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I'm buying a kiln for enameling


#1

Does anyone out there have much experience with different Paragon
Kilns? I’m thinking about buying a small kiln for enameling in a
house or apartment. Paragon makes a “SC-Vista” model kiln with an
actual 2" x 2" “glass view port” window (!) in place of a mere
peep-hole. This excites me hugely; I can’t think of anything better
than gazing at my enamels fusing through a WINDOW, rather than
squinting my goggled eyes through a misaligned tiny peephole. Wow! I
want one! Anyway, has anyone ever used a kiln like this? Any
advantages/disadvantages? Any advice on kiln-buying at all?

I am in the market for a smallish, electric, 120-volt kiln… and
I’m pretty set on a 3-key Sentry digital controller rather than the
"infinite control" turn dial. (Actually, I have never used a kiln
without a digital keypad, and I cannot imagine going without. Do I
need to humble myself and consider going infinite?) I think VCellas
are out of my price range, though I’ve heard nice things. I know
also AMACO makes kilns, and also AIM, and of course, Thompson Enamel
puts out their own kiln… Any other brands I should consider?

Any advice is appreciated.
Thanks, J. Mueller


#2

Hi,

I have a small and a medium sized enameling kiln, both Paragon. I
use one for enameling and one for heat treating. They are well made.
I have a bigger enameling kiln that was a long time ago, it still
works, but doesn’t have all of the bell and whistle of the Paragons.

Jerry


#3

For your info, I work with kilns with glass, enamel and mokume gane.
My business also sells kilns at the lowest prices. Now with the ads
out of the way, the SC-2 with the window is nice for the reasons you
stated - you can see things happening. However, I generally use one
without because once you have experimented an know your kiln, you
can do repeat work without worrying about it. I would definitely stay
with the 3-key controller and not an infinite switch. If you have any
other questions about any other kilns, just drop me a line.

Murray
aaproducts.com


#4

I think the most Important thing to remember ('cause I forgot it
when I bought my first kiln) is that front loading is the very best.
I have 2 paragon kilns and just love them and the support and tips I
get from them.

Lynda


#5

Jenny:

If you search the archives, I believe there have been several
discussions on kilns in the past so you might also check there for
advice.

I wanted a Vcella, but couldn’t afford it! I bought a Paragon with a
digital pyrometer and have been very pleased. I can’t remember the
model number, but it’s an 8 1/2x8 1/2x9 kiln. It does have a
peephole, but I’m old-fashioned and like opening the door because I
can see the reflection on the surface of my piece better.

Good luck! Feel free to contact me offline if you want to discuss
kilns or enameling in detail.

Tammy Kirks
Red Bee Designs


@Tammy_Kirks1


#6

Here is a web site that list differenct kilns
http://www.lapidaryjournal.com/feature/kilns.cfm


#7

Just thought I’d mention I have a Paragon controller for my glass
kiln from Arrow Springs, and I wouldn’t be without it! (the kiln
has a small “bead” door on the side as well as opening at the top)
It cost just as much as a kiln and has been worth every penny.
It’s a little nutz to figure out how to program at first, but I can
put a different program in for annealing, fusing, firing Art Clay,
firing small ceramics… bet I could harden the Argentium Silver
(AS) in it too. I can just put in the program number and not need
to worry about constantly checking the temp. I love it… and would
advise anyone looking to get a kiln to get a digital controller
along with it, especially if you wish to use it for more than one
medium.

Kerry
CeltCraft Beads & Jewelry


#8

Jenny,

I have several kilns, but the one I find I use the most is the table
top model of the Amoco Fine-Art Metal Enameling kiln (F-A-5-E) . It
is approx. 6" in diameter with a ceramic top and a small rectangular
window. I use it for both enameling and granulation. the top surface
is solid and it sort of looks like a trinkit kiln. I bought it a few
years ago for around $150. and I had been using a trinkit kiln for
the past 30 years before it just up and died on me and I couldn’t
find replacement heating elements. You could take your pieces in and
out thru that window, but I don’t. I also have an old paragon kiln,
and I would recommend like others have to have a front door on it. My
door lowers from top to bottom out, I prefer this to the left or
right openning, because if you are standing or sitting it is just a
quick look and see. You will also need to have a perometer on it and
they don’t usually come with them, they are an add on. I have a peep
hole, but can’t really see anything in it since it is located smack
in the middle of the door and my pieces are usually lower than that.
I also have two Ney dental kilns and they are completely precise and
can be timed for cooking enamel, but whoa are they expensive (got
mine for free), they heat up to the correct temp in about 5 minutes.

If you have any further questions please feel free to email me:
@jennifer_friedman

Jennifer in paradise (Ventura, CA)


#9

-If one could afford it I will go ahead and say the same thing that
has been said before, my Vcella Kiln is wonderful. It holds &
recovers to firing heat SO much better than other kilns I have used.
As an enamelist this makes a huge difference when firing a series or
many small pieces.

Karen


#10

I have two Paragon kilns and like both for different reasons. The
new one is programmable and will hold a temp. I would not get my eye
near a peep hole of a hot kiln for any money! I use eye protection
and open the door to check on a piece. I time firings with a count
down timer. Most things need about 1 minute 30 seconds, larger things
may need a bit longer. The timer helps me not to forget I have
something in the kiln. Mostly, I stand near the kiln while firing and
step away only when I have checked to make sure nothing was
forgotten!

Best wishes.
Eileen Schneegas
Snow Goose Designs
Washington state


#11

Remember that if you buy a kiln with a window, or even a peephole,
there will be some heat loss through that.

I support your interest in the Paragon kiln. Admittedly, I’ve only
used Paragon, but they make good kilns that hold up and you can get
replacement parts.

I got my Paragon SC-2 in 1999 and it gets very hard use. I travel
with it to all my classes, and I don’t box it up or baby it when I
travel. And it gets run a lot in workshops at fast ramp speeds.

It’s holding up really well. I’ve burned off some paint…but
everything else works perfectly.

Elaine

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay