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How do you use silica sand inside a kiln?

Silica sand, as with kiln wash, will ruin heating elements on contact. Keep the sand out of the element grooves. Do not let the sand spill into the switch box louvers.

1) If you use a fan to lower the firing room temperature, do not aim the fan directly at the kiln. The breeze can stir the silica sand inside the kiln. This could ruin glazed pieces and scatter sand into the element grooves. It is okay to use a down draft kiln vent such as the Orton Vent Master. When correctly installed, the vent does not create enough airflow to stir up dust.

2) Do not place sand on the kiln bottom. Use it only on the shelves. The sand can work its way between the firebricks.

3) Pour the sand onto the shelf before lowering the shelf into the kiln. If you pour the sand on the shelf inside the kiln, dust particles are more apt to float in the firing chamber, scattering onto your pieces.

4) Do not pour the sand onto the shelf from a large bag. Use a scoop instead. A scoop stirs up less dust.

5) Use the sand sparingly on the shelf for most projects. Use a thicker layer if you are concerned about glazes running.

6) Keep the sand 2” – 3” away from the edges of the shelf. If the sand falls off the edges, it may filter down into the element grooves or onto glazed ware on the shelf below.

7) As you lower the shelf into the kiln, hold the shelf level. If it tilts, the sand could fall off the edges.

8) When unloading the kiln, remove the shelf and the ware together. If the ware is too heavy to lift out with the shelf, then hold the piece away from the kiln before rubbing the sand off the bottom of the piece. If you hold the ware over the shelf as the sand falls from the piece, the particles could fall into an element groove.

9) Vacuum the kiln after every firing with a soft brush attachment. Be sure to vacuum the element grooves.

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