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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 oven, 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-414 and 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, the KF-18, 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

Paragon Heat Treating Furnaces

PMT Series… The PMT Heat Treating Furnaces have swing doors and are available in both 120V or 240V models depending on size... from the PMT-10 to the PMT21. The PMT series is rated to 2350°F.

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.

Jen-Ken Heat Treating Ovens

Fiber Front Loaders... The unique fiber construction of the Fiber Front Loader allows the oven to heat and cool quickly as it reaches annealing temps in less than 90 minutes!  The FFL is available in three sizes... FFL12, FFL18 and FFL24, and fires to 2200°F.

Vertical Air Bath... The Vertical Air Bath delivers unparalleled heat distribution as blades are suspended vertically inside the chamber delivering 360°of uniform heat!  The Vertical Air Bath is available in three sizes VAB16VAB21, and VAB30.

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