Choosing The Right Kiln For You
Choosing the right kiln for your work is important; you'll want to consider what projects you'll need to fire, what temperatures you'll need to fire at, if you need a top-loading or side-loading kiln, and even what kind of interior material the kiln is made of. It can be difficult to decide what kiln works best for you, but we're here to help!
Firebrick kilns take longer to heat than ceramic fiber kilns, but they have the advantage of handling very high temperatures. Firebrick kilns are capable of firing metal clays as well as glass, enamels and even high-fire ceramic clays such as porcelain. Because they cool slowly, firebrick kilns are excellent for glass annealing! There are, however, two downsides to this type of kiln: because the heating elements are exposed, they require more frequent cleaning so debris doesn't short circuit the heating element. The second downside is the weight of the firebrick lining inside the kiln. The firebricks themselves are very fragile & heavy; so if you need to travel with a kiln, this is not likely the kiln you'll want to buy.
Ceramic fiber kilns heat up more quickly, thus reducing your project firing times. You will not have to clean the inside of this type of kiln as frequently since the heating element is enclosed in the kiln wall, but if the element goes out you will need to replace the entire kiln interior. Ceramic fiber kilns are better suited for travelling, but they cannot accommodate temperatures over 2000 degrees F.
Top Loading vs. Front Loading
Front loading kilns make loading & unloading easier and make using tools such as tongs & kiln forks possible. Front loading kilns are best for artists creating projects that need to be extracted at extremely high temperatures, such as enameled pieces.
Top loading kilns are generally cheaper but they are not as easy to use. When removing a project from a top loading kiln, the lid either needs to be raised or removed which will make it more difficult to safely remove your pieces from a hot kiln.
We know choosing the right kiln can be difficult, so please learn more about kilns here: SoulCeramics.
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