15 August 2017

Show Your True Colors!

What is your favorite color... Pendant Blue, Salsa Red or, maybe it's Mancini Pink?

For a limited time, Kiln Frog is offering FREE COLORS on the Evenheat Fishbone and Kingpin 88 kilns!

 Yep... I said it! FREE COLORS! That's a $50.00 savings. So, what are you waiting for?

How do I test for accurate temperatures in my kiln?

In case you don’t know, a thermocouple is the nubby, sticky-outie thing inside your kiln that takes the temperature and reports it to the controller. This is a picture of what your thermocouple looks like inside your kiln.

I had a great conversation about this with Jim Simmons, Production Manager at Evenheat Kilns. He said, “Most manufacturers tell customers that a variance of +/- 20F degrees is an acceptable target to stay within the temperature range.” But in my experience, most of us usually can adjust within about +/- 50F degrees and still be able to accommodate the changes.

He also said, “It’s time to change the thermocouple when the room temperature reading is OVER 50F degrees above or below the true room temps. A thermocouple offset is also an option that your manufacturer can walk you through.”  In my opinion, changing out a thermocouple is an easy and less expensive thing you can do to keep your kiln singing along. For most manufacturers, a thermocouple is in the price range of $35.00.

He was pretty specific about this one point, “When thermocouples wear out, you begin to get an “over fire” situation, which means the temperature of the kiln reads LOWER than the actual firing temperature in the kiln. If you don’t change out your thermocouple soon, it’s just gonna get worse.”

This is actually happening right now with one of my kilns. It’s 8 years old, and gets quite the workout! The controller is reading 1325F, but the firing results really look like 1425F. This is a clear sign that it’s time to change out that old thermo! I’ve been lazy about it, even though know I need to do it. Like my hero Maya Angelou said, "When you know better, you do better!"

Jim shared this last tidbit... we love Jim, but it’s pretty techie stuff…

“Here’s the technical formula. The air in your kiln, plus the tip of the thermocouple -2 degrees or .4% of temperature, whichever is greater, that is the temperature differential  between the tip of the the thermocouple to whatever material you have in the kiln. Temps are measured by millivolts on the tip of the thermocouple. Who knows (the engineers know) how that really works for us everyday “Joes,” but you could get another digital pyrometer, drill a hole next to the other thermocouple, and place that in the kiln. One thermo would them prove or disprove the other thermo, as long as the first thermo was calibrated correct at the factory. There’s really no way you could accurately do this in the studio or shop.”

Well, there you have it. It sounds like we have three options:

  • Manually do the adjustment and change your programs accordingly to accommodate the +/- temp factors of your particular kiln.
  • Call the manufacturer and have them walk you through a thermocouple offset on your controller.
  • Do what I’m doing! Send the $35.00 dollars and change out the thermocouple.

Good luck! And, may all your temperatures read true!

24 July 2017

Paragon Distributor News: The Improved BlueBird XL Bead Kiln

Hot off the press... Paragon Kilns has just announced improvements to one of their most popular kilns... the Bluebird XL. The new Paragon BlueBird XL has an improved ceramic fiber roof, thicker doors with new gaskets, heavier mandrel holders, and a stainless steel control panel.
  • Improved Ceramic Fiber Top - The BlueBird XL features new sinusoidal “wavy” elements, which are embedded close to the inner surface of the high-tech, vacuum-formed ceramic fiber top. This is an improvement over our earlier embedded coiled elements, because the “wavy” elements are mounted closer to the surface. This enables the elements to radiate heat faster for longer element life. The ceramic fiber top reduces dust inside the kiln.
  • Improved Double Doors with Gaskets - Both doors are 3 1/2” x 10” and mounted in a 4 1/4” high opening. The 3/4” gap under the doors is filled by flexible, high temperature door gaskets, which help to hold in heat. The 2” thick ceramic fiber doors are twice the thickness of our original doors. The hinges are now continuous across the top for extra longevity.
  • Improved Mandrel holders with 20 slots are held with magnets instead of screws - The kiln comes with a single and a double mandrel holder. The single holder supports rods or mandrels from one point; the double cradles the rods at two points. The holders are held by magnets. They are sturdy and heavy for stability.
  • Improved Rare-earth magnets hold the doors open or closed - Rare-earth magnets hold the doors closed while the kiln is heating to annealing temperature. Phenolic knobs on the door handles stay cool to the touch. Use the switch on the front panel to turn off power to the controller when the kiln is not in use.
If you were thinking about ordering a Bluebird XL, now is the perfect time! And, don't forget that you can order all Paragon Kilns in color at no extra charge!

22 July 2017

“What to Expect, When You’re Expecting!”


Waiting for a kiln is like waiting for new a baby to arrive. You have the relief of "I’ve have finally made the decision", and the adrenaline rush of " Now, I’m ready to begin the new adventure.” And then nothing happens… crickets chirp and you wait… and you wait. You are constantly checking your e-mail waiting for the tracking and delivery information to arrive in your inbox. For most of us it's like waiting for a pot to boil... the more you watch, the longer it takes.

At Kiln Frog, we understand, and we get it! We recognize that you are dying to know exactly which day it’s coming, and how soon you can get started. And, we know that waiting stinks!

Currently, most kiln companies build kilns to order due to the immense amount of customization options they offer. Only the smallest 120v table top kilns, like the SC3 or Kingpin 88, with the most generic options are built and ready to leave the factory immediately. In addition, the demand for certain types of kilns is so high that the manufactures just can’t keep up. In today’s economy, the manufacturers would rather create lag times for delivery, then bring in more production staff and risk layoffs. Additionally, kiln building is a relatively specific skill. A lot of training is required to be knowledgeable and proficient, and that takes investment too. So, we all prefer that the kiln companies take their time and build ‘em right! 

While you are waiting, here are some things you can do to be ready when the kiln arrives:

Make space for your new baby to live. Plan for 12 inches of space between the kiln and everything else. Make sure the space is clean from dust and debris.

Clear a space for the box/pallet to live while you are unpacking the kiln. Chances are the freight company or even UPS/FedEx, etc. will place the pallet or box in your garage, but you will need to have a covered, clean and dry space ready so that you can take your time assembling things like your stand, etc. Some models come with stands assembled, and some do not.

Get yourself a set of nut drivers and a multi-meter from the home improvement store. You’re going to need them if you’re ever going to do any maintenance on your kiln. You might even need the nut drivers to put together your stand.

Make sure the space your planning to put the kiln is less than 6 feet from the receptacle. Most kilns only have a 6-foot cord, and the bigger the kiln, the fatter the cord, making it less likely to bend around corners, etc.

Make sure you plan for a working surface. Somewhere near your kiln to store kiln wash, posts, extra shelves, gloves, tools etc.

Make plans for someone to help you unpack the kiln. Only the smallest 120v table top kilns can be a “one man job.” If you lack the upper body strength to lift 40 pounds alone, prearrange some help. Do this BEFORE the kiln arrives so that you’ve set the stage to get going sooner rather than later.

Have a plan for debris removal. What will you do with pallet? The box, the foam, the strapping, the plastic, etc. That packing material is coming, how will you get it gone??

Pre-read the manuals and watch the controller videos on YouTube. Be familiar with your kiln and controller before it arrives. Maybe purchase some fun technique books to inspire your work!

If you haven’t heard from us in 3-4 weeks, feel free to drop us an email and inquire as to what we know about your kiln. We typically check with the manufacturer at the three-week mark if we see your kiln has not shipped yet.  If there’s a problem, we’ll let you know.

Great service is our #1 priority! We know you’re anxious to get your new kiln and get going, so we humbly ask, please be patient. We don’t build ‘em, and we have no control if a manufacturer gets behind due to mechanical problems at the factory, weather related issues, shipping delays, etc. We want what you want, your kiln in perfect working order, delivered in one piece, in a timely manner...

And most importantly, a happy, happy customer!

06 July 2017

TAP Kiln Control Mobile Update for iOS


From our friends at SDS Industries: An update to TAP Kiln Control Mobile is available for iOS users. Future versions of the mobile application will provide nearly complete control of your internet accessible kiln, with the ability to create new schedules, edit existing schedules, modify settings, and review logs on the go.

Current Release

  • Create TAP Mobile account and add kilns on the fly
  • Remote monitoring with by-the-minute updates
  • Quick check the status of your kilns with easy to read indicators
  • Detail view that shows current execution status
  • Push Notifications for schedule step advancement, firing completion, and error conditions
  • Tab Layout offering view of Kiln specific Schedules, Settings, Diagnostics, and Error Logs

Future Releases

  • Create and modify schedules remotely
  • Remotely update kiln settings
  • Firing Log view with by-the-minute data points
  • Ability to Skip Steps and Abort firings remotely

Please note, TAP Kiln Control Mobile requires your TAP Kiln Controller to be on software Revision 2 or higher. The current software release is Revision 4.0, which incorporates updates necessary for the most effective app experience. For users that are web connected, the latest software version will download automatically when the controller is powered on.

More information on the Tap Controller from SDS Industries.

For technical assistance or questions, please contact info@kilncontrol.com.

25 June 2017

Discoloration on kilns with fiber

Fiber kilns are constructed of rigidized fiber to keep the walls nice and stiff. Some kiln companies pre-fire their fiber at the factory to a satisfactory temperature so that any excess rigidizer burns away while others do not.  As you can never be 100% positive that all of the excess rigidizer is gone, a good fiber burnout is usually necessary.

With that said, before you put anything in the kiln, fire your new fiber kilns up to 1500°F and hold for one hour. Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated area, like an open garage, near an open window or your back porch because as the heat increases, the excess rigidizer may begin to steam, and well, yes even get a bit stinky. We get a lot of calls about this but, don't panic as it is totally normal.

As the process continues, the nice white fiber board may even begin to turn brown and discolor. But, once the temp reaches 1500°F the toasty looking area should return to pristine white. If there is a lot of rigidzer, the area may remain slightly discolored or seem stained.  Again, don't worry, as this will not effect the firing of the kiln, or later, the glass inside.

Discoloration happens a lot when you use fiber papers like Thinfire or Papyrus. It’s just happening inside the kiln, so you don’t see it. If you vent your kiln while using these papers, the burnout process can discolor the edges of your kiln lid. Again, this just isn’t a real problem, just a cosmetic blemish. Think of this as smile lines from the joys of using your kiln!

Learn more about fiber vs. brick kilns...

03 June 2017

Greenery is the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year!

Bullseye Glass Quick Tip:

"It's not easy being green" but, we think that Kermit the Frog would be so pleased with Pantone's choice of Greenery as the 2017 Color of the Year!

According to Pantone, a refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings. Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront – it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

With that, our friends at the Bulleye Glass Co. have created an inspiring set of Fresh Palette Picks that use the Bullseye green styles they released in 2017. Use them in your next project—or create a palette of your own! Each color sample shown is 3 mm (-0030) sheet glass, but consider 2 mm Thin (-0050) sheets, too!

We can't wait to see what you create!

27 May 2017

Free Custom Colors on Paragon Kilns

Did you know that all Paragon Kilns can be ordered with an optional color at no extra charge? Originally, these fun colors were only available on the E, Q, BlueBird, and SC-series kilns but, Paragon realized that everyone wanted to share the love of color! Imagine owning a pink Dragon, right! That would be my dream come true!


Optional colors are berry, black, jade, navy, pink, purple, and turquoise! Please keep in mind that the exact shade may not match the color shown on your computer because of the variation in color on digital devices. Paragon uses a high temperature water base paint because of low emissions during spraying. This creates a healthier environment for their employees and cuts down on pollution.

21 May 2017

We’re in love with Bullseye's Tint Overlay Palette!

Bullseye Glass Quick Tip:

Have you ever watched the show "Say Yes to the Dress"... well, that how much you are going to be in love with this new Tint Overlay Palette from Bullseye Glass! And, it is so easy!

For a semi-matte finish and crisp seams, simply design with a base layer of tint glass and cap with an opalescent style. To keep the finish, slump with the shelf-side facing up and work with molds that require relatively little heatwork.

06 May 2017

Hake brush hack

We love Bullseye Glass Blog Posts and this one is genius!

Connect a full size/standard brush (5.5″) to a short section of another brush (they’re perforated or maybe you already have a broken one) with hot glue & duct tape. Voila! Having a variety of widths in the studio is handy for different applications. Just make sure that the wide one still fits in your primer bucket!




27 April 2017

Google Reviews

Trying to stay up-to-date with social media can be a daunting task. So, today we are asking for a little help from our friends. If you have purchased a kiln or, had a positive interaction with Kiln Frog, we are reaching out to ask if you could give us a review on ‘Google +’. We appreciate it can be time consuming but, it would be a great bonus to us.

Many thanks!

16 April 2017

NEW 10" x 10" Glass Packs from Bullseye Glass!

So, now that you have purchased your kiln... you need glass, right?

At Kiln Frog, we understand that picking colors can be a bit overwhelming.  And, as fellow glass artists, we know that sometimes it's hard to know where to start! With that said, we called our good friends at Bullseye Glass to help us put together something special to help artists like you make the choice easier.

Introducing... NEW 10" x 10" Glass Packs from Bullseye Glass!

These 10" x 10" glass packs have been hand-picked and are exclusive to Kiln Frog. We divided them into three focus areas... Starter Packs, Top Seller Packs and Tekta Packs

The Starter Pack includes a variety of traditional colors including extra black, white and clear. While, the Top Seller Pack includes an assortment of Bulleye's most popular glass. And, of course, we have a Tekta Pack because you can never have enough clear glass!

03 April 2017

Drilling Small Holes in Jewelry

Bullseye Glass Quick Tip:

While teaching jewelry workshops, we get this question a lot... "What is the most effective way to drill a small hole in my pendant?" It seems like a simple question but it can cause a lot of stress to both the student, and the glass.

This Quick Tip shows you how to do in three easy to follow steps.

In our studio, we generally make at least 8 holes in 4-6 mm thick fused glass before changing to a new bit. With use, you’ll notice that a drill bit doesn't work as effectively. If a piece breaks while drilling, this may indicate that it's time to replace a bit.

19 March 2017

Education is good!

Bullseye Kiln-glass Education OnlineContinuing education is good as it exercises our mind and helps keep the creative juices following. Or, maybe you just purchased your first kiln and need instruction on where to start. As we have been doing this for over 15 years, we know that travelling to a workshop or class can be difficult and expensive. So, wouldn’t it be perfect if you could learn from the experts in the comforts of your own home?

Introducing… Bullseye's Kiln-Glass Education Online.

Bullseye's Kiln-Glass Education Online is a library of over 80 videos that aims to inspire and educate kiln-glass makers of all levels. Each video is a 10-15 minute lesson, exclusively designed by Bullseye instructors for this program. 

So, what are you waiting for… click here to learn more!

12 March 2017

Applying kiln wash should be easy, right?

We all know that kiln wash and shelf primer does not melt at high temperatures which enables it to form a protective barrier between kiln shelves and glaze or glass. But, did you know the secret to smooth and bubble free kiln wash is to warm the shelves prior to its application?

Before applying the kiln wash, heat the shelves in the kiln to around 150F / 65C for an hour or two. If you are heating multiple shelves, make sure to separate them in the kiln with posts. Your kiln wash will now flow effortlessly without forming those small, and frustrating bubbles. Pre-heating shelves also speeds drying and lessens the chance of cracking the kiln wash.

The Bullseye Glass Shelf Primer Guide is a great resource for kiln wash applications. 

When you mix your kiln wash, it should compare to a nonfat milk consistency. Paint your shelf by applying kiln wash in complete thin coats. First in one direction, then in the opposite direction, varying north/south, then east/west, etc. You’ll need about 6 coats to properly protect your shelf from glass adhesion. I can’t stress enough that thin coats are always preferred over thick ones. Applying the kiln wash that is too thick will result in the kiln wash peeling back from the shelf after just one firing. If it does, just scrape off all of the kiln wash and start over with thinner coats.

Don’t forget to let the kiln wash dry before firing the kiln. The kiln-washed shelves are still wet if they are cool to the touch. Apply kiln wash to the top of each shelf but not to both sides as the underside of a shelf can flake onto the items underneath. If the kiln wash is gauged, scratched, or chipped, that’s when it’s time to scrape the shelf clean and reapply.

Looking for more information... check out the Kiln Academy, it's time to prepare for firing!

25 February 2017

Designing Your Own Art Glass

Bullseye Glass Studio Tip:

Don’t you hate being dependent on the selection of sheet glass offered by dealers and manufacturers? We think it’s time free yourself from searching for that perfect sheet of glass and learn how to create it yourself!

Working with a palette of glass frit, powder, and stringers, it’s easy to create unique sheets of art glass to use in your projects. With this TipSheet, you will learn how to make a series of sample tiles using the classic elements of design; line, dot, shading, shape, and pattern.

And, after you practice these simple techniques, we know that you will be flooded with ideas for unique patterns, colors, and textures of your own. What are you waiting for… It's time to get creative!

05 February 2017

Circles from Squares... Be careful, they’re addictive!

Bullseye Glass Quick Tip:

This QuickTip will teach you how to create nicely rounded cabochons from stacks of 0.75" (20 x 20 mm) squares, thanks to heat, gravity, and the 6 Millimeter Rule.

We recommend 6 mm clear for this project as life is always better with fewer pieces to cut, clean and assemble! These stacks will flow out to about 1.25" in diameter, so son't forget to give them some extra room.

28 January 2017

Working Deep

Bullseye Glass Studio Tip: 

This TipSheet will introduce you to ways to float imagery and color within thick blocks of clear glass. This method is direct, simple, and allows greater control of line quality than is achievable with other techniques. 

The primary technical challenges involved in this working method are:

  • Controlling trapped air (bubbles)
  • Restraining the glass flow at full fusing temperatures
  • Working with extended heating and cooling cycles
  • Minimizing coldworking to the finished project