Merry Christmas from the Paragon office staff!
Reader Response: The overfired kiln
Recent Q&As: Reseating an element with Pyrolite; when to open the kiln
Two Kiln Pointers ago we announced the passing of Boyce Lundstrom and mentioned a seminar that he taught at Paragon. David Kittrell of Kittrell/Riffkind Art Glass wrote, “I got one of the first Paragon eight-sided fusing kilns after Boyce Lundstrom’s 1985 seminar. We still use that kiln today. That GF-8B endured this studio’s learning curve as we made every mistake new fusers make, which is, of course, what qualifies us to teach the techniques. We have taken it to ‘yellow-white’ light two times, which means way above it's top end heat range, achieved by leaving it on all night.
“We still use it for painting and lower temp fusing and kiln forming like lamp parts,” David continued. “The GF-8B is one of six kilns at our studio. Mostly, it stands as a monument to Paragon's and Kittrell/Riffkind's durability and lasting through the ‘Long Haul.’ That will be until someone decides to sit on it--the peril all short-bodied fusing kilns face.”
Q. I recently purchased a five-year-old Paragon Pearl-18. After I fired the kiln, the center element sagged from end to end about 1 1/2 inches out of the lid groove. I read that I should use Pyrolite to adhere the lid element. Do I need to do anything with a torch and pliers like the videos show?
A. Pyrolite is a good way to seat the element in the lid groove. It would be a good idea to heat the element on the ends before pressing it into the groove.
One or two dabs of Pyrolite in the groove should be adequate. Push the Pyrolite into the groove, and then press the element into the Pyrolite. The element should not be covered, however. Otherwise it could overheat and burn out. The element should be pressed into a bed of Pyrolite but still remain visible.
Q. Can I open the kiln lid to let it cool faster, or do I have to wait for it to cool down itself? What temperature is safe to open the kiln? Does an Orton vent affect cooling time?
A. One time I cracked a shelf down the center by force-cooling a 10-sided kiln. Paragon recommends cooling the kiln to room temperature before unloading. From the shut-off temperature down to 1000 F, a motorized downdraft vent has little effect on cooling time. However, from 1000 F to room temperature, the vent can reduce cooling time by two hours.
"It is not work that kills men; it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more upon a man than he can bear. Worry is rust upon the blade. It is not the revolution that destroys the machinery, but the friction. Fear secretes acids; but love and trust are sweet juices." —Henry Ward Beecher
Last week my family and I visited the Mesquite, Texas Christmas in the Park celebration. Policemen illuminated by headlights directed long lines of cars. Red and white lights on trees shimmered in the surface of a large pond. Fathers carried small children on shoulders, and teenage girls sang carols.
Thank you for reading the Kiln Pointers in 2012. All of us at Paragon wish you a Joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year. I am sure you are bringing happiness to others with the beautiful objects that come out of your kiln. If cared for, the pottery, glass, and silver that you make will last not just a lifetime, but for generations.
With best wishes,
Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd., Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.paragonweb.com / www.facebook.com/paragonkilns
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Copyright 2012, by Paragon Industries, L.P.