I recently took a class in enameling and I'm thinking about
purchasing a kiln such as the Kingpin 88. I have a workbench in my
garage and my question is: what sort of ventilation should I have? I
want to work during the winter (in NY) and don't want any cold
drafts. Also, if anyone has some tips on setting up a safe and
productive work space - let me know.
Gary, the major thing to be concerned about is setting up a fire
proof areain which to do your firing. My large Vcella kiln is set up
so that everything around it is fire proof. The heavy duty bench on
which it is placed Is covered with unglazed quarry tiles, mortared
in. Next to the kiln I have a large 1-1/2 inch thick and 2 feet
square piece of marble which I got as scrap. When I remove my enamels
from the kiln I place them on the marble to cool off. In addition to
making enameled jewelry, I make large enameled wall pieces, and
needed a large surface to set the glowing hot enamel on when removing
them from the kiln. I have the kiln about 18" from the wall behind
it. And for added protection have a heavy piece of fireproof board
fastened to the wall. (The board is cement I think).
In addition to my Vcella, which I reserve for enameling only, I have
a programmable Paragon, which I use for Lost wax burnout. I prefer
not to use my enameling kiln for anything but enameling as I am
concerned to keep it as free of soot or coatings from anything being
burned out. Therefore, I don'thave to worry about foreign matter
contaminating my enamels. I know that many people use one kiln for
multiple purposes, and I may be overly cautious.
However I do a lot of casting, and my kiln gets pretty dirty from
the waxbeing burned off. Hence I prefer to give each activity its
own separate kiln.
Your post motivated me to create the follow up to a bench exhaust
tutorial I shared a while back.
So now I have written up and posted to Facebook my new tutorial,
"*How To Exhaust A Kiln*".
I too live in New England, Connecticut, and was concerned with the
Both of my exhaust systems (bench and kiln) vent to the outside and
I do not have any temperature or draft issues in the studio.
Take a look, maybe you'll get some ideas and if I can help just let
You wont need any extraction system if you use non leaded enamels.
If you can fined leaded they are great, but do need proper
ventilation to use them, not in a closed w/shop in winter!!..
You will need the kiln some way away from where you do all your
preparation work. As you will gather, the firing is really the last
part of the enamelling process, unless you plan to fire several
times on each piece.
However, I started enamelling using only a 1in dia propane torch and
normal air, not blown as in compressed. This did all the enamelling
I needed till I got a kiln for much bigger work, some enamelling that
needed a kiln, like counter enamelling.
Where you will need extraction is if you plan to use a band sander
to finish the edges of copper as this will produce dust, not good for
your lungs!!. Also the finishing, like polishing edges etc. This
also needs an extraction system. Preferrably vented to the outside.
I mention all these things as its fine having enamelling as a hobby,
but to earn a proper wage per hour via making and selling, thats a
different ball game.
Get back to all of us here with a much more detailed plan of
operation then we can help you get it right first time!!.
I'm a big fan of inline fans as well. They work great and quiet ones
are available, not too expensive. Just need to be far enough away
from the kiln to allow the vented gases to cool somewhat before they
reach it. I had a HVAC outfit make a 2x2x1 sheet metal hood to vent a
single kiln with a 6" round sheet metal duct to the fan. Actually the
single fan can ventilate several stations in your shop, soldering,
plating, etc. just need to be thoughtful about the ductwork and use
dampers if needed to maintain proper airflow. Mark