My pick for all of the above is the Ek Miller Fusebox II, unless you
lose power frequently. Fiber is more energy-efficient because it doesn't
absorb heat, but the drawback is that if your power shuts off your kiln
will lose heat quickly and you will have to re-anneal. If frequent power
interruptions are not a concern, than either a biber or brick kiln will
do you just fine. The Fusebox II fuses very nicely, is under $800
(barely) and has doors that run the full length of the kiln. If capacity
is a concern, I would definitely suggest staying away from the Jen-Ken
and the Skutt (which are fine kilns) because they have small bead doors.
Although many folks say you can just put the beads seperated on the rack
until they cool to annealing temp and then stack them in the kiln to
make more room, in practice this can cause small dings on the beads
where they touch. I have bought many beads with these dings, so I know
it's not just me
. Most people never notice them, but I won't sell a
bead with a ding, however tiny, so the kiln with the full-length bead
door was the only option. I have the Fusebox 10 (same as the II, but
slightly longer) and adore it.
Arrow Springs also makes an excellent bead kiln, but I have no
experience with it. If I was a new beadmaker on a budget, yet had the
advantage of knowing what I know now, I would get a Chili Pepper bead
annealer because they have a huge bead capacity, and I could buy a
seperate fusing kiln later with what I saved on the annealer, plus what
I made from having such a great bead capacity.
Karin Cernik wrote:
I know this has been asked before, and I have gone back and looked, but
I'm hoping for some advice for my particular situation. It seems that
there is no real consensus on kilns, as there seems to be at least a
partial consensus on torches, so I'm really having a tough time with
I need to buy a kiln. Obviously, I would rather not spend a fortune
(let's say, $500-800 if possible, going to $1000 if I have to.) I work
in my garage. In Kansas. Where it goes from -10 to +110. I would
prefer 120V, but I'm married to an electrical engineer, so I guess all
things are possible. I'm only needing to anneal beads right now, but
may want to do fusing/slumping/whatever in the future.
It appears a bead door is a necessary thing, to avoid killing yourself
with the mandrels and the heating elements. :-) But it also seems to
vastly limit the size/number of beads you can put in. Is that an issue?
It must have a computer controller. Can't be babysitting a kiln when
I'm already watching 2 kids, 2 cats, and a husband. :-)
I've heard that kilns with firebricks are possibly more efficient, in
that you can just turn them off to let them cool down - is that true?
Good practice? Safe?
I've looked at JenKen, Aim, Paragon... toolbox types, top-lid types,
guillotine door types... they all seem to have advantages and
disadvantages. If you all have the time, could you give me your
perspective as people who are actually USING the things (and have no
incentive to sell me one, which might understandably influence your
(who hopes THIS post actually makes it out to the outside world...)