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[Mokume-Gane] Electric kiln


#1

I have been reading the discussion on Mokume-gane . I am
interested in purchasing an electric kiln with a temperature
controller can anyone recommend a brand? Sincerely, Jennifer
Peterson


#2

Jennifer,

Any kiln with a temperature controller will work. Ney used to
make an inexpensive kiln model # JFFA 2000 with an analog
controller I have used it for years and like it. I think it
cost $600 but I have not seen it in the catalogs lately. In a
quick check of catalogs the kilns with digital controllers are
in the $1200 and up range. If you are just starting out try
getting Steve Midgets book and or video and you can make small
billets using his “$10 Kiln” but if you are going to produce
larger billets you will need a kiln with digital controller or
coal forge.

Jim


@jbin
James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601
510-436-3552


#3

I’ve never done mokume (I hope to someday), but working with
glass where I have to have precise temperature control, I do
have a lot of experience with kilns and controllers. I think
there are options out there which are much less expensive than
buying a commercial kiln with a built-in controller.

I have three kilns, and run all of them with one separate
digital controller hooked to a thermocouple. I got my controller
through Arrow Springs (a hot glass supplier), and the owner Craig
Milliron configured the controller to accomodate the
configuration of my existing plugs and receptacles. All you need
is a kiln with a hole in the side to insert the thermocouple.
(This is a rod about a foot long and about 1/4 inch in diameter.)

He sells more than one version, depending on the number of
stages you need. The least expensive is a “set-point” controller,
which takes your kiln up to a temperature you set and holds it
there indefinitely until you turn it off. Next, are the digital
controllers which allow you to “ramp” the temperature up or down
at a certain number of degrees per hour (essential for glass).
Most are “four stage” controllers, meaning you can program four
separate heating/temperature rates per program. And they become
more complex from there, with as many as several dozen stages
possible. For any digital controller, you’re looking at something
in the $300 - $450 range. I just purchased a 55-stage controller
for $450; that included his labor to configure it to my specs,
and adapt it to my existing set-up. This is still much less
expensive than the simpler 4-stage digital controller that is on
the Neycraft and Paragon kilns.

You can also purchase controllers through large ceramic
suppliers. They also will build kilns to your specs. I’ve just
had Seattle Pottery build me a small crucible kiln for about
$225, and I know they sell an Orton digital controller for about
$325. I think the Orton is a 4-stage controller, which would
allow you to do just about anything you’d need in metalworking.

If you buy a commercial kiln with a built-in digital controller,
plan on spending about $500 just for the controller, over and
above the cost of the kiln. The beauty of designing your own
system and having it built is that you can get it for much less,
and your controller is “portable” and can be used with any other
kiln you have or decide to buy in the future (such as a burnout
kiln, enameling kiln, etc.).

Hope this helps -

Rene Roberts


#4

Rene,

Great on kiln controllers. I built my last one a

couple of years ago and it cost about $300 it sounds simular to
the basic setpoint controller you mention. I do not generaly talk
about it though as its construction requires a background in
electronics and can be a safety issue both in construction and
use if you do not know what you are doing. It is good to know
that someone is building these cheaper controllers. I am always
amazed at the prices that the jewelry vendors charge for items
like this. I will start refering people that are interested in
controllers to Arrow springs. Do you have a web address or phone

for them?

Jim


@jbin
James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601
510-436-3552


#5

For those who are interested, Arrow Springs info is

http://www.innercite.com/~flameon/
email flameon@inncercite.com
Phone # (Pacific Time) (530) 677-1400

I don’t believe Craig (owner) actually manufactures the
controllers - I think they are made in Canada. However, he is
very knowledgable about all things electrical, and can refigure
one to match an existing kiln plug/receptacle configuration.

Rene


#6

Rene:

Could you please e-mail me your source(s) for electric kilns and
controllers? I currently have an older electric kiln which may
not last much longer and have always wanted a controller but
flinched at the price.

Thanks in advance;
Steve


#7

Steve: check at a ceramics/pottery supply place for controllers.
I got one for about $295 that is identical to ones in jewelry
supply catalogs and saved almost $100. Paragon is the brand
name…Dave


#8

Steve: We offer an inexpensive furnace with a contoller. The
Neycraft kiln (15-033) $525.00, and a Paragon controller,
(15-125) for $485.00. This is a good combination at a low price
for quality USA made equipment. Regards, RG


#9

Several people have asked about the source for
kilns/controllers. I posted the info for Arrow Springs here a day
or so ago; however the kilns they make and sell are geared toward
hot glass people, and glass kilns are configured much differently
from what works for metal people. However, they may be able to
build you one to your specs.

Seattle Pottery is a large ceramics supply place in Seattle. I’m
sorry I don’t have their phone number handy, but you should be
able to get it from They build kilns, as well as
carry another kind of controller.

Hope this helps.

Rene Roberts