Jump to content
nathanhinshaw

Thoughts on the Cress FX-23 P

Recommended Posts

Hello all, I'm looking at purchasing a used Cress FX-23 P electric kiln and wondering if anyone has experience with this model? It's just shy of $500 which seems a fair price(?). I'm planning to use it primarily as a bisque kiln, perhaps with a few ^6 fires thrown in for fun. It seems like a sound buy from a company that is still active but if anyone has experiences (good or bad) I'm all ears.

Also if anyone can spot check me on this: I had a 240v outlet installed sometime ago for an electric dryer and I'm thinking we can re-purpose that for the kiln (it's asking for 220v and 25amps on the face-plate)--seem sound?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick follow up: I've just gotten an image of the kiln and it seems like it might be a little worse for wear, but I'm not totally sure. I'll attach an image but there is some cracking on the floor and some of the coils look a bit loose. I'd appreciate any advice the community has about the state, questions to ask or issues to look for, and any impact on price or reliability those things might have.

interiorkiln.jpg

Edited by nathanhinshaw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as the bricks aren't missing big chunks, they're fine. A little chipping along the element groove is normal, happens when you replace the elements. You can get the elements back in by heating them with a torch and pushing them in with pliers, or they may even go back without heating. Just pin them back into place. The floor cracks are no big deal if they don't go all the way through. If they do go through, you can always put a piece of sheet metal on top of the stand to help support it more.

What's the amperage of the breaker on your 240 volt line? What is the peak temp rating of the kiln?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Neil, thanks for the reply and your comments.

Based on what I've found for kilns sharing this model number (not the "P" specifically but other FX-23s) it will fire to ^10 (Max. No. of Cone / Max. Temperature   10 / 2350 ºF).  Amperage on the panel is 100, 30 on the breaker--how does all that strike you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What does the 'P' mean? I ca't find that model listed anywhere on the Cress web site. No wiring diagram, nothing. There are a couple of other models with the 'P' in their name, but they don't appear to be any different than those with an 'F'. Call Cress and get some info.

In your photo there appears to be a thermocouple. Does the kiln have a digital controller? The FX models are supposed to be manual, with the thumbwheel control.

30 amp breaker will work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny as I am also looking at that very same kiln an can not find any information on the "P" either. I was told this model is 7 to  8 years old, Its between this one and a very gently used 10 Skutt digital. My 40 year old Skutt just quit working so I am very wary of buying another model as that is all I have ever used. ANyone have any thing to add?

Thanks to all!

B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Karmakee Farm said:

Funny as I am also looking at that very same kiln an can not find any information on the "P" either. I was told this model is 7 to  8 years old, Its between this one and a very gently used 10 Skutt digital. My 40 year old Skutt just quit working so I am very wary of buying another model as that is all I have ever used. ANyone have any thing to add?

Thanks to all!

B

So I ended up passing on this for a few reasons. Ultimately it came down to money but that was driven by the heating element layout for this kiln. The center of the kiln has substantial (at least based on it's overall size) zone with no elements creating an kiln that's larger than it should be for the power it can deliver.

I'm still on the hunt myself, but would say based on my research and the very sage advice of people on this forum (thanks Neil!), that unless you've got a monster of a deal on the kiln it's not a long haul investment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been using an Fx23P which I bought "slightly used" for $500 a few years ago. It sat in my garage until my B23HT got too tired to make it to ^6. I sold that kiln as a bisque/low fire kiln for $200 (it was around 40 yrs old) and started using the FX about a year ago after adding an Orton digital controller. After a few tests to get it dialed in, I couldn't be happier. It has a kiln sitter which drove me nuts the first few times I used the digital controller because I kept forgetting to set the timer and hitting the start button. The kiln has been great with temp distribution ...1/2 cone difference between the top and the bottom of the kiln despite the wide space in the middle between the elements.  No real complaints here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an FT 31, which is a precursor of the FX, and a bit larger. It fires dead even top to bottom. Freakishly so, in fact, and I've got similar coil spacing. Maybe because they're tall and have a smaller diameter? It came to me very unused, the elements were fresh. I push cone 7 when I glaze fire. The controls are pretty analog, but I'm used to that. I too, paid $500, so if it comes around again, maybe bargain them down a bit.

added: I wound up pulling my pyrometer.  I didn't have a meter to hook it up to, and it was placed in a really awkward spot for spacing shelves and allowing for the kiln sitter. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/21/2018 at 10:28 AM, JohnnyK said:

I've been using an Fx23P which I bought "slightly used" for $500 a few years ago. It sat in my garage until my B23HT got too tired to make it to ^6. I sold that kiln as a bisque/low fire kiln for $200 (it was around 40 yrs old) and started using the FX about a year ago after adding an Orton digital controller. After a few tests to get it dialed in, I couldn't be happier. It has a kiln sitter which drove me nuts the first few times I used the digital controller because I kept forgetting to set the timer and hitting the start button. The kiln has been great with temp distribution ...1/2 cone difference between the top and the bottom of the kiln despite the wide space in the middle between the elements.  No real complaints here!

i'm looking at a barely used Cress Kiln Model FX-23P that is $795 and has been used 20+ times and has been in storage for 10 years.

looks to be in great condition.

My main concern is can it go to cone 10? i would like to be able to fire that high if needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@PAblokimon 

I actually got mine in similar condition. 20 year old kiln that had barely been fired. I fire to a 7 with a soak hold on the way down without issue. I suspect, because it is rated for cone 9-10 that the kiln will hit that temperature while the elements are in good shape, but conventional wisdom says  it will be hard on the kiln to do so regularly. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What Callie said...I have no intention to go to ^10, so the kiln is a good fit for me. I know it will go to ^8 because when I first fired it with my new digital controller before I had it dialed in, the #7 witness cone was flat as a pancake at the end of the firing!

JohnnyK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New to the group/forum so this thread contains my first posts.

I Just purchased a used Cress FX-23p that's in very good shape.  It is my first kiln and first home studio.  I did my first bisque load yesterday and all seemed to go well.  While I'm bisking at cone 04, I'll be glazing to cone 5 in the coming days.

I've been told its not the best idea to go to cone 10 with this kiln, as its been compared to redlining an engine and will wear out an old kiln fairly quickly.  Would love to hear feedback or experiences regarding this.   With that said, I've chosen a slightly lower cone to work with (5) to work with a lower temp and have many glaze options.  

Regarding my first bisque load:  I placed pyrometric cones 06,05,04 on the top and bottom shelves.  The top cone 04 bent to perfection while the bottom cone 04 was a bit underdone.  Therefore the kiln is unevenly firing.  Seems like a tiny kiln like this wouldn't have too many cold spots.  

*Also I realize I should have 03, 04, 05 pyrometric cones if I'm firing to 04.  

Edited by Richsound

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The variation of 1/2 cone from top to bottom as you describe probably has more to do with how you pack your kiln than any defect in elements. It seems counterintuitive, but if you pack the  bottom of the kiln with your taller items or things that take up a lot of space (less dense) and save the smaller, more tightly packed items for the top of your kiln, that half cone variance disappears.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Richsound welcome to the forum. sounds like a lot of first's, congrads. I think a lot of folks settle into 5-6 with a cone's one worth of heat work at the end with a 2-30 minute hold if you have an electronic controller. Seems to be the sweet spot on glazes too. Are you going to mix your own or buy them? 

In regards to firing an electric kiln to its top rating, probably not even possible beyond a handful of firings after you first replace the elements unless you have an electronic controller to finish up the cone 10 with heat work. While I don't think its the same as redlining an engine (that will cause catastrophic failure immediately) it will wear out the bricks and elements faster and since yours is used that probably matters.

I think the importance of having an electric kiln that is rated at 10 is that you are then working comfortably below the max if you stay in mid-range.

have fun with the new studio!    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

The variation of 1/2 cone from top to bottom as you describe probably has more to do with how you pack your kiln than any defect in elements. It seems counterintuitive, but if you pack the  bottom of the kiln with your taller items or things that take up a lot of space (less dense) and save the smaller, more tightly packed items for the top of your kiln, that half cone variance disappears.  

This may very well be the case with my bisque temperature difference.  I did shorter bowls in the bottom, tall pieces in the middle, and various sizes in the top.   Thanks for the tip!  I'll test that theory on the next load!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Stephen said:

Hey Richsound welcome to the forum. sounds like a lot of first's, congrads. I think a lot of folks settle into 5-6 with a cone's one worth of heat work at the end with a 2-30 minute hold if you have an electronic controller. Seems to be the sweet spot on glazes too. Are you going to mix your own or buy them? 

In regards to firing an electric kiln to its top rating, probably not even possible beyond a handful of firings after you first replace the elements unless you have an electronic controller to finish up the cone 10 with heat work. While I don't think its the same as redlining an engine (that will cause catastrophic failure immediately) it will wear out the bricks and elements faster and since yours is used that probably matters.

I think the importance of having an electric kiln that is rated at 10 is that you are then working comfortably below the max if you stay in mid-range.

have fun with the new studio!    

Thanks Stephen!  Yes lots of firsts and enjoying stumbling through the processes and figuring it all out! 

No electronic controller unfortunately as the FX-23p has a kiln sitter, a ramp dial, and a 0-10 wheel.  While I don't find the controls very intuitive and have read a lot online about how to use them, I find the process of watching over it and making adjustments through the process valuable.  I did find a hack to cheat the kiln-sitter which would allow me to do a hold at peak temp though for my glaze that I may try out.  However I'd most likely do a shorter hold time.  

I've purchased glaze powders that are already measured out that I will be mixing here at home.  I've chosen 4 to work with and have 2 clay bodies that I'll test all combinations out on.  I'm a sucker iron oxide on stoney looking clays too so should have some interesting combo's.  I've went with Aardvark glazes which is sort of local to me...

Thanks for the well wishes and thoughts!

Edited by Richsound

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/28/2018 at 7:40 AM, Callie Beller Diesel said:

The variation of 1/2 cone from top to bottom as you describe probably has more to do with how you pack your kiln than any defect in elements. It seems counterintuitive, but if you pack the  bottom of the kiln with your taller items or things that take up a lot of space (less dense) and save the smaller, more tightly packed items for the top of your kiln, that half cone variance disappears.  

Thanks in advance for the feedback on here!  I have now done my 2nd firing with this kiln for my glaze firing.  While it was successful in that I learned more about my glazes, got some test tiles/practice pieces through, and understand more about what to expect from the kiln through its controls. 

It still had a difference in temperature from bottom shelf to top shelf indicated by my pyro-cones.  I'm glazing/working with all cone 5 materials.  So I set up 4,5,6 cones on the bottom shelf and the #4 was melted perfectly while the 5&6 weren't phased at all.  Meanwhile on the top shelf, 4 was melted with no arch, 5 was perfect with a nice arch, and 6 was semi-melted (textbook).  

I packed the bottom with the tallest pieces and they seemed to have plenty of space around (pictured below), shorter pieces on the 2nd shelf, and the 3rd was just tiles and my cones.  All coils seem to functioning.  Maybe I should make the bottom chamber even taller??

It's really a small compact little kiln and it seems like it shouldn't have that much of a temp difference.  With that said, the pieces on the bottom looked nice but I can't help wondering what a difference it'd make in the integrity of the pot and the look of the glaze if it cooked to the right temp?

Any thoughts would be helpful.  Also in an attempt to better understand glazing in general and how it reacts at different temps, could someone recommend a gold standard book?

IMG_6733.JPG

IMG_6734.JPG

IMG_6735.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Richsound

The second image you show of the top layer of your kiln isn't particularly densely packed. Those test tiles won't hold a lot of thermal mass, which is what will help  even things out.  Think about having lots of tightly packed things on the top, that will take more energy to heat up than the handful of things on the bottom.  And especially for a glaze fire, letting the kiln cool for about an hour (depending on ambient temperature outside the kiln: you want the peep to show a light orange colour) after it shuts off, and then turning it back on for a 10-15 minute soak may tip that middle cone over on the bottom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Babs said:

How about adding a soak at end of firing if not already doing this? May allow temp to even out.

 

4 hours ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

@Richsound

The second image you show of the top layer of your kiln isn't particularly densely packed. Those test tiles won't hold a lot of thermal mass, which is what will help  even things out.  Think about having lots of tightly packed things on the top, that will take more energy to heat up than the handful of things on the bottom.  And especially for a glaze fire, letting the kiln cool for about an hour (depending on ambient temperature outside the kiln: you want the peep to show a light orange colour) after it shuts off, and then turning it back on for a 10-15 minute soak may tip that middle cone over on the bottom.

Thanks for the explanation, makes perfect sense!  For the first run through I didn't have too many materials to put in the kiln so I could simply test as systems & processes.  I will take all into heed for the next batch and certainly give it an extra soak at the end.

Appreciate your expertise all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Additionally, your test tiles need to be squeezed into the rest of the load, not only for loading efficiency but to get the same temps as your pots. If you know your top shelf is a cone off, that's not the place for tests. 

Make a bunch more pots than you think you will need to fill the kiln. You don't need extra headspace on bottom shelf, just taller pots and/or those with more volume (airspace inside).

Best wishes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.