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[Beginner's Corner] Buying an oven or kiln


Hi folks,

I am totally lost wading through the piles of kiln options out there
and I need your help! I want a small oven/kiln that I can use in
metal working, all the usual suspects, IE: annealing, hardening,
possibly enameling, or whatever. Something that will grow with my
knowledge and skills. I really like trying new things.

But…DH thinks it is a toy that will not get used much after the
glow wears off so doesn’t want me to spend a lot. I think an oven
would get pretty regular use, but am not sure enough to reassure
him. Anyone been there, done that? What did you do and what should I

Trinkets, beehives, PMC, clam-shell, front loading, top loading, OH
MY! And that isn’t even talking about brands, stands and

I need help…

Dawn B. in Taylor, Texas


Dear Dawn,

This advice is based on my own experience.

Just about any kiln can “crossover” on metalwork vs
enameling/lampworking needs. Really, in my experience, the only time
you’d need a seperate oven for metal is if you decide to cast, then
you’d need a special burnout oven that can be ventilated while
holding heat in.

You could check out used kilns in the back of bead magazines, if
cost is a concern. Then you could prove your point beautifully when
the poor thing falls apart from “overuse.”

My experience is this: get what you need to get, regardless of the
cost. If you compromise on your tools, frustration will keep you
from getting anywhere. Especially if you try to make a tool do
something it’s not meant to do- it’ll just wear out faster. (Exhibit
A: the dremel drill that caught fire.)

Because what will happen (invariably) is that you’ll save money
initially on the “compromise tool” and then you’ll spend more
getting what you should have gotten in the first place.

Personally, I recommend the Neycraft Fiber Furnace. It does burnout,
enameling, and heat treatment/annealing. It costs $560 from Kingsley
North (1-800-338-9280). It covers all possible needs, for about the
same price as a decent sized kiln that could be used for everything
but burnout.

However, if this isn’t an option for you because of concern about
cost, I have a good used kiln that needs a home, and I can give you
a great deal.

I wish you luck!



Email me and describe in more detail what you want to do and I will
provide options. I never suggest the actual model you buy because
everyones uses and expectations are different. However, my company
sells three brands of kilns and I would be glad to talk with you.

Seguin, Tx.


Hi Dawn

Eons ago when I decided to buy a fax machine (when the price equaled
almost 3 kilns) my dear Significant Other didn’t quite understand. -
Why buy a a faxmachine, you never get nor send any.

Ergo. It kind of made up my mind to go ahead. It got used alot!
Unlike an electronic gadget the kiln will have a value on the second
hand market so I wouldn’t hesitate.

The better=versatile you purchase, the more use you’ll probably make
of it. And it is X-mas.

good luck,

who has 2 kilns, one for PMC, annealing and glassfusing and one for
burnouts and experiments


Thanks to everyone who helped me make the decision for a first time
kiln. If anyone cares to know, we chose the digital caldera. If
anyone has any furthur advice or hints on using it, I am all ears
(or eyes as the case may be).

Dawn B.