Years ago my friend gave me a small oval electric kiln FREE. I'm using it today in my raku firing experiment! I made several clay whistles and small heart pendants several years ago and they have been sitting around, collectimg dust, waiting for me to fire them.
My smaller gas kiln outside that I use for raku seemed like an overkill for these small pieces. But my biggest hesitation/delay was making a cage for firing. I've made cages before using metal parts, nuts and bolts from the hardware store, and they lasted a few firings. This kiln is so small, I could not find the right pieces.
My friend Ellinor visited a couple days ago. We always share our latest projects and ideas, and it's always so much fun to visit each other. Well, she had the GREATEST idea for my "cage"!!!!! If you do any enameling, you probably have the square heavy-duty steel trivet. It was a bit too wide for my narrow kiln. It just fit, but would have been a bit tricky to lift out of the kiln without hitting the sides ..... and the cut-off part that you see in one of the photos below. I used the Sawszall with a metal blade to cut it a bit narrower. Then twisted a couple pieces of high temp nichrome wire to use for the handles. It's perfect!
I glazed everything yesterday and am firing as I type this.
Here are my first pieces in the kiln.
The first firing. The pendants had a little red, but no reds on the whistles.
The second firing. Still no reds. Darn!
The third firing. The pendants had a little color, especially the copper wire, but none on the pendant. Everything looks good, the backs are nice and black like they should be. Just kind of disappointing to not have the reds. Maybe the glaze is too old ... and it IS old. Maybe adding a little touch of copper carbonate? I might try that ... then brush a little more glaze on a few whistles and try again tomorrow. If I succeed, you'll be the first to know!! One good thing is that the enameling trivet and nichrome wire "cage" worked so well.