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Glass Kiln Safety

The most important thing to keep in mind when creating warm glass art is to have fun. However, there is one thing that tops even that, and it's safety. So in this article we will talk about glass kiln safety. As you may or may not know a kiln is an oven used for firing or refiring glass objects. But do you know where you should place your kiln?

When it comes to finding a home for your kiln you should make sure to place it on cement or another nonflammable surface. Let me stress the importance of not placing your kiln on a wooden floor. Do you really want your house to burn down? I thought not.

Make sure your fused glass kiln is placed at least three feet from anything that is flammable. If it's closer than three feet to something that can go "poof" than move it. Another wise thing to do at this point is to place your kiln on a stand. Placing it on a stand keeps it off the floor and allows for air circulation.

Now that you have your glass kiln in the right place you need to hook it up. If you have one of those kilns that requires a special electrical connection than hire a qualified electrician. Don't try to be a MacGyver here and do it yourself. Spend the extra cash and have a professional do it. Also make sure that there is a separate circuit for the kiln and that you know the location of the breaker.

Now lets talk about the precautions you should take when working with your kiln. First off make sure to wear protective equipment when opening a kiln - gloves, eye protection, etc. Now someone might say, "Why would you want to open the kiln other than to retrieve your art work?" Good question. There are certain techniques such as combing and topping off glass molds that require that you open the kiln when it is hot.

So if your going to open the kiln while it is hot than make sure to cut off the power before opening it. This will help minimize the risk of you getting an electrical burn. It is also very important that you protect your eyes because glass bubbles could pop and really hurt your eyes.

Speaking of eyes here is some info you should know. When glass nears the temperature 600° C / 1100° F it begins to glow red. So what does this have to do with glass safety? Well, hot glass emits infrared rays and prolonged exposure to this can give you cataracts. Since I know you don’t want cataracts you’ll be glad to know that you can block these rays by wearing certain kinds of eyeglasses. For example Welders glasses can block infrared light. Just make sure to purchase ones that will sufficiently block the rays. Number 3 welder's glasses should do the trick.

And last but not least you should always make sure to have a fire extinguisher close by. It should be obvious why you need one on hand and if it isn’t maybe you should reconsider glass fusing as a hobby :-)

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