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Firing Multiple Shelves at Once

This is part two of a multi-part tip.  Click here to go to part one.

Here are a few more suggestions that make it more likely to have success when firing multiple shelves at once.

If your kiln has separate controls for the top element, turn down (or turn off) the top element and concentrate firing with the side elements alone.  This will often provide more uniform heat distribution. 

Another option that often works is to full fuse with the top shelf and tack fuse with the bottom.  You'll need to experiment a bit to find the precise temperature that will allow this to happen successfully, but this approach tends to work well in most kilns.

Experiment with both three shelf and two shelf configurations.  In many cases the heat characteristics of the kiln will change depending on the number of shelves. Sometimes two shelves work best for some items and three shelves work best for others.

Most importantly, don't be concerned if your first efforts are less than perfect.  The best configuration often differs by kiln, so experimentation is the only way to determine what works best in your kiln.

Finally, be aware that in many cases you will also need to slow down the rate of temperature increase in order to prevent thermal shock when using multiple shelves. For this reason the time saved will not be as significant as hoped. In the end, you may find that single shelf firings work best. 

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Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

Most of these tips came from posters on the Warm Glass bulletin board. 

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