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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2016-04-03, 10:38am
TortoiseAvenger TortoiseAvenger is offline
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Default HELP: What kiln for me?

Hello y'all:

I am getting back into glass... got me a nice torch and I'm beginning to add boro to my repertoire.

I share a studio with a metalsmith who has a small kiln I am able to use, but soon I'd like to have my own. Thus, I'm looking at my options in an attempt to budget.

Especially for my boro work, I think I will end up batch annealing most of my work. With the intricacies of each individual color, this simply makes more sense to me. It also seems that with batch annealing I could get a smaller kiln, since I won't have all those mandrels taking up space.

I'm looking at this guy:

https://www.riogrande.com/Product/sp...ro-kiln/703075

Assuming the beads can touch at striking temperatures (I think they can?) I could rest a small "basket" on the bottom and just load it up with beads, right? In this manner I could get a ton of beads in that small kiln with one run at only 350 watts!

Sounds too good to be true. Hoping its not.

What are y'alls thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 2016-04-03, 12:20pm
Shabrea Shabrea is offline
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Check out Glasshive in Oregon. Best IMO. Plus they offer hassle free layaway
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  #3  
Old 2016-04-03, 4:06pm
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Looking at the image in the link you provided it seems to me that the "working area" for annealing your glass is something like 4 inches by 4 inches.

Are you certain you want something that small for that much money?
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  #4  
Old 2016-04-03, 5:49pm
beckd beckd is offline
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You have a very easy decision to make---- get a "Glasshive" !
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  #5  
Old 2016-04-03, 6:57pm
Mesnik Mesnik is offline
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Yep, waste no time: Glasshive.
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  #6  
Old 2016-04-04, 7:30am
losthelm losthelm is offline
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The next question is what size/model.

Kilns are a lot like torches active people often upgrade to bigger in 5 years or less.
If you have any intrest in fusing, slumping, or large pieces get the larger kiln.
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  #7  
Old 2016-04-04, 8:08am
TortoiseAvenger TortoiseAvenger is offline
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I sincerely appreciate everyones responses, but I don't really understand them. I've actually had a glasshive before. They seem to have a near cult-like following. Myself, however... I didn't love the controller. Other than that it was a good kiln.

But why would I want something so huge with a bead door if I'm batch annealing? To me that seems like a waste of energy. Compared to the kiln I linked to, the energy usage is HUGE. They're also expensive, and I could nearly get two of the small ones for the price of one of the others, allowing me to do different strike schedules, which for boro can be a big deal.

I'm open to suggestions, which is why I asked in the first place, but I just don't see the rationale with glasshive. One could argue that if I DIDN'T want to batch anneal something I might be in trouble with a kiln that didn't have a bead door. That I understand... But I've had pretty good luck so far with batch annealing boro.

Thoughts?
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  #8  
Old 2016-04-04, 9:45am
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Why the insistence on batch annealing?
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  #9  
Old 2016-04-04, 9:53am
TortoiseAvenger TortoiseAvenger is offline
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Batch annealing simply makes more sense to me. Having worked in soft glass, I understand the value of garaging, but when working with boro, it's so resistant to thermal shock I don't seem to lose any beads at all by flame annealing and putting them in the fiber blanket to properly anneal later.

Batch annealing also lets me make a variety of beads, and then when I have enough of a certain color group to fire, I can do them together. If I garaged, assuming I only have one kiln, I'd be limited to making beads that had the same firing schedule with each session. (Since firing schedules for different boro colors can vary considerably when kiln striking.)

Batch annealing also saves electricity.

Finally, it would allow me to purchase a smaller, cheaper kiln, since I can load it up with beads without mandrels, and at some point I could perhaps have multiple kilns firing different schedules.
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  #10  
Old 2016-04-04, 9:58am
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Besides that, the kiln you are looking at is quite small. For proper temperature control etc, if I understand it correctly, you have to be at least an inch away from all sides of the kiln In most cases, how much can you anneal?

And what kind of settings will it allow? It's small, so it's going to cool off faster than larger, better insulated kilns. Silver clay and copper needs at most two segments, three if you want to stretch it out. Will this accommodate the gradual ramping up without shattering the glass? Will it allow you enough segments to ramp back down? What is the software capabilities?

I recommend a Paragon bead kiln. A shade bigger. A shade more expensive. But geared towards glass.

I don't think I'd anneal in a pile. I'd anneal in a single layer. And if you're a responsible seller, please disclose HOW you anneal. Because with the exception of certain applications, batch annealing isn't much better than knock off Chinese glass beads. If you're not selling, it's fine. Otherwise, disclose the fact.

Edit to add: boro would be one of those exceptions. . But do disclose batch annealing for soft glass.
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  #11  
Old 2016-04-04, 10:05am
TortoiseAvenger TortoiseAvenger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SGA View Post
Because with the exception of certain applications, batch annealing isn't much better than knock off Chinese glass beads. If you're not selling, it's fine. Otherwise, disclose the fact.

Edit to add: boro would be one of those exceptions. . But do disclose batch annealing for soft glass.
I didn't read your edit right away, and at first, I wanted to respond "says who?" But given your edit, I completely agree. In my experience with soft glass it's too sensitive to thermal shock to "get away" with this.

I'm considering other kilns, and I doubt I'll be buying for awhile. There are many kilns out there with that basic design only larger, and I might do something like that.

SGA: Good call on noting the space surrounding an object inside the kiln. This makes the kiln I linked to quite small.
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  #12  
Old 2016-04-04, 10:55am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TortoiseAvenger View Post
I didn't read your edit right away, and at first, I wanted to respond "says who?" But given your edit, I completely agree. In my experience with soft glass it's too sensitive to thermal shock to "get away" with this.

I'm considering other kilns, and I doubt I'll be buying for awhile. There are many kilns out there with that basic design only larger, and I might do something like that.

SGA: Good call on noting the space surrounding an object inside the kiln. This makes the kiln I linked to quite small.
Well, admittedly I edited after your response because I was thinking strictly about 104. I ignored the boro part. And you're absolutely correct, most boro workers I've seen on a small scale batch anneal. I've only ever seen huge pieces go into a kiln right off.

I'm more concerned with the number of segments the controller software would let you use given how this is marketed towards metal clay.
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  #13  
Old 2016-04-04, 12:23pm
LarryC LarryC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SGA View Post

I don't think I'd anneal in a pile. I'd anneal in a single layer. And if you're a responsible seller, please disclose HOW you anneal. Because with the exception of certain applications, batch annealing isn't much better than knock off Chinese glass beads. If you're not selling, it's fine. Otherwise, disclose the fact.

Edit to add: boro would be one of those exceptions. . But do disclose batch annealing for soft glass.
Thats just simply not true. It is possible to batch anneal and end up with a fully de stressed bead. Its true that by NOT annealing up front, you will generally end up with a bead that is quite stressy initially but assuming you anneal for long enough to reduce that stress to an acceptable level, it can be equivalent to something annealed right after its made before it cools. A stressy object will take longer to properly anneal though. How long? You will have to experiment and test to determine that.
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  #14  
Old 2016-04-04, 1:44pm
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SGA, you can pile up beads, even soft glass, as long as they're cool enough when you stack them that they won't be sticky. I don't batch anneal, but I often have beads stacked and touching. I start them on a rack, not touching, and then move them to the other side of my kiln and pile them up when I finish a set. I also sometimes work at a local non-profit art school where there are two bead kilns shared by up to 10 people. The kilns get piled up with beads on busy days and other than an occasional issue of a newbie putting beads in red hot and sticking them to other beads in the kiln, it's fine. They have a system - there's a rack on one side and you put your bead on the rack. When you put your next bead in, you move the prior bead to the pile on the other side of the kiln.

TortoiseAvenger, I know people that have various brands of kilns and I think most are happy with what they have as long as the size and functions work for them. I switched from an Aim kiln to a Glass Hive kiln several years ago, because I found the that the longer, shallower kiln worked better for me, but they both work fine otherwise and have the same annoying to figure out controller. I think the real question is how sure are you that you will only want to batch anneal, that you will only work with Boro and that you will only make beads. Those questions will dictate the kiln size, shape and door type that'll work for you. I think folks are questioning whether you'll outgrow a tiny kiln. Working with Boro breeds a tendency to want to go from small things, like beads, to larger things. Then again, you've worked with glass before so maybe you know that all you'll ever want to make is beads.
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  #15  
Old 2016-04-04, 3:48pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryC View Post
Thats just simply not true. It is possible to batch anneal and end up with a fully de stressed bead. Its true that by NOT annealing up front, you will generally end up with a bead that is quite stressy initially but assuming you anneal for long enough to reduce that stress to an acceptable level, it can be equivalent to something annealed right after its made before it cools. A stressy object will take longer to properly anneal though. How long? You will have to experiment and test to determine that.
Annealing does not heal cracks. And the chances of thermal cracks are much higher in un-annealed beads than annealed. Small beads, you can get away with. Blown hollows, you can get away with. Medium-large opaque beads should not be batch annealed. It's possible Big Foot exists. Doesn't mean it's a good idea to go look for him.


Artsyuno, makes sense. I do that too. *shakes head* I'm not sure why I thought batch annealing would be different in this case.

Last edited by SGA; 2016-04-04 at 3:51pm.
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  #16  
Old 2016-04-04, 5:23pm
LarryC LarryC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SGA View Post
Annealing does not heal cracks. And the chances of thermal cracks are much higher in un-annealed beads than annealed. Small beads, you can get away with. Blown hollows, you can get away with. Medium-large opaque beads should not be batch annealed. It's possible Big Foot exists. Doesn't mean it's a good idea to go look for him.


Artsyuno, makes sense. I do that too. *shakes head* I'm not sure why I thought batch annealing would be different in this case.
Of course not. Im completely missing something here. Why would you ever consider annealing anything with cracks? If you can't find a methodology and work flow to bench cool your beads without cracks then batch annealing is just not gonna help you.. This is really a ridiculous reason to try to convince us that batch annealing somehow can't be effective for soft glass. I give up. Most who appear to have sound technical knowledge have long ago.
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  #17  
Old 2016-04-04, 5:31pm
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it is painful
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  #18  
Old 2016-04-05, 1:33pm
Floorkasp Floorkasp is offline
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Some stuff to add just from personal experience. I have batch annealed most of my beads, both boro and soft glass. When I make small beads, put them in annealing bubbles first, this works just fine. I also (with the exception of silver glass or silver wire on the surface) have no issues with stacking them on top of each other. For bigger beads, complex beads, marbles, sculptures, I will anneal straight away.
I have a small kiln, a beadcube. There are benefits to having a small kiln. They take up less room, heat up quick, lower electric bill, and generally cheaper.
Having said that.....I do find that I am looking around for a bigger kiln after 3 years of lampworking. For me, it has to do with starting to do more with boro tubing, making bigger pieces, and it just starts to become too small for me.

Buying a kiln is a purchase for the long term. If you see yourself working bigger in the future like me, it is something to keep in mind.
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  #19  
Old 2016-04-05, 4:40pm
losthelm losthelm is offline
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A lot bead door kilns have a similar model without the bead door.
The difference is small when building,
It maybe worth asking even if its not listed as an option.
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Old 2016-04-05, 5:40pm
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Seems like this person just wants people to agree with using this kiln. Since they asked which kiln and have completely rejected every suggestion and have defended this "itty bitty I'm not sure it's worth $400+ kiln"... Just an observation. I could be wrong.

I have a Glass Hive regular guy, a small Paragon kiln and a big Aim front loader. I use the Glass Hive kiln almost exclusively.
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