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Controlling Glass Bubbles in a Side Fire Kiln

2” wide “dams” laid flat around the glass prevent the formation of bubbles. Photo by Marie Fried.


Controlling Glass Bubbles in a Side Fire Kiln

Recent Q&A: The first firing after installing elements

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News: Paragon Introduces New Rolling Stand



[Glass artist Marie Fried kindly shared her technique for avoiding bubbles in 10” x 10”, 6” x 6”, and 6” x 8” fused glass. Her technique came from many hours of experimenting. Marie is one of the most patient glass artists I know. --Arnold]

By Marie Fried

I used a metal straight edge to determine that the shelves had no low or high spots. To have a successful full fuse in my Benchtop-16 kiln, I sprinkle a thin layer of Bullseye Glass clear powder (1101-0008) between the two layers. I also use ceramic dams along the perimeter of the glass. I have 3 different sizes of dams: 8”, 10”, and 12” and use whatever size works best to fully wrap around the outer perimeter of the glass leaving about a 1/2” gap between the glass and the dams. (The picture above shows the ceramic dams but no clear powder between layers. The picture is a demonstration only of the ceramic dams, not the powder.)

I tried using frit (02 size) around the glass edges between layers in conjunction with ceramic dams, but that resulted in large bubbles every time. Clear powder has its own limitations because it leaves thousands of tiny pin-point bubbles between layers, but I can live with that. I was successful in fusing 2 pieces of Tekta (3mm each).

Firing schedules in degrees F that have worked:

10” x 10” Square (25.4 cm x 25.4 cm)

I used 2 layers of Tekta (3mm thick each for total of 6mm), but any 2 sheets will work. I usually use Tekta for my base layer. 300º rate to 1200º - hold 120 minutes (bubble soak)

600º rate to 1470º - hold 10 minutes

AFAP rate to 900º - hold 60 minutes

100º rate to 700º - OFF

6” x 6” Square (15.24 cm x 15.24 cm)

300º rate to 1200º - hold 60 minutes

600º rate to 1470º - hold 10 minutes

AFAP rate to 900º - hold 60 minutes

100º rate to 700º - OFF

6” x 8” (15.24 cm x 20.32 cm) Rectangle - increase hold time at 1200º to 90 minutes.



Q. After installing new elements, should I fire the kiln empty or is it OK to just start firing normally?

A. After installing new elements, the kiln should be empty for the first firing. This allows the elements to form an oxide coating without interference from clay or glaze fumes. That is the ideal. However, if you are under a tight schedule, you can fire ware in the kiln during that first firing. This will affect the element life only slightly.



“Isn't it amazing how fast time flies when you are involved in clay? How is it possible that you just sat down at the wheel and three hours have passed already? You are exhausted. You stretch your back and look at a dozen of the most wonderful pots you have ever made in your life. The work space is hot and quiet. Perhaps a kiln is popping, ticking down. The feeling of satisfaction in your body as you head for bed, or work, or to pick up the kids, is the greatest feeling you have ever felt in your life. With clay, you reach your greatest potential as a human being. It has changed you from the inside. You have found the very essence of joy in your life.” -- Jan Parzybok, author of “A Potter's Sojourn” (available on iTunes)



We are introducing a kiln rolling stand that includes a greenware drying rack, lockable casters, and Orton Vent Master installation bracket. We are giving away the stand with each purchase of a 7-, 8-, 10-, or 12-sided top-loading ceramic or glass kiln. The stand is so new that I haven’t even shown a picture of it outside the factory. (The picture on our home page is of the old-style stand.) I have the first stand in my office, ready to assemble. The ceramic kiln rolling stand is 12” high; the glass stand is 18” high. Please spread the word that we are giving these away with the purchase of a kiln.


While sitting in my sun room early this morning, the distant wail of a train took me back in time. I was again walking to school in 4th grade and listening to a train that went through our Anchorage neighborhood. I could hear the crunch of snow and feel the still winter Alaska air. Have you ever noticed how a sound can take you back in time?

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 2016, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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