Kiln Building Question & Answer

Question 11/28/09

Hi:

I Goggled AK kilns and found your blog. I am just getting started in lampworking and cannot afford a kiln. I was hoping to find a used one or build my own.

It looks like you built one. Are you sharing how to do that or do you have any suggestions on making a kiln, at this point I am doing small stuff with 104 soft glass so don’t need anything huge. I saw a thread on wet canvas by Mark Wilson about making a kiln out of a mail box.... Any news would help.

Thank you,
Angela

Answer 11/28/09

Angela:

If you have not been here give this forum a try.

http://www.lampworketc.com/forums/

And of course there are a number of others to view. Also give You Tube a try as there may be some videos on kiln building, but again maybe not.

Building a kiln is a long but interesting project. You need a supplier of the basic materials. IFB and ceramic blanket. The kiln on the site is mostly welded together, not to say that using other ways of holding steel together would not also work.

Have not tired either the mail box or tool box kilns. The down side is that they do not retain heat very well. The plus side is that they are a lot easier and faster to build and thus less costly.

Use boro on this end so my annealing temp is 1050 F. For soft glass it will be less. IMO using a temperature controller is a must. You can use the Fuji PXR-3 for about $80 or get one of the units already setup in the hundreds. (Fuji $69 plus SSR $10 plus shipping - See eBay)

If you got the dollars, then take a look at some used kilns. Perhaps Craig's List would be one source. You could even place an ad there if you like. Or build one if you are handy with tools and have what you need plus some experience with the electrical end of things.

You may find some top loading kilns, but one with a front door works best for beads on mandrels. Make sure that it is deep enough for your rod lengths. Perhaps in the range of 9 to 12 inches for the mandrel plus, a few extra inches to spare in the back.

Also found that when you are getting started try using some inexpensive rod to hone your skills. Using $8 per pound clear Simax in place of the $55 per pound of colored Northstar is a plus. And you do not need to anneal the beads if they are just for practice. But they should also not be for sale as they are unstable.

Alaska Handmade Jewelry
Anchorage, Alaska

Some additional kiln building and related links that may be of use.

http://www.artglass-forum.com/eucabb.html?page=detail&threadid=178&categ...

http://www.euclids.com/element-design.htm

http://imageevent.com/thepacratz/glassblowingtopicspix/mailboxannealer;j...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=273306

http://www.glasspalette.com/Equipment.html

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212673

http://www.artglassanswers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25

http://www.mayneislandglass.com/beadkiln.htm

http://frittsartglass.com/marbles/articles/Crucible.html