Working with a Glass Kiln is No Joke, So Play it Safe

Published: 27th April 2011
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First off lets discuss kiln safety. As many of you already know, glass kilns are an oven specifically designed for fusing glass objects. So where is the best place for your kiln?

To start, place your kiln on cement or similar hard surface that is nonflammable.

Keep your kiln away from wood cabinets and wood floors.

Many have made this mistake before, so don't become another glass kiln victim.

Next, double check that your fused glass kiln is placed a minimum of four feet from anything that could catch fire easily. Putting it on a stand is smart because it keeps it allows for better air circulation. Also, it would be a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

After finding a safe place for your kiln, take into consideration some safety precautions while working with it. To begin you'll want to make sure to wear protective gear during operation of your kiln; this includes gloves and eye protection. Remember, you can't just run to your closet and slip into your winter gloves and summertime sunglasses; you need special gloves and glasses designed for working with kilns.

When considering the type of gloves you’re going to want, make sure that they are Kevlar heat resistant gloves. Check that the gloves are heat rated for the temperatures you anticipate your kiln will reach while working on projects.

Safety glasses can near temperatures of between 600° C (1100° F), from which they can begin to glow red. This can be an extreme hazard as hot glass emits infrared rays, plus prolonged exposure to this can damage your eyes and vision. However, you can block these rays by wearing welders glasses, so long as they are sufficient enough to block the damaging rays. Look for number three welder goggles as these should do nicely.

If opening the kiln while it is still hot, turn off the power first. This reduces the risk of receiving a painful electrical burn. It is also imperative that you properly protect your eyes from glass bubbles that are known to pop while fusing certain types of glass.

Certain techniques require opening the kiln during fusing, this is often done to comb and top off glass molds to achieve a desired effect.

In recap, place your glass kiln far away from flammable surfaces and items. Keep an electrical fire extinguisher close by. A stand for the kiln help air circulation and controlling the surrounding temperature. And always wear proper safety equipment. This includes heat resistant Kevlar gloves that are temperature rated for your needs and wear special safety glasses that are designed to block infrared rays.

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