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Reducing Damage to Top Wall Firebricks

This kiln pointer is for top-loading firebrick kilns. If you have a ceramic fiber kiln (white firing chamber, no visible brick seams), you might want to skip down to the Reader Response section.

The area of a top-loading kiln that is most prone to brick damage is the top rim of sidewall firebricks. This is because people lean against the edge of the kiln to load and unload.

To reduce brick damage, cut a piece of plywood about 3” – 4” wide and shaped to fit over the edge of the kiln when the lid is open. Lean against the plywood instead of directly against the brick rim. The plywood should be curved to the shape of the kiln. The plywood will help to distribute weight evenly against several bricks instead of only one.

Close the lid gently. If your kiln has a locking support arm, be sure to fully disengage the arm before lowering the lid. Otherwise you can break the lid near the hinge.

Allow only trusted people to load or unload your kiln. They must be gentle, or your kiln will quickly show wear. Do not let your students touch your school kiln until you have given them a lesson in care of the kiln.


The topic of the last Kiln Pointer was “The Three Stages of Learning in Glass Fusing.” (If you missed it, please visit and click on “Support.” Then select “Kiln Pointers” from the drop menu. This is where you can look up the previous Pointers.)

Laura Mullen of Live Oak, California wrote, “Arnold, your newsletter about the learning ‘curb,’ as I call it, couldn't have come at a better time. I'm in between the Process and the Design Stage, so today, I was pretty frustrated with so little time left to make masterpiece gifts for family.

“I don't have the skill to make masterpieces yet. But the magic of glass is that it brings a sparkle and wonder to everyone who sees it. So, no matter what I make, my family will still be amazed at both the fusing process and the creativity it took me to make a plate or a pendant. As I improve, they'll appreciate it even more.”

Terry of Ancon, Rep de Panama, said, “Am laughing, Arnold, for I’m in all three stages at the same time.”

Kathi Martin of Artistry Glass Studios in Tempe, Arizona wrote, “I think I am at the top of my Design Stage, but just anal enough not to have yet ventured into the Creative Stage. Will somebody PLEASE push me?!”

Julie Jurow wrote, “Thank you so much for your information about glass fusing. If one weren't able to find a class in their neck of the woods and needed to get the basics, can you recommend a book?”

I think you will enjoy “Introduction to Glass Fusing,” by Petra Kaiser:

(If the link doesn’t work, visit, click on “Products,” and select “Books” from the drop menu.

By the way, if you have a moment, please let me know what you think of Paragon’s website. We have completely redesigned it.

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of a new year. Texas is unusually warm for January. I will probably not even wear a jacket as I bicycle home today.

With best wishes for 2006,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

If you received this message from a friend, you can subscribe to Paragon's emailed Kiln Pointers at

You are welcome to forward this message to others. Copyright 2006, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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