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Tool Talk Thursday: Small Kiln Bead Racks Part II

Today I am continuing our postings on Small Kiln Bead Racks. 
In the picture above you see 4 pieces of kiln furniture.    For small and large kilns, they can be the building blocks of racks for firing beads and pendants.  These are called kiln posts and they are used to support shelves for firing ware in a kiln.  Used as bead racks, they are used to support the wires that you string your beads on or hang your pendants from.  I purchased mine for Axner's Pottery Supply.  They are very inexpensive, about 93 cents per post.  Shipping can add a lot to the cost so it is a good idea to find a supplier nearby.

This picture shows how you can stack the kiln posts on top of each other.

This picture shows how I stacked wires with pendants strung on them.  Each level provides weights on the wire for the row below it.  This is very important since the high temp wire you will be using to string your beads and pendants will sag somewhat during the firing.  It sags more as you increase your temperature.  For an earthenware firing to say cone 06 it will not sag as much as it will to a stoneware firing of cone 5.

This picture shows three levels of wire strung beads and pendants stacked up inside the kiln ready to fire.  These pieces are not glazed. just stained so I did not have to be careful to make sure they didn't touch each other.  But if they were glazed you would need to separate them.  See the small teal beads on the far right top.  They would surely stick together if they were glazed. I would make sure to separate them.

In this picture you can see all the levels stacked up.  This pic was taken after a cone 5 firing.  See how much the wires sagged.  But nothing touched the pieces in the row below it.  That is because the sag was taken into consideration when the space between the rows was figured.  These are small pieces.  If they were larger you might want to stack two levels of kiln posts between the beads and pendants to allow for the sag.
The wire I used to string the beads and pendants is Kemper High Temp wire.  It is 17 gauge.  You can buy it from many ceramic suppliers.  Here is a listing for it at Axner's.

I like this method of firing beads and pendants, especially for ones that are not too heavy. It gives me a lot of flexibility and gets a lot of beads in a small kiln.

I hope you will share your favorite ways of firing beads and pendants in the comments below.


  1. Ahhh...very good idea! I have lot's of these. You guys have so many great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is a great way to fire specially in small kilns. I've been doing this method for several years since I got my little AIM 88. I use gauge 15 wire and it's very strong even with such high temps.

    Can't wait to see the third post on these series, thank you.

  3. This is how I fire my pendants and beads. I've got quite large posts for pendants and smaller ones for beads. I also put just one pendant per wire and make sure to weight the top layer. I fire cone 6 and get very little sagging of my wires when there is only one piece per wire.

  4. It looks like a bead rack.... but it's not a bead rack! I never thought of using the kiln posts for firing beads. Thanks for another fantastic idea!

  5. Great demonstration. I have a lot of folk who ask how this is done and from now on, I'm just sending them to this URL.

    A while back, I began staggering my posts slightly outward, so if they topple, they topple outwards. I've lost a lot of beads by the posts falling inwards on the higher cone 6 firings.

  6. Thanks to all of you for your comments and for telling us how you fire your beads. I am curious about the 15 gauge wire Yoli. I like all the tips and will add them to my repretoire.


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