At last, an alternative to stainless steel firing pans!
Create a no-flake firing box for even the smallest kiln. No-flake firing foil is easy to fold into a low cost, sturdy metal clay box that is easily moved in and out of the kiln, with kiln tongs (of course). And the best thing, it doesn't flake so keeps your kiln clean.
Ordinary stainless steel makes a good container for carbon firing because it wont melt at the high temperatures needed to sinter metal clays, but the extreme heat oxidizes and expands the metal. As the metal cools, tiny flakes of oxidized steel begin popping off the surface in a process called 'spalling'. You can see it and hear it and it can go on for hours after a firing leaving black flecks for several inches around the pan.
No-flake firing foil is made from a special alloy that does not spall.
The package contains the foil and folding instructions. Have a peep at the video below to see how to fold the box. You get two sheets of foil measuring 30cm (12") square. This is enough to make one good sized box with a lid.
Some extra info:
(This info was collected from the great Metal Clay yahoo group, so therefore it is mostly peoples experiences and advice, not set in stone instructions).
- Some people say that the foil last longer than the stainless steel pans, as when the pans spall (flake), they get weaker and weaker until they eventually fail.
- Paying extra care when folding does pay off. If you are careful you will prevent tiny tears being introduced during folding, which can enlarge during firing.
- You may have to amend your firing temperatures slightly if you have been using a stainless steel pan. As the foil is much thinner, you may need to lower the temperature.
- Test pieces is always the best way to go. The worst thing is spending ages on a piece and end up with a bad firing.
- When measuring up for size, make sure to leave room around the box so that the air can circulate around it.
- To work out the right sizes and master the folding process, why not practice on a paper version first.
- As they are made out of foil, then can be a bit less sturdy than the stainless steel pans. So be careful for wobbles whilst taking them in and out of the kiln.
- These boxes do develop cracks eventually, so you may have to replace them as and when.
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I practised first with cardboard then went ahead to make the box. The instructions didn't use all the foil - why?. I have some left and will try to make a mini box. I found that burnishing the folds meant that it became increasingly difficult to make the next folds and some creasing occurred. I folded the sharp corners left at the end into triangles which helped to put the lid on and off.I did 2 firings with the box and all seemed to go well. NB. I used fish tank filter carbon granules which were much cheaper.
Have to admit I was a bit dubious about this product at first wondering if it would be as good as my old steel pan but it is and a lot cleaner to boot. It is a flat pack product that you make up yourself but that does give you a couple of size options and it is relatively easy to construct. I found the video easier to follow than the written instructions and once I’d watched it a couple of times had no problems putting the box and lid together. Best tip I can give is to take your time, especially when you are burnishing the folds flat as this will make the final stages and opening up the box an awful lot easier and watch out for the sharp edges. You will need to test fire a piece to make sure it doesn’t blister at your normal firing temperature; I had to lower mine a couple of degrees to be on the safe side but I did get a good clean firing even when I had 8 or 9 pieces in the box. Overall pleased with the results so far and very unlikely to go back to the old steel pan so I’d recommend you give it a try.
A friend recommended this to me for firing the new STS Clay and copper. I used it on the STS as you have to do a 2 stage firing process. It was very successful. Still yet to try the copper.
This is a really nice choice if you haven't got a ceramic vessel to fire in. For a small batch I use bean cans, but they don't last more than a couple of firings and make such a mess in the kiln. The foil I can shape in lots of different size boxes, perfect for any job. Highly recommended
Excellent online instructions no cuts,I was also able to make little stands from the scrap, to support the box off the bottom of the kiln, thank you J
Once I received ththe no flake foil in the post I was very eager to get the tin made, so much so that I rushed quickly into making it and nearly lost all of my fingers lol However after making my work of art, (the tin) it did exactly what it said it would and has remained in tact ever since! I used the carbon based coconut shall granules inside the tin for firing x
Having a fairly new kiln for base metal clay work, I wasn't keen on the idea of firing pans spalling and messing up my nice new kiln, so gave a roll of this a try. After over 15 firings with the first one I got, there's barely a mark in my kiln and the box is still in pretty good shape. I've just got a second piece to make another box, so that I can do two consecutive firings without waiting for everything to cool. I've been very happy with it, it makes a nice sized box for my small components and SC2 kiln and has kept my kiln nice and clean. But I too would like the option to buy a slightly bigger piece, as my kiln could stand a slightly larger, squarer box. Although I do wonder if the size limit was arrived at because a larger one might flop around more and be less stable? I would strongly advise watching the video for the instructions, the paper ones inside the pack are unfathomable in comparison. And please do wear work gloves when handling, it really is necessary.
My kiln is didi and the usual pans wouldn't fit. This is perfect. Not easy to fold but with the help of a youtube tutorial is all sorted and works a treat, no flaking. Will be getting more in the future.
Yep, no flakes there. Quite difficult to fold though; I found it best NOT to make the folds too crisp until the box has been pulled into shape as it's quite hard to unfold a tight corner.