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Kiln Pointers

Do You Have Enough Electrical Capacity?

Be sure your building has enough electrical capacity before you buy a studio kiln.


Do You Have Enough Electrical Capacity?

Reader Response: Keeping notebooks; collecting kilns

Recent Q&As: Why some kilns have fuses in the switch box; a simple solution to an element problem

Memorable Quote



Before you buy a large studio kiln, be sure your building can handle the extra amperage that the kiln will need. If the building doesn’t have enough amperage, you will have to increase the service capacity of the building. This is expensive and something you should know about before you buy the kiln.

If you buy a kiln and then discover that the wall receptacle does not match the plug on your kiln, you might not have to install a new circuit. First, be sure the circuit wire is heavy enough for the kiln. Find the kiln manufacturer's recommended circuit wire size. This information is listed in catalogs and websites. Then check your circuit for not only wire size but wire material. If the recommended wire size is #6 copper, be sure your circuit wire is #6 copper rather than #6 aluminum.

You may need the help of an electrician to determine the wire size of your circuit. Operating a kiln on a circuit with undersize wire is a safety hazard.

Once you know that the circuit wire size and breaker size are correct, then have an electrician replace the wall receptacle with the one that matches the kiln. Or have him direct-wire the kiln to the circuit and eliminate the plug and receptacle altogether.

Have you had interesting experiences with electricians that you would like to share?



The last Kiln Pointer was entitled, “The Value of Writing Ideas in Notebooks.” Lisa G. Westheimer of West Orange, New Jersey wrote, “I am a note-taking queen. I have kiln schedule notebooks, glaze mixing notebooks (I cross off each ingredient as I measure it), and project notebooks which contain anything from notes to self to try something, to mathematical calculations, to quotes.”

Gloria Conwell of Enfield, Connecticut wrote, “In addition to keeping a detailed written record of each firing, I also photograph each firing, before and after. Those photos often indicate things I neglected to write down, and are invaluable. So often, the photos immediately illustrate where I went wrong (or even where I went right!) in ways I never thought to look at specifically during assembly.”

Sheila Blacstone of Beaverton, Oregon wrote, “My friends and family are now laughing at me, as I seem to be collecting Paragon kilns. I first received a Fusion-7 to do glass, then had to have a Janus-24 to do ceramics and glass, and since I am interested now in enameling . . . yup, gotta get a lil' enameling SC-2!”



Q. Why does my kiln have 30 amp fuses in the kiln’s switch box? And what causes them to burn out?

A. Your kiln has the 30 amp fuses, because the fuses are required on kilns that are rated over 50 amps. This is an NEC safety requirement.

The 30 amp fuses must be installed so that the end with the nub, or protrusion, is on the side of the fuse holder that has the cutout. If the fuses are installed upside-down, they will soon burn out. Also, the spring that holds the fuses must be tight. You can tighten with pliers if they are loose.

Q. My Paragon A-82B has four rows of heating elements. On High switch positions, only the top and middle elements get hot. The other two do not.

A. In all likelihood, your elements and switches are okay. One set of Kiln Sitter contacts is dirty. You can remove the Kiln Sitter, take the contact block apart, and clean the contacts with a pencil eraser. (Later the customer wrote, “Arnold, you were right, it works!”



“Good taste is the enemy of art. It's wonderful for curtains but in art it's suffocating.” -- Anita Steckel (contributed by Lisa G. Westheimer)


Last Sunday I attended the Ed Hoy’s International weekend glass event. The company’s 92-year-old founder, Ed Hoy, came to Paragon’s display table and introduced himself. I said, “I’ve heard that you were in the Battle of the Bulge.”

Mr. Hoy began reminiscing about his experiences in wartime Europe. He talked about the time he was a sergeant at the head of a convoy. After driving interminably in the roaring column, he saw a neighborhood friend standing by the side of the winding, dusty road. Mr. Hoy pulled his vehicle over and greeted his friend, a captain of a tank company. They hugged each other. They hadn’t seen each other since they had left home, half a world away. And for just a moment, they were home again.

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 2012, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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