Kiln Support
Paragon HomeKiln ProductsWhere To Buy KilnsKiln SupportAbout ParagonKiln Resellers and Dealers
Search Menu

Kiln Pointers

Cutting the Element Pigtails

Cut off the element pigtails so they are flush against the connectors. Use large diagonal cutting pliers or wire cutting linesman pliers.


Cutting the Element Pigtails

Recent Q&As: Firing two layers of shelves in a glass kiln; how to enter AFAP into a 3-key controller; 50 and 60 Hertz kilns

A Kiln Story: The Running Wall

Memorable Quote



A customer who had just changed a heating element recently wrote, “The hardest part of replacing the element was cutting the pigtails sticking out from the ceramic insulators. I just couldn't cut it even with new cutters, so I had to call my son-in-law.”

The ends of a heating element are called the pigtails. The wire is doubled and twisted together at the ends to reduce the heat where the element passes through the kiln wall and attaches to the connectors. Doubling the wire lowers the electrical resistance and consequently the heat in that section of the element.

After you install the element connectors, the job is not quite finished. You must also cut off the pigtails so they are flush with the element connectors. Do not merely bend the pigtails out of the way--an element pigtail that sticks out past a connector could short out against a metal part in the switch box.

Since the pigtails are twice as heavy as the rest of the element, they may be difficult to cut with needle nose pliers. Use big diagonal cutting pliers or wire cutting linesman pliers. They slice through the pigtails easily even if you have small hands. Push the pigtails far into the jaws of the pliers for extra leverage, and use two hands if necessary. After you install elements, count the pigtails that you have cut. Make sure none of them have fallen into the switch box before closing it.



Q. Can I buy a second shelf for my Fusion-10 with posts to separate the shelves? [The Fusion-10 is a glass kiln with lid and side elements.] The Fusion-10 has a depth of 11”, so two ½” thick shelves would leave maybe 4” of height for each shelf.

A. It may be possible to fire two shelves, one above the other, in the Fusion-10. However, since the kiln heats 70% from the top and only 30% from the lower sidewalls, the glass on the top shelf will receive more heat than the glass on the bottom shelf. You may be able to fire two shelves of glass, however, if you design full-fuse pieces for the top shelf and tack-fuse pieces for the bottom shelf.

Q. How do I input AFAP as I don't have a key pad to use 9999? [The customer has a 3-key Sentry Xpress controller.]

A. AFAP means "as fast as possible." On the Sentry Xpress, AFAP = 1799F/999C. AFAP shows in the display as FULL. When you are entering the temperature rate, hold the up arrow until FULL appears. If you are at a low temperature, press the down arrow. Scroll past 0000 to FULL. That is faster than scrolling from a low temperature to 1799F/999C.

Q. We have started to deliver equipment to oil installations in the North Sea off the Norwegian coast, where they use 230V and 400V, 60 Hz. Can the Paragon Calderas that we have in stock be used on 230V 60Hz? The Calderas we have are marked 50 Hz. I assume I will have to change the controller.

A. It makes no difference to the Sentry controllers whether the power supplied is 50 or 60 Hertz. The controller will operate on either Hertz.



David Kittrell of Kittrell/Riffkind Art Glass in Dallas, Texas wrote, “We have a smaller version of the Wailing Wall, only we call it the Running Wall. It’s behind all of the kilns, and it stands as a testament to what happens when you don't pay attention to your firings. On that wall I have mounted all my shelves that have 2000 degree F glass running off the edges. All are labeled with the event that caused their demise.

“I have what look like moon rocks that are actually large chunks of the bottom of one of the bigger kilns with glass melting through to the bottom,” David added. “We call that kind of melt-off ‘Chernobyling.’ What was a useful kiln shelf can morph into ‘warning art’ on the Glass Running Wall of neglect.”

David, thanks for the reminder. Remember to check the kiln occasionally as it fires especially before the expected shutoff time.



“I know that other people get grabbed by some interesting activity they do with mind and body, but I don't know anyone who gets summoned like clay people. It's like finding your personal gold mine. Clay grabs us, wedges us, and is in the process of throwing us. We make things from dirt. We are transformed by clay. We were put on earth to do this thing we do and share it with others.” -- Jan Parzybok, author of “A Potter's Sojourn” (available on iTunes)


At Paragon we hold ongoing customer service training sessions. They turn into think tanks, where everyone shares ideas. Sometimes several people talk at once. Problems are presented, and solutions bubble to the surface. This morning one of the women doodled with a bright pink pen as she pondered the discussion. Another shared ideas scribbled on Post-it notes. I enjoy the energy that is generated in think tanks.

After an intense winter, the bluebonnets are beginning to dot the fields around my house. In a few weeks, the flowers will blanket the fields like great expanses of rich blue paint.

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 2014, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

Paragon Kilns on FacebookParagon Kilns on Twitter Paragon Kilns on YouTube Paragon RSS Feed

Kilns Sold

Get The Adobe Reader


  • Home
  • Privacy Statement
  • Legal Notice
  • Paragon's Green Statement
  • Where To Buy Kilns
  • Resellers
  • About Us
  • Contact Paragon
  • News & Events
  • Support

  • Kiln Technicians
  • Kiln Support
  • Products

  • Bead Kiln
  • Glass Blower's Crucible Furnace
  • Ceramic Kilns
  • China Painting Kilns
  • Enameling Kilns
  • Industrial Furnaces
  • Glass Kilns
  • Lamp Working Kilns
  • Pottery/Ceramic and Glass
  • Pottery Kilns
  • Silver Clay Kilns
  • Wax Burnout Furnaces
  • Heat Treating Furnaces
  • Knife Making Furnaces
  • Custom Furnaces
  • Discontinued Models
  • “Custom and standard Kilns and Industrial Furnaces for ceramics, pottery, heat treating, enameling,
    dentistry, laboratory, and glass fusing.
    Better Designed Kilns from Paragon Industries!"