Setting up Your New Glass Fusing and Slumping Kiln

All Kilns will come with a manufacturers manual. Please read and follow all instructions given specific to your kiln. This guide is meant to assist but not replace any guidelines given by manufacturers.

Unpacking: Most kilns will be packaged with paper, wood, and/or plastic. As you remove any packaging, be sure to inspect kiln for any damage that may have occurred during shipping. If any damage has occurred, be sure to contact retailer as soon as possible. Recycle or properly dispose of any shipping materials once the kiln has been inspected. Do not store these materials near the kiln. You may keep them until after test firing, but keep them in a dry location away from the kiln.

  • Be sure to empty the kiln before the first firing.

Set Up: Many kilns will come with a stand. Some kilns have a stand attached directly to it, and some will require assembly. If assembly is required, refer to operations manual. Many companies now have comprehensive videos available online as well. Set the stand on an even non-combustible (ideally concrete) surface. Only use stands specified by the manufacturer.

  • Be sure the kiln has at least 12” of space to the nearest wall and plenty of clearance above the kiln with the lid fully open. The room should be well ventilated and free of combustible materials. Place kiln centered in the stand with the power cord facing your electrical outlet. It’s important to have the cord in a strain free position, free from contact with the sides of the kiln.
  • Use a level to be sure there is no angle to your kiln. You can use a small prop under the stand legs but never place anything between the kiln and kiln stand. An uneven kiln can have negative effects on projects and also puts unnecessary stress on the kiln.
  • Some kilns may have peepholes covered on the sides. Check manual to see if your kiln should have ceramic stoppers and if there is a cover that needs to be loosened or removed.
  • Vacuum out any debris or brick dust inside the kiln. After checking your electrical setup (preferably with a licensed electrician), plug in your kiln. Be sure the plug is pressed all the way into the wall outlet.

Preliminary Firings: One or two preliminary firings are recommended before loading the new kiln with projects. This will allow for the proper oxidation of the heating elements and it gives you an opportunity to check if everything is working correctly.

  • The firing should be at a rate of 500F per hour to 1500F (260C per hour to 816C) and hold for 15 minutes.
  • Be sure to not only inspect the kiln but watch the plug and outlet for any signs of heat damage.
  • After the first couple of firing hairline cracks may appear in on the kiln floor or lid. This is caused by the expansion and contraction from heating a cooling and is considered normal.
  • After cooling check the lid band to see if it’s become loose. Most band clamps are easily tightened with a screwdriver.

Kiln Maintenance Tips

  • Always consult owner’s manual for detailed information specific to your kiln.
  • Always unplug kiln or shut off breakers before any cleaning or attempting any maintenance.
  • Before each firing, check kiln for debris. Use a HEPA Filter Vacuum regularly to remove any debris or dust.
  • Check Coil elements and pins. Replace any broken or damaged coils. Pin any loose elements back into place.
  • Check to be sure there is no damage to thermocouple (temperature probe). They are easily knocked with heavy shelves. It’s a good idea to replace them once a year. If your kiln cannot get an accurate temperature reading, it will be impossible to use your controller to get accurate firings. If any damage occurs, replace immediately. If using a kiln-sitter it will be a shut-off tube which does not need to be replaced as regularly.
  • Check plug and outlet at least once a year. Be sure prongs still appear bright brass color.
  • Always fire on a shelf. Even when using molds, fire on a shelf. It’s much cheaper to replace a shelf than a kiln floor.
  • Always use posts with kiln shelves. Never fire on or place shelves on the bottom of your kiln.
  • Keep records of your firings. This will help with consistency of firings, and will also allow you to keep tabs on any changes that occur with your kiln and track when your heating elements are becoming tired.
  • Check all firing surfaces and shelves for cracks and kiln wash. Re-coat whenever necessary.
  • Tighten lid clamps after the first few firings. Check regularly and tighten as needed but at least once a year.
  • It’s normal for small cracks to appear in the kiln brick. Watch for loose brick pieces. If large cracks or chips appear, repair as soon as possible to prevent sifting or becoming larger. Small chips can be cemented back into place. For large chips, part of the brick may need to be removed and a new brick, cut to size, can be cemented and sanded smooth.
  • Check all screws. Be sure they remain tight.
  • Kiln set-up and maintenance information.

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