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How to... Select the right shelves for your kiln.
Selecting the right kiln shelves for your particular use and application is important. As with virtually any product, you can over-spend on your kiln furniture or you can "cut corners" and end up with shelves which last for only a few firings. When deciding on shelves you will have two important choices: (1) the material from which the shelves are made, and (2) the thickness of the actual shelf. The price difference between a 5/8" and a 3/4" shelf is minimal, but the price difference between a cordierite shelf and a silicon carbide or nitride bonded shelf is significant.

In order to make the right buying decision, consider:
  1. The temperature at which you will be firing.
  2. Your kiln atmosphere (reduction or oxidation).
  3. Frequency of firing.

Kiln Shelf Buying Guide
Firing
Temperature
Kiln
Atmosphere
Shelf
Composition
Shelf
Thickness
Cone 06 Oxidation Cordierite 1/2" or 5/8"
Cone 1 Oxidation Cordierite 5/8" or 3/4"
Cone 5 Oxidation Cordierite 3/4" or 1"
  Reduction Cordierite 3/4" or 1"
  Reduction Silicon
Carbide*
5/8" or 3/4"
  Oxidation or
Reduction
Nitride
Bonded*
.394" or .5"
Cone 10 Oxidation Cordierite 1"
  Reduction Cordierite 1"
  Reduction Silicon
Carbide*
5/8" or 3/4"
  Oxidation or
Reduction
Nitride
Bonded*
.394" or .5"
Other refractories such as high alumina shelves are available on a special order basis. The cost is significantly higher than the silicon carbide shelves listed above.
*When choosing Silicon Carbide and Nitride Bonded shelf thickness, shelf span and weight of ware is a much more significant factor than firing temperature.
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