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The Anatomy of a Kiln

The creation of an SC-2 kiln begins with the firing chamber, which is mounted inside a steel case.


The Anatomy of a Kiln

Recent Q&As: Removing melted glaze or glass from the brick floor

A Kiln Story: Debugging a Kiln

Memorable Quote



You can learn a lot about kilns just by watching people make them. The more you know about how a kiln is made and the anatomy of a kiln, the easier it will be to operate and maintain a kiln. This is one of the reasons I produced the Paragon factory tour videos.

Here are some of the maintenance procedures that you will better understand after watching the videos:

Cementing firebricks. You will learn, for instance, that if you work fast, you do not need to wet the bricks with water before applying the cement. The firebrick department factory video shows how we get a very thin seam between the bricks.

Arranging the wires in the switch box.

Replacing a sidewall brick.

Coating the firebricks with brick coating, which looks gray when first applied to the lid and seems to disappear after it has been fired.

Replacing an element.

Installing screws in the stainless steel kiln case.

Replacing the firebrick walls and top on a square front-loading kiln.

Replacing parts in the SC-series silver clay kilns.

Crating a top-loading kiln, useful if you ever need to move.

You can see the videos at Paragon’s website and at

At the Paragon video page, scroll down to Paragon Factory, Products, People. At, enter--

Paragon factory tour


Paragon kilns

(without quotation marks) in the search line. Then click on Channels.



Q. Two small pieces of a test project stuck to the floor of my kiln. I picked them up, and pieces of the floor stuck to the pieces. Now there are two scars in the floor about 1 1/2” long and 1/3” wide. One of them only removed a superficial amount of kiln floor, while the other removed about 1/16”. Do I need to worry about this?

A. No, the damage to the firebrick floor is minor and will not affect the firings. After removing all traces of glass (or ceramics), coat the firebrick bottom with kiln wash. Hold a piece of cardboard near the walls to avoid splashing kiln wash into an element groove as you apply the kiln wash to the brick bottom.



From a kiln technician on the East Coast:

“I just fixed a kiln over the phone. The kiln owner heard a strange buzzing sound when she started the kiln, so she turned it off. I heard the sound over a cell phone.

“I had her turn all three switches off. We went through changing the switches from Off to High one at a time and isolated the buzzing to the top elements. After awhile the ugly buzzing ended.

"This kiln is stored in an outdoor shed, and I believe bugs/critters small enough to fit through the vent slits crawled into the switch box and caused a short. We burned that little bugger up, and the kiln is now firing properly.”

The first “computer bug” was a moth stuck in a computer relay. In 1945 Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, who found the moth, was the first to use the term “debugging.”



“What is it about that meditative quiet when kids are working with clay? I teach 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in a very poor neighborhood, and even the toughest 5th grader will let down his ‘cool and tough’ act for clay.” --Grace Sheese


Cementing kiln firebricks reminds me of growing up in Tripoli, Libya. I used to watch Arab workers painstakingly build houses from white limestone blocks. Amidst a chattering of Arabic and the smell of strong coffee, they cemented the blocks into walls and then spread mortar over the surface.

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 2009, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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