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Choosing a glass kiln

 

The purchase of your first glass kiln can be a traumatic experience.  There are so many choices, so much conflicting information, and dozens of unfamiliar terms to wade through.  This multi-part tip should help you make an informed decision about which kiln is right for you.

 

Start by asking yourself how much you want to spend on a kiln.  If it's under around five or six hundred dollars (US), then you'll be limited to small kilns that run on regular household current.  That will allow you to make small items like jewelry, coasters, and tiles. 

 

If you want to make larger items, or if you want to create drop ring and pot melt pieces, then you will need a larger kiln.  You'll probably need to spend more than $600 US to get a new kiln with that capability.  You'll also probably need to upgrade the power outlets in your home or studio -- in the US, most homes have lots of 120 volt outlets, but only a few outlets (usually for the dryer and the kitchen stove) that are 240 volt.   So using a larger kiln usually means you need to hire an electrician to do some special wiring to handle 240 volts.

 

To summarize the first major kiln-buying decision -- if any of the following are true:

 

1.  Your budget is limited to $600 US or less;

2.  Your available electrical outlets are limited to 120 volts (15 to 20 amp);

3.  You only want to make small items like jewelry and coasters;

 

then you will probably need to purchase a small kiln. 

 

If you have a larger budget, greater electrical capabilities, and a desire to have a kiln that will allow you to make larger items, then you should consider purchasing a medium to large kiln. 

 

Click here for more information about choosing the kiln that's right for you.

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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

Thanks to posters on the Warm Glass board for their suggestions.  Thanks also to John Hohenshelt of Paragon Industries for an earlier article on kiln selection, available here.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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