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Pre-firing Fiber Paper

This is the first of a three part series on pre-firing fiber paper.  Part one contains general information about binders, part two details the pre-firing process, and part three has additional tips and suggestions about pre-firing.

1.  The purpose of pre-firing is to remove the binder from the paper.  The binder, which is actually an acrylic latex product, is added during the manufacturing process.  It has no value to the kiln-former, but it makes the paper easier to handle in the manufacturing plant. 

2.  Although the binder is generally not considered harmful, it can be irritating to some persons.  It's also possible for binder burn-off to release smoke, carbon monoxide, or other oxides or hydrocarbons.  The binder also gives off a distinct odor (similar to burning cookies) as the paper is pre-fired.

3.  When burning off the binder, it is essential that the kiln be vented slightly.  Usually this is done by propping up the lid of the kiln about one inch.  Keep the kiln vented until the temperature reaches around 1000F/540C.  If you neglect to vent the kiln, the fumes and other particles will be trapped in your kiln walls. They will probably burn off in future firings.

4.  In addition to venting the kiln, it's important to do the burning off in an area that has adequate ventilation.  This will reduce or eliminate exposure to vapors resulting from pre-firing.  Although the effects are not common, some people are more sensitive to the fumes and may experience respiratory tract irritation or an asthmatic-type response.

Click here for specific information about the pre-firing process, which is contained in part two of this tip.

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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

This list compiled from numerous sources, but especially from the Warm Glass bulletin board and from published manufacturer's materials.

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Four Corners International, Inc.

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

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