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Firing Glass Visually

You can fire glass visually even without a digital controller.


Firing Glass Visually

Recent Q&As: Maximum number of times a controller cycles; temperature fluctuation during hold

A Kiln Story: The Dripping Glaze

Memorable Quote

News: Introducing New Paragon Kiln Colors



You can fuse glass even without a digital controller. Just check the glass visually, either by watching it through a peephole or window, or by raising the lid an inch or so. Visually checking the glass will also teach you the temperatures to program into a digital controller.

To begin, experiment by firing only one or two glass pendants per kiln load. Place the pendants on a shelf that has been coated with glass separator.

Since the pendants are small, you can safely fire them at high speed. Watch the color of light that appears under the lid or around the door of your kiln.

Watch the glass by cracking the lid or door just enough to see inside the kiln. Look for several seconds at a time. Wear green #3 firing safety glasses and protective gloves.

Look at the edges of the glass each time. The glass edges will be sharp until the kiln interior begins to turn orange. Then the glass will gradually begin to sag and soften. The edges will round. At that point, look at the glass about every minute.

When the glass has fused to the degree that you want, turn off the kiln, keep the lid closed, and allow the kiln to cool to room temperature.

The pyrometer is a guide that will alert you to begin visually checking the glass. Write down the temperature reading before you check the glass each time. Keep a detailed log. After you have fired the kiln a few times, you will begin to sense when the glass is getting close to the fusing temperature.



Q. What is the maximum number of times per minute that the Sentry Xpress controller can turn on the relay during a hold?

A. The maximum number of relay cycles is 6 times a minute.

Q. How close does the Sentry Xpress maintain temperature during a hold?

A. The normal temperature fluctuation during hold is plus or minus 2 degrees C. Ordinarily, the only time the temperature goes beyond the 2 degree fluctuation is after a fast rate, which causes a temperature overshoot. The overshoot usually stabilizes within 15 minutes. Q. Does the Sentry Xpress have an error message for a temperature drop during a hold?

A. The 3-key Sentry Xpress Orton controller does not have an error message for a temperature drop during a hold. This is because the controller is used on enameling and bead making kilns where the door is opened frequently during holds, causing a temperature drop. The 12-key Sentry Orton controller has a LTDE low temperature alarm, however.



Shirley A. Potter in Boise, Idaho wrote, “When I got my new kiln, I did as the manufacturer recommended and coated the firebrick bottom with kiln wash. It took less than five minutes to stir and apply. Then I forgot about it until one of my students placed a cup across two half-shelves. A runny glaze on the handle ate into the shelf edges and ran down onto the kiln bottom.

“Grinding back the shelf edges will have to wait until warmer weather,” Shirley continued, “but my cry of dismay when I saw the small puddle of glaze on the kiln bricks turned into a sigh of relief as I reached down and picked the glaze off the brick surface. I immediately put another coat of kiln wash on the bricks. It costs hardly anything in material or time, so why not?”



“It is us, intrepid, creative, seeking souls who choose to bring a ‘basket of the sun's heat’ and place in the middle of our lives, and boldly think that it's ours to control, time and time again.

“It is us, who take the elements of the Earth, glass and clay and minerals and whatever else we think of, and in our own way of expression, recreate those elements to suit our own eye.

“It is us, who when presented with the ‘safer’ crafts, say, ‘No, thanks,’ and, remembering back, realize that the merry-go-round was not our ride of choice. No.

“It is us, the roller coaster people, who embrace the rising to the top, who savor the view from there, and then take the sinking to the bottom as not a tragic moment, but as another chance to rise all the way to the top again. It is us, who crave the rising, and strengthen from the falling, the roller coaster people, it is us.” --David Kittrell of Kittrell/Riffkind Art Glass in Dallas, Texas



The SC-series, E-series, Q-series, and BlueBird kilns can be ordered in turquoise or hot pink. There is an extra charge for this option.


I love wind, rain, and thunder. Sometimes, though, we get too much of a good thing in Mesquite at this time of year. A thunderstorm blew through at 2:30 a.m. last Monday. The wind shifted directions, tapping rain against alternating windows. A tornado alarm, barely heard over the wind and thunder, sounded like an air raid siren from a war movie.

I hope you enjoy the weekend.

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 2011, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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