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How Many Kilns?

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I have two 7 cu.ft. kilns. I had only one kiln until 2013. The second kiln was a huge leap forward in production, because it eliminates the need to wait for a kiln to cool down. When I'm in a glazing/firing phase, I typically have five kiln loads to glaze fire. With two kilns I can glaze/fire all of it in 3 or 4 days. With one kiln there was lots of dead time waiting for the kiln to cool. I could work on other things, but it was not nearly as organized or efficient, and definitely less productive.

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Guest JBaymore

At my studio I have one small electric kiln, two gas kilns, and a wood-fired noborigama (multi-chamber hill climbing kiln).  Thinking of adding a small anagama.  Occasionally build and take down a temporary gas-fired aka raku kiln.

 

Each kiln is there for specific firing effects needs.  Electric....overglaze enamels and lusters.  Large gas kiln.....bisques.  Small gas kiln........... fast bisque and test glazes and fast turnaround small order glazed stoneware.  Noborigama.... my main source of producing my wood fired work.  Raku kiln..... Japanese style aka raku wares.

 

best,

 

................john

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I have three, a lovely new one that works and I don't have to think about. My first kiln that broke and is now being converted into a gas kiln and a 'spares and repairs' from ebay that I have eyed up for project #1 with the raspberry pi. All different sizes and on the smaller side. Think the biggest is 60cm tall by 50cm diameter internal. Fits a good amount in for me.

 

Always on the look out for more but I ran out of space to store them!

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I have 3 electric kilns my small paragon I have had for 40 years, my big  Skutt is 25 years old and my test kiln is 15.  I use my paragon for bisque, elements need replaced but does go it bisque temps.  The big Skutt I fire glaze in, I bought it when I was making large portraiture sculpture and the test kiln is great to have.   Denice

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5 kilns for me-

35 cubic gas car kiln-downdraft-reduction glaze and bisque 

12 cubic foot gas updraft -reduction glaze

9.9 cubic foot older1227 skutt electric-bisque rarely used-hooked to a firefight kiln turnup control-I use this when I need more bisque at last minute

smaller older skate 1027-under table not used-

24 cubic gas downdraft salt kiln-for salt pots

Parts of a raku kiln-not used in decades

 

also have the makings for repair or make a new kiln-spareboxes of fiber rolls many boxes of soft bricks and piles of hard bricks

 

The reason to have more than one kiln is what Mea said. Production is really efficient 

or salt ware in the case of a salt kiln.

I cannot even imagine having only one kiln in my business-

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I have 3.

A small electric skutt that I use for raku.

A mid-sized paragon for bisque firing.

This summer I built a wood fired raku kiln with a side door using an upside down trash can, lid and

bricks from an old electric kiln, and ceramic fiber insulation.

The electric kilns give me consistent results and I have fun experimenting with the wood fire kiln.

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I have three different size electrics: lg oval and medium cylinder are 10 years old, test kiln is 20+ and two Raku; one large 36 x 28 x 36 and one is a sawed off oil drum. Next winter project is to replace the oil drum. The metal is getting very deteriorated. I fire it a lot.

 

Marcia

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I have 4 Paragons:- all electric- all programmable.

 

16 CF front loader- for bisque and standard cone 6 tile

6.5CF top loader- custom built- primary crystalline production kiln

1.8 CF for oops- I forgot to add this to the order- need it quickly and testing.  ( and very small orders)

0.25 CF test kiln- fired over 1200 times-  on the 4th set of APM's.  Testing of course, but for making color samples.

 

Good thing about tile work- I have over a ton fired in bisque- customers pick color per order.

 

Nerd

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I now have 3 kilns

Skutt 1027 made in  2003 in new condition that I just purchased

Olympic 1827 with a great interior, 1 connector plug needs some work, just purchased these 2

old Skutt 231 that I will now sell that has recent element change.

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Neil:

How do you like the DaVinci series?  Have eyeballed them a few times. Also looked at Skutts new front loader series, anyone have experience with one of those?

Nerd

 

The DaVinci's are great, but not perfect. The biggest rectangular ones like I have, with a two piece lid slab, hold up best when modified with a winch to raise and lower the lid. It keeps the lid opening straight without twisting. I believe Bill Campbell has done this with all of his in his production setting. The huge lid has a lot of stress on it otherwise, and opening and closing it by hand will wear it out. The square kilns with single slab lids don't seem to have a problem with that, though.

 

On my kiln I have a lid that I built with the help of L&L, with a compression frame around the lid slabs, similar to a Minnesota Flat Top design. The two lid slabs are each mortared in a running bond with the bricks set on edge, so the lid is 4.5" thick. The compression frame holds the two slabs together. It's raised and lowered with an electric winch. I've had this system in place for about 18 months now, without any sign of cracking. HERE is a video.

 

On any square top loading kiln, L&L or otherwise, the bricks are not quite as durable as on round kilns, since the long, almost straight sides can flex more. You have to keep up on tightening the outer jacket to keep everything tight and rigid. But with proper care it's not a big issue.

 

Despite any these issues, it's a very affordable way to get a larger volume kiln. Front loaders cost almost 3 times as much.

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I'm not sure exactly. 7 electric (3-Skutt, 1-Paragon, 1-Oylimpic top hat raku, 1-Blue Diamond made into a little test kiln, 1-"Old people's kiln- don't remember manufacturer but we got it from an old folks home) 1-Gas Olympic, two or three fiber raku kilns, 1-Duncan shell that will be a soda test kiln. Oh, an a little Igloo too. I'm sure there are a few more I can't recall at the moment. More than we need or use but I'm a sucker for a deal. Why, got one you want to sell cheap?  We're game!  :)

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3x Skutt 1227, Skutt 1027, Skutt 818, 2 Skutt test kilns (614 and 609), Faculty Bailey/Aim oval kiln.  Also 3 Bailey downdrafts: 18/12 deluxe, Shuttle SH-54, and a custom 130 trackless.

All my electrics are nearing 20 years old in a college setting - pretty awesome I'd say.  Of the electrics I'd say the 1027 and 818 are the most used in our studio -- perfect size for a single sculpture or section of larger piece (we work life-size).  The test kilns also get used a lot too for glaze testing.  We fire the 2 big gas kilns at minimum a dozen times per year each.  We also went through approximately 10-tons of dry clay last year for 5 classes (we mix our own clay).

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I have two 11.5 cu ft Skutt 1231's and a little Skutt 1818 I use for glaze testing and short runs. One of my 1231's u have setup with standard elements and use it primarily as our bisque kiln. The other has AMP elements, and it's my glaze kiln.

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Mike:

Have you checked out Skutt's new 14-16CF front loaders?  Not used one of them, but the specs, features and price point are impressive.

Nerd

I have two Skutts 1027 and a small test kiln. Would trade the two Skutts for one front loader as I am terribly tired of almost falling into the kiln as I load the bottom shelves. Also, with experience I wish I had bought a big oval one instead of the same model for the second kiln. I used to have a raku kiln, but sold it.

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I just picked up an very nice Paragon Touch N Fire Model 66.  Clean, elements stand up well, no broken bricks, a perfect small test kiln $75. Think I might put a Sentry 2 controller on it.   Will add to the collection of my workhorse Skutt 1027 and mother-in-laws 30 year old Gare which I don't fire and planning on making into a raku kiln. 

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Mike:

Have you checked out Skutt's new 14-16CF front loaders? Not used one of them, but the specs, features and price point are impressive.

Nerd

I have not seen them in person, but I've talked to Skutt about them, and have them spec'd (16 CuFt) to replace the 1231's. When we built out the studio I added double swing French doors on the side of the building for this reason.

 

Supposidly, you can fit them through a standard door opening if you remove the kiln door.

 

I don't have my worksheets with me, but I think the 16 takes us from 85 to 135 pieces per fire. In about the same footprint. This would be the largest single phase kiln they make I believe.

 

They haven't published the ambient BTUs generated by them, but the techs told me it was around 32k / HR, so we would have to upgrade our heat abatement system.

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One currently.  Would like to get a small one for glaze testing as I am now making my own glazes.  Unsure what to get.

 

Oh, and two Glass Fusing kilns, but those don't count :)

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