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Kiln Smackdown - Paragon E-12A vs. Jewelry Artist Kiln

Ok...a little levity for a dry subject, people!

I've received so many messages from people asking why I chose the Paragon E-12A kiln over other brick kilns, that I thought I'd just spell it out on here.  Usually people are asking about why I chose it over the Jewelry Artist Kiln, which seems to be the new darling of the kiln world, so I shall tell you about my thought process. 

1 regular and 1 small firing container in one load.

Reason #1.  Interior dimensions

The E12 is 4 inches deeper than the JAK, which is a boon to me for a number of reasons.  First, the pyrometer prong in brick kilns can stick out quite a bit...approx. 1.5" in the JAK.  What that meant was that it would end up touching my large, steel firing container that I fire much of my work in...the 4" high one.  I need a high container for my boxes, and if I want to fire layers.  From my understanding when I asked someone who has the JAK to test it out, it wouldn't fit.  That alone was reason enough for me not to get it.  Keep in mind, many people use shorter containers, so they would not have this issue.  You can also make your own container to fit using the no flake firing foil, so for many people the dimensions would not ever matter.  However, I also need a longer interior in order to fire longer twigs for my vignettes.  A few times with my SC2 kiln I simply had to forgo using a beautiful twig because it wouldn't fit, so the E12 rocks for this.  I also recently did a single firing with 2 containers, so that was a time saver.  The larger interior doesn't mean that it's enormous, though, so it still heats up well.  Certainly not as fast as the SC2, but I'm good.

See!  Clamshell!  Get it????

Reason #2.  Front loading vs. clamshell

The JAK is a clamshell, meaning it opens up just like the name implies.  I know that for hot spots, etc, these types of kilns (as well as Top loaders) are da bomb, but they don't work with how I work.  I simply can't wait for my kiln to cool down to open the door....in fact if I let it get down to 1500º before I open it I'm all proud of myself for my patience:)  Working in this manner simply seems safer to me with a front loader.  That's just me. Oh, and, um...please don't e-mail me with stories of how bad it is for a kiln to open it hot....I know:)


Also, my kilns reside on a stainless counter I have in my studio, and the depth doesn't necessarily allow for a clamshell to open fully.  I may be wrong about how the JAK opens, but I imagine I need a bit more space behind it than I have.

Reason #3.  A certain idol of mine loves hers and recommended it to me

Yes, I can hear my mother saying "If she told you to jump off a bridge, would you?"  To which, of course, my answer would be..............


All of this said, I have very specific needs in the kiln department, so you really have to decide what works best for you and the way you work.    This is in no way to be construed as a review of how the kilns perform, it is merely a review of my process when choosing my kiln.  Both my E12 and the JAK are reported to be fabulous kilns.


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