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The First Firing of a Top-Loading Ceramic Kiln

Separate the kiln-washed shelves with posts so that the shelves are loaded evenly throughout the firing chamber during the first firing.


The First Firing of a Top-Loading Ceramic Kiln

Recent Q&As: Firing a 240 volt kiln on a 260 volt circuit

Memorable Quote



Before you fire either a new kiln or a kiln that has new elements, make sure the elements are seated in the corners of the firebrick wall grooves. (The corners are where the angled wall bricks come together.) Sometimes new elements work out of the corners during moving. Press them into the grooves with a comb if necessary. This takes only a few minutes. Just push the element gently so that it is all the way back in the groove corners.

Load the kiln-washed, empty furniture into the kiln for the test firing. This dries the shelves and posts. One time someone called and told us their furniture cracked during the test firing. It was because they stacked all the shelves in the bottom of the kiln and laid the posts on top of the shelves. So, separate the shelves with posts to permit air circulation, and space the shelves evenly throughout the firing chamber.

Check the maximum temperature rating of the kiln, which is listed on the electrical data plate mounted to the switch box. The first firing should be to pyrometric cones 05 - 01, unless that is beyond the kiln’s maximum temperature rating. Once the elements have been fired to cone 05 - 01, they will soften and sink into the grooves. This will reduce the likelihood that they will ever bulge out later.

Test firing an empty kiln is not essential. But it helps you to become familiar with your new kiln without worrying about how the ware will turn out during the first firing.



Q. A 240 volt F-240 glass kiln will be plugged into a 260 volt circuit. How will that affect the life of the elements?

A. The kiln will generate more heat on a 260 volt circuit than on a 240 volt. The elements will be slightly stressed because of the extra voltage. However, they will stay turned on for less time than they would on 240 volts. For this reason, element life will be reduced by only a little.



“I am not just a potter . . . I am an artist who likes to make stuff--any kind of stuff. And the more complex the problem, the more exciting it becomes.” --Mel Jacobson


The record flooding in Houston brings to mind the flash flood that carried my Toyota van down Greenville Avenue in Dallas 22 years ago. My wife, son, and I felt the tires lifting off the pavement as the van floated backward down the street that night. People in nearby apartments on higher ground yelled frantic instructions to us, but we couldn’t hear them because of the rushing water. They were worried for us; they could see my seven-year-old son in the back seat. About 30 feet farther down the street, water flowing around the left front tire formed a deep trough in the dirt, wedging the tire against a concrete curb. That stopped the van from drifting toward deeper water.

I learned that night to never drive through water if it covers the curb at the side of the road. Without seeing a reference point such as a curb or sidewalk, it is difficult to gauge the depth of water while driving.

That night I also learned that people forget differences in race and come together to help each other in times of danger.

If you are in the path of the hurricane, we at Paragon are thinking of your safety.

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 2017, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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