Knife Maker's Kiln Guide
We get this question at least one a day... Which knife kiln or oven should I purchase? And, the next question... What is the difference between the Evenheat KH, KF, KO, HT, and the Paragon KM, PKM, PMT?
YES! EVERY kiln and oven series listed above will heat treat metal. So, these are the deep and important questions you need to ask yourself:
- What’s the difference... Kilns vs. Furnace vs. Oven? For our purposes, all three of these names refer to a fireproof box that gets hot. No matter what you call it “the box” needs to have the capability to get to the desired temperature and stay there for the prescribed amount of time. It also must to have the ability to heat and cool at the prescribed rate for the particular process required. Most importantly, it must be safe and easy to operate, and last a long time. From this point forward, we’re going to refer to all the options as KILNS. What you really need to know is how much space you need, what temperature do you need to get to, and how long does it need to hold at that temperature. Here is a link to a guide that you can use as a reference: The Heat-Treating Data eBook.
- How big do I want to work? Give yourself an idea of how big you think your work could get. There’s nothing worse than buying a kiln that you outgrow in 6 months. Think about the future and what you might grow into.
- How hot will the oven or kiln get? How high do you need to go? Each series of kilns has a top recommended temperature.
- What amperage does the kiln need 120V vs 240V and how many amps will the unit draw? What amperage do you have available and what is the breaker size? Based on the size of kiln and top heat requirements, each kiln’s voltage requirements and amperage needs vary.
- How much information do I want from the controller? Economy / Standard = 3-Key Controller; Upgrade = 12-Key Controller; Digital Upgrade = Touch Screen Controller
Now that you know what you want in an electric knife forge, here’s what you need to know:
Evenheat Knife and Heat Treating Ovens
KH Series... This series is perfect for hobbyist knifemakers working out of a residence. Running on standard North American 120v and using a standard household plug, it can be set up anywhere in the home. Despite its low weight and smaller interior chamber, KH series ovens can heat up to 2200° F. The KH-418 series are some of Evenheat's most popular heat treating ovens.
KF Series... The KF ovens also have a top temperature of 2200° F but offer more capacity than the KH series. Our bestselling heat treating oven, has twice the interior dimensions as the KH-418 and three times that of the KH-414. Running on 240v, it’s perfect for small machine shops and the more ambitious hobbyist.
KO Series... Need even higher temperatures, than this is the kiln for you. This series has thicker wall insulation which allows the kiln to reach temperatures of up to 2400° F. The KO-22.5 is our most popular KO series heat treating oven.
The HT Series... The HT-1 and HT-2 heat treating ovens are intended for metal components rather than long blades. Check the electrical needs and top temps to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need as these models can vary.
LB Series... The LB 18 is a side-element only design that allows the heat treater to use the entire depth of the chamber, regardless of blade length. They are capable of heat treating up to 2200°F and come in three sizes... LB18, LB22.5, and LB27.
Olympic Heat Treating Furnaces
Available in multiple configurations, the Olympic Heat Treating Series can handle any type of metal and just about every annealing, normalizing, or hardening process necessary. They are available with swing doors or guillotine doors that are constructed with heavy-duty hardware for years of hardworking personal or commercial use.
FL Commercial... FL series kilns are front-loading commercial models made for high fire loads. The firing chamber in both the FL4.5E and the FL8E are a combination of brick and board and are designed to optimize insulation efficiency with low mass.
Hot Shot Oven and Kiln
Hot Shot Kilns and Ovens are innovative and exciting and the best the industry has to offer. They deliver ease of use and upgraded features for the best price. Their parent company, American Rotary is a UL Certified Control Panel Builder, and its kilns and ovens are UL Listed to US and Canadian Safety Standards. Hot Shot Oven and Kiln’s line can handle any type of heat treating or tempering and drying. These ovens feature a Cool Touch Technology with Side Opening Fiber Lined Doors with Cool Touch Handles that provides a safe exterior temperature to allow for safer operation and protection of its surroundings.
HS 360D… The HS 360 Duplex is just like HS 360 but with two ovens in one! Top oven of this kiln is capable of firing to 2000° F for Heat Treating and the bottom oven can fire up to 600° F for Tempering and Drying.
Paragon Heat Treating Furnaces
KM and PKM Series… Both the KM and PKM Series have drop-down doors and are available in single width or double barrel width, and are available in both 120V or 240V models depending on size. The KM-series kilns are long and narrow, ideal for knives.
Pro Series... The Pro series ovens are unusually fast because they are made with a ceramic fiber firing chamber, and can reach 1500°F in just 15 minutes. Long lasting, “wavy” elements in the walls are surface-mounted to dissipate heat rapidly and prolong element life. Check out the full line of Pro Series Knife Ovens.
In June, Alec Steele visited the Paragon kiln factory in Mesquite, Texas... Join him on his factory tour adventure as he takes you through the laser cutter section, the firebrick department, the assembly lines, and the kiln inspection area!