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  1. Shimpo VL Whisper vs. Soldner

    Also.. the detachable wheel head on the thomas stuart is awesome. A half twist in the opposite direction it spins releases the head. It makes cleaning very easy. Also the cup head is pretty slick. You get a mold for plaster wheel heads that sit in the cup. Makes for a very inexpensive way to make alot of bats, and if you like throwing on plaster bats, its pretty awesome. There's also an extension to the wheel head, that raises it above the pan so you can use really big bats for like... really big platters. I suppose you could just not use a splash pan for that, but on the TS's the pan is not removeable, so I guess it's a solution to a semi unique problem.
  2. Shimpo VL Whisper vs. Soldner

    I think thomas stuart and baily have the right idea imho with the ginormous pan. It keeps the floor alot clearner. Also, you can put your water and tool caddy inside the pan. The baily pedals though seem to go flaky alot though. It seems like after a year or so, the pedal will drift and go faster or slower by itself. The bailys are very convenient with both the bung hole and the side door for emptying out the tray. Thomas stuarts are strong. The motors are bigger, and deliver more power. The fine control when it's really slow though sometimes is not as articulate as some of the others, but you do not lose power going slower like some of the others. The shimpo whispers are not bad. They don't have as much power, but if you're not throwing big, it's not really a problem. They are very very quiet, which might be important where you live. Also, the head free spins when the power isn't on, so you can use it as a banding wheel, or for anything where you want to hand turn it. I don't really like the splash pans on them though. They feel kinda like they're cheap. They do come in a table top model and they are lightish, so if you want to throw stand up, or need to move it around, they could be a good choice. Brents.. are brents. The bigger ones last a long time. The smaller ones... I don't think are so good. The one with the wooden top, feels weak, and the electronics dont seem as smooth, but the bigger ones are pretty nice and have excellent slow rpm control. The splash pans are kinda.. I don't like them. Their awkward to clean, and tabs that hold them together break alot. They all have pro's and con's, most of which are not deal breakers, and really most will do anything you need them to.
  3. Money does seem to get you more.... but you can usually find a used higher temp kiln on craigslist. Manual ones seem to find their way on there all the time, sometimes for pretty cheap. If you can't do an electric hookup, you can always get a gas kiln, or convert a used kiln to gas. If you go on youtube, and look at some of Simon Leach's videos, you can see how he converted a broken electric kiln to gas with some inexpensive weed burners, which then changes your cost to gas burning. I would suggest you do it outside though, mostly because carbon monoxide in reduction scares me. If you haven't fired gas kilns though... that's probably not for you. Another suggestion... if you're doing sculpture, you are probably not doing a high volume of work. You might consider finding a pottery that will fire your pieces for you. Not a paint your own pottery, but like... some place that teaches classes. They'll often fire your pieces in their kilns on a per piece basis. The ones around me will also let you use their glazes for a pretty low fee, if you haven't gotten into making your own glazes yet.
  4. If you're question is because you're looking at a kiln, I would suggest getting a high fire kiln simply because it's more flexible. You can always fire lower in it if you want, but if you get a low fire kiln, you'll never be able to high fire. I think high fire kilns might also be more energy efficient and have better insulation. As far as clay body, I think that's really a personal preference. Vitrification temp is flux issue, and I don't think you can feel a flux when you're working a clay. It kinda only matters when you're firing. Also, you can usually go past a rated temp pretty far before it melts. Like.. you can fire alot of ^6 porcelain into 8-10ish, and also, since bisque is still like..06, you could still use low fire glazes on a high fire body if the bisque strength is sufficient for what you're making, and the contraction rates still work without crazing. Anyway, a high fire kiln is alot more flexible. The only reason I can see getting a lower fire kiln is if you'd have to have your electrical box replaced. In my older home, the electrical box didn't carry enough electricity to run a high fire kiln, so I had to pay an electrician to put in a bigger box, which added significantly to the overall cost of doing it. I had to think long and hard about that since I could have run a mid-fire kiln without re-doing the electrical work. Anyway, just something to think about. Hopefully you'll find it useful.