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Paragon Caldera Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Ceramics, Glass, Porcelain, Metal Clay, And Vitrigraph. Paragon Caldera W Kiln With A Window And A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Enamelling, Fusing Glass, And Art Clay. Paragon Caldera E Kiln With A Collar And A Sentry Xpress Controller For Beads, Enamels, Glass, And Silver Clays.

Paragon Caldera Kilns For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing And Slumping Glass, Heat Treating, Melting, Moulding, Silver Clays, Porcelain, Raku, And Vitrigraph.

Paragon Caldera kilns are generally used for ceramics, porcelain, enamels, fusing glass, testing glazes, vitrigraph, annealing beads, decals, dichroics, heat treating, jewellery moulds, melting silver, metal clays, and painting china, although they have other applications. They're 1290°C cone 10 kilns with digital programmers, in Paragon blue or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise. Learn about Paragon Caldera kilns on this page.


What is vitrigraph? Briefly, the process usually uses a Paragon Caldera kiln to make glass stringers. The clip-on bottom of the kiln is removed and set aside. The kiln body is put on a thick ceramic rectangle with a central hole. The rectangle is put on two wall brackets or any stable structure away from the floor.

A crucible of glass is put in the kiln and, as it heats, the moulten glass falls through a hole in the crucible to form long strings. Skilled artists can control the thickness of the strings and can even draw with the glass as it falls.

The Caldera uses a 500mm x 400mm x 50mm rectangle, which we cut from a large sheet of 1430°C ceramic-fibre board. Ceramic-fibre rectangles are in the on-line shop.


There are three versions: the Caldera, Caldera W, and Caldera XL. They're 1290°C cone 10, square, plug-in, top-opening, table-top kilns with firebrick interiors and Sentry Xpress 3-key programmers. The Caldera has a plain lid, the Caldera W has a lid with a window, shown in the second photo above, and the Caldera XL is 1.34 times taller inside than the Caldera and Caldera W.


Prices here are transparent: they're for UK-EU voltage, CE marked, CL CSA approved, and TUV tested kilns, and include a pro shelf kit, kiln wash, comprehensive instructions, GB-mainland delivery, UK VAT, and free continuing support from a top-tier international distributor. So you can start work straight away.

For prices, trading terms, and secure on-line shopping, use the shop link below the menu bar near the top-right of any page. The order form is on the shop page, after the price list near the bottom.

Kilns that weigh less than 30kg including the packing only need a regular parcel-service van: delivery is free within the GB-mainland. Kilns that weigh more than 30kg need a tail-lift lorry with a hydraulic pallet trolley. For delivery charges or other locations, check the shop page.

Paragon Caldera Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Ceramics, Glass, Metal Clay, Porcelain, And Vitrigraph. Paragon Caldera W Kiln With A Window And A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Ceramics, Enamel, Glass Fusing, And PMC.
Paragon Caldera Ceramics, Glass, And Vitrigraph Kiln. Paragon Caldera W Enamelling And Metal Clay Kiln.
Paragon Caldera X Extra Height Collar For Annealing, Low-Fire Ceramics, Glass Work, And Metal Clays. Paragon Caldera B Bead-Door Collar For Bead-Annealing, Enamels, Fusing Glass, And Silver Clays.
Paragon Caldera X Extra-Height Collar. Paragon Caldera B Bead-Door Collar.
Paragon Caldera E Enamelling-Door Collar For Annealing Beads, Dichroics, Enamelling, And Glass Fusing. Paragon Caldera XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Controller For Ceramics, Glass, Porcelain, Pottery, And Raku.
Paragon Caldera E Enamelling-Door Collar. Paragon Caldera XL Ceramics And Porcelain Kiln.
Paragon Caldera XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Ceramics, Glass, Porcelain, Pottery, And Raku. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.
Paragon Caldera XL Ceramics, Glass, And Raku Kiln. Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

If you want to look at specific Caldera kilns and don't need to read any general introductions, compare or review the main features, or consider other kilns, use the button below to jump down the page. I'll start with the smallest.

Click To Jump To The Caldera Kilns.

A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE PARAGON CALDERA AND CALDERA XL KILNS

OPTIONAL READING
Paragon Caldera Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Ceramics, Glass, PMC, Porcelain, Raku, And Vitrigraph. Paragon Caldera W Kiln With A Window And A Sentry Xpress Controller For Dichroics, Enamelling And Fusing Glass. Paragon Caldera Kiln With A Caldera B Bead-Annealing Collar And A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Beads And Glass. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

Paragon Caldera Kilns For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing And Slumping Glass, Heat Treating, Melting, Moulding, Silver Clays, Porcelain, Raku, And Vitrigraph.

Paragon Caldera kilns are generally used for ceramics, porcelain, enamels, fusing glass, testing glazes, vitrigraph, annealing beads, decals, dichroics, heat treating, jewellery moulds, melting silver, metal clays, and painting china, although they have other applications.


There are three versions: the Caldera, Caldera W, and Caldera XL. They're 1290°C cone 10, square, plug-in, top-opening, table-top kilns with firebrick interiors and Sentry Xpress 3-key programmers. The Caldera has a plain lid, the Caldera W has a lid with a window, shown in the second photo above, and the Caldera XL is 1.34 times taller inside than the Caldera and Caldera W.

The Caldera and the smaller FireFly look similar, but there's an important difference: the Caldera can accept clip-on collars between the base and the body. The Caldera X collar increases the internal height, the Caldera B collar increases the internal height and has a bead-annealing door, and the Caldera E collar increases the internal height and has an enamelling door. So it's a good idea to read about them before choosing?


Every version is described in detail below so, although there's a comparative table and photos, I recommend that you set aside some time and read about them.


This internet resource is very comprehensive so is much easier to use on a computer than on a tablet or a phone. If you want to compare the different versions you could print the relevant pages. They should print correctly on A4 paper but check first in Print Preview so that nothing goes missing, particularly if you normally use wide margins. Fast or economy print will use less ink.


Yours can be in Paragon blue or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise: although customised kilns are made to order, so can't be returned if the colour isn't exactly as in the photo. And it's only the control boxes that are painted: not the whole kiln.


They normally have the popular Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer. Features include twenty-five free-to-set sequences, each one with up to twenty segments. The cone-fire mode, up to cone 10, will simplify your work with ceramics.

For the Caldera XL, the Sentry Xpress 3-key can be upgraded to an enhanced Sentry 12-key. Features include up to thirty-five free-to-set sequences, each one with up to twenty segments, and automatic control over hardware options: an electric kiln vent, a gas injection system, and a USB computer interface. However, in my opinion, for a kiln of this size, it's more of a preference than a useful upgrade.

Alternatively, you can choose an advanced touch-screen Sentinel Smart Touch. Its features are similar to those of the Sentry 12-key but include real-time displays of voltage and current, a novice mode with prompts, firing sequences presented graphically, and wifi connectivity: so a functional upgrade not just a design preference.

When the programmer turns the elements off at, for example, 700°C, residual heat will continue to increase the temperature briefly. A small kiln might overshoot to, for example, 715°C before dropping back down. The programmer's software slows down the heating just before the target temperature, reducing any overshoot and improving the accuracy.

Digital programmers allow you to set up sequences, each one with multiple heating, holding, or cooling segments: so you can choose the heating and cooling rates, target temperatures, and hold times, save the sequences, and re-use them.

Being able to create, edit, and save your own programmes is important because, having experimented and diversified, most people fire materials, or combinations of materials, at different temperatures and for different times than are recommended.


The firing chamber firebricks have notch-joints at the corners: much stronger than the butt-joints or mitre-joints generally used in small kilns.

The elements are in dropped recessed grooves in the 64mm thick firebricks. The kilns are fitted with a switch that cuts off power to the elements when the kiln is opened: a UK-EU legal safety requirement.


They have special-limit nickel-chromium K-type thermocouples. These respond quickly to changes in temperature, resist corrosion, and have an error margin of less than 0.4% instead of the typical 0.8%. However, for continual high-temperature high-precision professional use, they can be upgraded to platinum-rhodium S-types.


The US-international kilns don't come with a shelf, or posts, or kiln wash. However, so that you can start work straight away, our UK-EU kilns come with a pro shelf kit included in the price: a cordierite shelf, props, and kiln wash. It isn't a £40 extra.

A durable heavy cordierite shelf resists thermal fracture, provides a smooth stable work surface, protects the floor of the kiln's interior from glass accidents, and helps to even out any small temperature deviations during annealing, enamelling, firing, fusing, and heat treating as the elements turn on and off.

A UK reseller recommended using one shelf on three 50mm posts, not four 12mm. 50mm posts waste internal space and the shelf, with your work, balanced on three posts might tip: there is a good reason why chairs and tables have four legs.


For help, or in the unlikely event of a fault, you can mail or call an engineer in the UK. However, checks, adjustments, and repairs are simple, needing little more than a PosiDriv screwdriver: watch the on-line videos using the watch-videos link or read the help pages using use the help link, both below the menu bar near the top of any page. Alternatively, we can service the kiln in our workshop at Cherry Heaven.

CASE HISTORY AND INSPIRATION

OPTIONAL READING

Paragon Caldera Kilns For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing, And Slumping Glass, Heat Treating, Melting, Moulding, Silver Clays, Porcelain, Raku, And Vitrigraph.

Becky Johnson at the Creative Arts Center uses a Caldera to make glass stringers, a process called vitrigraph. The clip-on bottom of the kiln is removed and set aside. The kiln body is put on a thick ceramic rectangle with a central hole. The rectangle is put on two wall brackets or any stable structure away from the floor. A crucible of glass is put in the kiln and, as it heats, the moulten glass falls through a hole in the crucible to form long strings.

APPLICATIONS: WHAT CAN I DO WITH A PARAGON CALDERA KILN?

OPTIONAL READING
Bronze Mask. Glass Art. Knife. Ceramics.

Paragon Caldera Kilns For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing And Slumping Glass, Heat Treating, Melting, Moulding, Silver Clays, Porcelain, Raku, And Vitrigraph.

You can use these kilns for firing ceramics, earthenware, porcelain, pottery, and stoneware, annealing beads and glass, bisqueware, ceramic art, painting china, crucible glass work, making figurines, fire polishing, glass art, glass fusing, sagging, and slumping, glass stringers, heat treating, knife making, lab testing, lampwork, mixing custom glass colours, pâte de verre, raku, sintering gold and silver clays, staining glass, testing glazes, hardening and tempering blades, cutters, dies, and tools, vitrigraph, and many other materials and processes.

Small kilns are perfect for jewellery-making, so you can use most popular small-scale materials such as Accent Gold, Art Clay metal clays, BullsEye glasses, dichroic glasses, enamels, GlasClay, Image Transfer Solution, Metal Clay Veneer, PMC silver clay, Prometheus bronze clay, ProCopper clay, and SilverEtch.
And there's an increasingly diverse range of other metal clays, such as Cinter, Clay Mania, Creative, Goldie, Hadar Jacobson, Metal Adventures, Meteor, Noble, and PMC Sterling.

You can make architectural parts, blades, bowls, ceramic jewellery, decorations, figurines, glass stringers, mugs, ornaments, plant pots, porcelain dolls, tableware, tiles, and tools, as unique hand-crafted pieces or as repeatable stock for retail.


They're ideal for your arts centre, ceramics studio, college, course venue, craft centre, engineering workshop, glass works, home, jewellery studio, medical laboratory, research unit, school, technical facility, or university.

IS A PARAGON CALDERA KILN THE BEST CHOICE?

OPTIONAL READING
Paragon Caldera Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Ceramics, Glass, Metal Clays, Raku, And Vitrigraph. Paragon Caldera W Kiln With A Window And A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Enamels, Glass Fusing, And Silver Clays. Paragon Caldera Kiln With A Caldera B Collar And A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Bead-Annealing And Glass Fusing. Paragon Caldera XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Controller For Ceramics, Glass, Porcelain, And Raku.

Is A Paragon Caldera Kiln Going To Be The Best Long Term Choice?

The Caldera is a 1290°C kiln so it's hot enough to work with ceramics, glass, porcelain, and most materials and processes within its size and temperature limits. The clip-on collars make it easier to make taller things, anneal beads, and do enamelling. However, if you think that a front-opener, larger, or more specialised kiln might be more versatile, here are some suggestions:


Bead-annealing kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 650°C. For these, look at the BlueBird. However, other kilns have bead doors: the small 1290°C Caldera B and 1095°C SC2B, the medium 1290°C Xpress E12B, and the larger 925°C Fusion 14B. These are all hotter than the BlueBird, so more versatile.

Glass kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 925°C. For these, look at the F Series, Fusion:CS Series, GL Series, or Pearl Series. These are not hot enough for ceramics and porcelain.

Jewellery, silver clay, and enamelling kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 1095°C. For these, look at the small SC Series or the medium Xpress Series. The SC series are not hot enough for ceramics and porcelain.

Vitrigraph kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 1095°C. For these, look at the small Caldera or the medium Vitrigraph.

Ceramics kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 1290°C. For these, look at the small Caldera Series and FireFly Series, medium Xpress Series, or large Janus Series, PMT Series, and TNF Series. These can also be used for glass work.

Heat-treating kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 1095°C or 1290°C. For these, look at the HT Series and PMT Series. Although they look similar, the HT has a bottom-hinged door and the PMT has a side-hinged door.

Knife-making kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 1290°C. The KM Series are made for depth rather than width. You can choose a guillotine, drop-down, or a side-hinged door.

The W Series have a top vent so are usually used for jewellery moulds and lost-wax burnout. For lost wax casting there are optional metal grids and wax trays. The small SC Series and most of the medium Xpress Series also have top vents.


To learn more about these and other kilns, use the appropriate links below the menu bar near the top of the page. And remember that each series has kilns of different sizes with different options.


VERSION DESCRIPTION MAX °C WATTS KG INTERIOR INTERIOR SIZE MM
Caldera 1290 1680 23 firebrick square 203 x 203 x 171
Caldera W with a lid window 1290 1680 23 firebrick square 203 x 203 x 171
Caldera X with an extra-height plain collar 1095 1680 30 firebrick square 203 x 203 x 285
Caldera B with a bead-door collar 1095 1680 30 firebrick square 203 x 203 x 285
Caldera E with an enamelling-door collar 815 1680 33 firebrick square 203 x 203 x 342
Caldera XL 1290 1800 34 firebrick square 191 x 191 x 229
FireFly 1290 1560 21 firebrick square 203 x 203 x 114
FireFly W with a lid window 1290 1560 21 firebrick square 203 x 203 x 114
SC2 bead-door and window options 1095 1680 16 ceramic fibre square 199 x 203 x 145
Xpress E12 bead-door and window options 1290 2200 40 firebrick rectangular 192 x 293 x 209
Xpress Q11 window option 1290 1440 20 firebrick square 152 x 152 x 159

THE PARAGON CALDERA

CERAMICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, METAL CLAYS, PORCELAIN, AND VITRIGRAPH
Paragon Caldera Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Ceramics, Glass, Metal Clays, Porcelain, And Pottery. Paragon Caldera Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Ceramics, Glass, Porcelain, Pottery, And Silver Clays. Paragon Blue Or Customised Berry, Black, Jade, Navy, Pink, Purple, Or Turquoise. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

Paragon Caldera Kiln For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing And Slumping Glass, Heat Treating, Melting, Moulding, Silver Clays, Porcelain, Raku, And Vitrigraph.

The Paragon Caldera is a 1290°C cone 10, square, plug-in, top-opening, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a cone-fire ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer. Choose Paragon blue or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V-240V 1680W, so it can use a regular mains socket. It's fitted with a switch that cuts off power to the elements when the kiln is opened: a UK-EU legal safety requirement. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The external dimensions are 330mm x 495mm x 349mm high. The body has two lifting handles on opposite sides, a removable firebrick base, and a 64mm high stand with four rubber feet. The hinged firebrick lid has a lifting handle and a stay-open prop. The shipping weight, including the box, is about 23Kg.

The firing chamber measures 203mm x 203mm x 171mm high, and heats from the back, sides, and front with the elements in dropped recessed grooves in the 64mm thick bricks. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple.

The top row of bricks doesn't have an element groove and the two meeting surfaces of the lid and body are hardened and sealed with refractory cement making the kiln stronger around the edges where the lid closes

The programmer's electronic display prompts for heating rates, target temperatures, and hold times, making it easy to set up and re-use accurate heating, holding, and cooling sequences. The cone-fire mode, up to cone 10, will simplify your work with ceramics.


The options, upgrades, and accessories for this kiln are in the on-line shop:

List. a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise control boxes respray: normally blue
List. a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List. charcoal for the stainless steel container used for firing some metal clays
List. ceramic fibre board for vitrigraph 500mm x 400mm x 50mm
List. stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List. lost-wax burn-out, casting, and enamelling tray
List. ceramic fibre cloth
List. ceramic block
List. HEPA dust mask
List. clear protective glasses
List. glare-resistant glasses
List. heat-resistant gloves

EXTRACTS FROM REVIEWS, AND MY OPINION

Reviews And Opinions.

The Caldera is a 1290°C cone 10 kiln so it's hot enough to work with ceramics, glass, porcelain, and most materials and processes within its size and temperature limits.

It's small enough to get out, use, and put away, it can stand anywhere, at 1680W it heats up quickly, and it has safety lid switch: so it's popular for classes, craft centres, jewellery studios, or home businesses, especially as it can use a regular 13A socket.


The Caldera is a top-opener. If you prefer a front-opener, still hot enough for ceramics and porcelain, look at the 1290°C Xpress Q11 or the larger Xpress E12.

For enamelling, fusing glass, or firing metal clays you might have looked at the Paragon SC2. However, as it's a 1095°C kiln, you won't be able to work with ceramics or porcelain. Remember that clay is cheap, or free: near us there are clay seams in the soil near the Southern end of Poole Harbour near Ferry Road.


The Caldera is slightly more expensive than the similar FireFly. However, it's 57mm taller inside and can accept clip-on collars between the body and the base. The Caldera X collar increases the internal height, the Caldera B collar increases the internal height and has a bead-annealing door, and the Caldera E collar increases the internal height and has an enamelling door. So it's a good idea to read about these before choosing?


Vitrigraph uses a Caldera to make glass stringers. The clip-on bottom of the kiln is removed and set aside. The kiln body is put on a thick ceramic rectangle with a central hole. The rectangle is put on two strong wall brackets or any other stable structure away from the floor.

A crucible of glass is put in the kiln and, as it heats, the moulten glass falls through a hole in the crucible to form long strings. Skilled artists can control the thickness of the strings and can even draw with the glass as it falls.

The Caldera needs a 500mm x 400mm x 50mm rectangle, which we cut from a much larger sheet of ceramic-fibre board. Ceramic-fibre rectangles are in the on-line shop.

Although there are crucibles on line, some people use a flower pot but you need to research the best size hole and how high the kiln needs to be to create good stringers. It's easy to start with a small hole and see how well it works.

There are cheap crucibles on eBay but I recommend that you check who made them as some cracked and the moulten glass went everywhere. At least with a UK/EU manufacturer you've got an informed contact.


Finally, a quote from a user: I love, love, love the Caldera. I fuse glass, work with metal clays, and teach a lot of classes so I'm firing the kiln all the time. It's a true workhorse. In three years I've not had one problem with it. I've made drop ring vases, jewellery, pots, small dishes, and candle-holders. And it's inexpensive to run.

THE CALDERA: KILN FURNITURE
Paragon Shelf Furniture For The Caldera, FireFly, HT10, PMT10, SC2, SC2 Pro, SC3, Xpress E9, and Xpress E10. Stainless Steel Pans for Activated Charcoal. Activated Charcoal. Lost Wax Burnout, Casting, And Enamelling Tray.

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Caldera, E9, E10, FireFly, SC2, SC2 PRO, SC3, Xpress E9, and Xpress E10.

The US-international kiln doesn't come with a shelf or posts or kiln wash. However, so you can start work straight away, there's a recommended kit, included in the price: one durable 178mm x 178mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of kiln wash. It's not a £40 extra.

The pro shelf resists thermal fracture, provides a smooth stable work surface, protects the floor of the kiln's interior from glass accidents, and helps to even out any small temperature deviations during annealing, enamelling, firing, and fusing as the elements turn on and off.

Depending on the material or process, and the sizes of your pieces, stacked shelves will hold more work, free up your time, and reduce the unit firing cost, so there's an extra kit, not included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm shelf and four posts. This kiln has room for two shelves so you can choose 12mm, 25mm, or 50mm props.


However you arrange several shelves and their props, make sure that you don't box in the thermocouple or have the top shelf higher than the top element. If you need a little extra height, just put the bottom shelf in without its posts. Remember to use kiln wash on the shelves.

Whatever you choose, don't work directly on the floor of the firing chamber as any accidentally melted clay, glass, or metal will ruin the firebrick.

A UK reseller recommended using one shelf on three 50mm posts, not four 12mm. 50mm posts waste internal space and the shelf, with your work, balanced on three posts might tip: there is a good reason why chairs and tables have four legs.


The kiln is large enough to accommodate a 1-litre charcoal-filled stainless steel container needed to fire some makes of bronze clay and copper clay, both described on this internet resource.


The lost-wax burnout tray for this kiln measures 178mm x 178mm x 25mm. There are two parts: a stainless steel tray and a raised metal mesh that fits into the tray. The melting wax drops into the tray instead of onto the floor of the firing chamber. The mesh can also be used for supporting beads, enamelling, and fusing glass.


If you're buying one of the collars, it might seem that there would be room for three shelves. However, the collars don't have heating elements so the lowest shelf wouldn't reach the temperature of the upper two.

THE CALDERA W: WITH A WINDOW

DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND SILVER CLAYS
Paragon Caldera W Kiln With A Window And A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Ceramics, Enamels, And Glass-Fusing. Paragon Blue Or Customised Berry, Black, Jade, Navy, Pink, Purple, Or Turquoise. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Paragon Caldera W Kiln For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing And Slumping Glass, Heat Treating, Melting, Moulding, Silver Clays, Porcelain, And Vitrigraph.

The Caldera W lid includes a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window in the centre. Otherwise it's the same as the Caldera lid. The window allows you to take a quick look at china paints, enamels, glass, and glazes to check on their progress: and you might find it interesting or reassuring to watch what happens during firing.


If you look into a red-hot kiln, even briefly, it's important to wear glare-resistant glasses to protect your eyes from IR and UV radiation. Glare-resistant glasses are in the on-line shop.

THE CALDERA X: WITH AN EXTRA HEIGHT COLLAR

DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Caldera X Extra-Height Collar . Paragon Caldera X Extra-Height Collar . Paragon Caldera X Extra-Height Collar . Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Paragon Caldera X For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing, Sagging, And Slumping Glass, Heat Treating, Melting, Moulding, And Silver Clays.

The Caldera X is a clip-on collar between the body and the base which increases the internal height from 171mm to 285mm. The collar has no heating elements, so the maximum temperature with the collar will be reduced from 1290°C to 1095°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA B: WITH A BEAD-DOOR COLLAR

BEADS, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Caldera B Bead-Annealing Collar. Paragon Caldera B Bead-Annealing Collar. Paragon Caldera B Bead Annealing Collar. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Paragon Caldera B For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing, Sagging, And Slumping Glass, Heat Treating, Melting, Moulding, Silver Clays, And Vitrigraph.

The Caldera B is a clip-on collar between the body and the base which increases the internal height from 171mm to 285mm. It includes a 165mm x 50mm bead-annealing door and a separate bead-mandrel holder. The collar has no heating elements, so the maximum temperature with the collar will be reduced from 1290°C to 980°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA E: WITH AN ENAMELLING COLLAR

BEADS, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Caldera E Enamelling Collar. Paragon Caldera E Enamelling Collar. Paragon Caldera E Enamelling Collar. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Paragon Caldera E For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing, Sagging, And Slumping Glass, Heat Treating, Melting, Moulding, Metal Clays, And Vitrigraph.

The Caldera E is a clip-on collar between the body and the base which increases the internal height from 171mm to 342mm. It includes a 165mm x 100mm enamelling door and a separate bead-mandrel holder. The collar has no heating elements, so the maximum temperature with the collar will be reduced from 1290°C to 815°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE PARAGON CALDERA XL

CERAMICS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, PORCELAIN, POTTERY, AND RAKU
Paragon Caldera XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Ceramics, Glass, Porcelain, Pottery, And Raku. Paragon Caldera XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Controller For Ceramics, Glass, Porcelain, Pottery, And Raku. Paragon Blue Or Customised Berry, Black, Jade, Navy, Pink, Purple, Or Turquoise. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Paragon Caldera XL For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing, Sagging, And Slumping Glass, Heat Treating, Melting, Moulding, Silver Clays, Porcelain, Pottery, And Raku.

The Paragon Caldera XL is a 1290°C cone 10, square, plug-in, top-opening, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a cone-fire ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer. Choose Paragon blue or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V-240V 1800W, so it can use a regular mains socket. It's fitted with a switch that cuts off power to the elements when the kiln is opened: a UK-EU legal safety requirement. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The external dimensions are 432mm x 508mm x 445mm high. The body has two lifting handles on opposite sides and a 64mm high stand with four rubber feet. The hinged firebrick lid has a lifting handle and a stay-open prop. The shipping weight, including the box, is about 34Kg.

The firing chamber measures 191mm x191mm x 229mm high, and heats from the back, both sides, and the front, with the elements in dropped recessed grooves in the 76mm thick bricks. The kiln has two electro-mechanical relays and a nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple.

The two meeting surfaces of the lid and body are hardened and sealed with refractory cement making the kiln stronger around the edges where the lid closes.

The programmer's electronic display prompts for heating rates, target temperatures, and hold times, making it easy to set up and re-use accurate heating, holding, and cooling sequences. The cone-fire mode, up to cone 10, will simplify your work with ceramics.


The options, upgrades, and accessories for this kiln are in the on-line shop:

List. a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise control boxes respray: normally blue
List. a programmer upgrade: Sentry Xpress 3-key to a Sentry 12-key: more useful features: factory fitted
List. a programmer upgrade: Sentry Xpress 3-key to a Sentinel Touch: more useful features: factory fitted
List. a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List. stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List. lost-wax burn-out, casting, and enamelling tray
List. ceramic fibre cloth
List. ceramic block
List. HEPA dust mask
List. clear protective glasses
List. glare-resistant glasses
List. heat-resistant gloves

EXTRACTS FROM REVIEWS, AND MY OPINION

Reviews And Opinions.

The Caldera XL is a 1290°C kiln so it's hot enough to work with ceramics, glass, porcelain, and most materials and processes within its size and temperature limits.

It's small enough to get out, use, and put away, it can stand anywhere, at 1800W it heats up quickly, and it has a safety lid switch: so it's popular for classes, craft centres, jewellery studios, or home businesses, especially as it can use a regular 13A socket.


The Caldera XL is a top-opener. If you prefer a front-opener, still hot enough for ceramics and porcelain, look at the 1290°C Xpress Q11 or the larger Xpress E12.

For enamelling, fusing glass, or firing metal clays you might have looked at the Paragon SC2. However, as it's a 1095°C kiln, you won't be able to work with ceramics or porcelain. Remember that clay is cheap, or free: near us there are clay seams in the soil near the Southern end of Poole Harbour near Ferry Road.


The XL's firing chamber is a one-piece construction, so it's more robust than a Caldera with a clip-on extra-height collar. Also, the 1290°C XL has top-to-bottom elements whereas the collar doesn't have any, reducing the maximum temperature to 1095°C. But the XL's construction doesn't allow for a window or a bead-annealing door.


It normally has the popular Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer. Features include up to twenty-five free-to-set sequences, each one with up to twenty segments.

You can upgrade to an enhanced Sentry 12-key. Features include up to thirty-five free-to-set sequences, each one with up to twenty segments, and automatic control over hardware options: an electric kiln vent, a gas injection system, and a USB computer interface.

Or an advanced touch-screen Sentinel Smart Touch. Its features are similar to those of the Sentry 12-key but include real-time displays of voltage and current, a novice mode with prompts, firing sequences presented graphically, and wifi connectivity: so a functional upgrade not just a design preference.

THE CALDERA XL: KILN FURNITURE

Paragon Shelf Furniture For The Caldera, FireFly, HT10, PMT10, SC2, SC2 Pro, SC3, Xpress E9, and Xpress E10. Stainless Steel Pans for Activated Charcoal. Activated Charcoal. Lost Wax Burnout, Casting, And Enamelling Tray.

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Caldera, E9, E10, FireFly, SC2, SC2 PRO, SC3, Xpress E9, and Xpress E10.

The US-international kiln doesn't come with a shelf or posts or kiln wash. However, so you can start work straight away, there's a recommended kit, included in the price: one durable 178mm x 178mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of kiln wash. It's not a £35 extra.

The pro shelf resists thermal fracture, provides a smooth stable work surface, protects the floor of the kiln's interior from glass accidents, and helps to even out any small temperature deviations during annealing, enamelling, firing, and fusing as the elements turn on and off.

Depending on the material or process, and the sizes of your pieces, stacked shelves will hold more work, free up your time, and reduce the unit firing cost, so there's an extra kit, not included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm shelf and four posts. This kiln has room for three shelves so you can choose 12mm, 25mm, or 50mm props.


However you arrange several shelves and their props, make sure that you don't box in the thermocouple or have the top shelf higher than the top element. If you need a little extra height, just put the bottom shelf in without its posts. Remember to use kiln wash on the shelves.

Whatever you choose, don't work directly on the floor of the firing chamber as any accidentally melted clay, glass, or metal will ruin the firebrick.

A UK reseller recommended using one shelf on three 50mm posts, not four 12mm. 50mm posts waste internal space and the shelf, with your work, balanced on three posts might tip: there is a good reason why chairs and tables have four legs.


The kiln is large enough to accommodate a 1-litre charcoal-filled stainless steel container needed to fire some makes of bronze clay and copper clay, both described on this internet resource.


The lost-wax burnout tray for this kiln measures 178mm x 178mm x 25mm. There are two parts: a stainless steel tray and a raised metal mesh that fits into the tray. The melting wax drops into the tray instead of onto the floor of the firing chamber. The mesh can also be used for supporting beads, enamelling, and fusing glass.

RECOMMENDED READING
General Help and FAQs For Kilns. Paragon Kiln Shelf Kit. Paragon Relay. Paragon Transformer.

Kilns, Digital Programmers, Kiln Furniture, Options, Upgrades, Firing, Kiln Logs, Accessories, Materials, Parts, Processes, Repairs, And Tools.

The remaining sections are recommended reading, unless you're already using kilns successfully.


Cherry Heaven has been a Paragon distributor since 2002, and commended every year for outstanding performance. Paragon kilns are good value: buy Paragons and you could save enough to treat yourself to a luxury five-star weekend break.

Anyone can buy a kiln to resell and call themselves a specialist, but a top-tier distributor understands all the kilns, options, and upgrades, will stock spares, offers free competent technical support, can help you repair your kiln, provides on-line repair videos, has a repair workshop, and can access Paragon's extensive knowledge-base.

If you need help, you can mail an experienced technician or call . Alternatively, to learn more about how your kiln works, use the help link below the menu bar near the top of the page.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO CLAYS

Natural Clay.

What Is Clay?

Clays are formed naturally over millions of years as rocks break up into minute particles. They consist of hydrous aluminium silicates and other compounds such as feldspar, iron oxides, mica, and quartz. Clays are collectively referred to as ceramics.

Clays are often divided into three main categories: earthenware, porcelain, and stoneware. Generally, they needs to be fired for several hours, although the exact chemical composition affects the firing temperatures and times, and the clays' colour, porosity, shrinkage, and strength.

All clays are created to mature at specific temperatures, and any variance can lead to unsatisfactory results in ceramic durability or color. If fired too high, clay can deform or even melt; if fired too low, your pieces will be dry, rough, and potentially unsolidified.

Historically, low-fire has been the most commonly used firing range due to limitations in kiln technology. Modern kilns are now capable of much more complex, high-temperature processes, but low-fire range continues to be popular because it allows ceramic artists to use a variety of colourants that either burn off or become unstable at higher temperatures.

The maximum cone rating of a stoneware or porcelain clay is the temperature at which it vitrifies. This is the hardening, tightening and finally the partial glassification of the clay. Vitrification results from fusions or melting of the various components of the clay. The strength of fired clay is increased by the formation of new crystalline growth within the clay body, particularly the growth of mullite crystals. Mullite is an aluminum silicate characterized by a long needle-like crystal. These lace the structure together, giving it cohesion and strength.

When clay vitrifies it gets very strong. This is especially important for dinnerware where pieces are exposed to a lot of abuse. Vitrification also makes the clay's porosity low.

EARTHENWARE, PORCELAIN, AND STONEWARE

Earthenware Flower Pot.

What Are Earthenware, Porcelain, And Stoneware?

Earthenware is normally beige, red, or white. It has the lowest firing temperature of the three, usually lower than 1150°C. It's slightly porous, and stains and chips easily, so it's often glazed to protect the surface. Its porosity means it's good for making terracotta planters and oven steamers, but not good for jugs or vases.


Porcelain is composed of kaolin, or china clay. Kaolin doesn't melt until 1800°C, so other compounds are usually added so it can be fired between 1250°C and 1400°C. For example, bone china is made by adding bone ash to the clay. It's known for its whiteness, hardness, smoothness, durability, and translucency. When tapped, it makes a distinctive ping: or ming.

Named after a hill in China from which it was mined for centuries, kaolin is the purest form of clay and is the foundation of all porcelain clay bodies. Though pure kaolin clays can be fired, often they are mixed with other clays to increase both workability and lower the firing temperature, so if using a kaolin-based clay body, be sure to note how pure your material is, as this will change the required temperature.

As a clay body, porcelain is known for its hardness, extremely tight density, whiteness, and translucence in thin-walled pieces. Another difficulty with porcelain bodies is that they are very prone to warping during drying in the kiln

When fired, porcelain becomes a hard, vitrified, non-absorbent clay body, very similar to high-fire stoneware. It also develops a body-glaze layer formed between the clay body and the glaze. The absence of any iron, alkalies, or alkaline earths in the molecular structure of kaolin not only dictate its high-fire requirements, but are also responsible for its most identifiable characteristic: its white color.


Stoneware is normally beige, grey, or red-brown. It's usually fired between 1150°C and 1300°C. It's hard, durable, and resists thermal shock. Glazes bond well, so it can be made waterproof.


Stoneware is a plastic clay, often grey when moist. Getting its name from the dense, rock-like nature of the clay body when fired, stoneware is typically combined with other clays to modify it, such as ball clays which might be added for plasticity. It is important to note that stoneware is divided into two types: mid-fire and high-fire.

Like low-fire bodies, mid-range stoneware is relatively soft and porous and has a clearly separate glaze layer after firing. However, a mid-range firing results in increased durability of the ware as well. When fired, stoneware ranges in color from light grey to buff, to medium grey and brown.

Mid-range glazes typically mature between Cone 4 and Cone 6, and most commercial underglazes have a maximum temperature of Cone 6. These glazes are more durable, still offer a fairly extensive color range, and though not quite as harsh as low-fire glazes, can still be quite bright.

BISQUE

Bisque.

What Is Bisque?

Bisque is clay which has been fired once, without a glaze, to a temperature just before vitrification. Firing changes the clay into ceramic material, without fully fusing it. A second, slower, firing melts the glaze and fuses it to the clay body.

BONE CHINA

Royal Victoria Bone China Cup And Saucer. Wedgewood White Dinner Set. Rose Bouquet Dessert Plates. Royal Albert Bone China Tea Set.

What Is Bone China?

Bone china is a type of porcelain composed of bone ash, feldspathic material, and kaolin. It's the strongest of the porcelain or china ceramics, having very high mechanical and physical strength and chip resistance, and is known for its high levels of whiteness and translucency. Its high strength allows it to be produced in thinner cross-sections than other types of porcelain.

From its initial development and up to the latter part of the 20th century, bone china was almost exclusively English, with production being effectively localised in Stoke-on-Trent. Most major English firms made or still make it, including Fortnum & Mason, Mintons, Coalport, Spode, Royal Crown Derby, Royal Doulton, Wedgwood, and Worcester.

In the UK, references to china or porcelain can refer to bone china, and English Porcelain has been used as a term for it, both in the UK and around the world.

POLYMER CLAY

Polymer Clay Flowers By Olga Zhukova. Polymer Clay Key Rings. Polymer Clay Beads By LiasonWithAlison. Polymer Clay Necklace By Facet Jewellery.

What Is Polymer Clay?

Polymer clay is a man-made material: tiny particles of polyvinyl chloride mixed with plasticisers and pigments. When it's baked, at around 125°C, the particles fuse and the clay hardens.

RAKU

Raku By Lori Duncan. Raku By Brian Seckinger. Raku By Greenwich Community College. Raku By Soley Ceramics.

What Is Raku?

Raku was originally a Japanese technique, but it's now become an internationally popular way to make decorative ware, with each piece having a unique blend of colours.

A bisque piece is fired to about 950°C, then glazed. It's removed from the kiln when red-hot, and put straight into a container of combustible material.

The flames, reducing atmosphere, and mix of chemicals stain the clay. When the piece is removed and quenched in cold water, interesting colours and shades remain: often unpredictable.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO GLASS AND GEMS

Obsidian. Fish. Curved Glass by Infabbrica. Lauscha By Carrie Fertig.

What Is Glass?

The main component of glass is silicon dioxide, often called silica: found naturally and plentifully as sand. When it melts, at around 1700°C, it's like syrup on a cold day. When it cools, it forms a rigid brittle glass called quartz glass.

To lower the melting point, and reduce the cost of melting, chemicals are added: typically sodium carbonate and calcium oxide. Other chemicals, and different heating and cooling processes, produce a range of colours and mechanical properties.

Chemically, glass is defined as an amorphous solid but, as it's heated, it becomes softer allowing it to be blown, cast, coated, decorated, engraved, heat-treated, moulded, poured, pressed, sagged, and slumped.

A form of glass occurs naturally within the mouth of a volcano when the intense heat of an eruption melts sand to form Obsidian, a hard black-to-brown glassy type of stone, shown in the photo. Although it was used decoratively, when it fractures it has very sharp edges, many times sharper than a steel knife-edge, so was also used for tools and weapons: and the pitiful rituals of circumcision and female genital mutilation.

ANNEALING
Annealed Beads Made Into A Necklace.

What Is Annealing?

Very briefly, annealing generally involves heating glass or metal to it's annealing point, maintaining a specific temperature for a set time, and then cooling it to room temperature.

During annealing, fabrication stresses are relieved as the molecules cool and arrange themselves into a regular stable matrix. Successful annealing is the key to creating work that will remain attractive and durable. It can be quite a long process, and involve multiple phases, so a kiln with an automatic comprehensive programmer is essential.

FREE BEAD ANNEALING GUIDE

A Bead Annealing Guide.

You can download, and print, a Bead Annealing Guide. Paragon created it in 2013 so it's only a guide, not a contemporary definitive document. Click here. It's a pdf file, but your device should already have a pdf viewer.

BOILED GLASS
Boiled Glass.

Glass scraps, with optional bubble powder, are put in a tray or a mould and heated. As the temperature increases the glasses begin to bubble. The bubbles mix the colours and give a natural organic appearance. The glasses need to be compatible as different colours and expansion coefficient might not work, so the boiled glass technique needs experiment and practice.

You increase the temperature at about 300°C per hour to 925°C with no bubble squeeze and soak for 10–15 minutes. Then allow the kiln to drop the temperature as fast as possible to about 815°C and soak there for around 30 minutes to allow the little bubbles to rise to the surface and burst. Then reduce to the annealing temperature and soak for the thickness you calculated in preparation for the firing.

CUBIC ZIRCONIA
Cubic Zirconia.

What Are Cubic Zirconia.

Cubic Zirconia is the most popular substitute for a diamond because they look almost dentical. Cubic Zirconia or CZ, is made from zirconium dioxide which comes closer than any other gem to matching the characteristics of a diamond. It's not quite as hard as diamond and is slightly less sparkly but displays more prismatic fire with more colour sparkles within the gem, especially if metal oxides are added during the production process.

Caring for CZ is important because they are more brittle than diamonds and susceptible to wear and tear such as chipping and scratches over time.

DECALS
Rose By Arwen Moore Design.

What Are Decals?

A decal or transfer is an image or pattern printed on a ceramic, cloth, paper, or plastic substrate that can be moved on to another surface, usually with the aid of water and heat.

A wet decal can be slid into position, allowed to dry, and then heated in a kiln. Most ceramic decals come with a cone number for easy firing, typically cone 022. The programmer on the Paragon Fusion 7XL has pre-set cone numbers as well as the normal ramp-hold options used for general glass work.

Decals are a quick and fun way to decorate bottles, glasses, and vases, as most low-fire ceramic decals and low-fire glass decals will work very well, even on float glass.

DIAMONDS
Diamond.

What Are Diamonds?

Diamonds are not a form of glass: they're naturally occurring gems composed of carbon atoms arranged in a very regular pattern.

Between 1 billion to 3.3 billion years ago, simple carbon containing trace minerals was transformed into diamonds by heat and pressure at depths of over 100 miles below the earth’s surface. We can’t mine down far enough to reach the earth’s mantle but fortunately volcanic eruptions brought the diamonds closer to the surface. They're extremely hard and until recently were regarded as the world's hardest natural material.

Although diamonds are extremely expensive, their price is governed by carat, cut, colour, and clarity. It’s very rare to find a diamond that doesn’t contain flaws: however the impurities, and internal refraction and dispersion of light, give diamonds their brilliance.


Synthetic diamonds are manufactured and are identical in hardness, dispersion, gravity, refraction and chemical composition to the highest quality mined diamonds available. Whereas a one-carat top quality diamond would cost thousands of pounds to buy, the same quality man-made diamond could be made for less than £5.

This will obviously have a huge impact on the diamond industry over the next few years as when comparing a cultured and mined diamond side by side they are virtually undistinguishable. A bit like pearls, they can be grown from a single crystal using chemical vapor deposition.

DICHROIC GLASS
Dichroic Glass.

What Are Dichroic Glasses.

Dichroic glass has two different colours: a transmitted colour and a reflective colour, both of which change depending on the angle of view. For example blue-red will be blue in transmission and red in reflection.

During manufacture, quartz and metal oxides are vapourised onto the surface of the glass using a vacuum deposition process, forming a multi-layer crystal structure.

ENAMELLING
Enamelled Jewellery.

What Is Enamelling?

Enamelling involves applying a glass paste to metal and then heating it to fuse it to the surface. The finish of the enamel can be translucent or opaque depending on the temperature used to melt the glass. Higher temperatures result in a more transparent and durable enamel whilst lower temperatures give a more opaque and fragile surface. Dyes and pigments can be included to produce any colour.

The Paragon SC2 is ideal for enamelling, although other kilns are fine. So click the sc2-sc3:jewellery link below the menu bar near the top of the page. The SC-2W and SC-3W doors include a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window in the centre of the door, allowing you to take a quick peep at china paints, enamels, glass, and glazes to check on their progress

FIRE POLISHING
Fire Polished Glass.

What Is Fire Polishing?

To fire polish glass, return the items to the kiln and melt them just enough to give a smooth polished appearance. It needs a temperature of around 700°C, and is often used to round the edges of glass after fusing.

Fire polishing already-slumped items is more difficult because the polishing temperature is close to the slumping temperature and it can distort the appearance of the piece. So it generally works best for flat items, rather than slumped ones. It has the slight limitation that the part of the item that touches the kiln shelf won't polish.

FUSING, SAGGING, AND SLUMPING
Fused Glass.

What Is Glass Fusing?

If two or more pieces of glass in contact are heated, they begin to soften and fuse together. With careful heating and cooling, the separate pieces of glass become one.

If glass is put on a mould and heated, it begins to soften and collapse, or sag, onto the mould: a common technique for making bowls and plates.

Sagging and slumping are often thought of as being the same. Correctly: during sagging, heated glass, supported at its edges, sags down in the middle to conform to a mould; during slumping, heated glass, supported at its middle, slumps down at its edges to conform to a mould.

LAMPWORK AND BEADS
Beads.

What Is Lampwork?

Lamp-working is the traditional name for glasswork that uses a flame to melt glass rods and tubes. As the glass softens, it's shaped by turning and using tools.

Early lampworkers used an oil-lamp, and blew air into the flame through a pipe. Later, propane, natural gas, or butane torches replaced the lamp, although kilns are now increasingly popular, particularly for annealing.

Beads are usually made on steel rods, or mandrels. When the beads are finished, the rods are removed leaving holes for threading the beads. Cold working techniques can be used, such as etching, faceting, polishing, and sandblasting.

LOST-WAX BURNOUT
Paragon W13 Lost Wax Casting Kiln With A Sentry Programmer.

What Is Lost Wax Burnout And Casting.

Lost-wax burnout starts with making a wax shape and then making a mould of the shape. When the mould is heated in a kiln, the wax melts out through channels, usually over a burnout grate and into a tray. The shape is then cast in glass or metal from the mould.

It's important to prevent wax or carbon sticking to the elements, so burnout kilns have a top vent to release the fumes. Carbon build-up inside a kiln conducts electricity and can cause the elements to short circuit.

I've written some general instructions here but, as always, making anything successfully needs critical research and frequent tests, especially as things that work for your friends and teachers might not work in the same way for you. It's also very important to learn how to creatively use unexpected effects.

The most popular kilns for lost wax processes are the Paragon W series: the W13, W14, and W18. Learn about these by using the w:lost-wax-burnout link below the menu bar near the top of the page. Wax burnout trays, glare-resistant glasses, and heat-resistant gloves are in the on-line shop.

HOW TO DO LOST WAX BURNOUT

How To Do Lost Wax Burnout And Casting.

1 : Place a metal tray inside the kiln on a few 12mm posts. Place the mould on a grate on top of the tray. The mould’s sprue holes should face down. The tray will catch melting wax as it drips from the sprue holes.

2 : Keep the kiln’s vent hole open during wax elimination. If the kiln has no vent hole, leave the door open 12mm. This allows fumes to escape from the kiln. Heat the kiln to 148°C and hold it at that temperature for at least one hour. Do NOT heat the wax above 148°C.

3 : During this hour, the wax will melt from the mould and drip into the tray. If the kiln gets hotter than 148°C, the wax may smoke and deposit carbon inside your kiln, causing expensive damage.

4 : After one hour at 148°C, open the kiln. Remove the mould and wax tray. Pour the wax from the tray and leave the tray out of the kiln until your next wax elimination. Don't leave the tray in the kiln.

5 : Harden the mould to the temperature recommended by your mould material manufacturer.

6 : Finally, adjust the temperature to the casting temperature of the glass or metal. Hold at that temperature until you are ready to begin casting. Remove the mould with tongs. Wear protective gloves and safety glasses.


Over time, a small amount of carbon can form on the firing chamber walls as any wax residue left in the mould burns off. So I recommend that you periodically open the vent or leave the door open 12mm, and fire the kiln empty to 815°C at a rate of 166°C with a one hour hold.

MOISSANITE
Moissanite.

What Is Moissanite.

Moissanite is another diamond substitute which is a rare mineral found naturally in small quantities, although Moissanite for jewellery is artificially made. It’s made from Silicon Carbide which means it’s able to withstand high temperatures and is very hard.

Moissanite is noticeably much sparklier and displays more prismatic fire than a diamond which is noticeable even to an untrained observer. Moissanite does have inclusions like a diamond and it may also have a greenish tinge to its colour.

PÂTE DE VERRE
Pâte De Verre.

What Is Pâte De Verre?

Pâte de verre involves making a glass paste, applying it to a mould, firing it, and removing the piece from the mould. The glass paste is usually made from glass powder, a binder such as gum arabic, distilled water, and colouring agents or enamels. It allows precise placing of colours in the mould, whereas other techniques often result in the glass straying from its intended position.

I think, currently, Daum is the only large commercial crystal manufacturer using the pâte de verre process for art glass and crystal sculptures.

SLUMPING BOTTLES
Slumped Bottle.

What Is Glass Slumping?

This a simple technique but it requires good ideas. A bottle, such as those used for wine, beer, cola, or champagne, is softened in a kiln so that it begins to flatten out or conforms to a mould. There are too many moulds to stock here but there are lots available on line. Or make your own from clay.

The bottles need to be clean and dry, with all paper labels and tops removed. Put them in your kiln on a shelf, either with shelf paper or kiln wash to prevent the glass sticking to the shelf.

Paragon makes a kiln designed for this: the Trio. So click the trio link below the menu bar near the top of the page. It's wide enough for most bottles but can still use a regular socket.

STAINED GLASS
Stained Glass.

What Is Stained Glass?

Stained glass is glass that has been coloured by adding metallic salts during its manufacture. The coloured glass is crafted into stained glass windows in which small pieces of glass are arranged to form patterns or pictures, traditionally held together by strips of lead and supported by a rigid frame. Painted details and yellow stain are often used to enhance the design.

The term stained glass is also applied to windows in which the colours have been painted onto the glass and then fused to the glass in a kiln.

It requires artistic skill to conceive an appropriate and workable design, and engineering skills to assemble the piece. A window must fit snugly into the space for which it is made, must resist wind and rain, and also, especially in the larger windows, must support its own weight. Many large windows have withstood the test of time and remained substantially intact since the Late Middle Ages.

SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL
Swarovski Crystal.

What Is Swarovski Crystal?

Swarovski Crystal isn’t a gemstone or even a crystal: it’s a form of glass made at high temperatures by melting silicon oxide powders with lead to form what is known as lead crystal. The exact process is patented by Swarovski but it has approximately 32% lead content to increase the crystals refraction index to resemble that of a diamond. To produce a diamond like effect the crystal glass is precision cut and then polished again by a Swarovski patented process that gives the crystal a high quality finish.

The crystals are often further enhanced by coating the glass with an Aurora Borealis or AB coating that gives the surface a rainbow like appearance to simulate dispersion from a diamond. Swarovski crystal is not as hard as diamond so its susceptible to scratches and chipping from wear and tear, but it’s harder than standard glass.

TACK FUSING
Tack Fused Glass.

What Is Tack Fusing?

Tack fusing is the joining together of glass, with as little change to the shape of the pieces as possible. Tack fusing may be used either decoratively, or to assemble a large piece of glass from laminations.

Where tack fusing is used to apply small decorative details to a larger piece, you might want to partially melt the small pieces so that they change shape, usually becoming more spherical under the influence of surface tension, but without changing the shape of the carrier piece. This can be done by using an increased temperature, but only briefly. The carrier piece has a larger thermal mass, so heats up more slowly than the small decorations.

VITRIGRAPH WORK
Glass Stringers. Paragon Caldera Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Vitrigraph. Ceramic-Fibre Boards. Crucible.

What Is Vitrigraph?

The vitrigraph process usually uses a Paragon Caldera kiln to make glass stringers. The clip-on bottom of the kiln is removed and set aside. The kiln body is put on a thick ceramic rectangle with a central hole. The rectangle is put on two wall brackets or any stable structure away from the floor.

A crucible of glass is put in the kiln and, as it heats, the moulten glass falls through a hole in the crucible to form long stringers. Skilled artists can control the thickness of the stringers and can even draw with the glass as it comes out.


The Caldera needs a 500mm x 400mm x 50mm rectangle, which we cut for you from a much larger sheet. Normal kiln shelves are made from cordierite: a very dense hard ceramic. A suitable-size rectangle would be fairly heavy and hard to cut and drill, so we we use ceramic-fibre board. Ceramic-fibre rectangles are in the on-line shop.

Ceramic-fibre board is made from vacuum-formed fibre. It doesn't retain heat, has a low thermal conductivity, and is stable at temperatures up to 1430°C. If you need to trim it, use a knife, handsaw, or electric jigsaw, but cut it neatly because, as it's fibrous, you can't use a file or sandpaper successfully.


When you work with any fibrous material, don't get the fibres on your hands or breathe them in: ideally, you should put on gloves, wear a HEPA dust mask, use clear protective glasses, and wash your hands afterwards.

WARM GLASS
Warm Glass Flower Bowl.

What Is Warm Glass?

The term warm glass refers to fusing, slumping, and other glass processes which take place at temperatures between about 600°C to 925°C. Although that doesn't sound warm, it is when you compare it to glassblower's working temperatures, which often exceed 1100°C. Warm glass is sometimes called kiln-formed glass.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO METAL CLAYS
Art Clay Silver Clay. Acrylic Tools. Clay Shapers. Hand Tools.

What Is A Metal Clay?

Metal Clays are clay-like materials made of fine metal powders and water-soluble organic binders. Out of the packet they feel like modelling clay, so can be shaped using anything appropriate. If you don't like what you've made, you can roll it up and start again. Any scraps can be wrapped up in cling-film or foil and re-used, so there's almost no waste.

When you're happy with your work, it's dried so that the moisture can evaporate. At this stage it feels like a plaster, so you can still refine the shape: or even add more clay.

As it's fired, the binders vapourise, releasing small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid metal: real metal, not something that just looks like metal. The firing temperature isn't high enough to melt the metal otherwise your work would liquify and lose it's shape.


Although Art Clay and PMC silver clays were first to market, there's now an increasingly diverse range of metal clays, such as Cinter, Clay Mania, Creative, Goldie, Hadar Jacobson, Metal Adventures, Meteor, Noble, PMC Sterling, and Prometheus.

I sometimes get asked if there's a platinum metal clay: there is, but it's an industrial product. Platinum melts at 1772°C, so a platimum clay would probably need to fire at around 1600°C: beyond the maximum temperature of conventional kilns.


All our tools have been chosen for their engineering excellence and clean functionality, to help you manage a creative and efficient work environment. And you'll enjoy using good tools rather than continually improvising. To learn more, use the accessories-tools link below the menu bar near the top of the page.

SILVER CLAY
Art Clay Silver Pendant. Art Clay Silver Necklace. Art Clay Silver Pendant. Art Clay Silver Brooch.

Aida Art Clay Silver And Mitsubishi PMC Silver Clay.

There are two popular makes of silver clay: Art Clay made by Aida Chemical Industries and PMC made by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, in Japan. They're both clay-like materials made of fine silver powder and water-soluble organic binders.

Art Clay Silver and PMC Silver, sometimes just called silver clay, metal clay, or precious-metal clay, are easy to fire: put your dried work on a kiln shelf and programme the temperature and hold-time.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid 999 silver: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


Although we chose to work with, sell, and provide classes in Art Clay, both makes fire in a similar way. So any kiln suitable for Art Clay will be just as good for PMC.

If you're currently using PMC, try Art Clay. There are differences in the feel, the shrinkage, the strength, the surface lustre, the product range, the pricing, and the general commercial setup if you're running a serious business.


To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

BRONZE CLAY
Bronze-Copper Lobster Bangle By Gordon Uyehara.

Bronze Clay And BronzClay.

There are three popular makes of bronze clay: Bronze Clay made by ClayMania, BronzClay made by Metal Adventures, and Prometheus Bronze ProClay made by Odak. They're all clay-like materials made of fine bronze powder and water-soluble organic binders. However, they're fired in different ways:

Prometheus Bronze Clay is easy to fire: wrap your dried work in kitchen tissue or ceramic cloth, put it on a kiln shelf, and programme the temperature and hold time. It can also be fired in charcoal.

Clay Mania Bronze Clay and MetalAdventures BronzClay fire in a special way. Fired normally, the surface would oxidise so, to minimize this, they're embedded in activated charcoal granules in a covered stainless steel container. Charcoal made from coconut shells produces a natural bronze colour, and charcoal made from coal produces a colourful range of patinas.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid bronze, an alloy of 89% copper and 11% tin: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.


The stainless steel container for the Paragon SC-2 measures 162mm x 176mm x 100mm high, and holds 1 litre of charcoal. To fire larger pieces, or more pieces at the same time, you'll need a larger kiln, such as the Paragon Xpress E-12A. The container for the E-12A measures 265mm x 162mm x 152mm high and holds 3 litres of charcoal.

The 1230°C firebrick E12A costs more than the 1095°C ceramic-fibre SC2. However, it's two and a half times larger than the SC-2 and is a versatile mixed-media kiln suited to continual high temperatures.

Particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so wear a HEPA mask when cleaning out your kiln, mixing kiln wash, and working with charcoals, ceramic-fibre blocks, cloths, and papers. And, ideally, use protective glasses.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


I can't recommend one clay as being the best. There are differences in the feel, the firing, the shrinkage, the strength, and the surface patinas, so try them and experiment: they're not expensive.
However, as Prometheus Bronze Clay is easy to fire and costs less than the others, try it first? It comes as 100gm of soft clay in a packet, or 10gm of creamy clay in a syringe with three tips that you can cut or shape.

There's also Creative Bronze, which is almost certainly Prometheus Bronze Clay renamed. I'll leave it you to work out why very similar products can differ so much in price.


Also, in November 2014, 100gms of Art Clay Silver Clay costs about 12 times more than Prometheus Bronze Clay. So, if you're still in the learning phase, you can try out ideas before possibly wasting your expensive silver clay. However, bronze is a beautiful metal so, as with many materials, you need to exploit its qualities and try to produce beautiful original pieces.

To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

COPPER CLAY
Copper Earring By Zina Kuscynska Richterova.

Copper Clay And CopprClay.

There are four popular makes of copper clay: Art Clay Copper made by Aida Chemical Industries, Copper Clay made by ClayMania, CopprClay made by Metal Adventures, and Prometheus Copper ProClay made by Odak. They're all clay-like materials made of fine copper powder and water-soluble organic binders. However, they're fired in different ways:

Clay Mania Copper Clay and MetalAdventures CopprClay fire in a special way. Fired normally, the surface would oxidise so, to minimize this, they're embedded in activated charcoal granules in a covered stainless steel container. Charcoal made from coconut shells produces a natural copper colour.

Art Clay Copper is easy to fire: put your dried work on a kiln shelf, and programme the temperature and hold time. In most kilns, several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time: so you might want more than one.

Prometheus Copper Clay is easy to fire: wrap your dried work in kitchen tissue or ceramic cloth, put it on a kiln shelf, and programme the temperature and hold time. It can also be fired in charcoal.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid copper: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.


The stainless steel container for the Paragon SC-2 measures 162mm x 176mm x 100mm, and holds 1 litre of charcoal. To fire larger pieces, or more pieces at the same time, you'll need a larger kiln, such as the Paragon Xpress E-12A. The container for the E-12A measures 265mm x 162mm x 152mm and holds 3 litres of charcoal.

The 1230°C firebrick E12A costs more than the 1095°C ceramic-fibre SC2. However, it's two and a half times larger than the SC-2 and is a versatile mixed-media kiln suited to continual high temperatures.

Particulates represent a health risk if they're breathed in, so wear a HEPA mask when cleaning out your kiln, mixing kiln wash, and working with charcoals, ceramic-fibre blocks, cloths, and papers. And, ideally, use protective glasses.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


I can't recommend one clay as being the best. There are differences in the feel, the firing, the shrinkage, the strength, and the surface patinas, so try them and experiment: they're not expensive.
However, as Prometheus Copper Clay is easy to fire and costs less than the others, try it first? It comes as 100gm of soft clay in a packet, or 10gm of creamy clay in a syringe with three tips that you can cut or shape.

There's also Creative Copper, which is almost certainly Prometheus Copper Clay renamed. I'll leave it you to work out why very similar products can differ so much in price.


Also, in November 2014, 100gms of Art Clay Silver Clay costs about 12 times more than Prometheus Copper Clay. So, if you're still in the learning phase, you can try out ideas before possibly wasting your expensive silver clay. However, copper is a beautiful metal so, as with many materials, you need to exploit its qualities and try to produce beautiful original pieces.

To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

GOLD CLAY
Gold Clay Pendant By Claudia S Atkins.

Aida Art Clay Gold And Mitsubishi PMC Gold Clay.

There are two popular makes of gold clay: Art Clay made by Aida Chemical Industries and PMC made by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, in Japan. They're both clay-like materials made of fine gold powder and water-soluble organic binders.

Art Clay Gold and PMC Gold, sometimes just called gold clay, metal clay, or precious-metal clay, are easy to fire: put your dried work on a kiln shelf and programme the temperature and hold-time.

As they're fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very small amounts of non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, and the metal powder sinters, leaving solid 22 carat gold: real metal, not something that just looks like metal.

All jewellery kilns include a durable shelf kit so that you can start work straight away, but several shelves can be stacked to make better use of your time and reduce the unit-cost of firing: so you might want more than one.


Although we chose to work with, sell, and provide classes in Art Clay, both makes fire in a similar way. So any kiln suitable for Art Clay will be just as good for PMC.

If you're currently using PMC, try Art Clay. There are differences in the feel, the shrinkage, the strength, the surface lustre, the product range, the pricing, and the general commercial setup if you're running a serious business.


To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. You can buy ArtClay, bronze clay, copper clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

PARAGON KILNS INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR

KILNS, OVENS, FURNACES, PARTS, AND SUPPORT
Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer PCB. Paragon Type-K Thermocouple. Paragon Relay. Paragon Shelf Kit.

Paragon Kilns, Furnaces, and Ovens For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Enamels, Glass, Jewellery, Knife Making, Lost Wax, Silver Clays, Heat Treating, Lampwork, Porcelain, And Vitrigraph.

is a Cherry Heaven internet resource. Cherry Heaven is a top-tier international distributor for Texas-made Paragon kilns, furnaces, and ovens, and has been one of their top-selling partners from 2006 to : a pleasing outcome since the UK is only one third the area of Texas and one fortieth the area of the US.

As this is an on-line resource, there isn't a paper catalogue or a price list. However, you can mail or call a technician about kilns, power supplies, public area safety, a special project, business ideas, diagnostics, repairs, or reselling opportunities.


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Ceramic Block.
Ceramic Cloth.
EU Plug.
UK-EU Adapter.
Dry Powder Extinguisher.
Glare Resistant Glasses.
HEPA Mask.
heat-resistant Gloves.
Kitiki Cutters.
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Kitiki Flat-Nose Pliers.
Kitiki Pointed-Nose Pliers.
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Kitiki Round-Nose Pliers.
Protective Glasses.
Potter & Brumfield Relay.
Dorset, SW England.
UK 13A Plug.
Large Rubber Drum 950gm Open
The AX-4 Digital Controller.
MiniKiln Closed.
Bartlett-Paragon Touch Screen Digital Controller.
Paragon BlueBird Bead Annealing Kiln.
Lauscha by Carrie Fertig.
Activated Charcoal Granules.
Paragon Caldera Ceramics And Glass Kiln.
Paragon Caldera Bead, Enamels, And Glass Kiln.
Paragon Crucible.
Paragon Fusion CS14D Glass Kiln.
Paragon Fusion CS14SB Glass And Bead Kiln.
Paragon Caldera XL Ceramics Kiln.
Paragon F500 Lampwork Kiln.
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Paragon HT-14D Heat Treating Furnace.
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Paragon KM18D Knife Making Oven.
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Paragon Pearl 22 Glass Kiln.
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USB Plug.
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Prometheus Pro-7.