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2.5 Or 3In Fire Brick - Pros/cons?

2.5 or 3 in fire brick?

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#1 BornonSunsetCeramics

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 12:34 PM

Hi there,

 

I'm going to be purchasing a new KM Skutt 1027 kiln for my home studio and I'm wondering about which size fire brick to purchase. Right now I have an old 1027 that needs work I'm unable to do myself and don't have the time to have done (also don't want to sink any more money into it) so I'm going to sell it on CL. I have the shelves for that size and if I go up to the 3in, I'll need all new shelves. 

 

Is the 3in worth having to to buy all new shelves? Is it really more cost effective energy-wise and does the extra insulation really make a noticeable difference for glaze cooling? I'll loose a little space on the inside, too which is a factor.

 

I'm super new to all of this and I'll upgrade the shelves if it's really worth it since this is a kiln I plan to use for many years. All thoughts and suggestions are welcome! Thanks so much!



#2 neilestrick

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 12:42 PM

There is a noticeable difference in heat loss between 2.5" and 3" bricks. That's a 20% difference in thickness, which is significant. The 3" will be less work for the kiln to get to temp, which means longer element life, the electronics will stay cooler and last longer, and you'll notice a big difference in how much the kiln heats up the room during firings. Get the 3" bricks, get new shelves. Another option is to cut down your old shelves, which you can do with a masonry bit on a circular saw. It's dusty, but easy.


Neil Estrick
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L&L Kilns Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
www.neilestrickgallery.com

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#3 BornonSunsetCeramics

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 01:37 PM

Thank you so much, Neil! You've been such a wonderful help. I really appreciated your thoughtful and detailed responses (this and from the last thread). 3" it is! 



#4 BornonSunsetCeramics

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 01:41 PM

Would I be better off getting a ConeArt? Can that brand go to cone 9/10 more often than the Skutt? 



#5 LeeU

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 03:40 PM

I have an L&L with 3" brick and I absolutely love it...I see only a modest uptick in my monthly electric bill, which is amazing. There is minimal heat put out to the room and I do a lot of slow glaze cooling...happy with the results. 


Lee Ustinich

 

 

 

 

 

#6 Min

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 09:06 PM

I have a ConeArt, bought a few months ago. If you haven’t actually had a look at the kilns in person I would start with that. The quality of the ConeArt versus the Skutt is really apparent. Just look at the difference in the colour of the bricks and the lid lifter to start with. Then open up the electrics box and look inside, see the difference between connecters etc. Also, I prefer the Bartlett controller that comes with ConeArt rather than the one on the Skutt, this was a big deal to me. (I use both types of controllers) If you have the dollars I would really recommend thinking of upgrading to the Bartlett Genesis controller rather than the V6 one that is standard with those kilns. I like the spyhole metal covers on the ConeArt versus Skutts plugs also, can't loose or break them.

 

The only thing I don’t like on the ConeArt is that it doesn’t come with thermocouple protection tubes but I don’t think the Skutt does either. Another consideration with the ConeArt is to be aware that there is an area half way up the kiln with no elements, at least there is with the one I bought. Pictures online don't show this. I would guess that since it has a floor element the power needed for that was taken from the middle, not a problem with my firings so far but if you do tiles it might be. It has 3 zone control, I’ve used cones to check temps and it fires very evenly.



#7 oldlady

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 10:27 PM

neil, i had a paragon with all new round shelves when i got the L&L with 3 inch bricks.  the shelves are getting a little heavy and have always left me very little finger room.  

 

how do i take them down in size?  are you suggesting i change the round to a shape with straight sides.  too cold to go out and count them right now. maybe 10?


"putting you down does not raise me up."

#8 Mark C.

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 11:57 PM

(Get the 3" bricks, get new shelves. Another option is to cut down your old shelves, which you can do with a masonry bit on a circular saw. It's dusty, but easy.)

Thats mt advice as well.

As to Skutt vs cone art-I would get a Ll&L 1st cone art second skutt last.


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#9 glazenerd

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 05:47 AM

3" brick for sure.
Kilns last for decades, if properly cared for. So in addition to the mechanical features: will the kiln of choice grow with you? What type of work interests you? Large, medium, or small? What cone are going to fire to on a regular basis? Do you have adequate power to run a larger kiln? Many issues to consider besides brick.
One issue that rarely gets discussed is kiln wattage. If you are going to fir to cone six and above: this becomes a critical issue. Cone six and up needs thicker brick to hold heat, better elements that will last longer, and available wattage to meet peak demand at the top end. I recommend 1800-2000 watts per cubic foot at minimum. When you drop below this mark, a kiln can draw peak power for an extended period, which results in power bills that can be painful.
Many things to consider when kiln shopping.
Nerd

#10 neilestrick

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 02:52 PM

neil, i had a paragon with all new round shelves when i got the L&L with 3 inch bricks.  the shelves are getting a little heavy and have always left me very little finger room.  

 

how do i take them down in size?  are you suggesting i change the round to a shape with straight sides.  too cold to go out and count them right now. maybe 10?

 

If they fit but you don't have finger room, cut a slice off two opposite sides with a masonry blade in a circular saw, or in an angle grinder, to make room for your fingers. If the whole shelf is too big, then you can cut off sides all the way around to make it fit. I've got some 8 sided shelves from a 2.5" kiln that I cut down for my 3" kiln. It's a bit of a mess, but if you've got a couple hours rather than a couple hundred bucks, it's worth it.


Neil Estrick
Kiln Repair Tech
L&L Kilns Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
www.neilestrickgallery.com

[email protected]


#11 oldlady

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 07:46 PM

thanks, neil.  you gave me an idea mentioning the angle grinder.  i have one but only a masonry round thing.  (senior moment)  can i use a diamond one and cut out a space big enough to avoid the protruding thermocouple covers and leave an extra inch around one?  it just seems a shame to have to put a 3 inch post so  i can miss the thermocouple when the work on the shelf will fit with a 1 or 1 1/2 inch post.


"putting you down does not raise me up."

#12 JohnnyK

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:44 AM

thanks, neil.  you gave me an idea mentioning the angle grinder.  i have one but only a masonry round thing.  (senior moment)  can i use a diamond one and cut out a space big enough to avoid the protruding thermocouple covers and leave an extra inch around one?  it just seems a shame to have to put a 3 inch post so  i can miss the thermocouple when the work on the shelf will fit with a 1 or 1 1/2 inch post.

 

Try a dry-cut diamond blade on your angle grinder. You could cut a slot in the shelf to clear the TC and finger grooves if you don't want to cut the entire shelf.

JK






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