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Paragon Caldera Ceramics And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera Glass Kiln With A Window And A Sentry Xpress Controller: Caldera-W. Paragon Caldera Enamelling And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer: Caldera-E.
Paragon Caldera-W Ceramics And Enamelling Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer.
Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer.
Paragon Caldera-A Fusing And Ceramics Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer.
Paragon Caldera-E Enamelling Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer.
Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Porcelain Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Paragon Caldera Kiln For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Porcelain, Silver Clays, And Vitrigraph.

Paragon Caldera kilns are generally used for ceramics, enamels, annealing, fusing glass, glazes, heat treating, lab testing, moulding, porcelain, metal clays, and vitrigraph, although they have other applications. They're 1290°C cone 10 kilns with digital programmers, in Paragon blue or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise. Learn about Paragon Caldera kilns on this page.

There are three: the Caldera, the Caldera-W, and the Caldera-XL. The W version has a heat-resistant glass viewing-window in the lid, and the XL version is taller. Unlike the similar FireFly and FireFly-W, the Caldera and Caldera-W can accept clip-on layers, called collars, between the base and the body, which increase the internal height.

The Caldera-A collar is plain, the Caldera-B collar has a bead-annealing door, and the Caldera-E collar has an enamelling door. In the US, the plain collar is called the Caldera-X.


Prices here are transparent: they're for UK-EU voltage, CE marked, CL CSA approved, and TUV tested kilns, and include a pro shelf kit, comprehensive instructions, GB-mainland delivery, 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 after the price list, near the bottom.

Kilns that weigh under 30kg, such as the Caldera, are delivered on a regular parcel-service van: they don't need a tail-lift lorry with a hydraulic pallet trolley. There are no GB-mainland delivery charges.

Paragon Caldera Ceramics And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera-W Ceramics And Fusing Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer.
Paragon Caldera Ceramics And Glass Kiln. Paragon Caldera-W Ceramics, Enamelling, And Fusing Kiln.
Paragon Caldera-A Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera-B Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer.
Paragon Caldera-A Glass And Metal Clay Kiln. Paragon Caldera-B Bead-Annealing And Glass Kiln.
Paragon Caldera-E Enamelling And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer.
Paragon Caldera-E Enamelling And Glass Kiln. Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln.
Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.
Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln. Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.
HOW TO CHOOSE A SMALL CERAMICS AND GLASS KILN A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE PARAGON CALDERA KILNS
Paragon Caldera Ceramics And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera W Ceramics And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera B Bead-Annealing Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer.

Paragon Caldera Kilns For Ceramics, Dichroics, Dolls, Enamels, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, Porcelain, And Vitrigraph.

Paragon Caldera kilns are 1290°C cone 10, square, top-opening, plug-in, table-top, firebrick kilns with cone-fire 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 the same as in the photo.

There are three: the Caldera, the Caldera-W, and the Caldera-XL. The W version has a heat-resistant glass viewing-window in the lid, and the XL version is taller. Unlike the similar FireFly and FireFly-W, the Caldera and Caldera-W can accept clip-on layers, called collars, between the base and the body, which increase the internal height.

The Caldera-A collar is plain, the Caldera-B collar has a bead-annealing door, and the Caldera-E collar has an enamelling door. In the US, the plain collar is called the Caldera-X.


Here are some important reminders:

The Caldera can accept separate clip-on layers, called collars, all of which increase the internal height. If you don't need those add-ons yet, you might do later.

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

The firebricks have notch-joints at the corners: stronger than the butt-joints or mitre-joints generally used in small kilns. For durability, the meeting edges of the lid and body are hardened with refractory cement.

Long-life nickel-chromium K-type thermocouples replace the bead-style and sheathed-style. They respond more quickly to temperature changes and resist corrosion-failure. However, for high-temperature precision professional use, these can be upgraded to platinum-rhodium S-types.

Our Caldera kilns include a professional shelf kit: one tough 178mm x 178mm x 15mm cordierite shelf, four 12mm shelf posts, and 450gm of kiln wash. It's not a £30.00 extra.

Vitrigraph uses a Caldera to make glass stringers. The bottom of the kiln is unclipped and set aside. The kiln body is put on a 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.


Use them for firing ceramics, earthenware, porcelain, pottery, and stoneware, annealing beads and glass, bisqueware, ceramic art, painting china, crucible glass work, making figurines, fire polishing, glass art, glass fusing, sagging, and slumping, glass stringers, heat treating, knife making, lab testing, lampwork, mixing custom glass colours, pâte de verre, raku, staining glass, testing glazes, hardening and tempering blades, cutters, dies, and tools, vitrigraph, and many other materials and processes.

Small kilns are perfect 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 features, bowls, ceramic-art, decorations, figurines, mugs, ornaments, plant pots, porcelain dolls, raku vases, tableware, and tiles, as unique hand-crafted pieces or as repeatable stock for retail.


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


If you're not sure that a Caldera is the right choice:

Bead-annealing kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 650°C, such as the front-opening BlueBird Series. However, other kilns have bead doors: the SC2B or the Xpress-E12B.

Glass kilns generally have a maximum temperature of 925°C. For these, look at the 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, start by looking 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, start by looking at the small FireFly Series, the medium Xpress Series, or 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 guillotine, drop-down, or a side-hinged door.


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
Caldera 1290 1680 23 firebrick 203 x 203 x 171
Caldera-W window 1290 1680 23 firebrick 203 x 203 x 171
Caldera-A kiln and plain collar 1095 1680 29 firebrick 203 x 203 x 285
Caldera-B kiln and bead-door collar 1095 1680 30 firebrick 203 x 203 x 285
Caldera-E kiln and enamelling-door collar 815 1680 33 firebrick 203 x 203 x 342
Caldera-AW kiln and plain collar and window 1095 1680 29 firebrick 203 x 203 x 285
Caldera-BW kiln and bead-door collar and window 1095 1680 30 firebrick 203 x 203 x 285
Caldera-EW kiln and enamelling-collar and window 815 1680 33 firebrick 203 x 203 x 342
Caldera-XL 1290 1800 34 firebrick 191 x 191 x 229
FireFly 1290 1515 21 firebrick 203 x 203 x 114
FireFly-W window 1290 1515 21 firebrick 203 x 203 x 114
SC2 1095 1680 16 ceramic fibre 203 x 197 x 146
Xpress E12 1290 2200 40 firebrick 196 x 295 x 219
Xpress Q11 1290 1440 20 firebrick 152 x 152 x 159
Xpress Q11W window 1290 1440 20 firebrick 152 x 152 x 159

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. However, cone-fire sequences up to cone 10 are recognised standards so these are included.


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.


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

THE PARAGON CALDERA ANNEALING, CERAMICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, AND PORCELAIN

The Paragon Caldera Kiln For Annealing, Beads, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Fusing Glass, Heat Treating, Porcelain, Silver Clays, And Vitrigraph.

Paragon Caldera Ceramics And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera Ceramics And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera Vitrigraph Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Paragon Caldera is a 1290°C cone 10, square, top-opening, plug-in, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a cone-fire ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


The UK kiln is rated at 230V-240V 1680W, so it can use a regular mains socket. To comply with EU safety regulations, it's fitted with an additional lid-activated switch that cuts off the power to the elements when the kiln is opened: an important safety feature. However, never get careless: kilns are very hot and connected to the mains.

The external dimensions are 330mm x 495mm x 349mm. The body has two lifting handles on opposite sides, a removable firebrick base, a 70mm high stand with four rubber feet, and a hinged firebrick lid with a lifting handle. The shipping weight, including the box, is about 23Kg.

The firing chamber measures 203mm x 203mm x 171mm high, and heats from the front, back, and both sides, with the elements in dropped recessed grooves in the 64mm thick bricks. For durability, the meeting edges of the lid and body are hardened with refractory cement. The kiln has an electro-mechanical relay and a nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple.


The programmer's electronic display prompts for heating rates, target temperatures, and hold times, making it easy to set up and re-use accurate heating, holding, and cooling sequences. The cone-fire mode, up to cone 10, will simplify your work with ceramics.


The 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 long-life mercury relay upgrade: factory fitted
List. a long-life S-type platinum-rhodium thermocouple upgrade: factory fitted
List. charcoal for the stainless steel container used for firing some metal clays
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 Caldera is a high-temperature kiln, made for years of continual firing. Because it's small and heats up quickly, it's popular for ceramics, glass work, porcelain, and vitrigraph at home, or in a course venue, studio, or workshop.

The Caldera is slightly more expensive than the similar FireFly. However, it's 57mm taller inside and can accept the clip-on collars between the base and the body. If you don't need those add-ons yet, you might do later: so read about them before choosing?

It's large enough to accommodate the charcoal-filled stainless steel container needed to fire some makes of bronze clay and copper clay, both described on this internet resource.


Vitrigraph uses a Caldera to make glass stringers. The bottom of the kiln is unclipped and set aside. The kiln body is put on a thick ceramic square with a central hole. The whole thing is lifted well away from the floor to allow moulten glass to fall through a small hole in a crucible and form long stringers. Ceramic squares are in the on-line shop.

THE CALDERA: KILN FURNITURE

The Paragon Caldera Kiln Furniture.

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

There's an extra recommended kit, not included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm shelf and four posts. You can choose 12mm, 25mm, or 50mm posts.

Depending on the material or process, and the sizes of your pieces, stacked shelves will hold more work, free up your time, and reduce the unit firing cost: so you might want more kits. This kiln has room for two.

If you're using one of the collars, it might seem that there would be room for three shelves. However, the collars don't have heating elements so the lowest shelf wouldn't reach the temperature of the upper two.

THE Caldera-A: WITH A PLAIN COLLAR DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-A Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-A Glass Kiln With A Plain Collar And A Sentry Xpress Programmer: The Caldera C. Paragon Caldera Plain Collar: The Caldera-X. Paragon Caldera Plain Collar: The Caldera-X. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Caldera-A has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 285mm. Caldera-A is the name of the collar, not the whole kiln.

The collar has no heating elements, so the maximum temperature with the collar will be reduced from 1290°C to 1095°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-B: WITH A BEAD-DOOR COLLAR BEADS, DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-B Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-A With A Bead-Annealing Collar And A Sentry Xpress Programmer: The Caldera-B. Paragon Caldera-A With A Bead Annealing Collar And A Sentry Xpress Programmer: The Caldera-B. Paragon Caldera Bead Annealing Collar: The Caldera-B. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Caldera-B has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 285mm. It includes a 165mm x 50mm bead-annealing door, and a separate mandrel holder. Caldera-B is the name of the collar, not the whole kiln.

The collar has no heating elements and some heat is lost through the window, so the maximum temperature with the collar will be reduced from 1290°C to 1095°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-E: WITH AN ENAMELLING COLLAR DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-E Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera With An Enamelling Collar And A Sentry Xpress Programmer: The Caldera-E. Paragon Caldera Enamelling Collar: The Caldera-E. Paragon Caldera Enamelling Collar: The Caldera-E. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Caldera-E has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 342mm. It includes a 165mm x 100mm enamelling door, and a separate mandrel holder. Caldera-E is the name of the collar, not the whole kiln.

The collar has no heating elements, so the maximum temperature with the collar will be reduced from 1290°C to 815°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-W: WITH A WINDOW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND SILVER CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-W Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass Fusing, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-W Ceramics And Glass-Fusing Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer: The Caldera W. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The lid 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, it's similar to the Caldera.

Heat is lost through the window, so the maximum temperature will be reduced from 1290°C to 1150°C. To use the kiln at a higher temperature, push a small pad of ceramic-fibre cloth behind the glass. Ceramic-fibre cloths are in the on-line shop.


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. Glare-resistant glasses are in the on-line shop.

THE Caldera-AW: WITH A PLAIN COLLAR AND A WINDOW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-AW Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-AW Glass Kiln With A Plain Collar, A Window, And A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera-AW Glass Kiln With A Plain Collar, A Window, And A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Caldera-AW has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 285mm. The lid has a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window. Caldera-W is the name of the kiln. Caldera-A is the name of the separate collar.

The collar has no heating elements and some heat is lost through the window, so the maximum temperature with the collar will be reduced from 1290°C to 1095°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

To use the kiln at a higher temperature, push a small pad of ceramic-fibre cloth behind the glass. Ceramic-fibre cloths are in the on-line shop.

THE CALDERA-BW: WITH A BEAD-DOOR COLLAR AND A WINDOW BEADS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-BW Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-BW Bead-Annealing Kiln With A Plain Collar, A Window, And A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera-BW Bead-Annealing Kiln With A Plain Collar, A Window, And A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Caldera-BW has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 285mm. It includes a 165mm x 50mm bead-annealing door, and a separate mandrel holder. The lid has a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window. Caldera-W is the name of the kiln. Caldera-B is the name of the separate collar.

The collar has no heating elements and some heat is lost through the window, so the maximum temperature with the collar will be reduced from 1290°C to 980°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE CALDERA-EW: WITH AN ENAMELLING COLLAR AND A WINDOW DICHROICS, ENAMELS, GLASS, AND METAL CLAYS

The Paragon Caldera-EW Kiln For Annealing, Ceramics, Dichroics, Enamelling, Glass, Heat Treating, Metal Clays, And Porcelain.

Paragon Caldera-EW Enamelling Kiln Kiln With An Enamel Collar, A Window, And A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera-EW Enamelling Kiln With With An Enamel Collar, A Window, And A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Caldera-EW has an extra layer, called a collar, which increases the internal height from 171mm to 342mm. It includes a 165mm x 102mm enamelling door, and a separate, optional, bead-mandrel holder. The lid has a 50mm x 50mm heat-resistant glass viewing-window. Caldera-W is the name of the kiln. Caldera-E is the name of the separate collar.

The collar has no heating elements and some heat is lost through the window, so the maximum temperature with the collar will be reduced from 1290°C to 815°C. To use the kiln at 1290°C, remove the collar.

THE PARAGON CALDERA-XL ANNEALING, CERAMICS, GLASS, HEAT TREATING, METAL CLAYS, PORCELAIN, AND POTTERY

The Paragon Caldera XL For Annealing, Casting, Ceramics, Glass, Heat Treating, Moulding, Silver Clays, Porcelain, Pottery, And Raku.

Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Glass Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer. Paragon Caldera-XL Ceramics And Pottery Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Controller. Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Paragon Caldera-XL is a 1290°C cone 10, square, top-opening, table-top, firebrick kiln, with a cone-fire ramp-hold Sentry Xpress 3-key digital programmer. Choose Paragon blue or customised berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, or turquoise.


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

The external dimensions are 432mm x 508mm x 445mm high. The body has a 70mm high stand with four rubber feet, and two lifting handles on opposite sides. The shipping weight, including the box, is about 34Kg.

The firing chamber measures 191mm x191mm x 229mm high, and heats from the front, back, and both sides, with the elements in dropped recessed grooves in the 76mm thick bricks. For durability, the meeting edges of the lid and body are hardened with refractory cement. The kiln has two electro-mechanical relays and a nickel-chromium K-type thermocouple.

The programmer's electronic display prompts for heating rates, target temperatures, and hold times, making it easy to set up and re-use accurate heating, holding, and cooling sequences. The cone-fire mode, up to cone 10, will simplify your work with ceramics.


The 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 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 Caldera-XL is a high-temperature kiln, made for years of continual firing. It heats up quickly so popular for small-scale ceramics, enamelling, fusing glass, testing glazes, and firing porcelain. It's 58mm taller inside than the Caldera but, as it has thicker firebricks, it will still heat to 1290°C on a regular mains socket.

The firing chamber is a one-piece construction, so it feels more durable and robust than the two-part Caldera. The corner joints are notched, not butted or mitred, so are stronger. Unless you need a bead-annealing door, an enamelling door, or a window, I'd recommend it instead of the Caldera.

THE CALDERA-XL: KILN FURNITURE

Shelf Kits For The Paragon Caldera-XL.

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

There's an extra recommended kit, not included in the price: one 178mm x 178mm x 15mm shelf and four posts. You can choose 12mm, 25mm, or 50mm posts.

Depending on the material or process, and the sizes of your pieces, stacked shelves will hold more work, free up your time, and reduce the unit firing cost: so you might want more kits. This kiln has room for three.

RECOMMENDED READING
General Help and FAQs For Kilns.

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

The remaining sections are about digital programmers, shelf kits, 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 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, provide 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 DIGITAL PROGRAMMER
Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress Programmer.

The Orton-Paragon Sentry Xpress 3-Key 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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KILN FURNITURE: A GENERAL INTRODUCTION IMPORTANT
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 overall 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 for rectangular or square kilns usually include four 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. Shelves for cylindrical kilns usually have three posts.

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 successfully.

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 Xpress E9A Jewellery Kiln With A Sentry Xpress Programmer: Purple.

Options And Upgrades.

It's important to learn about options and upgrades now as some have to be factory-fitted. The photo shows a Paragon Xpress E9A customised for a PMC silver clay studio: purple, with the 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, or a 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.

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 CLAYS
Natural 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.

What Are 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 jugs 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.

What Is 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.

BONE CHINA
Royal Victoria Bone China.

What Is Bone China?

Bone china is a type of porcelain composed of bone ash, feldspathic material, and kaolin. It's the strongest of the porcelain or china ceramics, having very high mechanical and physical strength and chip resistance, and is known for its high levels of whiteness and translucency. Its high strength allows it to be produced in thinner cross-sections than other types of porcelain.

From its initial development and up to the latter part of the 20th century, bone china was almost exclusively English, with production being effectively localised in Stoke-on-Trent. Most major English firms made or still make it, including Fortnum & Mason, Mintons, Coalport, Spode, Royal Crown Derby, Royal Doulton, Wedgwood, and Worcester.

In the UK, references to china or porcelain can refer to bone china, and English Porcelain has been used as a term for it, both in the UK and around the world

POLYMER CLAY
Polymer Clay Flowers By Olga Zhukova.

What Is Polymer Clay?

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

RAKU
Raku.

What Is 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
Art Clay 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 in cling-film or foil 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: or even add more clay.

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


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

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, 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 high, 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 high 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 very similar products can differ so much in price.


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, 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 very similar products can differ so much in price.


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, 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, 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 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, although it might have been updated, 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.

Paragon make a kiln designed for this: the SC2, although other kilns are fine. So click the sc2-sc3 link under 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.

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 under the menu bar near the top of the page. It's wide enough for most bottles but can still use a regular socket.

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.

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 link under the menu bar near the top of the page. The bottom is a separate part and can be unclipped.

WARM GLASS

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 Caldera-XL Ceramics And Porcelain 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 ClayRadio Programmes Paragon BlueBird Bead-Annealing Kilns Bronze Clay Paragon Caldera Ceramics Kilns Paragon Catalogue Ceramics Copper Clay Silver Clay Courses Sentry Xpress Demo Sentry Demo Photos Of Dorset Paragon Dragon Ceramics And Glass Kilns Radio Programme Frequently Asked Questions Paragon FireFly Ceramics  Kilns Paragon Fusion Glass Kilns TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme TV Programme Paragon F LampWorking Kilns Glass Clay Paragon GL Glass Kilns Kiln Help Paragon Home Artist Kilns Paragon HT Heat-Treating Kilns Demos 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 Caldera Glass And Ceramics Kilns Paragon E12 Glass And Ceramics Kilns Paragon SC2 Metal Clay Kilns 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.
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 A 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 Lost-Wax Burnout Tray.
USB Plug.
Paragon Xpress E-12A Jewellery Kiln.
Paragon Xpress E-12AB Bead Kiln.
Paragon Xpress E-14 Glass Kiln.
Paragon Xpress Q-11A Ceramics Kiln.