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

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  #1  
Old 2008-12-25, 8:39pm
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tracidawn78 tracidawn78 is offline
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Default Paragon Caldera help - Christmas present!

Apparently I was a very good girl this year because Santa brought me a Paragon Caldera kiln for Christmas!

My in-laws got it for me for Christmas because they knew I desperately wanted a kiln, but they had no idea what kind of kiln I needed. Honestly, I didn't (don't) either. They gave me the receipt and pretty much said here's your kiln, if it's not what you want, take it back and get exactly what you need. So here's my question...

Is this what I want/need for: #1 priority: annealing beads, and #2 priority: fusing small pieces? Do I have a better option for the amount of money they spent, or did they do fine getting me this one?

I did not get the bead collar with it, but if I decide to keep this one (with y'all's help) I will get that because it seems pretty necessary for the annealing aspect of it.

What do you think I should do?
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  #2  
Old 2008-12-25, 9:06pm
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Default Paragon Caldera

Hi Tracy,
I have a Caldera which I use for annealing boro beads, marbles and pendents. The bead door is needed for easy access as you work.That's probably the biggest issue concerning this kiln, or any kiln not having a door. Aside from that, it's a nice kiln,easily programmed,and accurate temp-wise. I have done some fusing with it and found it was worth my getting the glass viewport top in order to check the fusing as it occurs. Sure, I'd like easier access that comes with a door and the ability to work larger (taller)pieces at some point as the bead door makes it difficult to work in and out of the kiln if working a piece in stages. But that is also restricted by my torch size (lynx) and for the near future,my work won't be getting too big.So embrace the caldera until it holds you back.
Just my opinion, hope it helps.

Kevin
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  #3  
Old 2008-12-26, 2:38pm
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I've had my Caldera for a few years now and I still love it. It's a versatile little kiln that has pretty much been able to keep up with all my experimenting -- fusing, beadmaking, PMC, pot melts. I did get the beadcollar and think it is pretty essential if you're going to go from the torch to the kiln for immediate annealling. I do remove the bead collar when I fuse. I do not have the glass viewport top -- I just crack the top and peek.
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  #4  
Old 2008-12-26, 5:25pm
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Mine does have the bead collar also, which is necessary for annealing beads right from the torch to the kiln, unless you have pretty short mandrels and could drop them into the top and still close it. When I make marbles, I remove the bead collar and drop the marbles in the top so they don't roll out of the bead door. I'm happy with it. And I love the controller.
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  #5  
Old 2008-12-26, 5:28pm
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The Caldera is an awesome kiln! Because of the high temps it can reach you can do so much more than just bead annealing. But I would recommend the bead collar if you want to anneal as you go. Otherwise you can use it for batch annealing - just cool your beads in a fiber blanket until you have enough for a good batch anneal.
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  #6  
Old 2008-12-27, 8:51am
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I decided to keep it after seeing the positive responses here, so I bought the bead collar yesterday. I'm so happy to finally have a kiln
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  #7  
Old 2008-12-27, 8:44pm
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Yeah for you!
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Old 2008-12-27, 10:02pm
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I have one, I love mine! Bead door is a must have, I agree.
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  #9  
Old 2008-12-27, 10:39pm
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You'll love it - I have the Caldera with the bead collar.

Peg
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  #10  
Old 2008-12-28, 10:06pm
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I have had mine for 4+ years and love it!
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  #11  
Old 2008-12-29, 1:38pm
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I've got the kiln, I've got the collar, hubby's on the way to Ikea to get a stainless steel utility cart, I should have it all hooked up tonight. But I probably won't fire it, because it scares the shit outta me. I think I'll just look at it for a while and try to build up enough nerve to turn it on.
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  #12  
Old 2008-12-30, 3:14pm
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So um, is a kiln supposed to smell this bad the first time it's fired? Or does it smell this bad every time? The smell is bringing back terrible memories of a house fire we had a few years back...
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  #13  
Old 2022-10-06, 12:30pm
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This is a pretty old post.. but I will still ask. I don't have a torch, but I am going to a studio to practice and bring the beads home to anneal.

With this being said, since I would be most likely batch annealing, is the bead collar necessary for me? I am wondering if the beads can be stacked when doing this.
What are your thoughts?
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  #14  
Old 2022-10-06, 4:13pm
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Karla, in your case the bead collar wouldn't be necessary right now. But if you ever intend to make and anneal at home, it's a heckuva lot nicer having the collar than opening the top of a kiln to place a bead. (I speak from experience.) Unless you plan to only make beads less than half an inch in diameter with no thin extensions and no inclusions of metal (leaf, shavings, etc or cz's), a kiln to pop beads into immediately is a must. All those are foreign material and can cause a perfectly good bead to crack if simply cooled in a blanket/annealing beads/vermiculite.
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