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Paragon Blue Bird Bead-Annealing Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon BlueBird XL Bead-Annealing Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Controller. Paragon BlueBird XL Glass-Annealing Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer.
Paragon F200 Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Annealing, Glass, And Lampwork.
Paragon BlueBird XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Bead-Annealing, Glass, And Lampwork.

THE PARAGON BLUEBIRD AND BLUEBIRD XL KILNS

Paragon BlueBird And Blue Bird XL Kilns For Annealing Beads, Candle Holders, Chandelier Parts, Decorations, Glass Coasters, Glass Figurines, Glass Jewellery, And Glass Tiles.

Paragon BlueBird kilns are generally used for annealing glass beads, bowls, chandelier parts, coasters, decorations, figurines, jewellery, ornaments, and tiles, although they have other applications. They're 650°C or 815°C twin bead-door kilns with digital programmers, in Paragon blue or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise. Learn about Paragon BlueBird kilns on this page.


There are two versions: the 650°C BlueBird and the larger 815°C BlueBird XL, both with rigidised ceramic-fibre interiors, Sentry Xpress 3-key programmers, two bead-doors, insulated handles, magnetic door catches, a mandrel-warmer rack on top, and adjustable mandrel-holders just beneath the doors.


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

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

Kilns that weigh less than 30kg are delivered on a regular parcel-service van: they don't need a tail-lift lorry with a hydraulic pallet trolley so there are no GB-mainland delivery charges.

Paragon BlueBird Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Annealing Beads. Paragon BlueBird XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Bead-Annealing.
Paragon BlueBird Bead-Annealing Kiln. Paragon BlueBird XL Annealing Kiln.
Paragon Blue Bird XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Annealing Beads. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Controller.
Paragon BlueBird XL Annealing Kiln. Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.
GO STRAIGHT TO THE BLUEBIRD KILNS

Paragon BlueBird And Blue Bird XL Kilns For Annealing Beads, Candle Holders, Chandelier Parts, Decorations, Glass Coasters, Glass Figurines, Glass Jewellery, And Glass Tiles.

If you already know which kiln you want and don't want to, or need to, read any general introductions, compare or review the main features, or consider other kilns, click here to jump down the page:


Click To Jump To The BlueBird Kilns.

HOW TO CHOOSE A BEAD-ANNEALING KILN

A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE PARAGON BLUEBIRD KILNS
Paragon BlueBird Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Annealing Beads. Paragon Blue Bird XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Bead-Annealing. Paragon BlueBird XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Controller For Bead-Annealing. Paragon BlueBird XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Controller For Bead-Annealing.

Paragon Blue Bird And BlueBird XL Kilns For Annealing Beads, Candle Holders, Chandelier Parts, Decorations, Glass Coasters, Glass Figurines, Glass Jewellery, And Glass Tiles.

Paragon BlueBird kilns are four-sided, front-opening, twin door, plug-in, table-top, ceramic fibre kilns, with ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmers. 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 as in the photo.


There are two versions: the 650°C BlueBird and the larger 815°C BlueBird XL, with rigidised ceramic-fibre interiors, Sentry Xpress 3-key programmers, two bead-doors, insulated handles, magnetic door catches, a mandrel-warmer rack on top, and adjustable mandrel-holders just beneath the doors.

The BlueBird XL is deeper and taller inside than the BlueBird so it can hold more beads on more mandrels, or more bowls and figurines. It's also 175°C hotter so has more flexibility.


The Sentry Xpress 3-key programmer allows you to create, edit, and save your own ramp-hold sequences. It can save up to twenty-five sequences, each one with up to twenty segments.

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

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


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

REMINDERS ABOUT THE BLUEBIRD AND BLUEBIRD XL KILNS

OPTIONAL READING
Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer PCB. Paragon Firebricks. Paragon Type-K Thermocouple. Paragon Shelf Kit.

Why Is A Paragon BlueBird Kiln The Best Mix Of Technologies At The Best Price?

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

The bead doors allow you to anneal beads on rods, or mandrels. There's an 8mm gap under the doors, so they can close flat rather than rest, partly propped open, on the mandrels. And it doesn't jog the mandrels when you close a door with the risk that the beads will touch each other. The heat lost through the gap is minimal.

The kilns heat from the top with the flat wave-shaped elements embedded in the 50mm thick ceramic-fibre so they heat very quickly. As they're not exposed, the kiln doesn't need a door cut-off switch so, if you open it to add or remove beads, the elements will stay on and the kiln won't lose heat quickly. For durability, the surface of the fibre is rigidised so, unlike firebricks, it's dust free.

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

Generally, kiln shelves aren't used for annealing beads on mandrels. However, to anneal other glass pieces there are several optional shelf kits in the on-line shop: never fire things directly on the floor of the firing chamber.


Use them for annealing: glass beads, candle holders, chandelier parts, decorations, figurines, glass art, jewellery, stained glass pieces, tableware, and tiles.

You can make architectural parts, beads, bracelets, brooches, candleholders, decorations, earrings, figurines, glass-art, jewellery, miniatures, model parts, necklaces, ornaments, pendants, rings, souvenirs, stained-glass designs, tableware, tiaras, and tiles, as unique hand-crafted pieces or repeatable stock for sale.


They're ideal for your arts centre, bead shop, course venue, craft classes, glass works, home business, jewellery studio, or school. The BlueBird only weighs 22kg so is easy to take to craft fairs and demonstrations.

IS A BLUEBIRD KILN THE BEST CHOICE?

OPTIONAL READING
Paragon BlueBird Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Annealing Beads. Paragon Blue Bird XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Bead-Annealing. Paragon BlueBird XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Controller For Bead-Annealing. Paragon BlueBird XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Controller For Bead-Annealing.

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

The BlueBird kilns are specifically for annealing beads so not hot enough for most other materials and processes. If you think that a larger or hotter kiln might be more versatile, here are some suggestions:


Bead-annealing kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 650°C, such as the BlueBird Series. However, other kilns have bead doors: the small Caldera-B and SC2B, the medium Xpress-E12B, and the larger Fusion-14B.

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

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

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

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

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

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


To learn more about other kilns, use the appropriate links below the menu bar near the top of the page. However, as each series has kilns of different sizes with different options there's only a selection in the table below:


VERSION DESCRIPTION MAX °C POWER W WEIGHT KG FIRING CHAMBER INTERIOR SIZE MM MANDREL HOLDERS
BlueBird two bead doors 650 1500 22 ceramic fibre 508 x 152 x 070 20
BlueBird XL two bead doors 815 1700 36 ceramic fibre 508 x 203 x 114 14
Caldera AB one bead door 1095 1680 20 firebrick 203 x 203 x 171 5
Fusion 14B two bead doors 925 1800 48 firebrick 356 x 356 x 165 10
SC2B one bead door 1095 1680 16 ceramic fibre 203 x 197 x 146 5
SC3B one bead door 1095 2000 18 ceramic fibre 201 x 197 x 200 5
Xpress E12B one bead door 1230 2200 38 firebrick 196 x 295 x 219 5

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

THE BLUEBIRD

ANNEALING BEADS AND GLASS
Paragon BlueBird Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Bead-Annealing. Paragon BlueBird Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Controller For Bead-Annealing. Paragon Blue Or Customised Berry, Black, Jade, Navy, Pink, Purple, Or Turquoise. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Paragon BlueBird Kiln For Annealing Beads, Candle Holders, Chandelier Parts, Decorations, Glass Coasters, Glass Figurines, Glass Jewellery, And Glass Tiles.

The Paragon BlueBird is a 650°C, rectangular, plug-in, front-opening, twin bead-door, 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.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230-240V 1500W, so can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, the element is embedded: an important safety feature. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The external dimensions are 686mm x 387mm x 368mm high. The case is slotted for air circulation and has an integral stand with four rubber feet. There are two lifting handles on the sides and an 8-place rod-warmer rack on the top. The shipping weight, including the box, is about 24kg.

There are two separate, outward-opening, letter-box-style bead-doors, each 254mm x 70mm, giving a total door width of 508mm, with an adjustable, two-row, 20-place mandrel holder. The doors have magnets to keep them open and catches to keep them closed.

The firing chamber measures 508mm x 152mm x 70mm high, and heats from the top, with the element embedded near the surface of the 50mm thick rigidised 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.


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

List. a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise respray: normally blue
List. a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List. a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List. 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.

You can batch-anneal glass beads on mandrels, glass jewellery, glass figurines, and parts for larger glass panels. It's ideal for an enthusiast or a bead business: it heats up quickly, it's fully programmable, and has 20 mandrel holders.

Unlike the 815°C BlueBird XL, the 650°C BlueBird isn't hot enough for enamelling, fusing, dichroics, and silver clays. So, unless you want a kiln specifically for annealing beads, look at the SC2B: it only has five mandrel holders instead of twenty, but it's 445°C hotter so a lot more versatile.

It has 1.93 times the internal floor space of the Paragon SC2B, with fourteen mandrel spaces as opposed to five. However, the SC2B heats to 1095°C whereas the BlueBird heats to 650°C.

THE PARAGON BLUEBIRD KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon BlueBird.

The Blue Bird was designed for annealing glass beads, so there's no included furniture kit. However, 815°C is hot enough to anneal glass figurines, ornaments, panels, and tiles, fire polish glass, tack fuse and full fuse most popular glasses, and work with dichroics, enamels, and silver clays, so you might want a shelf kit.

There's a recommended kit, not included in the price: three durable 127mm x 127mm x 15mm cordierite shelves, twelve 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of kiln wash. This kiln has room for the three shelves, one beside the other.

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

THE BLUEBIRD XL

ANNEALING BEADS, ENAMELLING, FUSING, DICHROICS, AND HEAT TREATNG
Paragon BlueBird XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Bead-Annealing. Paragon BlueBird XL Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer For Bead-Annealing. Paragon Blue Or Customised Berry, Black, Jade, Navy, Pink, Purple, Or Turquoise. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Paragon BlueBird XL Kiln For For Annealing Beads, Candle Holders, Chandelier Parts, Decorations, Glass Coasters, Glass Figurines, Glass Jewellery, And Glass Tiles.

The Paragon BlueBird XL is an 815°C, rectangular, plug-in, front-opening, twin bead-door, 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.


The UK-EU kiln is rated at 230-240V 1700W, so 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 external dimensions are 648mm x 483mm x 406mm high. The case is slotted for air circulation and has an integral stand with four rubber feet. There are two lifting handles on the sides and an 8-place rod-warmer rack on the top. The shipping weight, including the box, is about 41kg.

There are two separate, outward-opening, letter-box-style bead-doors, each 254mm x 114mm, giving a total door width of 508mm, with one single and one double adjustable mandrel holders. The doors have magnets to keep them open or closed.

The firing chamber measures 508mm x 203mm x 114mm high, and heats from the top, with the elements embedded near the surface of the 50mm thick rigidised 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.


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

List. a berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise respray: normally blue
List. a long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List. a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List. 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 BlueBird XL is 51mm deeper and 51mm taller than the BlueBird so you can use longer mandrels and batch-anneal more beads in one go. However, there are much larger annealing kilns, such as the F Series.

The BlueBird XL is also hotter than the BlueBird so, apart from annealing beads and glass, you can fire polish glass, tack fuse and full fuse most popular glasses, and work with dichroics, enamels, and silver clays.

It has 2.87 times the internal floor space of the Paragon SC2B, with fourteen mandrel spaces as opposed to five. However, the SC2B heats to 1095°C whereas the BlueBird XL heats to 815°C.

THE PARAGON BLUEBIRD XL KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon BlueBird XL.

The Blue Bird XL was designed for annealing glass beads, so there's no included furniture kit. However, 815°C is hot enough to anneal glass figurines, ornaments, panels, and tiles, fire polish glass, tack fuse and full fuse most popular glasses, and work with dichroics, enamels, and silver clays, so you might want a shelf kit.

There's a recommended kit, not included in the price: two durable 178mm x 178mm x 15mm cordierite shelves, eight 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of kiln wash. This kiln has room for the two shelves, one beside the other.

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

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

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

The remaining sections are about digital programmers, shelf kits, options, upgrades, firing, kiln logs, accessories, materials, parts, processes, repairs, and tools. 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 kiln to resell and call themselves a specialist, but a top-tier distributor understands all the kilns, options, and upgrades, will stock spares, offers free competent technical support, can help you repair your kiln, provides on-line repair videos, has a repair workshop, and can access Paragon's extensive knowledge-base.

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

THE PARAGON SENTRY XPRESS 3-KEY VERSION 4.0 AND VERSION 5.0 DIGITAL PROGRAMMERs
Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress 4.0 Programmer. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress 4.0 Programmer PCB. Orton-Paragon Sentry 2.0 Programmer. Bartlett-Paragon Touch-Screen Sentinel SmartTouch Controller.

The Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress 3-Key 4.0 and Sentry Xpress 3-Key 5.0 Digital Controllers.

Before February 2019, Paragon used three programmers: a Sentry Xpress 3-key 4.0 or a Sentry 12-key 2.0 developed by the Orton Ceramic Foundation and Paragon, or a touch-screen Sentinel SmartTouch programmer developed by Bartlett and Paragon.

In February 2019, two were modified, leading to the Sentry Xpress 3-key 5.0 and the Sentry 12-key 3.0. The modifications had little effect on the basic functionality so the 5.0 can be a direct replacement for the 4.0, and the 3.0 for the 2.0.

All three are made as ramp-hold, or cone-fire ramp-hold. Your kiln will have the appropriate programmer although, if it has a Sentry Xpress 5.0 ramp-hold, you can upgrade it to cone-fire ramp-hold. If the kiln's front panel is large enough, you can upgrade from a Sentry Xpress 3-key to a Sentry 12-key or a Sentinel SmartTouch.

Generally, programmers for annealing beads, enamelling, glass fusing, jewellery, knife-making, lampwork, and metal clays have one firing mode: ramp-hold. And programmers for ceramics, earthenware, porcelain, and stoneware have two firing modes: cone-fire and ramp-hold.


Unlike calculators, programmers aren't made 10 million at a time. Although they look like simple circuit boards, they include sophisticated feature-rich embedded software that has taken years to develop and refine.


The Paragon Sentry Xpress 3-key 5.0 programmer allows you to set up to twenty five ramp-hold firing sequences, each one with up to twenty heating, holding, or cooling segments. You can choose the heating and cooling rates, target temperatures, and hold times, save the sequences, and re-use or over-write 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 on a 4.0 programmer. 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 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.


00:00  00:00

The programmer runs a sequence that you have set, or one that's in its memory from a previous firing. A sequence usually has a mix of ramp and hold segments, for example: it could heat to 800°C at full speed then hold for 30 minutes. When the sequence ends, the programmer beeps, and the kiln cools in it's own time.

A ramp segment of a sequence can control the rate of heating or cooling, for example: the kiln could heat up at 200°C per hour from 200°C to 800°C, which would take three hours. Or, the kiln could cool down at 100°C per hour from 600°C to 200°C, which would take four hours.

The heating rate cannot exceed the rate at which the kiln would heat up if it was full on. The cooling rate cannot exceed the rate at which the kiln would cool if it was turned off. At full speed the elements are on all the time. During set ramps and holds they turn on and off repeatedly to maintain the heating rate, hold temperature, or cooling rate.

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 all the time.

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 high-current 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 350°C whereas 800°C will probably only overshoot to 805°C before starting to fall back.

However, our Sentry Xpress programmers have a software modification that slows down the heating just before the target temperature, reducing any overshoot and improving the accuracy.

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 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 this 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 metals, 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, save, and print out the data. If you want this feature, make sure you order the USB interface in the on-line shop.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO GLASS
Obsidian. Fish. Curved Glass by Infabbrica. Lauscha By Carrie Fertig.

What Is Glass?

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

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

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

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

ANNEALING
Annealed Beads Made Into A Necklace.

What Is Annealing?

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.

FREE BEAD ANNEALING GUIDE

Bead Annealing Guide.

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

DICHROIC GLASS
Dichroic Glass.

What Are Dichroic Glasses.

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

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

ENAMELLING
Enamelled Jewellery.

What Is Enamelling?

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

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

FIRE POLISHING
Fire Polished Glass.

What Is Fire Polishing?

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

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

FUSING, SAGGING, AND SLUMPING
Fused Glass.

What Is Glass Fusing?

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

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

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

LAMPWORK AND BEADS
Beads.

What Is Lampwork?

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

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

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

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

What Is Lost Wax Casting?

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

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

Paragon make kilns designed for this: the W series. So click the w:lost-wax-burnout link under the menu bar near the top of the page. They all have top vents and optional wax trays.

PÂTE DE VERRE
Pâte De Verre.

What Is Pâte De Verre?

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

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

SLUMPING BOTTLES
Slumped Bottle.

What Is Glass Slumping?

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

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

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

STAINED GLASS
Stained Glass.

What Is Stained Glass?

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

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

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

TACK FUSING
Tack Fused Glass.

What Is Tack Fusing?

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

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

VITRIGRAPH WORK
Glass Stringers.

What Is Vitrigraph?

The vitrigraph process usually uses a kiln to make glass stringers. The bottom of the kiln is removed and set aside. The kiln body is put on a thick ceramic square with a central hole.

A crucible of glass is put inside, and the whole combination lifted well away from the floor to allow moulten glass to fall through a hole in the crucible and form long stringers. Ceramic squares are in the on-line shop.

Paragon make a kiln designed for this: the Caldera. So click the caldera:ceramics link below the menu bar near the top of the page. The bottom is a separate part and can be unclipped.

WARM GLASS
Warm Glass Flower Bowl.

What Is Warm Glass?

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

PARAGON KILNS EU DISTRIBUTOR
Paragon Blue Bird XL Bead And Glass Annealing Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer.

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

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

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


Art Clay UK. Cherry Heaven. Electric Kilns. Electric Tumblers. Euroversity. Kitiki. Learning English. Lucas Cameron. Mini Kiln. Oxford English. Oxford English Training. Paragon Kilns International. Paragon Kilns UK. Paragon Kilns DE. Paragon Kilns EU. Paragon Kilns US. Professor English. Prometheus Kilns. Paragon Kilns UK Accent Gold Accessories And Tools Art Clay Silver ClayParagon BlueBird Bead-Annealing Kilns Bronze Clay Paragon Caldera Ceramics Kilns Paragon Catalogue Ceramics Copper Clay Silver Clay Courses Photos Of Dorset Paragon Dragon Ceramics And Glass Kilns Frequently Asked Questions Paragon FireFly Ceramics  Kilns Paragon Fusion Glass Kilns Paragon F LampWorking Kilns Glass Clay Paragon GL Glass Kilns Kiln Help Paragon Home Artist Kilns Paragon HT Heat-Treating Kilns Image Transfer Solution Paragon Janus Ceramics Kilns Paragon KM Knife-Making Kilns Lost Wax Burnout And Casting Contact By Mail West Holme Map Metal Clay Veneer Paragon Pearl Glass Kilns Kiln Photos Paragon PMT Heat-Treating Kilns Programmers Paragon SC Jewellery Kilns Silver Etch Paragon Kilns Shop Paragon TNF Ceramics Kilns Paragon Trio Slumping KIln Tumblers And Polishers TV Programmes Paragon Vulcan Crucible And Glass Kilns Paragon W Jewellery Kilns Paragon Xpress Ceramics Kilns


UK To EU Plug Adapter.
Ceramic Block.
Ceramic Cloth.
EU Plug.
UK-EU Adapter.
Dry Powder Extinguisher.
Glare Resistant Glasses.
HEPA Mask.
heat-resistant Gloves.
Kitiki Cutters.
Kitiki Flush Cutters.
Kitiki Flat-Nose Pliers.
Kitiki Pointed-Nose Pliers.
Kitiki Bent-Nose Pliers.
Kitiki Round-Nose Pliers.
Protective Glasses.
Potter & Brumfield Relay.
Dorset, SW England.
UK 13A Plug.
The AX-4 Digital Controller.
MiniKiln Closed.
Prometheus Pro-7.
Large Rubber Drum 950gm Open
Bartlett-Paragon Touch Screen Digital Controller.
Paragon BlueBird Bead Annealing Kiln.
Lauscha by Carrie Fertig.
Activated Charcoal Granules.
Paragon Caldera Ceramics Kiln.
Paragon Caldera Bead Kiln.
Paragon Fusion CS14D Glass Kiln.
Paragon Fusion CS14SB Glass And Bead Kiln.
Paragon Caldera XL Ceramics Kiln.
Paragon F500 Lampwork Kiln.
Paragon FireFly Ceramics Kiln.
Paragon Fusion 7 Glass Kiln.
Paragon Fusion 8 Glass Kiln.
Paragon GL18ADTSD Glass Kiln.
Paragon HT-14D Heat Treating Furnace.
Paragon Janus 1613 Ceramics Kiln.
Paragon KM18D Knife Making Oven.
Paragon-Orton Vent Master: Unassembled.
Paragon-Orton Vent Master: Suction Cup.
Paragon Pearl 18 Glass Kiln.
Paragon PMT21 Heat Treating Kiln.
Paragon Door Peephole And Vent.
Stainless Steel Pans.
Paragon SC-2 Black Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon SC2 Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon SC2B Bead-Door Kiln.
Paragon SC2W Enamelling Kiln.
Paragon SC4 Glass Kiln.
Paragon SC2BW Jewellery And Bead Kiln.
Paragon SC2D Pro-3 Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon SC2 Shelf Kit.
Paragon SC-2 Jade Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon SC-2 Black Jewellery Kiln.
Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.
Orton-Paragon Sentry Programmer.
Bartlett-Paragon Sentinel Touch-Screen Controller.
Paragon SC-2 Pink Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon SC-2 Pro Black Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon SC-2 Turqoise Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon SC-2 Purple Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon SC-2 Navy Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon SC-2 Berry Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon ST-8 Kiln Table.
Paragon ST-8 Kiln Table With Casters.
Paragon TNF 1613 Ceramics Kiln.
Paragon GL24 Kiln Table.
Paragon Xpress 1613 Top Row Of Bricks.
Paragon W Lost-Wax Casting Kiln.
Paragon Lost-Wax Burnout Tray With Grille.
Paragon Lost-Wax Burnout Tray With Grid.
USB Plug.
Paragon Xpress E-12 Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon Xpress E-12B Bead Kiln.
Paragon Xpress E-14 Glass Kiln.
Paragon Xpress Q-11 Ceramics Kiln.