The Propane Gas Kiln
Although propane gas powered kilns are fairly common in ceramics,
they're not widely available for working with glass. One
reason for this is that firing glass requires much more precision
than firing ceramics. As a result, gas powered glass kilns
require more elaborate controls than electric kilns, making them
much more expensive.
The higher price tag is at least partially offset by much lower
operating costs for gas kilns. For this reason, the kilns are
most often used in production environments which require multiple
firings and quick turnarounds.
In traditional stained glass painting, for instance, it's often
necessary to apply paint to a single layer of glass which must be
quickly heated to mature the paint, then be cooled to fire again and
again until the piece is finished. Since a propane gas kiln
has the ability to heat a single layer of glass from from room
temperature to 1200F/650C in less than ten minutes, it's ideal for
painting applications on single layers of glass. A firing for
a painted single layer of glass can be completed in about an hour,
at a cost of only pennies.
Hoaf, a leading manufacturer of gas kilns for firing glass, does
offer a model that is capable of reaching fusing temperatures, but
this kiln is seldom used in fusing studios.
Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.
All rights reserved.