Choose how to load your kiln
- Top loading kilns are the most common kilns in use in the United States, although front-loading kilns are traditionally more common in many other countries.
- The reason is mostly cost and ease of shipping and installation.
- The reduced insulation found on most top-loading kilns does lead to a hotter kiln case.
- There are some advantages for batch processes like ceramics, however, because this does lead to faster cool-down which will improve turn-around time for the firing cycle.
- See our Hercules front-loading kilns and Easy-Load front-loading kilns.
- Many people prefer front-loading kilns for ease of loading and better insulation.
- Front-loading kilns are more expensive than top-loading kilns. The
reason is that they take much more time to build and require more
expensive materials (i.e. there is a heavy welded case). When they are
made cheaply they can be very problematic and hard to repair. If you are going to buy a front-loading kiln do more homework.
- Front-loading kilns, no mater how well-built, are also more expensive and difficult to repair than a sectional kiln.
- Bell-lift kilns offer a third alternative.
- The entire kiln section lifts up.
- Loading is from all four sides.
- You can slightly lift up the kiln for faster cooling.
Pull-Apart Sectional Sculpture Kilns
- One inexpensive way to load a large ceramic sculpture is to “load” the kiln around the object.
- This is accomplished by using a sectional kiln and plugging in the kiln sections to a remote control panel.
- An example of this is L&L Kilns’ Pull-Apart Kilns.
Car-Bottom & Shuttle Kilns
- When doing large commercial volume work and sometimes for loading large pieces a Car Bottom or Shuttle Kiln is used.
- These tend to be large and customized.
- A Car Bottom Kiln has a movable bottom that is on wheels of some
kind. the wheels may be either railroad type wheels, inverted “V” shaped
casters or regular casters.
- A Shuttle Kiln is the opposite. The kiln itself moves over a fixed
bottom. Typically the wheels on such a kiln are inverted “V” casters or
- See some of the kilns made by L&L Special Furnace Company for examples. For a Car Bottom Kiln/Furnace see this. For a Shuttle Kiln see this.