|the paragon caldera ceramics and glass kilns||here are links for all the other kilns and the on-line shop|
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 digital 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 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. For durability, the meeting edges of the lid and body are hardened with refractory cement. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple.
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:
a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise control boxes respray: normally blue
a 50mmx 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window in the centre of the lid: factory fitted: the Cadera-W
a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
charcoal for the stainless steel container used for firing some metal clays
stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
lost-wax burn-out, casting, and enamelling tray
ceramic fibre cloth
HEPA dust mask
clear protective glasses
|EXTRACTS FROM REVIEWS, AND MY OPINION|
The Caldera is a 1290°C plug-in kiln so it can use a regular 13A socket. It's small enough to get out, use, and put away, can stand anywhere, heats up quickly, and has safely embedded elements, so it's popular for course venues, schools, a jewellery studio, or a home business or hobby.
You can work with most materials and processes within its size and temperature limits, such as ceramics, adding decals to jewellery and ornaments, enamelling, fusing glass, glazes, heat treating, firing metal clays, porcelain, and vitrigraph.
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. If you don't need those add-ons yet, you might do later: so read about them before choosing?
Vitrigraph uses a Caldera to make glass stringers. The bottom of the kiln is unclipped and set aside. The kiln body is put on a thick ceramic square with a central hole. The whole thing is lifted well away from the floor to allow molten glass to fall through a small hole in a crucible and form long stringers. Ceramic squares 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 very easy to start with a small hole and see how well it works.
If your current intention is to work with enamels, glass, or 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 a top-opener. If you prefer a front-opener, still hot enough for ceramics and porcelain, look at the Paragon Xpress Q11.
It's a very robust kiln but should you ever need a replacement element, a thermocouple, or a relay, they're in stock. Checks, adjustments, and repairs are simple, needing little more than a PosiDriv screwdriver: and you can call or mail for help.
Someone was selling a shelf kit with 50mm high posts. These are too tall as the shelf would obstruct the thermocouple and the lower element. Our pro shelf kit, included in the price, has 12mm high posts although, if you need extra height, just put the shelf in without the posts. Remember to use kiln wash on the shelf: but not on the side walls and elements.
There are other kilns in the Caldera series, summarised below. To look at these, other kilns, or the price list, or shop on line, use the links at the top of the page.
There are three versions: the Caldera, Caldera-W, and Caldera-XL. The Caldera-W has a heat-resistant glass viewing-window in the lid, and the Caldera XL is 1.34 times taller inside than the Caldera and Caldera-W.
The Caldera and Caldera-W 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, shown in the third photo above, increases the internal height and has an enamelling door.
Finally, a quote from a user: I love, love, love the Caldera. I not only fuse glass and work with metal clays but 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 candleholders. And it's inexpensive to run.
|THE CALDERA: KILN FURNITURE|
There's a recommended kit, included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of kiln wash.
There's an extra recommended kit, not included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm shelf and four posts. You can choose 12mm, 25mm, or 50mm posts.
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 you might want more kits. This kiln has room for two.
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, enamel work, and fused 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.
|PARAGON KILNS INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR||KILNS, OVENS, FURNACES, PARTS, AND SUPPORT|
is a Cherry Heaven internet resource. Cherry Heaven is a top-tier international distributor for Texas-made Paragon kilns, furnaces, ovens, and accessories, 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.