As a lampworker/glassworker, I needed an annealing kiln that was more portable than my huge Paragon kiln, for travel & show work.
Here's my quick, easy & economical alternative.
This is my first instructable - so please bear with!
PLEASE NOTE: SOME OF THE STEPS INVOLVED CAN BE DANGEROUS!!!
READ THROUGH ENTIRE PROCESS FIRST AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY!
POTENTIAL ELECTROCUTION HAZARD!
PLEASE BE SAFE, VENTILATE WELL, POTENTIAL FOR HAZARDOUS FUMES!
POTENTIAL FIRE HAZARD - KEEP A FIRE EXTINGUISHER RATED
FOR ELECTRIC FIRES HANDY!
-An older style steel electric waffle maker with removeable waffle plates.
Pretty doesn't matter, functionality does - see image.
I see them for sale regularly at yard sales & 2nd hand shops for a couple of bucks.
(I've seen newer styles that seem to be a light aluminum, no experience with these)
(Our particular thermometer is a 'flue' thermometer, meant for use inside
a chimney. They're available in a range of temperatures - for our use, we need one that
can read up to 1500F. Available at wood stove resellers, or possibly ordered from an appliance supplier - Cost? Approx: $30.00)
-Insulated container of some sort to house the waffle iron.
(old metal refridgerator drawer, small propane barbeques, less the inner parts,
work great too.)
-Agregate, or other insulating material.
-Insulated/Fireproof fibre matting.
(may be purchased at some welding shops & most hot glass facilities/shops)
Optional/fire brick - kiln liner brick.
(Kiln liner brick is exactly the same as stove liner brick, however, stove brick is
a fraction of the cost and can be easily purchased anywhere wood stoves & said
accessories are sold)
Tin foil. The heavier guage, the better.
Can of spray brake cleaner.
Step 1: Cleaning & Prepping the Waffle Kiln
Remove any plastic or bakelite type handles, feet, or other 'accessories'.
(keep in mind, my mini kiln has successfully ramped up to 2000F - these handy
plastic handles & feet will melt like candy if not removed - I'm pretty sure they'll smell bad too!)
Remove waffle plates.
You are now faced with an shell of a waffle iron, complete with elements, wiring,
ceramic posts that hold the elements, and some whatnot gagetry.
It's probably really greasy & dirty in there - any grease or carbon fumes/smoke emitted
during your anneal process could leave smudges & imprints on your glass projects.
(not to mention a heck of a smell, probably...I'm not big into nasty smells...)
Take the iron outside & shake any loose gunk out.
Wipe any excess you can reach with paper towels.
Key words here...SAFETY & VENTILATION!!!
Take the iron outdoors & place it on the ground or on some other heat proof surface.
Place it somewhere away from highly flammable objects.
Spray the insides liberally with brake cleaner. (don't inhale the fumes - brake cleaner is nasty!)
Spray the inner wiring & coils, anywhere grease may have collected.
Try to avoid letting the brake cleaner run out onto any outer wiring - if so, wipe it off.
Let it sit for five minutes & then plug it in & fire it up.
Be ready...this will be messy, smoky & potentially scary!
Keep your fire extinguisher handy, just in case.
(be aware of local fire bylaws, perhaps your neighbours don't have THAT great a sense of humor...)
As the iron heats up, it will begin to smoke. Alot. Even more. Still more!
It may even catch fire - although this should last only a minute or two at most.
(here's where the fire extinguisher comes in handy, just in case...)
Keep an eye on the outer case of the iron - it probably won't get too hot, but you'll need to
I didn't find it was necessary - but can't hurt to think ahead!
I simply pulled the cord directly away from the iron before I plugged it in, so it wasn't
lying right next to it & covered it with the foil to sheild it from any direct flame.
Once the whole mess has stopped smoking, unplug it & let it cool down.
A power bar is handy for this step, as, if a problem occurs, the power bar
should cut power, or, you can quickly hit the switch before unplugging the power
bar & not have to worry about having to touch potentially hot electric cords...