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Ceramaguard

 

This is part two of a two part tip on using Armstrong Ceramaguard in the kiln.  Click here to go back to part one.

Although it warps less than fiber board, Ceramaguard should still be well supported with kiln posts during firings.  It is strong enough to stand on end if desired.  No separator is required for temperatures below 1300 to 1350 F (roughly 700 C), but because the texture of Ceramaguard is sometimes uneven fiber paper or kiln wash is often used to impart a particular texture to the underside of the glass.  It has a low thermal mass and heats (and cools quickly).

Ceramaguard can also be used at fusing temperatures, but a kiln wash or fiber paper is highly recommended.  Best results are achieved with pieces that are one square foot or less and are well supported in the kiln.  Larger pieces of the board tend to warp at fusing temperatures, but smaller pieces may be suitable for use as a kiln shelf, especially if well supported with kiln posts.

Ceramaguard is fragile and must be treated with care, but with proper treatment it will last quite a while.  It needs to be pre-fired to 1250 F (it will smell like burning sugar and may give off some smoke, so make sure your kiln is vented slightly) The paint will flake off during firing (especially the first firing).  You may fire on either the painted or unpainted sides of Ceramaguard, and may cut or carve the Ceramaguard either before or after pre-firing. 

From a health perspective, Ceramaguard is safer than most ceramic fiber boards, but it is not perfectly harmless.  It is made of fiberglass wool, which irritates some people, especially those with lung conditions or sensitive skin.  It should be handled with care. 

And finally, other ceiling tiles do not perform as well as Armstrong Ceramaguard (they melt, blacken, or fall apart -- sometimes all three), so stick to Ceramaguard for use in the kiln.

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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

Ceramaguard can be purchased by the case at most building supply stores (builder's supply, not a home improvement or DIY store like Home Depot or Lowes).  Individual squares can also be purchased from the Warm Glass website at: http://www.warmglass.com/WGOnlineOrder.htm

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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