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Kiln Pointers

Avoiding an Over-Fire

The alarm on a wrist watch makes a good kiln reminder.


Avoiding an Over-Fire

Recent Q&As: Kiln wash, heat distribution in a microwave kiln

A Kiln Story: The Glaze Mystery

Memorable Quote



By Mel Jacobson, potter

1) Use an alarm clock. I use the old wind-up kind with a loud ringer. Set it for a certain time, and make sure you follow the ring. Place a small battery-operated oven timer in your pocket if you need extra reminders.

2) Get a large bulldog clip and paint KILN in red. Clip it to your jacket, or hang it from a doorknob. Or place a sign where you hang your apron: KILN ON.

3) When I was a high school teacher, I had the janitor turn off the master breaker to the kiln every night at 8. No kiln would ever be on past 7, ever, anyway.


You can listen to an interview with Mel Jacobson here:

(Or go to, click the Kiln Audio & Video link on the left side of the home page, and scroll down to the A004 audio.)



Q. Is it necessary to ever recoat the kiln bottom with kiln wash? If so, how often? The kiln wash on the shelf deteriorates pretty quickly, so I wondered if the same happened with the coating on the kiln bottom.

A. The kiln wash adheres to the firebricks better than it does to shelves, because the firebricks are porous. Therefore, it is rarely necessary to apply more kiln wash after the first application to a new kiln. Apply more kiln wash to bare areas after removing glass or glaze that has dripped onto the firebrick bottom.

Q. How many pieces at a time can fit into the MagicFuse microwave kiln?

A. It depends on the microwave oven you are using. The heat distribution in some of the inexpensive ovens is poor. This limits the firing to a single piece of glass, unless you don't mind having full-fuse and medium-fuse pieces in the same firing. Better microwave ovens can evenly fire about four glass pendants per kiln load.

You can compensate for uneven firing by using the turn table in the microwave. But the less expensive ovens fire unevenly even with the turn table. Reducing the power setting can improve heat distribution, because it increases the number of turn table revolutions during the critical last 30 seconds of fusing.



Cliff McCrea, a kiln technician in Austin, Texas, wrote, “I checked all the elements and replaced both thermocouples in two Paragon kilns. I then performed a test fire, and both kilns were at peak performance. Two days later the client called me and told me a black glaze turned blue when fired. I assured him the kilns were not the problem and for him to consult his glaze supplier. He did and found there was a quality issue in the glaze production.

"In retrospect, do not jump to conclusions about the kiln being the root cause of glaze problems.”



“Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world through the eyes of a child.” --Ron Wild


There is still time to make Christmas gifts with your kiln. Firing beautiful, hand-made ware in a kiln is a pleasant way to spend cold winter afternoons.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

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

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2008, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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