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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

View Poll Results: Paragon Bluebird vs. Glass Hive Regular Guy
Glass Hive Regular Guy 46 64.79%
Paragon Bluebird 15 21.13%
Other (please specify below) 10 14.08%
Voters: 71. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 2011-01-14, 6:56am
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Jenne Jenne is offline
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Default Kiln: Paragon Vs. Glass Hive?

Ok, I've been considering a new kiln for awhile, especially since mine has a 4" interior width and I have to babysit it to make sure the temp doesn't spike and ruin my beads.

I'm considering 2 kilns at the moment and was wondering which you would prefer if you had the same choice to make.

1. Paragon Bluebird ($701.25 if paid in full through Frantz)
The two 10" wide flip-up bead doors.
Sentry Xpress digital controller.
Floors and walls are a 2" thick ceramic blanket.
Maximum Temperature is 1200.
120 Volts, 8 amps, 960 watt.
Inside dimensions 20"W x 5" H x 5" deep.
Kiln weight is 30 pounds.

2. Glass Hive Regular Guy w/Punti door ($745 shipped, depending on current sale)
Two 4" tall x 10" wide doors.
Fuji PXR3 controller.
4" deep x 20" wide mandrel rest/rod warming rest
High temp kiln brick (not fiber blanket).
Max Temp: 1700 F
Interior size: 6 1/2" deep x 18" wide x 4" tall
110 volts 13 amps

The main differences I can see immediately is the max temp for the Paragon is 1200 and the Glass Hive is 1700. I don't do slumping, just beads and some small sculptural work. Of course then there's the amps, 8 vs 13. I assume that affects my electric bill?
I've heard nothing but praise about Glass Hive kilns and their customer service, and on their website they state their 3 year warranty. I haven't heard much either way on the Paragon and have a hard time finding warranty info.
Also a major difference is the controllers. Any opinions on ease of use and reliability?
I'm not sure about kiln construction. They both appear to be well made, quality products. The Glass Hive kiln seems perhaps a little more well made, and the kiln brick interior rather than fiber blanket sounds better for various reasons.

So, opinions please? And if you have another, similarly constructed and priced kiln you would recommend, please do tell.

Thanks,
Jenne
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  #2  
Old 2011-01-14, 8:36am
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I have a BlueBird XL, it's great and I'm glad I bought it, but I got it as a demo kiln and got a super deal on it.

If I had to do it all over again, and I was going to be paying list price, I'd definitely get the Glass Hive kiln. Comparing those two you're looking at I'd say two things jump out at me - interior height, and firebricks in the door vs fibre insulation, both cases the Glass Hive is better.

I've heard Glass Hive's customer service is excellent, many others here can attest to it. Also in my mind, being able call up and talk to the guy who put your kiln together is a huge plus.
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  #3  
Old 2011-01-14, 8:38am
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Well, I'm partial to the Paragon, but that's what we sell and use here. I'm just extremely used to them. The controller is very simple to program, and gives you several program options. The Bluebird is a kiln designed for beads. They are a great little working kiln. They are very efficient little kilns too. Low amps, easy on the power bill. You can fit a very busy day's worth of beads in them. I have heard nothing but good things about Glass Hives, just have never worked out of one, so no real experience to share.


I can say that we have these Bluebirds on sale right now though!
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Old 2011-01-14, 8:48am
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Just checked Paragon's website, the regular bluebird is only 2.75" high inside, that just feels kinda short to me when you are trying to put something all the way into the back.

http://www.paragonweb.com/BlueBird.cfm
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  #5  
Old 2011-01-14, 9:01am
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My glass hive kiln costs me about 25-30 cents a day when I run it.

FYI... My glass hive kiln holds heat like there's no tomorrow. I've never had anything thermal crack in it. Although I don't regularly fuse or slump... it is kind of fun to throw a wine bottle in there for a quick "no work necessary" gift when you need it. I keep a stack of kiln shelf paper just so I can throw in a bottle at a moment's notice.
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  #6  
Old 2011-01-14, 12:47pm
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LOVE my Glasshive kiln! Amazing customer service too!
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  #7  
Old 2011-01-14, 2:53pm
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i have a paragon bluebird XL - its fantastic

the glass hive has a brilliant rep too, when i bought mine it was all about availability and i could get the paragon faster and i'm impatient
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  #8  
Old 2011-01-14, 3:00pm
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Bluebird is 5" high inside, and Bluebird XL is 4.5". Clay King has a price that includes shipping that is about $200 off list, making the XL (a brick kiln) about the same as the Glass Hive.

I like my Bluebird, but plenty of people love their Glass Hives.

I like the simplicity of the 3 button Orton Sentry controller as compared to the more complex (from what I hear) Fuji. I had to replace the board on my Chili Pepper Sentry controller about 6 months after I got it, so they are not without their issues.
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  #9  
Old 2011-01-14, 4:22pm
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I'd definitely not get a kiln with ceramic blanket floor and wall - it doesn't retain heat and also require you to ramp down the kiln all the way down instead of being able to turn it off at 700F, which equates to paying more for electricity thus negating the lower amps. Not that it costs that much to run a kiln anyway.

Mike Crowley's customer service for his Glass Hive kilns is the best in the industry. The heating elements burned out on mine and he was available on a Sunday to figure that out with me and had a new one shipped by Monday.

The programming on the Fuji isn't anymore complex than the Orton Sentry (I have a Paragon for our metal clay work). . . here is a step-by-step I wrote up on my blog:

http://envisionsf.blogspot.com/search/label/Fuji%20PXR3
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Old 2011-01-14, 7:00pm
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Ok, I didn't even consider the Paragon Bluebird XL ($750). I was leaning toward the Glass Hive until I checked it out, and now I am very torn again.

It's max temp isn't as high, 1500 vs. 1700, but I'm not sure I need that anyways. The bluebird xl shows at 80lbs shipping weight, which is quite hefty. I don't see a weight listed for the reg. guy, but I do see it has handles so I may be under the false assumption it's a bit more mobile. I don't do shows so that's not an issue for now.

I suppose my real pull toward a Glass Hive kiln is the customer service I'll get. I have a tough decision to make.

I do appreciate all the wonderful feedback thus far. Any more input is appreciated.

Thanks,
Jenne
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  #11  
Old 2011-01-14, 11:48pm
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I have to vote for the Skutt GM10F Bead Kiln, I love it! I can fuse in it also. Though it is pricey I found it money well spent.
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Old 2011-01-15, 7:41am
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Any brick kiln is going to be heavy - they will be the main weight component, so a brick kiln with x number of bricks is going to weigh at least x lbs. The metal cladding is a fairly small percentage of the weight. The Bluebird doesn't weigh 80lbs itself - there is some substantial packaging around it for shipping. But I'll bet it weighs 60.
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  #13  
Old 2011-01-15, 7:49am
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Glass Hive kiln, all the way.

I had to borrow a Paragon Bluebird for a couple of weeks when my element went out and I didn't like it one bit.
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  #14  
Old 2011-01-15, 9:38am
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Just FYI a glass shop here told me they wouldn't carry Bluebird kilns anymore because of the lousy customer service. This was a few years ago. You can't beat the Glass Hive kilns and the customer service. I mean if a shop gets lousy service imagine an individual trying to get any.
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  #15  
Old 2011-01-15, 11:13am
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Paragon F120 - all brick, larger, counterweighted door, bead door, Orton controller

Have had three trouble free years - looks the same today as when it was new - cept for a little dust! First considered it because I had used and liked Paragon kilns for pottery for many years. Bought is because it is more flexible than the standard bead kiln - can do fusing, fire lusters, accommodate larger sculptures, etc.

It is brick so it cools slowly, has an Orton Sentry controller (reliable, flexible, not hard to program), a bead door, and no elements in the walls.

I have never needed service on a Paragon kiln, so can't report on the quality. But Arnold Howard, their public representative is a wealth of information

The price is a bit daunting, but good deals are available if you search the net.
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  #16  
Old 2011-01-15, 12:17pm
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I've used Glasshive products from the very beginning, still own/operate 2 of the very first ones ever built....I call them Hot Timex's, take a licking and still working! lol I use them as my classroom kilns at Glasscraft Expo each year.

Last year I debuted the wide guy in my classroom and this year will have a regular size there too. So anyone that is attending this year, and still trying to decide which kiln to buy? get in touch with me and I'll be more than happy to show you both of those bad boys in action.

I've been talking, whining, begging for Mike to start doing a Glasshive booth at Glasscraft, bringing his fine product for all to see, meet the creator etc. Maybe not this year , but hopefully in the near future

I can't speak highly enough about the product, the developer, his staff .. but the customer service is unequal to anything I've ever seen. You won't be unhappy.
Glasshive #1 fan
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  #17  
Old 2011-01-15, 4:19pm
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More amps does not mean more expensive to run. It means the kiln heats up faster. You pay for the heat. If it is poorly insulated and you lose a lot of heat it is more expensive to operate. All other things equal the lower the amps the more time the heat is on. The more amps the less the heat is on to maintain temp. Thus the operating cost is the same.
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Old 2011-01-16, 5:00pm
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Kiln ordered and the check is in the mail!
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Old 2011-01-17, 4:59am
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I am very well able to run my regular Glasshive kiln on an (heavy duty though) extension cord. That tells you something. I got a short guy because electricity is rather expensive here and I still put fiber blanket on top (and preheat my glass between the top of the kiln and the fiber blanket). If you're worried about the current get a short guy, which is what I usually use. But, the regular programing just turns it off at 700F and unless by user error (bubbles in beads, too much wind, looking at the beads too long) I haven't had problems. And even on our electricity rate if I run it once a week I don't see it on the bill (that's as much as I have time for). - Running the food dehydrator for a month solid is a different question, and it runs a lot less current.
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  #20  
Old 2011-01-18, 6:34pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenne View Post
Ok, I didn't even consider the Paragon Bluebird XL ($750). I was leaning toward the Glass Hive until I checked it out, and now I am very torn again.

It's max temp isn't as high, 1500 vs. 1700, but I'm not sure I need that anyways. The bluebird xl shows at 80lbs shipping weight, which is quite hefty. I don't see a weight listed for the reg. guy, but I do see it has handles so I may be under the false assumption it's a bit more mobile. I don't do shows so that's not an issue for now.

I suppose my real pull toward a Glass Hive kiln is the customer service I'll get. I have a tough decision to make.

I do appreciate all the wonderful feedback thus far. Any more input is appreciated.

Thanks,
Jenne

It is a very big decision. Take your time and ask all the questions you can think of. My number has changed to 541 961 6978. Call anytime to talk through your concerns.

Our Regular Guy weighs in at about 44 lbs. Shipping weight is 53 lbs. I can move one around, but don't want to hang on to it for long.


Thanks for all the good words you guys. We are nothing without you. Customer service will always be our #1 priority. Thank you again!

Pam
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Old 2011-01-18, 11:39pm
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I just worked it out, Pam and Mike are a team.
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  #22  
Old 2011-01-19, 7:59am
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Quote:
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I just worked it out, Pam and Mike are a team.
Yup, and a great one at that

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Old 2011-01-19, 9:08am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by echeveria View Post
Bluebird is 5" high inside, and Bluebird XL is 4.5". Clay King has a price that includes shipping that is about $200 off list, making the XL (a brick kiln) about the same as the Glass Hive.
....

How come Paragon's own website lists the Bluebird's interior height as 2.75" ?

Chamber Width 20.00 IN 508 mm
Chamber Depth 6.00 IN 152 mm
Chamber Height 2.75 IN 70 mm

I see now that they have a Bluebird Jr too, maybe thier specs are just wrong on the website ?
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Old 2011-01-19, 11:01am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crofootadv View Post
How come Paragon's own website lists the Bluebird's interior height as 2.75" ?

Chamber Width 20.00 IN 508 mm
Chamber Depth 6.00 IN 152 mm
Chamber Height 2.75 IN 70 mm

I see now that they have a Bluebird Jr too, maybe thier specs are just wrong on the website ?
Bluebird jr, do we see a pattern here.

Mike
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Old 2011-01-20, 7:11am
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I have decided on a Glass Hive kiln, after all the wonderful feedback ya'll have given them. I also like that it's a smaller, "mom & pop" type business...as a small business owner myself, I know we go out of our way to make sure everything is done right and the customer is happy.

Now to save a little more money and pray for an after New Year's sale, though the price now is great...one can hope lol

Babysitting my kiln is getting so flippin' old...and beads getting ruined because of a temperature spike is just so depressing. I need to get some Etch-All to try and salvage some ruined beads...blah! lol
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Old 2011-01-20, 7:54am
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YOu will be very happy.
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  #27  
Old 2011-01-24, 3:10am
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Quote:
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YOu will be very happy.
Second that.

ETA: I got lucky (on the sales side), I bought mine from the proceeds of clove tree seeds.
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  #28  
Old 2011-01-24, 7:12am
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No sales this month so far, I know January is slow for retail....but DANGIT!

I'm hoping there will be a few for valentines day...need to work on stringing some hearts I made and keep my fingers crossed.

I just now realized that I have to add shipping to their "sale" price...so that sets me back another month of saving. URGH! I keep wanting to ask my mom for a small loan, but pride and independence is holding me back. Plus, after the loss of my grandmother, I just feel rotten asking my mom for anything, if that makes sense.

I want my kiln so bad, now that I've made my decision. I know it will pay for itself in the saving of electricity and frustration...no more leaving the kiln to run overnight because I can't ramp it down at myself...

Maren, what's this luck you speak of? lol
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  #29  
Old 2013-02-16, 5:14am
istandalone24/7's Avatar
istandalone24/7 istandalone24/7 is offline
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Location: Bennington, VT
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if you're going to get a bluebird...get the xl. it's firebrick (save for the door) and much taller inside then the regular bbird.

plus, many places use these as demo kilns for shows and classes etc. often you can find a used (like 2 days of use) xl for $600 to $700

i've seen dave from abr and (i think) ron at r4glass sell them slightly used for a great price.


the one reason i'm not suggesting glass hive is due to the controller. yes they program it for you, but if you ever want to change the programming...good luck. fuji sucks. programming/speaking fuji isn't easy.
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  #30  
Old 2013-02-16, 10:50pm
silverlilly1 silverlilly1 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 07, 2012
Location: Southwestern Ontario
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The controller may not be intuitive, but I figured it out pretty quickly, and now make changes whenever I want. When I'd heard that it was difficult, and asked Pam prior to purchasing, she said they would always be available to call if I needed to make a change and wasn't sure how. I've never needed to.

I love my glass hive regular guy.
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