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Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Joy of Metal Clay - Square Head Firing Vessel

As a relatively new alternative to the steel containers for firing base metal clay there are ceramic containers that are supposed to be resistant to heat resistance. One brand available is the Square Head Container available at Art Clay World USA.

One of the advantages it that it puts the end to the black dust from the steel firing containers and is much more stable than the folded make it yourself containers made with flake free foil.

I have one to test out. I loaded it with a few test pieces and proceeded with test firing.

I had concerns that this 5.625" x 4.75 sized container would be too large for the interior of my kiln (I have a Paragon FireFly with a digital controller). The fit is tight but there is a small amount of space around the top and bottom. If firing fails it may be due to the lack of circulation.

One thing that I was concerned about is thermal shock as I had read that some people have experienced the lid of their containers cracking.

According to Art Clay World USA the following should be followed to avoid thermal shock and for safety:

  1. Allow the temperature to drop to 900F.

  2. Open the kiln door or lid to approximately one inch and leave it open until the temperature drops to 600F.

  3. You can remove the vessel at 600F and allow it to cool completely.

  4. To avoid injury use metal tongs when removing the ceramic firing vessel from the kiln.

The first test firing seemed to turn out well. The pieces of CopprClay appeared to sinter and there was no thermal shock of the container. Finally there was not mess in the bottom of my KILN!

Sorry, I experienced technical difficulty in getting this posted...

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