Paragon Kilns Paragon Kilns
the paragon xpress mixed-use kilns smaller kilns at electrickilns.co.uk or tumblers at electrictumblers.co.uk
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Paragon Xpress E12A Mixed Media Kiln
Cherry Heaven TV
Paragon Sentinel SmartTouch Digital Programmer
Paragon Sentry Digital Programmer
Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer
Paragon Xpress 1613-3 Ceramics Kiln
Paragon Xpress 66-3 Ceramics Kiln
Paragon Xpress J-14 Glass Kiln
Paragon Xpress E-14A Glass Kiln
Paragon Xpress E-12A Mixed-Use Kiln
Paragon Xpress E-12A Mixed-Use Kiln
Paragon Xpress E-12A Mixed-Use Kiln
Paragon Xpress E-10A Heat Treating Kiln
Paragon Xpress E-10A Heat Treating Kiln
Paragon Xpress E-9A Jewellery Kiln
Paragon Xpress Q-11A Porcelain Kiln
Cherry Heaven TV
The French Flag The Italian Flag The Spanish Flag The Swedish Flag
UK To EU Plug Adapter
Ceramic Block
Ceramic Cloth
EU Plug
UK-EU Adapter
Kitiki Cutters
Kitiki Flush Cutters
Kitiki Flat-Nose Pliers
Kitiki Pointed-Nose Pliers
Kitiki Bent-Nose Pliers
Kitiki Round-Nose Pliers
Potter & Brumfield Relay
Dorset, SW England
UK Plug
The AX-4 Digital Controller
MiniKiln Closed
Prometheus Pro-7
Bartlett V6-CF Digital Controller
Paragon BlueBird Open
Lauscha by Carrie Fertig
Activated Charcoal Granules
Paragon Caldera A Closed
Paragon Caldera AB Closed
Paragon Fusion CS14D Open
Paragon Fusion CS14SB Closed
Paragon Caldera XL Closed
Paragon FireFly A Closed
Paragon Fusion 7 Open
Paragon Fusion 8 Open
Paragon GL18ADTSD Open
Paragon HT-14D Closed
Paragon Janus 1613 Open
Paragon KM18D
Paragon-Orton Vent Master: Unassembled
Paragon-Orton Vent Master: Suction Cup
Paragon Pearl 18 Open
Paragon PMT21
Stainless Steel Pans
Paragon SC-2 Black Open
Paragon SC2 Open
Paragon SC2B Open
Paragon SC2W Open
Paragon SC4 Closed
Paragon SC1 Closed
Paragon SC1 Open
Paragon SC1W Closed
Paragon SC2BW Open
Paragon SC2D Pro-3 Open
Paragon SC2 Shelf Kit
Paragon SC-2 Jade Closed
Paragon SC-2 Black Closed
Orton Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer
Orton Sentry 2.0 Digital Programmer
Bartlett Sentinel Touch-Screen
Paragon SC-2 Pink Open
Paragon SC-2 Pro Black Open
Paragon SC-2 Turqoise Open
Paragon SC-2 Purple Open
Paragon SC-2 Navy Closed
Paragon SC-2 Berry Closed
Paragon ST-8 Table
Paragon TNF 1613 Closed
Paragon GL24 Table
Paragon Xpress 1613 Top Row Bricks
USB Plug
Paragon Xpress E-12A Open
Paragon Xpress E-12AB Closed
Paragon Xpress E-14 Closed
Paragon Xpress Q-11A Open
Paragon F500 Open
Paragon Xpress E9A Metal Clay Kiln
Paragon Xpress E10A Heat Treating Kiln
Paragon Xpress 1613 Ceramics Kiln
Paragon Xpress Q11A Porcelain Kiln
Paragon Xpress E12A Heat Treating Kiln
Paragon Xpress E14A Glass Kiln
Paragon Xpress E12ABW Enamelling Kiln
Paragon Xpress E10AW Glass Kiln With 12-Key
Paragon Xpress E9A Silver Clay Kiln
Paragon Xpress J14 Glass Kiln
Paragon Xpress 1313 Ceramics Kiln
Paragon Xpress E12AB Bead Kiln

Paragon Xpress Kilns For Annealing, Art Clay, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, PMC, And Porcelain.

Paragon Xpress kilns are generally used for ceramics, glass, heat treating, metal clays, and porcelain, although they have other applications. They are, with one exception, 1095°C-1290°C kilns with digital programmers, in Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise. The exception is the 925°C ceramic-fibre Xpress J14. Learn all about the Paragon Xpress kilns on this page.

There are nineteen in the series: the front-opening table-top Xpress Q11A, Q11AW, E9A, 9AW, E10A, E10AB, E10AW, E10ABW, E12A, E12AB, E12AW, E12ABW, E14A, E14AB, E14AW, E14ABW, J14, and the top-opening floor-standing Xpress 1313 and 1613. The B versions have a bead-annealing door, the W have a heat-resistant glass viewing-window, and the BW have both.

The E10, E12, E14A, J14, 1313, and 1613 kilns have a built-in Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer, which can be upgraded to a Sentry 12-key or a Sentinel Touch Screen programmer, shown in some of the photos. Both have advanced and time-saving features, including optional automatic control over an electric kiln vent, a gas injection system, and a USB or RS232 computer interface.


For prices, use the shop link below the menu bar near the top-right of any page. They're for UK-EU voltage, CE-marked, TUV tested, and CL and CSA approved kilns, with safety switches, and include comprehensive manuals and UK VAT. You can start work straight away.


Cherry Heaven TV has made an on-line photo book featuring these popular kilns: click the Cherry Heaven TV Player above. It starts with the Paragon Xpress Q11A, and continues with the larger E9A, E10A, J11, E12A, E14A, J14, 119, 663, and 1613, the Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer, the Sentry 12-key programmer, and the Sentinel Touch Screen programmer.

THE PARAGON XPRESS SERIES: PHOTOS

Paragon Xpress Kilns For Annealing, Art Clay, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, PMC, And Porcelain.

To look at the pop-up photos, hold your mouse over the zoom buttons below: you don't need to click.


Paragon Xpress Q11A Porcelain Kiln Paragon Xpress Q11A Ceramics And Porcelain Kiln.

Paragon Xpress E9A Jewellery Kiln Paragon Xpress E9A Jewellery And Silver Clay Kiln.

Paragon Xpress E9A Jewellery Kiln In Purple Paragon Xpress E9A Jewellery And Metal Clay Kiln.

Paragon Xpress E10A Ceramics Kiln Paragon Xpress E10A Ceramics And Heat-Treating Kiln.

Paragon Xpress E10AW 12-Key Ceramics Kiln Paragon Xpress E10AW 12-Key Glass And Heat-Treating Kiln.

Paragon Xpress E12A Ceramics Kiln Paragon Xpress E12A Ceramics And Glass Kiln.

Paragon Xpress E12AB Ceramics Kiln Paragon Xpress E12AB Bead And Glass Kiln.

Paragon Xpress E12ABW Ceramics Kiln Paragon Xpress E12ABW Glass And Enamelling Kiln.

Paragon Xpress E14A Glass Kiln Paragon Xpress E14A Glass Kiln.

Paragon Xpress J14 Glass Kiln Paragon Xpress J14 Glass Kiln.

Paragon Xpress 1313 Ceramics Kiln Paragon Xpress 1313 Ceramics And Glass Kiln.

Paragon Xpress 1613 Ceramics Kiln Paragon Xpress 1613 Ceramics And Glass Kiln.

Paragon-Orton Sentry Xpress Digital Controller Paragon Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer.

Paragon-Orton Sentry Digital Controller Paragon Sentry Digital Programmer.

Paragon-Bartlett Sentinel Smart Touch Digital Controller Paragon Sentinel Touch-Screen Digital Programmer.

STAY ON THIS RESOURCE, OR SWITCH TO ANOTHER?

Paragon Kilns, Electric Kilns, Kitiki Kilns, or Prometheus Kilns? Or Mail Or Call Cherry Heaven.

For your convenience, I've separated all the kilns into two very general groups on two separate internet resources, although there's cross-over. If you want to switch resources, use the links above the menu bar near the top of the page.


Electric Kilns is generally for smaller plug-in table-top kilns usually used for small-scale work such as annealing beads, Art Clay metal clays, dichroics, enamels, glass fusing, jewellery, lampwork, PMC silver clay, porcelain, and vitrigraph.

Paragon Kilns is generally for larger wired-in floor-standing or table-top kilns usually used for business-scale work such as annealing, casting, ceramics, earthenware, glass panels, heat treating, making knives, porcelain, pottery, and raku.

THE PARAGON XPRESS SERIES: A GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Paragon Xpress Q11A Porcelain Kiln Paragon Xpress E12A Ceramics Kiln Paragon Xpress J14 Glass Kiln Paragon Xpress 1313 Ceramics Kiln

Paragon Xpress Kilns For Annealing, Art Clay, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, PMC, And Porcelain.

Paragon Xpress kilns are, with one exception, 1095°C-1290°C firebrick kilns, with ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmers. The exception is the 925°C ceramic-fibre Xpress J14. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise. Customised kilns are made to order, so can't be returned if the colour isn't exactly the same as in the photo.

There are nineteen in the series: the front-opening table-top Xpress Q11A, Q11AW, E9A, 9AW, E10A, E10AB, E10AW, E10ABW, E12A, E12AB, E12AW, E12ABW, E14A, E14AB, E14AW, E14ABW, J14, and the top-opening floor-standing Xpress 1313 and 1613. The B versions have a bead-annealing door, the W have a heat-resistant glass viewing-window, and the BW have both.

The E10, E12, E14A, J14, 1313, and 1613 kilns have a built-in Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer, which can be upgraded to a Sentry 12-key or a Sentinel Touch Screen programmer, shown in some of the photos. Both have advanced and time-saving features, including optional automatic control over an electric kiln vent, a gas injection system, and a USB or RS232 computer interface.

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


Use them for for silver clays, annealing beads and glass, bronze and copper clays, firing ceramics, earthenware, porcelain, pottery, and stoneware, china painting, crystalline gazes, applying decals, dental work, dichroic glasses, dolls, enamelling, fire polishing, glass art, fusing, moulding, sagging, and slumping glass, heat treating, knife-making, laboratory testing, lampwork, lost-wax casting, low-fire ceramics, making jewellery, melting gold and silver, forming gun and model parts, pâte de verre, raku, sintering gold and silver clays, staining glass, hardening and tempering blades, cutters, dies, and tools, and many other materials and processes.

The smaller kilns are more economic 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, badges, beads, bowls, bracelets, brooches, buttons, candle holders, ceramic-art, charms, china dolls, decorations, earrings, figurines, fingerprint keepsakes, flowerpots, glass-art, glass panels, jewellery, knives, lampshades, medals, miniatures, models, mugs, necklaces, ornaments, pendants, plates, porcelain beads, pet-id tags, rings, souvenirs, stained-glass designs, tableware, thimbles, tiaras, tiles, tools, trinkets, and vases, as unique hand-crafted pieces or repeatable stock for sale.


For plug-in table-top kilns, the 1290°C Q11A is the smallest, the 1230°C E12A is the most popular. and the 1095°C E14A is the largest. For wired-in floor-standing kilns, the 1290°C 1613 is the largest.

For the floor-standing kilns, the seven-sided 1313 has a volume of 34.55 litres and the eight-sided 1613 has a volume of 49.55 litres.

Of course, depending on what you want to make, width or height might be more important than volume. Some kilns are better suited for making jugs, pots, and vases, others for blades and dolls, and others for bowls, panels, plates, and tiles, you have to balance the internal size you'd like for the budget you've got.


If you're not sure that an Xpress kiln is the right choice:

Glass kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 925°C. For these, start by looking at the top-opening Fusion:CS Series or Pearl Series, or the front opening GL Series. These are not hot enough for ceramics.

Ceramics kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 1230°C to 1290°C. For these, start by looking at the small Caldera Series and the large Janus Series and PMT Series. These can also be used for glass work.

The HT Series and PMT Series look similar: except the HT has a bottom-hinged door and the PMT has a side-hinged door. HT kilns are normally 1095°C but can be upgraded to 1290°C.

The KM Series are 1290°C knife-making kilns, made for depth rather than width. You can choose a standard drop-down door or a side-hinged door.


Other kilns have bead doors. If you want a kiln just for annealing beads look at the BlueBird Series. If you want a bead-annealing and jewellery-making kiln look at the SC-2B. If you want a similarly-sized but hotter kiln look at the Caldera-AB. Even much larger kilns like the Fusion series can be made with bead doors.

To learn more about other kilns, use the appropriate links above and below the menu bar near the top of the page. Each series has kilns of different sizes with different options, so I've only included one of each in the table below:


VERSION DESCRIPTION MAX °C POWER W WEIGHT KG FIRING CHAMBER INTERIOR SIZE MM
Xpress Q11A 1290 1440 20 firebrick 147 x 153 x 159
Xpress Q11AW window 1290 1440 20 firebrick 147 x 153 x 159
Xpress E9A 1095 1100 25 firebrick 216 x 229 x 115
Xpress E9AW window 1095 1100 25 firebrick 216 x 229 x 115
Xpress E10A 1230 or 1290 1800 32 firebrick 216 x 229 x 223
Xpress E10AB bead door 1230 1800 32 firebrick 216 x 229 x 223
Xpress E10AW window 1230 1800 32 firebrick 216 x 229 x 223
Xpress E10ABW bead door and window 1230 1800 32 firebrick 216 x 229 x 223
Xpress E12A 1230 or 1290 2700 38 firebrick 196 x 295 x 219
Xpress E12AB bead door 1230 2700 38 firebrick 196 x 225 x 221
Xpress E12AW window 1230 2700 38 firebrick 196 x 225 x 221
Xpress E12ABW bead door and window 1230 2700 38 firebrick 196 x 225 x 221
Xpress E14A 1095 3200 51 firebrick 330 x 343 x 223
Xpress E14AB bead door 1095 3200 51 firebrick 330 x 343 x 223
Xpress E14AW window 1095 3200 51 firebrick 330 x 343 x 223
Xpress E14ABW bead door and window 1095 3200 51 firebrick 330 x 343 x 223
Xpress J14 925 2400 41 ceramic fibre 330 x 343 x 223
Xpress 1313 1260 3600 67 firebrick seven-sided 343 x 337
Xpress 1613 1290 6400 78 firebrick eight-sided 419 x 337
BlueBird two bead doors 650 1500 22 ceramic fibre 508 x 152 x 070
Caldera A 1290 1800 20 firebrick 203 x 203 x 171
F500 two punty doors 650 6850 273 firebrick 610 x 457 x 565
Fusion CS14D lid and body-opening 925 1800 71 firebrick 356 x 356 x 165
GL-22ADTSD square front opening 925 11000 152 firebrick 533 x 533 x 337
Janus 1613 round top-opening 1290 4800 90 firebrick eight-sided 419 x 337
Pearl-22 square top opening 925 7200 146 firebrick 559 x 559 x 330
PMT18 rectangular front-opener 1290 6500 170 firebrick 330 x 457 x 330
SC2 1095 1745 16 ceramic fibre 199 x 204 x 145

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

There are no restrictive pre-set programmes. Pre-sets might seem to be an advantage. However, having experimented and diversified, most people fire materials, or combinations of materials, at different temperatures and for different times than are recommended.


For help, or in the unlikely event of a fault, you can mail or call an engineer in the UK. However, home checks, adjustments, and repairs are quick and easy, needing little more than a screwdriver, and you can watch on-line videos. Alternatively, we can repair the kiln in our workshop at Cherry Heaven.


After looking at the kilns in detail, I'll introduce the accessories, options, and upgrades.

THE PARAGON XPRESS Q11A CERAMICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, AND PORCELAIN
Paragon Xpress Q11A Ceramics And Porcelain Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress Q-11A For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The Paragon Xpress Q11A is a 1290°C, square, front-opening, plug-in, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


Paragon's kiln names often use a suffixed number to represent one or more of the internal dimensions in inches. However, for this kiln, 11 doesn't mean it's 11 inches anywhere. It's about 6 inches wide, 6 inches deep, and 6 inches high inside.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V-240V 1440W, so it can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with an additional door-activated switch that cuts off the power if the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The outer steel case measures 279mm x 381mm x 457mm high, excluding the safety switch fitted above the door hinge, The case is slotted for air circulation and stays cool, so the kiln doesn't need an extra stand. The shipping weight is about 21Kg.

The door metal is drilled for a central peephole-vent with a swing-over cover, but the firebrick isn't: the most popular choice. If you want the firebrick drilling, do it yourself, or ask when you order.

The firebrick firing chamber measures 152mm x 152mm x 159mm high and heats from both sides and the back, with the fast-firing elements lying in pinless dropped-recessed grooves in the 64mm thick bricks. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a long-life 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 optional cone-fire mode, up to cone 10, will simplify your work with ceramics.


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

List a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise respray: normally blue
List a programmer upgrade from ramp-hold to cone-fire and ramp-hold: up to cone 10: factory fitted
List a right-hand door hinge: factory fitted
List a 75mm x 25mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window or a peephole-vent in the centre of the door: factory fitted
List a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List ceramic fibre cloth
List ceramic block
List HEPA dust mask
List clear protective glasses
List glare-resistant glasses
List heat-resistant gloves

And finally, my opinion:

The Xpress Q11A is ideal for classrooms, course venues, schools, jewellery studios, and small businesses. It's a tough kiln built to last, the firebrick interior is suited to long firings, at 1290°C it's hot enough to fire virtually anything, it heats up quickly, it's a front-opener generally preferred for small pieces, and it can hold three stacked shelves.

Q11A kilns are all the same size, but: the digital Xpress Q11A has a 3-key programmer, the manual Q11A has a rotary control, and the digital TNF Q11A has a 12-key programmer with advanced firing and connection options. Although, as the 12-key programmer is larger than the 3-key, it's mounted on the side, making the TNF Q11A wider.

THE PARAGON XPRESS Q11A: KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Xpress Q-11A.

There's a recommended kit, included in the price: one durable 127mm x 127mm x 10mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of kiln wash.

There's an extra recommended kit, not included in the price: one square 127mm x 127mm x 10mm 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 three.

THE PARAGON XPRESS Q11AW CERAMICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, AND PORCELAIN
Paragon Xpress Q11AW Ceramics And Glass Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress Q-11AW For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The door includes a 75mm x 25mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window. The window allows you to take a quick peep 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 the firing sequence. Otherwise, the kiln is exactly the same as the Xpress Q11A.


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.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E9A DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Xpress E9A Metal Clay Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E9A For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, And Metal Clays.

The Paragon Xpress E9A is a 1095°C, square, front-opening, plug-in, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


Paragon's kiln names often use a suffixed number to represent one or more of the internal dimensions in inches. For this kiln, 9 means that the inside is about 9 inches deep.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V-240V 1300W, so it can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with an additional door-activated switch that cuts off the power if the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The outer steel case measures 356mm x 457mm x 413mm high, excluding the safety switch fitted above the door hinge, The case is slotted for air circulation and stays cool, so the kiln doesn't need an extra stand. The shipping weight is about 25Kg.

The door metal is drilled for a central peephole-vent with a swing-over cover, but the firebrick isn't: the most popular choice. If you want the firebrick drilling, do it yourself, or ask when you order.

The firebrick firing chamber measures 216mm x 229mm x 114mm high, and heats from both sides and the back, with the fast-firing element lying in pinless dropped-recessed grooves in the 64mm thick bricks. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a long-life 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 optional cone-fire mode, up to cone 6, will simplify your work with ceramics.


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

List a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise respray: normally blue
List a programmer upgrade from ramp-hold to cone-fire and ramp-hold: up to cone 6: factory fitted
List a right-hand door hinge: factory fitted
List a 75mm x 25mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window or a peephole-vent in the centre of the door: factory fitted
List a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List ceramic fibre cloth
List ceramic block
List HEPA dust mask
List clear protective glasses
List glare-resistant glasses
List heat-resistant gloves

And finally, my opinion.

The Xpress E9A is ideal for classrooms, course venues, schools, jewellery studios, and small businesses. It's a tough kiln built to last, the firebrick interior is suited to long firings, it heats up quickly, it's a front-opener generally preferred for small pieces, and it can hold two stacked shelves. However, the single element can't be upgraded to run at a higher temperature.

But, I wouldn't recommend the E9A: the 1095°C ceramic-fibre Paragon SC2 is about the same size inside but costs less. Even if you particularly want a small 1095°C firebrick kiln, the 1230°C Paragon Xpress E10A, described below, is nearly twice as large inside and, as it has two elements, it can be upgraded to 1260°C or 1290°C.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E9A: KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Xpress E-9A

There's a recommended kit, included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of glass separator.

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 PARAGON XPRESS E9AW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Xpress E9AW Jewellery And Metal Clay Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-9AW For Low-Fire Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, And Metal Clays.

The door includes a 75mm x 25mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window. The window allows you to take a quick peep 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 the firing sequence. Otherwise, the kiln is exactly the same as the Xpress E9A.


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.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E10A CERAMICS, ENAMELS, FUSING GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, AND PORCELAIN
Paragon Xpress E10A Ceramics And Heat Treating Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-10A For Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The Paragon Xpress E10A is a 1230°C, square, front-opening, plug-in, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


Paragon's kiln names often use a suffixed number to represent one or more of the internal dimensions in inches. For this kiln, 10 doesn't means that the inside is about 10 inches front to back. It's about 9 inches, the same as the E9A. However, it's nearly twice as high.

The UK-EU Xpress E10A, made for Cherry Heaven, heats to 1230°C. It can be upgraded to 1260°C or 1290°C. The US Xpress E10A heats to 1095°C.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V-240V 1800W, so it can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with an additional switch that cuts off the power if the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The outer steel case measures 356mm x 457mm x 521mm high, excluding the safety switch fitted above the door hinge, The case is slotted for air circulation and stays cool, so the kiln doesn't need an extra stand. The shipping weight is about 32Kg.

The door metal is drilled for a central peephole-vent with a swing-over cover, but the firebrick isn't: the most popular choice. If you want the firebrick drilling, ask when you order.

The firebrick firing chamber measures 216mm x 229mm x 222mm high, and heats from both sides and the back, with the fast-firing elements lying in pinless dropped-recessed grooves in the 64mm thick bricks. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a long-life 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 optional cone-fire mode, up to cone 10, will simplify your work with ceramics.


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

List a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise respray: normally blue
List a programmer upgrade from ramp-hold to cone-fire and ramp-hold: up to cone 10: factory fitted
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 Screen: more useful features: factory fitted
List a maximum temperature upgrade from 1230°C to 1260°C: factory fitted
List a maximum temperature upgrade from 1230°C to 1290°C: factory fitted
List a right-hand door hinge: factory fitted
List a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window or a peephole-vent in the centre of the door: factory fitted: factory fitted
List a 165mm x 64mm letter-box style bead-anealing door
List a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List ceramic fibre cloth
List ceramic block
List HEPA dust mask
List clear protective glasses
List glare-resistant glasses
List heat-resistant gloves

And finally, my opinion.

The Xpress E10A is ideal for classrooms, course venues, schools, jewellery studios, and small businesses. It's a tough kiln built to last, the firebrick interior is suited to longer firings, it heats up quickly, it's a front-opener generally preferred for small pieces, and it can hold three stacked shelves.

For larger kilns, look at others in the Xpress series, described below, or the Paragon Caldera-XL. I wouldn't recommend the Paragon Caldera-A: it's made as two parts clipped together and the construction doesn't feel as durable or robust.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E10A: KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Xpress E-10A.

There's a recommended kit, included in the price: one durable square 178mm x 178mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of glass separator.

There's an extra recommended kit, not included in the price: one square 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 three.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E10AB BEADS, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Xpress E10A Bead-Annealing Kiln  Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-10AB For Annealing Beads, Ceramics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The door includes a 165mm x 64mm letter-box style bead-anealing door and a separate screw-on bead-mandrel holder. Otherwise, the kiln is exactly the same as the E10A.


The bead door is hinged at the top and opens outwards. Normally, glass beads on bead mandrels, or rods, are pushed through the bead door and rest on the mandrel holder, so that an annealing programme can toughen the glass.

The bead door is often used to take a quick peep at china paintings, enamels, glass, and glazes to check on their progress, or to adjust or move pieces of work. It gives you a wider view than a window, but the kiln will heat unevenly if you keep it open for too long: although not as much as opening the main door.
Purists might tell you not to leave the bead door open but remember, when you're using bead mandrels it's slightly open all the time. As always, it's important to experiment and find the simplest or most successful way of working.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E10AW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Xpress E10A Enamelling And Heat Treating Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-10AW For Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The door includes a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window. The window allows you to take a quick peep 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 the firing sequence. Otherwise, the kiln is exactly the same as the E10A.


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.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E10ABW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Xpress E10A Bead-Annealing And Jewellery Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-10ABW For Annealing Beads, Ceramics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The door includes a 165mm x 64mm bead-anealing letter-box style door, a separate screw-on bead-mandrel holder, and a 75mm x 25mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window. Otherwise, the kiln is exactly the same as the E10A.


The bead-door and window version make the E10ABW the most versatile of the series, combining the advantages of the E10B and the E10W described above. It's a good choice if you're buying your first kiln and you're not sure what you might want to do with it in the future.

Even if you don't use the bead door and window very often as you gain experience, they do make learning easier and you might find it interesting or reassuring to watch what happens during the firing sequence.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E12A CERAMICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, AND PORCELAIN
Paragon Xpress E12A Ceramics And Glass Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-12A For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The Paragon Xpress E12A is a 1230°C, rectangular, front-opening, plug-in, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


Paragon's kiln names often use a suffixed number to represent one or more of the internal dimensions in inches. For this kiln, 12 means that the inside is about 12 inches deep: more accurately 11.5 inches.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V-240V 2700W, so it can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with an additional door-activated switch that cuts off the power if the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The outer steel case measures 347mm x 521mm x 510mm high, excluding the safety switch fitted above the door hinge, The case is slotted for air circulation and stays cool, so the kiln doesn't need an extra stand. There's a top vent for lost-wax casting and other processes that might release fumes. The shipping weight is about 41Kg.

The firebrick firing chamber measures 196mm x 295mm x 221mm high, and heats from both sides and the back, with the fast-firing elements lying in pinless dropped-recessed grooves in the 76mm thick bricks. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a long-life nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple.

The UK-EU Xpress E12A, made for Cherry Heaven, heats to 1230°C, although it can be upgraded to 1260°C or 1290°C. In the US it's sometimes called the E12T. The US Xpress E12A only heats to 1095°C and is 152mm high inside.

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 optional cone-fire mode, up to cone 10, will simplify your work with ceramics.


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

List a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise 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 Screen: more useful features: factory fitted
List a maximum temperature upgrade from 1230°C to 1260°C: factory fitted
List a maximum temperature upgrade from 1230°C to 1290°C: factory fitted
List a right-hand door hinge: factory fitted
List a peephole with a swing-over cover in the centre of the door
List a 165mm x 64mm letter-box style bead-anealing door
List a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window
List an electric kiln vent: factory fitted at the side
List an auxiliary power output for automatic vent control: factory fitted: needs 12-key
List a USB or RS232 computer interface: factory fitted: needs 12-key
List a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List ceramic fibre cloth
List ceramic block
List HEPA dust mask
List clear protective glasses
List glare-resistant glasses
List heat-resistant gloves

In the photo, you can see that the 3-key programmer is at the bottom. However, as the 12-key is larger, it can't directly replace the 3-key. So the kiln has an extra case fitted to the side, making it wider. The programmer still faces forwards.


And finally, my opinion:

The Xpress E12A is ideal for classrooms, course venues, schools, commercial studios, and professional businesses. It's a tough kiln built to last, the firebrick interior is suited to longer firings, at 1290°C it's hot enough to fire virtually anything, it heats up quickly, it's a front-opener generally preferred for small pieces, and it can hold three stacked shelves.

It's large enough for 180mm bowls, plates, and tiles, a 280mm doll, or 280mm knife blades, and can hold 12 pottery mugs on two shelves.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E12A: KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Xpress E-12A.

There's a recommended kit, included in the price: one durable rectangular 190mm x 279mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of glass separator.

There are two extra recommended kits, not included in the price: one rectangular 190mm x 279mm x 15mm shelf and four posts, and one square 178mm x 178mm x 15mm shelf and four posts. You can choose 12mm, 25mm, 50mm, 75mm, or 100mm posts.

For continual use at 1290°C, the upgraded version has thicker firebricks, so the shelf is slightly smaller at 178mm x 279mm x 15mm.

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 three.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E12AB BEADS, CERAMICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, AND PORCELAIN
Paragon Xpress E12AB Bead Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-12AB For Annealing Beads, Ceramics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The door includes a 165mm x 64mm letter-box style bead-anealing door and a separate screw-on bead-mandrel holder. Otherwise, the kiln is exactly the same as the E12A.


The bead door is hinged at the top and opens outwards. Normally, glass beads on bead mandrels, or rods, are pushed through the bead door and rest on the mandrel holder, so that an annealing programme can toughen the glass.

The bead door is often used to take a quick peep at china paintings, enamels, glass, and glazes to check on their progress, or to adjust or move pieces of work. It gives you a wider view than a window, but the kiln will heat unevenly if you keep it open for too long: although not as much as opening the main door.
Purists might tell you not to leave the bead door open but remember, when you're using bead mandrels it's slightly open all the time. As always, it's important to experiment and find the simplest or most successful way of working.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E12AW CERAMICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, AND PORCELAIN
Paragon Xpress E12A Glass Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-12AW For Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The door includes a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window. The window allows you to take a quick peep 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 the firing sequence. Otherwise, the kiln is exactly the same as the E12A.


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.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E12ABW BEADS, CERAMICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, AND PORCELAIN
Paragon Xpress E12A Bead Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-12AB For Annealing Beads, Ceramics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The door includes a 165mm x 64mm bead-anealing letter-box style door, a separate screw-on bead-mandrel holder, and a 75mm x 25mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window. Otherwise, the kiln is exactly the same as the E12A.


The bead-door and window version make the E14ABW the most versatile of the series, combining the advantages of the E12B and the E12W described above. It's a good choice if you're buying your first kiln and you're not sure what you might want to do with it in the future.

Even if you don't use the bead door and window very often as you gain experience, they do make learning easier and you might find it interesting or reassuring to watch what happens during the firing sequence.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E14A ANNEALING, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Xpress E14A Glass Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-14A For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The Paragon Xpress E14A is a 1095°C, square, front-opening, plug-in, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


Paragon's kiln names often use a suffixed number to represent one or more of the internal dimensions in inches. For this kiln, 14 means that the inside is about 14 inches deep: more accurately 13.5 inches.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V-240V 3120W, so it can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with an additional door-activated switch that cuts off the power if the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The outer steel case measures 464mm x 572mm x 571mm high, excluding the safety switch fitted above the door hinge, The case is slotted for air circulation and stays cool, so the kiln doesn't need an extra stand. The shipping weight is about 55Kg.

The door metal is drilled for a central peephole-vent with a swing-over cover, but the firebrick isn't: the most popular choice. If you want the firebrick drilling, ask when you order.

The firebrick firing chamber measures 330mm x 343mm x 222mm high, and heats from both sides, with the fast-firing elements lying in pinless dropped-recessed grooves in the 64mm thick bricks. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a long-life 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 accessories, options, and upgrades for this kiln are in the on-line shop:

List a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise 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 Screen: more useful features: factory fitted
List a right-hand door hinge: factory fitted
List a 165mm x 64mm letter-box style bead-anealing door
List a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window or a peephole-vent in the centre of the door: factory fitted
List an electric kiln vent: factory fitted at the side
List an auxiliary power output for automatic vent control: factory fitted: needs 12-key
List a USB or RS232 computer interface: factory fitted
List a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List ceramic fibre cloth
List ceramic block
List HEPA dust mask
List clear protective glasses
List glare-resistant glasses
List heat-resistant gloves

And finally, my opinion.


The Xpress E14A is the largest 1095°C kiln that can use a regular mains socket. It's ideal for classrooms, course venues, schools, and commercial jewellery studios: it's 4.24 times larger inside than the SC2 and will hold three 305mm x 305mm shelves, yet it still heats up quickly. You can fire lots of metal clay at one go, use jewellery moulds, cast glass, paint china figures, and make lampshades and tiaras.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E14A: KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Xpress E-14A.

There's a recommended kit, not included in the price: one durable rectangular 305mm x 305mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of glass separator.

There's an extra recommended kit, not included in the price: one rectangular 305mm x 305mm x 15mm and four posts. You can choose 12mm, 25mm, 50mm, 75mm, or 100mm 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 three.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E14AB ANNEALING BEADS, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Xpress E14A Bead Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-14AB For Annealing Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The door includes a 165mm x 64mm letter-box style bead-anealing door and a separate screw-on bead-mandrel holder. Otherwise, the kiln is exactly the same as the E14A.


The bead door is hinged at the top and opens outwards. Normally, glass beads on bead mandrels, or rods, are pushed through the bead door and rest on the mandrel holder, so that an annealing programme can toughen the glass.

The bead door is often used to take a quick peep at china paintings, enamels, glass, and glazes to check on their progress, or to adjust or move pieces of work. It gives you a wider view than a window, but the kiln will heat unevenly if you keep it open for too long: although not as much as opening the main door.
Purists might tell you not to leave the bead door open but remember, when you're using bead mandrels it's slightly open all the time. As always, it's important to experiment and find the simplest or most successful way of working.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E14W ANNEALING, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Xpress E14W Glass Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-14AW For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The door includes a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window. The window allows you to take a quick peep 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 the firing sequence. Otherwise, the kiln is exactly the same as the E14 A.


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.

THE PARAGON XPRESS E14ABW ANNEALING BEADS, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, AND METAL CLAYS
Paragon Xpress E14ABW Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress E-14ABW For Annealing Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

The door includes a 165mm x 64mm bead-anealing letter-box style door, a separate screw-on bead-mandrel holder, and a 75mm x 25mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window. Otherwise, the kiln is exactly the same as the E14A.


The bead-door and window version make the E14ABW the most versatile of the series, combining the advantages of the E14B and the E14W described above. It's a good choice if you're buying your first kiln and you're not sure what you might want to do with it in the future.

Even if you don't use the bead door and window very often as you gain experience, they do make learning easier and you might find it interesting or reassuring to watch what happens during the firing sequence.

THE PARAGON XPRESS J14 ART CLAY, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS FUSING, SAGGING, SLUMPING, AND PMC
Paragon Xpress J-14 Glass Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress J-14 For Annealing, Dichroics, Enamelling, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, And Sintering Metal Clays.

The Paragon Xpress J14 is a 925°C, square, front-opening, plug-in, table-top, ceramic fibre kiln, with a ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


Paragon's kiln names often use a suffixed number to represent one or more of the internal dimensions in inches. For this kiln, 14 means that the inside is about 14 inches deep: more accuarately 13 inches.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V 2400W, so it can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, the elements are embedded: an important safety feature. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The outer steel case measures 457mm x 546mm x 521mm high. It's slotted for air circulation, so stays cool and doesn't need an extra stand. The door opens 180°, so you won't burn your hand taking work out. And there's a removable stopper in the top vent for lost-wax casting and other processes that might release fumes. The shipping weight is about 49kg.

The ceramic-fibre firing chamber, enclosed in an inner steel case, measures 330mm x 330mm x 229mm high, and heats from both sides and the back, with the fast-firing elements safely embedded in the fibre. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a long-life 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.

List a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise respray: normally blue
List a right-hand door hinge: factory fitted
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 Screen: more useful features: factory fitted
List a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List ceramic fibre cloth
List ceramic block
List HEPA dust mask
List clear protective glasses
List glare-resistant glasses
List heat-resistant gloves

And finally, my opinion:

It's ideal for classrooms, course venues, schools, and commercial jewellery studios: it's 4.19 times larger inside than the SC2 and will hold three 305mm x 305mm shelves, yet it still heats up quickly. You can fire lots of metal clay at one go, use jewellery moulds, cast glass, paint china figures, and make lampshades and tiaras.

THE PARAGON XPRESS J14: KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Xpress J-14A.

There's a recommended kit, not included in the price: one durable 305mm x 305mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of glass separator.

There's an extra recommended kit, not included in the price: one 305mm x 305mm x 15mm and four posts. You can choose 12mm, 25mm, 50mm, 75mm, or 100mm 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 three.

THE PARAGON XPRESS 1313 ANNEALING, CERAMICS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, PORCELAIN, POTTERY, AND RAKU
Paragon Xpress 1313 Ceramics Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress 66-3 For Annealing, Casting, Ceramics, Enamels, Glass Work, Heat Treating, Porcelain, Pottery, And Raku.

The Paragon Xpress 1313 is a 1260°C, seven-sided, top-opening, floor-standing, firebrick kiln, with a ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


Paragon's kiln names often use a suffixed number to represent one or more of the internal dimensions in inches. For this kiln, 1313 means it's about 13 inches across and about 13 inches high, like the similar S 1313 and TNF 1313. For some reason, in the US, it's called the 66-3 as the firebricks are 3-inches thick.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V-240V 3600W, so it needs a 20A wired-in power supply. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with an additional lid-activated switch that cuts off the power if the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The outer steel case measures 559mm x 648mm x 711mm high, including the programmer housing and the 241mm high legs, but excluding the small safety switch fitted next to the lid hinge. The case has two handles, the lid has a stay-open support, and there are two wide-view peephole-vents in one of the sides. The shipping weight is about 67Kg.

The firebrick firing chamber measures 343mm x 337mm high, and heats from all sides, with the fast-firing elements lying in pinless dropped-recessed grooves in the 76mm thick bricks. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a long-life nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple.

The top row of bricks doesn't have an element groove, so the firing chamber is stronger around the top edge where the lid closes. In addition, the two meeting surfaces are hardened and sealed with refractory cement.

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 8, will simplify your work with ceramics.


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

List a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise 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 Screen: more useful features: factory fitted
List a maximum temperature upgrade from 1260°C to 1290°C: up to cone 10: factory fitted
List an electric kiln vent: factory fitted at the bottom
List an auxiliary power output for automatic vent control: factory fitted: needs 12-key
List a USB or RS232 computer interface: factory fitted: needs 12-key
List a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List ceramic fibre cloth
List ceramic block
List HEPA dust mask
List clear protective glasses
List glare-resistant glasses
List heat-resistant gloves

And finally, my opinion:

The Xpress 1313 is a tough high-temperature kiln, made for years of continual firing. It's ideal for a ceramics or glass course venue, studio, or workshop. It's large enough for 300mm bowls and plates. However, the Xpress 1613, described below, is 43% larger, so probably worth the extra cost.

All the 1313 kilns are the same size, but: the Xpress 1313 has side elements and a 3-key programmer, the manual S 1313 has side elements but no programmer, and the TNF 1313 has side elements and a 12-key programmer. There isn't a Janus 1313. The 12-key offers advanced firing and connection options.

The Xpress 1313 and a TNF 1313 have 74mm thick firebricks and heat to 1260°C. However, there's also an Xpress 1313 and a TNF 1313 that have 64mm thick firebricks. Although the interiors are 12mm larger all round, the maximum temperatures are only 1175°C. For the small cost saving, I wouldn't recommend these versions.

THE PARAGON XPRESS 1313: KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Xpress 1313.

There's a recommended kit, included in the price: one durable round 305mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of kiln wash. So you can start work straight away.

There are two extra recommended kits, not included in the price: one round 305mm x 15mm shelf and four posts, or two half-round 305mm x 15mm shelves and six posts. You can choose 12mm, 25mm, 50mm, 75mm, or 100mm 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 four.

THE PARAGON XPRESS 1613 ANNEALING, CERAMICS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, PORCELAIN, POTTERY, AND RAKU
Paragon Xpress 1613 Ceramics Kiln Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon Xpress 1613-3 Kiln For Annealing, Casting, Ceramics, Enamels, Glass Work, Heat Treating, Porcelain, Pottery, And Raku.

The Paragon Xpress 1613-3 is a 1290°C, eight-sided, top-opening, floor-standing, firebrick kiln, with a ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue, or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


Paragon's kiln names often use a suffixed number to represent one or more of the internal dimensions in inches. For this kiln, 1613 means it's about 16 inches across and about 13 inches high, like the similar Janus 1613, S 1613 and TNF 1613. In the US, it's sometimes called the 1613-3 as the firebricks are 3-inches thick.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230V-240V 6400W, so it needs a 30A wired-in power supply. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with an additional lid-activated switch that cuts off the power if the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The outer steel case measures 648mm x 724mm x 737mm high, including the programmer housing and the 241mm high legs, but excluding the small safety switch fitted next to the lid hinge. The case has two handles, the lid has a stay-open support, and there are two wide-view peephole-vents in two of the sides. The shipping weight is about 78Kg.

The firebrick firing chamber measures 419mm x 337mm high, and heats from all sides, with the fast-firing elements lying in pinless dropped-recessed grooves in the 76mm thick bricks. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a long-life nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple.

The top row of bricks doesn't have an element groove, so the firing chamber is stronger around the top edge where the lid closes. In addition, the two meeting surfaces are hardened and sealed with refractory cement.

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

List a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise 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 Screen: more useful features: factory fitted
List an electric kiln vent: factory fitted at the bottom
List an auxiliary power output for automatic vent control: factory fitted: needs 12-key
List a USB or RS232 computer interface: factory fitted
List a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List stacking shelf kits and shelf paper
List ceramic fibre cloth
List ceramic block
List HEPA dust mask
List clear protective glasses
List glare-resistant glasses
List heat-resistant gloves

And finally, my opinion:


The Xpress 1613, the largest top-opener in this series, is a tough high-temperature kiln, made for years of continual firing. It's ideal for ceramic or glass work in a commercial studio. It's large enough for 360mm bowls and plates.

All the 1613 kilns are the same size, but: the Xpress 1613 has side elements and a 3-key programmer, the manual S 1613 has side elements but no programmer, the TNF 1613 has side elements and a 12-key programmer, and the Janus 1613 has top and side elements and a 12-key programmer. The 12-key offers advanced firing and connection options.

THE PARAGON XPRESS 1613-3: KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Xpress 1613.

There's a recommended kit, included in the price: one durable round 380mm 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 round 380mm x 15mm shelf and three psost, or one half-round 380mm x 15mm shelf and three posts. You can choose 12mm, 25mm, 50mm, 75mm, or 100mm 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 four.

WHY BUY A PARAGON XPRESS-SERIES KILN?

The Paragon Xpress Series Kilns Compared To Similar Kilns From Corby, Efco, KilnCare, Nabertherm, and PotteryCraft.

The internet, like any other unchecked resource, is open to claims that whatever is being sold is the best, the newest, or the cheapest, and it's being sold by the largest dealer or the premier distributor.

With some retailers, misleading first-sight prices often exclude a digital programmer, a pro shelf kit, delivery, and VAT. With others, there wasn't a price list so, to discover the actual cost, you have to set up an account: or call. With some on-line order forms, VAT and delivery were only evident after submitting all the personal and card details.

With others, exactly the same kilns were a lot more expensive. As an example, in October 2014, one supplier assured you that their prices were the cheapest in the UK. Except their kiln was £134 more than it was here.

Cherry Heaven internet resources will help you choose the right kiln, and avoid an expensive mistake: especially if, later, you discover new materials or processes, win a challenging commission, want to make larger pieces, decide to run courses, or find a promising business niche. There's a lot to read, so it's up to you. Or you can just mail or call.


Now, the general construction:


Most of the kilns come with a 13A UK three-pin plug, so they can all use a regular 230V UK mains socket. If you're not in the UK, use a plug adapter or cut off the UK plug and fit your own: it won't invalidate the guarantee.

The fast-firing elements lie in pinless dropped-recessed grooves in the 64mm thick bricks. The firebricks have notch-joints in the corners, a much stonger and more durable construction than butt-joints or mitre-joints generally used in small kilns.

Kilns in the BlueBird, SC, and Xpress series are normally blue, but can be painted black, pink, purple, or turquoise. However, as they're made to order, they can't be returned if the colour isn't exactly the same as the colour on your computer.

To comply with EU safety regulations, the kilns are fitted with an additional lid-activated switch that cuts off the power if the kiln is opened: an important safety feature included in the price.

The door hinge is usually on the left. However, a right-hand hinge might be better if you're left-handed: unless the kiln will be in the left-hand corner of your studio or there's an obstacle that will make access difficult. Give this some thought.

The heavy-gauge nickel-plated copper wiring has high-temperature glass-braided insulation. The thermocouple, which senses temperature inside the kiln, is protected with a high-nickel stainless-steel sheath for long life.

It's widely believed that glass viewing-windows will cloud permanently or crack by about 925°C. The glass used in Paragon kilns has been time-tested at 1260°C.

Paragon kilns conform to the demanding UL 499 standard in the US, and are CE Marked for the EU. Paragon is Greek for Model Of Perfection.

In the unlikely event that your kiln develops a fault, it's reassuring to know that basic checks, adjustments, and repairs are quick and easy and need little more than a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. And you can watch on-line service videos: use the main-menu link below the menu bar near the top of the page, then choose tee-vee, then choose from the guide. If you need help, an engineer can guide you on the phone. Alternatively, we can repair the kiln in our workshop at Cherry Heaven.


Now, some broad comments:


Kilns from competing manufacturers typically don't have built-in programmers, don't come with professional shelf kits, use restrictive pre-set programmes, don't have an interesting range of accessories, options, and upgrades, aren't in stock or take months to get, or can't be repaired easily and quickly. They're generally more expensive, smaller, and don't get as hot.

Depending on the kiln, Paragon offers you left or right-hand doors, thicker firebricks, ceramic-fibre lids, bead-annealing doors, viewing windows, extra peepholes or vents, 12-key programmers, cone-fire upgrades, mercury relays, S-type thermocouples, electric kiln vents, auxilliary power outputs, RS232 or USB computer interfaces, and different shelf kits.

With some retailers, misleading first-sight prices often exclude a shelf kit, delivery, and VAT. With others, there wasn't a price list or you had to call to discuss the programmer. With others, exactly the same kilns were a lot more expensive. With some on-line order forms, VAT and delivery were only evident after submitting all the personal and card details.


And now, making a choice and assessing what you're going to get:


Here are a few facts that you can easily check for yourself, based on net-shop specifications and prices in January 2017 for Efco, Kilncare, Nabatherm, Rohde, and Skutt kilns.

I can't always compare like with like, so i've just done my best to compare broadly similar kilns. However much I would like to be able to recommend UK-made or EU-made kilns, Paragon kilns are such good value: buy Paragons and save enough to treat yourself to a luxury five-star weekend break.

Paragon kilns are nearly always better value.

THE PARAGON XPRESS SERIES AND EFCO KILNS

The Paragon Xpress Kilns Compared To Similar Kilns From Efco.

For example: the Paragon Xpress Q11A is 3.27 times larger inside than the Efco 100 and 340°C hotter. It's 1.83 times larger than the Efco 135 and 190°C hotter. It's 1.35 times larger than the Efco 150 and 190°C hotter.

The small Efco 110, 135, 150, and 180 kilns don't have rotary controllers or digital programmers: unattended, they'll just heat up and burn out. So they're usually sold with an Efco rotary controller or a KilnCare KCR1 digital programmer. Either way, it's a separate box with a separate mains cable, a separate thermocouple, and a separate stand: so more stuff on your worktop. The KCR1 adds about £300 to what might appear to be the price of the kiln.

THE PARAGON XPRESS SERIES AND THE KILNCARE KILNS

The Paragon Xpress Kilns Compared To Similar Kilns From KilnCare.

For example: the Paragon Xpress Q11A is 2.31 times larger than the KilnCare EN1 and 290°C hotter. The Paragon Xpress E10A is about the same size as the KilnCare EN2, but 230°C hotter. The Paragon Xpress E12A is is 2.26 times larger than the KilnCare EN3 and 230°C hotter. The Xpress E10A and E12A can be upgraded from 1230°C to 1260°C or 1290°C.

The Paragon Xpress E14A is 2.13 times larger than the KilnCare EN2 and 95°C hotter. It's 3.91 times larger than the KilnCare EN3.

The KilnCare EN1, EN2, and EN3 kilns have built-in manual rotary controllers, not digital programmers, so they're usually sold with a KilnCare KCR1 digital programmer.

THE PARAGON XPRESS SERIES AND THE NABERTHERM KILNS

The Paragon Xpress Kilns Compared To Similar Kilns From Nabertherm.

The Paragon Xpress 119 is broadly similar to the Nabertherm Top 16R but costs about £190 less. The Xpress comes with a 241mm high stand and a shelf kit: the Nabertherm has very short legs so needs a stand or a table.

THE PARAGON XPRESS SERIES AND THE ROHDE KILNS

The Paragon Xpress Kilns Compared To Similar Kilns From Rohde.

The Paragon Xpress 1313 is similar to the Rohde EcoTop 20L but costs about £190 less. It's 1.73 times larger inside, has a 4-sequence 8-segment built-in programmer not a basic programmer in a separate box, has two peepholes in one of the sides, and comes with a pro shelf kit.

The Paragon Xpress 1613 is similar to the Rohde EcoTop 43L but costs about £490 less. It has a 4-sequence 8-segment built-in programmer not a basic programmer in a separate box, has two peepholes in two of the sides, and comes with a pro shelf kit.

RECOMMENDED READING
General Help and FAQ's For Kilns

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

The remaining sections are about digital programmers, options, upgrades, materials, and processes. Unless you're already successfully using a kiln, they're recommended reading.


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 few kilns to resell and call themselves a specialist, but a distributor understands all the kilns, options, and upgrades, will stock spares, offer free competent technical support, can help you repair your kiln, provide on-line repair videos, has a repair workshop, and can access Paragon's international, informed, and supportive user-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.

THE PARAGON SENTRY XPRESS 3-KEY DIGITAL PROGRAMMER
Paragon Sentry Xpress Digital Programmer

The Paragon-Orton Sentry Xpress Digital Controller.

The Paragon Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer allows you to set up four firing sequences, each one with up to eight heating, holding, or cooling segments. You can choose the heating and cooling rates, target temperatures, and hold times, save the sequences, and re-use them.

It's easy to use: far easier than a central heating programmer. Here's a Cherry Heaven TV programme about setting a simple ramp-hold sequence. The ramp is the part where the temperature increases until it reaches the target temperature: the hold is the part where the temperature stays the same. UK-EU programmers will be in degrees Celsius.


Cherry Heaven TV provides on-line radio and television programmes on the Cherry Heaven TV Player. To use the player, click the controls or drag the time-line slider or volume slider to a new position.


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THE PARAGON SENTRY 12-KEY DIGITAL PROGRAMMER
Paragon Sentry Digital Programmer

The Paragon-Orton Sentry Digital Controller.

The Paragon Sentry 12-key digital programmer allows you to set up nine firing sequences, each one with up to ten heating, holding, or cooling segments. You can choose the heating and cooling rates, target temperatures, and hold times, save the sequences, and re-use them. It also offers advanced and time-saving features, including optional automatic control over an electric kiln vent, a gas injection system, and a USB computer interface.

It's easy to use: far easier than a central heating programmer. Here's a Cherry Heaven TV programme about setting a simple ramp-hold sequence. The ramp is the part where the temperature increases until it reaches the target temperature: the hold is the part where the temperature stays the same. UK-EU programmers will be in degrees Celsius.


Cherry Heaven TV provides on-line radio and television programmes on the Cherry Heaven Player TV. To use the player, click the controls or drag the time-line slider or volume slider to a new position.


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KILN FURNITURE: A GENERAL INTRODUCTION IMPORTANT
A Paragon Kiln Shelf Kit

Kiln Furniture: Shelves And Posts.

Most kilns have a recommended furniture kit. Delivery companies have a low rate for parcels less than 30kg so, for smaller kilns weighing less than 30Kg, the kit is generally one shelf and four posts: included in the price because it fits in the box and doesn't add much to the shipping weight.

You get a professional, durable, cordierite shelf with four 12mm high posts. You don't get a soft, ceramic-fibre shelf, often described as free, that will gradually break up and need replacing.

Shelf kits usually include 25mm x 25mm x 12mm shelf posts, When flat, they're 12mm high: on their sides, they're 25mm. Other sizes, up to 150mm high, are available, so you can choose the shelf spacing that suits your kiln and your work.

The recommended kit is usually the simplest that works: not an expensive collection that I've put together for you. However, extra shelf kits allow you to stack your work, optimising your use of the firing chamber volume, the unit-cost of firing, and your time. And extra half-shelves or smaller shelves allow you to fire a mix of shorter and taller pieces.


For larger kilns weighing more than 30Kg, shelf kits are not included in the price because you'll probably want to choose your own mix of shelves, half-shelves, smaller shelves, and assorted-height posts.


One shelf should stay on the floor of the firing chamber all the time in case you accidentally spill or melt anything: solidified glass or metal is impossible to pick off without damaging the ceramic-fibre or firebrick.

Shelves are not meant to be an exact fit in the kiln. You need finger space all round and they mustn't scrape the kiln walls every time they're put in or taken out. Be careful lifting heavy shelves out of a top-opening kiln: if you drop them they will damage the firebricks.

Although they look tough, most ceramics break if they're dropped on a hard floor, so it's a good idea to have spare shelves, especially if your business depends on your kiln or you're running courses.


During firing sequences with heating, holding, and cooling segments, the elements turn on and off repeatedly. In a small kiln, with little residual heat, the inevitable temperature changes can make glass crack as it expands and contracts. A thick heavy shelf stores heat and, because it's resting on posts, the air circulates, helping to even out the normal temperature fluctuations.


If you're buying your first kiln, you're probably interested in one material, such as silver clay, or one process, such as enamelling. However, after a few successes, and failures, most people want to try different materials, make larger pieces, experiment with combinations, fire more at a time, and soon become interested in something else: or everything else. Some start a business or run classes.

You might want a full shelf, two half-shelves, several mixed shelves, a set of shelf posts, a bead-mandrel holder, glass separator, hot gloves, kiln wash, a knife-making rack, pyrometric cones, a tile holder, or other accessories.

Shelves are heavy, so kits ordered separately need a box and protective packing and attract an extra delivery charge. Outside the UK mainland, this might be expensive. So, if you think you'll need them, order them with your kiln, along with any other accessories, materials, parts, or tools.


For dichroics, enamelling, and glass fusing, put kiln paper on the shelf to stop the glass sticking: it's simpler and cleaner to use than glass separator. Bullseye Thinfire shelf paper, probably the most popular, ensures easy separation between your glass and the kiln shelf. One side feels slightly smoother than the other: that's the glass side.

Generally, glasswork needs radiant heat and will fuse, sag, or slump better on one shelf than between closely stacked shelves, although experienced glass artists often use several shelves succesfully.

Delicate pieces can be fired on a puffed-up ceramic-fibre cloth: on a shelf. Round pieces, that could roll to one side, can be fired on a hollowed-out ceramic-fibre block. However, if the kin has elements in the bottom as with the Mini-Kiln and Prometheus Pro-7, a cloth or block will act as insulator and the kiln might overheat.

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 ceramic-fibre blocks, ceramic cloths, and papers. And, ideally, use protective glasses.

If you want to touch anything hot, or move your kiln before it's cooled off, it's important to wear heat-resistant gloves. And, if you want to look into a red-hot kiln, even briefly, wear glare-resistant glasses to protect your eyes from IR and UV.


If your day-to-day work depends on your kiln and down-time will be disruptive or expensive, it's a good idea to have spares: extra shelves, a selection of posts, elements, a relay, and a thermocouple.

You can learn about ceramic blocks and cloths, charcoal, dust masks, glare-resistant glasses, glass separator, heat-resistant gloves, kiln vents, kiln wash, programmers, protective glasses, USB interfaces, shelf paper, tools, and other accessories, using the accessories link below the menu bar near the top of the front page. And they're all in the on-line shop.


Shelves are checked before despatch and are wrapped protectively. But they're not guaranteed and we cannot be responsible for any later damage.

OPTIONS AND UPGRADES: A GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Paragon SC2 Jewellery Kiln: Hot Pink With A RH Door Hinge

Options And Upgrades.

Individual kilns are described on this this page. However, it's important to learn about options and upgrades as some have to be factory-fitted. The photo shows a Paragon SC2 customised for a PMC silver clay studio: hot pink, a right-hand door hinge, and a maximum temperature set to 925°C so that students couldn't accidentally melt their silver.


An option is cosmetic or practical, such as a black respray, a right-hand door hinge, a peephole-vent, a bead-annealing door, a door or lid viewing window, or an EU plug.

An upgrade extends the standard specifications, such as a higher maximum temperature, a 3-key to a 12-key programmer, an electric kiln vent, a gas injection control system, an auxilliary power output, and an RS232 or USB computer interface.

Not every option or upgrade applies to every kiln, so mail or call if you need help. However, if they're appropriate, they're listed in the on-line shop, so just add up the ones you want: but order them with your kiln as they're often difficult, expensive, or impossible, to implement afterwards. It might help if you make a few notes of your own as you read?


Kilns use regular single-phase 230V-240V mains so have 230V EU elements, not 120V US elements. The smaller kilns have UK 13A three-pin plugs: so they're ready to go. If you're not in the UK, use a plug adapter or cut off the UK plug and fit your own: it won't invalidate the guarantee. Alternatively, a special-order kiln can have a factory-fitted EU plug.

Most kilns can be re-engineered for 110V, 200V, 208V, or 220V, single phase or three phase, or 440V three phase. If you're interested, mail or call.


Although standard EU and US kilns have the same maximum temperature, set by the design and the programmer, some 1095°C firebrick kilns can be re-engineered to run at 1230°C, 1260°C, or 1290°C, making them versatile mixed-media kilns. However, to use 1290°C full-on hour after hour, choose an industrial or professional model.

Also, to maintain 1290°C, some upgraded kilns might need thicker firebricks, so they'll be slightly smaller inside: about 12mm on each side. Mail or call if you're interested, or need help deciding.

The UK factory-set maximum temperature is based on a reliable average voltage of 240V. If there's a regional, national, or temporary voltage drop, high-temperature kilns might take longer to reach their specified maximum or not reach it.


Some kilns are normally blue, but can be factory-painted berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise. However, as they're made to order, they can't be returned if the colour isn't exactly the same as in the photo.

Changing the door hinge might be better if your kiln is in the corner of your studio or there's an obstacle that will make access difficult. Give this some thought.

Most of the medium-size top-opening kilns have a standard lift-up lid. Firebrick lids seem heavy to some people so, if you feel that a ceramic fibre lid, a hydraulic-assisted lid, or spring-assisted lid would be easier, mail or call.


If the kiln comes with a Sentry Xpress 3-Key ramp-hold programmer, you can upgrade to a Sentry Xpress 3-Key cone-fire ramp-hold programmer, usually preferred for ceramics. Cone-fire is implemented in the programmer's software and is very easy to use: just set a cone number and start the firing sequence.

Depending on the kiln, you can upgrade a Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer to a Sentry 12-Key ten segment ramp-hold, or cone-fire ramp-hold, programmer, with advanced firing features and connection options. The 3-key has a 12-month guarantee and the 12-key has a 30-month guarantee.

A Sentry 12-key programmer can be connected to your computer through a factory-fitted USB interface. The Control Master software allows you to control and monitor the firing, and analyse, arrange, print out, and save the data. If you want this feature, make sure you order the USB interface in the on-line shop.


Depending on the kiln, the 12-key programmer has a power-ratio feature: you can adjust the heat balance between the top and sides in 10% steps and control the heat distribution over larger pieces.

Kilns which only heat from the top, as opposed to the top and sides, don't have the power-ratio feature. However, the initial cost-saving has to be offset against fewer firing options.


With larger kilns, serious glass artists are always concerned about firebrick dust from the lid falling onto their work, so you could upgrade the standard firebrick lid to a factory-fitted ceramic-fibre lid with the elements threaded through pinless grooves in the fibre: or, as a luxury upgrade, with the elements completely embedded in the fibre.


Most kilns come with an electro-mechanical long-life nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple. However, if extra long-life and reliability are vital, you can upgrade to a mercury relay which has a lifetime of several million on-off cycles. The relay can switch 30A, so if you have a kiln that needs 50A, you'll need two relays.

If extra long-life and reliability are vital, especially at temperatures above 1100°C, you can upgrade to a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple.


Some front-opening kilns are just too large and too heavy for a regular worktop, so Paragon makes a strong steel table, 768mm x 768mm x 718mm high, with two shelves for your accessories. The luxury version, with castors, is 63mm taller. If you decide to buy on old wood table, the rigidity of the legs is vital otherwise it will collapse like a parallelogram.


Some bronze and copper clays, and some metals, need to be fired in activated charcoal granules in a stainless steel container. The SC2 and SC3, the Caldera-A, and the Xpress E9A and E10A can hold a one-litre container: most other kilns can hold a three-litre but check the internal size before you buy the container. It's important that the container doesn't touch the thermocouple.

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.

If you want to touch anything hot or move your kiln before it's cooled off, it's important to wear heat-resistant gloves. And, if you want to look into a red-hot kiln, wear glare-resistant glasses which protect your eyes from IR and UV.


Paragon kilns, made in the US, have been re-engineered and comprehensively tested for the UK, the EU, and most other countries. They're CE Marked and comply with EU safety standards. They're guaranteed for a year, and Paragon has an international, informed, and supportive user-base, and spares and repair centres.

The UK-EU digital programmer shows degrees Celsius, not degrees Fahrenheit as in the US. If you need to convert, this is how to do it. However, if you want to work in Fahrenheit, you can make a simple change to the programmer.


For help, or in the unlikely event of a fault, you can mail or call an engineer in the UK. However, home checks, adjustments, and repairs are quick and easy, needing little more than a PosiDriv screwdriver, and you can watch on-line videos. Alternatively, we can repair the kiln in our workshop at Cherry Heaven.

As with a lot of heavy consumer products made in the US but sold elsewhere, Paragon's guarantee covers replacement parts, not a return to the distributor or factory, and not any labour costs. However, as an example, replacing a programmer takes just a few minutes.

AN ELECTRIC KILN VENT
Paragon-Orton VentMaster: Unassembled

The Paragon-Orton Vent Master Kiln Vent.

Re-freshing the air in a kiln minimises surface blemishes when firing clays, ensures brighter colours when firing glasses, and prevents colour contamination when firing different glazes.

A factory-fitted Orton Vent Master removes airborn pollutants straight away and redirects them to the outside through a flexi-pipe. The kilns can be factory-readied, so the vent just need on-site assembly.

The vent motor isn't so powerful that the heat-up time and maximum temperature are reduced, but the cooling time is, depending on the size of the kiln.


The UK-EU vent motor is rated at 230V-240V 132W, so it can use a regular mains socket. The suction cup and pipe are attached to the kiln but the motor can be remote: it doesn't get hot and the fan is easy to clean.

There's always a small gap, for expansion, around any kiln door or lid, so enough new air can be drawn in to replace the old air being drawn out. However, peepholes act as straight-through cold-air inlets: so you might not want them or block them with some ceramic cloth?

The vent can be turned on and off manually. Alternatively, if the kiln has a Sentry 12-key programmer or a Sentinel Touch Screen, the vent can be plugged into the kiln's auxilliary power outlet and controlled by the programmer. The power outlet has to be fitted during manufacture, so decide before you order.


As with Paragon kilns, Orton Vent Masters can be re-engineered for any electrical system. They conform to the demanding 1992 Uniform Mechanical Code and the UL standard, and are CE Marked for the EU. They have a two year limited warranty.

A GAS INLET FLOW METER
The Paragon Gas Inlet Flow Meter

The Paragon Gas Inlet Flow Meter.

During heat treatng, oxygen forms a scale on the surface of knife blades, metals, and tools. To minimise this, the parts can either be wrapped in heat-treating foil or an inert gas can be injected into the furnace to displace the oxygen.

Most professional knife makers use gas injection for precise control and to save time. If you have a Sentry or a Sentinel Touch Screen programmer, a solenoid kit can automatically turn the gas on or off for each segment of the firing: just programme the controller to turn on the gas at the temperature where scale begins to form on the steel.


In addition to the flow meter, you'll also need a regulator to reduce the pressure from the gas tank. This is usually bought with the gas tank: it's not part of this Paragon option. The gas pressure to the flow meter should be less than 20 pounds per square inch.

Furnaces aren't air tight and gas will leak out through the firebricks and metal seams, so you need a steady flow of gas. Gas at room temperature will expand to over twenty times its volume when injected into a firing chamber at 550°C, so a low setting on the flow meter is adequate to prevent most scaling.


Depending on how you work, gas injection might reduce the life of the heating elements slightly. However, they're easy and inexpensive to replace. If your business depends on continual kiln time, buying a spare set of elements would be sensible.

Argon gas is popular for heat treating because it's inexpensive. But, it's heavier than air and breathing it in won't keep you alive. so your workshop must be well ventilated.

FIRING CHARACTERISTICS

How Electric Kilns Work.

Generally, as soon as a programmable kiln starts its firing sequence, it begins to heat up at a rate set by the programmer. It can't heat up quicker than it would do with the elements full on.

The thermocouple tells the programmer the current internal temperature and, depending on the sequence you've chosen, the programmer turns the elements on or off to control the sequence segments: the heating rate, the target temperature, the hold time, and the cooling rate. It can't cool down quicker than it would do with the kiln turned off. When the sequence is complete, the kiln beeps, and the sequence stops.


For safety, the programmer doesn't switch the full mains voltage. Instead it drives a relay, an electro-mechanical switch. The programmer uses a low voltage to activate the switch which turns the high voltage elements on or off.


When the target temperature is reached, the programmer switches the elements off. However, residual heat in the firing chamber allows the internal temperature to overshoot the target temperature briefly before starting to fall back.

This overshoot is more evident at low temperatures than at high temperatures, and in small kilns rather than large kilns. For example: 300°C will probably overshoot to 330°C whereas 800°C will probably only overshoot to 805°C before starting to fall back.

During the hold-time, with the elements still off, the temperature starts to fall. When the programmer switches the elements back on, the firing chamber will initially absorb some of the new heat before the temperature recovers. The continual switching of the elements on and off causes the internal temperature to oscillate either side of the target temperature.

This is similar to central heating. If you set it for 21°C, it probably oscillates, quite slowly, around 20°C to 22°C: and you won't notice. The accuracy will depend on where the thermostat is sited, how quickly it responds, how accurate it is, how long it takes for the radiators to heat up, and if you have doors and windows open. The temperature will probably be slightly different in each room.

So, regardless of the thermocouple temperature, the actual temperature of your work will be slightly different, depending on its position on the kiln shelf, the vertical spacing of any stacked shelves, and its nearness to the elements, a lid, a door, a bead door, or a window. Learn to take it into account if you're working with temperature-critical materials or processes.


Remember that glass needs radiant heat and will fuse, sag, or slump better on one shelf at the bottom than between closely stacked shelves.


Kiln doors and lids are not meant to be a perfect fit otherwise, at high temperatures, there'd be no room for expansion and movement, and the door could stick and the ceramic-fibre or firebricks could crack.

All kilns smell a bit, and even produce whisps of smoke, during the first firings, just like a toaster or a fan heater. If you're worried about fumes, open a window.

Eventually, with normal use, kilns discolour slightly, inside and outside, and some firebricks might develop hairline cracks. Your kiln is a versatile, robust, red-hot tool: not an ornament.

KEEPING A KILN LOG

Keeping A Kiln Log.

Using your kiln 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. So, keep a firing log:


Buy a durable notebook. Use a new page for every firing, and draw diagrams of the shelves, their vertical spacing, and the position of your work on the shelves. Along with your work, put a few scraps at different places on the shelves to learn how things change. Describe the material, the shape of your work, the firing cycle, and the end result. Add a few photos and sketches, and mark the page corners with coloured dots or symbols as a quick reminder of your success rating.

A kiln log is vital if you're experimenting with temperature-sensitive materials or working with coloured dichroic glasses, enamels, glazes, or china paints, and a skilled artist will use the kiln log to advantage to re-create effects. It'll be particularly useful if you have to repeat a commission, or you have a long holiday before returning to your studio.


Some Paragon kilns have a Sentry 12-key or a Sentinel Touch Screen programmer which can be connected to your computer through a factory-fitted USB interface. The Control Master software allows you to control and monitor the firing, and analyse, arrange, print out, and save the data. If you want this feature, make sure you order the USB interface in the on-line shop.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO CLAYS
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.

EARTHENWARE, PORCELAIN, AND STONEWARE
Earthenware Flower Pot

Earthenware, Porcelain, And Stoneware

Earthenware is normally beige, red, or white. It has the lowest firing temperature of the three, usually about 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 planters and oven steamers, but not good for pitchers 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.

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.

BISQUE
Bisque

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.

POLYMER CLAY
Polymer Clay Flowers By Olga Zhukova

Polymer Clay

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

RAKU
Raku

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 METAL CLAYS
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 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: and even add more clay.

As it's fired, the binders vapourise, releasing very 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 lose it's shape and liquify.


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

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

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, glass 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, 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 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, in November 2014, ProBronze is £17.75 for 100gm and Creative Bronze is £23.95: both including postage.


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, glass 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, in November 2014, ProCopper is £17.75 for 100gm and Creative Bronze is £23.95: both including postage.


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, glass 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, glass clay, gold clay, and related products in the on-line shop.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO GLASS
Obsidian

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 ritual of circumcision.

ANNEALING
Annealed Beads Made Into A Necklace

Annealing.

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 glasswork that will remain attractive and durable. It's quite a long process, so a kiln with an automatic comprehensive programmer is essential.

DICHROIC GLASS
Dichroic Glass

Dichroic Glass.

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.

FIRE POLISHING
Fire Polished Glass

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 typically used to round the edges of glass between fusing and slumping.

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

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.

SLUMPING BOTTLES
Slumped Bottle

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 nead 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 make a kiln designed for this: the Trio. It's wide enough for most bottles but can still use a regular socket.

LAMPWORK AND BEADS
Beads

Lampwork And Beads.

Very briefly, 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.

PÂTE DE VERRE
Pâte De Verre

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.

TACK FUSING
Tack Fused Glass

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

Vitrigraph.

Vitrigraph uses a Caldera-A kiln 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 moulten glass to fall through a small hole in a crucible and form long stringers. Ceramic squares are in the on-line shop.

WARM GLASS

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. The term warm glass is often replaced by kiln forming.

PARAGON KILNS

Paragon Kilns: A Cherry Heaven Internet Resource.

is a Cherry Heaven internet resource. Cherry Heaven is a UK-EU distributor for kilns, and has been one of Paragon's top-selling distributors consistently 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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