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Mark C.

Front Loading Electrics

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Mark C.    1,796

I have a friend looking to buy a front loader-she asked me about Paragons and Olympics . I suggested Baileys and L$Ls due to the element holders

I think this will be a mostly cone 6  kiln-any suggestions on this??

Neil? Nerd? talk front loaders please .

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neilestrick    1,378

There are a lot of what I consider to be poorly made front loaders on the market. You get what you pay for. I don't want to speak ill of any specific brand, but I would go with a kiln that is all brick-no fiber, and has an arch. Anything else is cutting corners IMO.

 

In general, expect to pay 2-3 times as much as a top loader, and a lot more for shipping, too. L&L, for instance, will only ship front loaders on air-ride trucks (so they survive), so the shipping price goes up. Plus they're very heavy. Front loaders are a completely different animal than top loaders. They require more materials, labor and engineering to build.

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glazenerd    816

I think I will have to go with Neil on this one: buying a cheap front loader will come back to bite you in the kilowatts.

 

 

Elements in the door is critical:

because of the door design air is drawn through it when it gets to higher temps and static pressure builds: pushing it open ever so slightly.

 

3" insulation is also needed: even though you do not plan to fire over ^6. On larger models, extra power is required to heat, and thicker brick to hold it in. Front loaders are prone to hot and cold spots: added brick thickness, or added insulation helps to keep it even out. Smaller front loaders (6-8CF) are less fickle: the larger they get after this- the more heat zone problems there are.

 

An arched top does help: because heat in a front loader builds on the top. An arch top will keep excess heat above the top shelf, instead of building in it. A fan would not be a bad idea either: to keep the heat even towards the high end of the cycle; not to mention they take a while to cool.

 

For standard cone 6 firings they work fairly well: for technical glazes that require specific ramp cycles: not so much. However, doing a full cone pack in your first firing so you know where the hot and cold spots are is almost mandatory.

 

 

Nerd Man

 

If you want to do large pieces: fire extra large bisque loads: nothing like them.

 

Nerd

 

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oldlady    1,323

mark, is she interested in the front loader so she does not have to bend over into a deep one?   i ask because you can have a short, wide top loader that is not hard to load or unload.  there is a custom made one just down the road that is only 18 inches deep but 6 feet wide in a circular top loader.  

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Joseph F    865

Man. Those front loaders are insanely expensive. The ones John linked woooo weee. Had no idea. 

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Mark C.    1,796

She lives on an island far away and is 75 and does not want to bend over anymore. Her present kiln is toast.

The shipping will be a killer.

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neilestrick    1,378

mark, is she interested in the front loader so she does not have to bend over into a deep one?   i ask because you can have a short, wide top loader that is not hard to load or unload.  there is a custom made one just down the road that is only 18 inches deep but 6 feet wide in a circular top loader.  

 

Exactly. You can get a 28" wide by 18" deep that's really easy to get into. I sell a lot of those to older folks instead of 23" x 27" kilns.

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JBaymore    1,432

Man. Those front loaders are insanely expensive. The ones John linked woooo weee. Had no idea. 

 

Get out your nitro glycerin pills....... and take a look at decent commercial gas kilns ;).  (Don't forget to add the hookup and ventilation costs.)

 

Yes those Fredricksons  are pricey.  But they LAST and also fire very evenly.  VERY well insulated (for an electric).  Long slow cooling cycles that develop good glazes.  If you want to fast cool.... have top vents.  VERY thick elements that last.  Refractories are over-rated for longevity.  Machining is precise.  Frame (including door hinges and racking bracing) is heavy for longevity.

 

College students have a hard time wrecking them.  They have to really work at it.  That says a lot.  :D

 

best,

 

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

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neilestrick    1,378

I sold an L&L EL2448 to Columbia College in Chicago a few years back- 16 cubic foot front loader. It took us 3 hours to uncrate it and set it in place in the 7th floor kiln room. Shipping was around $800. It's a $17,000 kiln. My 21 cubic foot top loader is only $8,000. Like I said, they're a totally different beast than top loaders.

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Denice    243

I was having trouble loading and unloading my big Skutt so I made a false floor in it.  I put some broken fire brick as the first layer, making sure I didn't cover up my vent holes and then cover them with a shelf that had broken in half so that I could maintain some air flow.  The shelf I use was nearly new when it broke so it makes a nice bottom.  You have to make sure everything is level and no rocking.  The bottom part of my kiln was always cold,  I don't have to worry about that anymore.  Denice

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Chilly    329

I have a friend looking to buy a front loader-she asked me about Paragons and Olympics . I suggested Baileys and L$Ls due to the element holders

I think this will be a mostly cone 6  kiln-any suggestions on this??

Neil? Nerd? talk front loaders please .

 

Has she experience with loading a front-loader?

 

I use both, and putting the shelves into the front-loader is harder on my back than putting them into my top-loader.  The whole weight of the shelf feels like it is dangling off the fingertips and it is trying to drop out of your hands.

 

The front-loader is great for adding pieces into when the shelves are in place, but only at the front.  Obviously, with a top-loader this is impossible. If you only need a couple of shelves, and can keep them in place and load and unload without changing the shelf heights then a front-loader is great.  Otherwise, I'm not sure which I prefer.  (Actually, I do know.  I prefer using the front-loader because it's not mine/costing me money/wear and tear!)

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