It has been requested that variations of the design be created. And that is what is in the works. The first variation is light Grey and Blue Zircon Cultured pearls with a few surprises you will enjoy.

When this creation is finished it will be posted under "New Creations" on the home page catalog.

There will be other variations of the design in other colors. We welcome any comments that you have on this or any other of our creations.

Thanks for visiting.

Lampworking Setup

The glass bead lampwork setup is almost complete at Alaska Handmade Jewelry. The table came from the Salvation Army used, but is a most functional metal computer workstation.

The top is covered with 12 x 12 inch floor tiles. The Minor CC torch is uplifted with a pair of 2 x 4's on edge. This provides a more conformable working position than a table height mounted torch.
Lampwork setup at Alaska Handmade Jewelry
The Didy shield (Didymium) is used to filter out the sodium glare when glass is heated to its melting temperature. It also acts as face protection in case of glass splatter or breakage. This particular shield is made by Blue Moon Glassworks in Austin, TX. See for more information.

The supply hose (red and green) is a special "T" type as standard gas welding hose is not suitable for propane use. The oxygen side is fine, however the "R" type on the fuel side will deteriorate with propane usage.

So far production is limited to using bottled oxygen. Should that prove too costly, then it will be time to consider the purchase of a 5 psi 5 liter per minute oxygen concentrator.

Annealing Kiln Parts

Finding parts to build your own annealing glass kiln in Alaska can be a challenge. Thank goodness for the internet.

Lightweight Firebrick at Alaska Handmade JewelryFound IFB, the lightweight firebrick, locally for $3.90 each. A good buy considering shipping costs. The bricks are attached (glued together) using Imperial Stove & Gasket Cement (KK0067) that is rated up to 2100 F which is available at the local Ace Hardware store.

The Fuji PXR3-RCY1-4V0A1 temperature controller was found on eBay from Brinker Controls. The retail selling price is in the range of $135. At Brinker, it is $64 plus $7 for shipping for a new unit. Not bad from a Chicago location. And be sure to include a SSR 25 amp (solid state relay) for an extra ten dollars. The Fuji uses the SSR to turn the elements on and off at the rate of one or two times a second. A standard mechanical relay would fail in a week!

Kiln elements can be purchased from Skutt or your favorite kiln manufacture. Prices will vary depending on model number, etc. For the Skutt 609, elements range from $78 to $37 per pair. Ordering from seems the most economic. Shipping is $4.75, a deal for sure.

The next part of the project will be to use a router to place the element groves in the fire brick. Woodworking tools will work, as the brick is very soft. Even a 'dull' blade will cut IFB without a problem.

Then it will be to the steel supply shop to purchase 1/2 inch square steel thin wall tube to fabricate the support cage. Plenty of steel here in Alaska. And the MIG welder will once again be pressed into service.


Alaska Handmade Jewelry is expanding its artistic product line. The acquisition of a kiln has made this possible. No, it is not new, but is in like new condition.

The Skutt kiln came Skutt 609 Kiln at Alaska Handmade Jewelrywith a kiln setter. However, in the age of technology, this device has been replaced with a Fuji PXR-3 digital temperature controller. Now, the kiln can be used without the need to purchase cones for temperature measurement.

The planned use is to design low fire clay pendents for jewelry focal points. And to work with PMC (precious metal clay) which when fired will be 99.9% pure silver.

Fuji PXR3 Temperature ContollerAnd our third use for the Skutt will be to anneal lampwork glass beads. With the Fuji controller this becomes a simple process. For COE 104 glass the aim point will be in the 940 to 960 F degree range.

Wire Adventures

Here is the first peek at our adventure into Wire Sculpture jewelry.

There are several points to perfect. Wire Sculpture is a free form creation. Wire Sculpture Earrings Even if repeating the same design each piece will be a little different. This fits right in with our style of handmade one of a kind Alaskan jewelry.

You will see different gauges (sizes) and shapes of wire used. Three of the more common wire shapes are: round, half round and square. There are different hardness levels of wire too.

As you can see from this post and the previous one, we are making progress in adding to the choices you have here at Alaska Handmade Jewelry.

We hope that you will check back often to see what is new, Wire Sculpture Earrings at Alaska Handmade Jewelry both here at the Blog and at:

Thanks for stopping by. We are looking forward to hearing from you.


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