November 19, 2017

Fusing with a small kiln with no controller

I have a small Skutt firebox kiln with a low/Med/hi setting and that’s it! When using this small kiln is there a trick to fusing and slumping small items? – E.G.

Jewelry sized pieces are pretty easy to fire, even without a controller. Just start slowly, keep an eye on the kiln to avoid overfiring, and let it cool naturally.

Start by loading the kiln, making sure to center your glass pieces inside, in the middle of the shelf. Turn the dial to medium and heat until the temperature reaches 500F/260C. When that happens, turn the dial up to midway between medium and high and continue heating. When the temperature reaches 1000F/540C, turn the dial all the way to high. Watch carefully until the piece is fused the way you want. Then just turn the kiln off and wait for it to cool.

If you’re in a hurry, you can open the lid of the kiln slightly (about an inch) and let it cool faster.  With small pieces it’s safe to do this once the temperature drops below 800F/425C.  You can cool small pieces very quickly if you have to.

Just remember, this approach to fusing works for small, jewelry sized pieces, but don’t try it with pieces that are coaster sized or larger.  For those you’ll need to heat and cool slower and thicker pieces will require a proper annealing schedule.

Got a question for Brad?  Just send it to us and we’ll do our best to help.  Sending a picture and a firing schedule will also help us help you.