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Eliminating Dust from a Firebrick Lid

The brush nozzle on a vacuum removes dust from the inner lid surface.


Eliminating Dust from a Firebrick Lid

Recent Q&As: Coating the kiln bottom; how many pieces can you fire in a microwave kiln

Memorable Quote



An old firebrick kiln lid sometimes drops dust into the firing chamber, usually from lid cracks. The dust can ruin glazed pottery and fused glass, though it has no effect on ceramic bisque ware.

The heat from the kiln expands the firebricks, which frees the loose particles. You can remove the particles before the firing by vacuuming the lid with a brush nozzle. The brush is necessary; the vacuum nozzle held near the lid without the brush is not strong enough to remove all the loose particles.

Some of the particles are from refractory lid coating that has been applied too heavily. Thick layers of coating flake off. An especially thick coating looks like a network of peeling cracks on the inside lid surface. Remove the loose coating by gently sandpapering.



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.

A. The kiln wash adheres to the firebricks better than it does to shelves, because the firebricks are porous. So the kiln can fire for years without an extra coating of kiln wash. 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 turntable in the microwave. But the less expensive ovens fire unevenly even with the turntable. Reducing the power setting can improve heat distribution, because it increases the number of turntable revolutions during the critical last 30 seconds of fusing. -----------


“Almost all Nobel laureates in the sciences actively engage in arts as adults. They are 25 times as likely as the average scientist to sing, dance, or act; 17 times as likely to be a visual artist; 12 times more likely to write poetry and literature; eight times more likely to do woodworking or some other craft; four times as likely to be a musician; and twice as likely to be a photographer.” --Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein


My wife, our cats, and I watched Chris win American Idol on Wednesday. Millions have been watching the show partly because people are burned out on the news. During the 30s, America focused on the racehorse Seabiscuit for the same reason.

I wish you a safe Memorial Day weekend. My heart goes out to those of you who have lost a loved one in war.

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 2009, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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