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I am considering purchasing an Olsen kiln kit. I have scoured the internet and found no negative reports on them. I have fired a small updraft to cone 10 for years, so feel that I have solid experience in firing an updraft, and buying a kit means that the design and calculations have already been done, so it should be a slam dunk. Buy it, put it together and fire pots...right? 

Anyone care to weigh in on this?

Thank you!!

Pat

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Yes, it should be that easy. Before you buy anything, though, make sure you have everything else ready to go- the gas line, hood and venting, permits, etc. You don't want to spend all that money and then not be able to use it. Also make sure that whatever safety systems are on the burner system meet your local building code requirements. Also check with your insurance company to see if they'll cover it. Lots of groundwork to do before getting the kiln....

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I have a few potter friends with these-since they are updrafts they all fire uneven. Since you already know this and are working around this you will not be surprised.

My 2 cents (I have a 12 cubic updraft and a 35 cubic downdraft) is get the K26s since they hold up better over the long haul . The price difference is so small its a no brainer.K26 will hold up better in the hot spots near the burners and the arch.I worked on one in Hawaii a few years ago-it was brand new-looked good for an updraft.

I think downdrafts fire more even and distribute heat better have you considered this kilns?

http://www.cooperworkskilns.com

I have friend with a small downdraft and he really likes it-not much more cost really.-Better kiln as well.

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thank you for your replies and input, Mark and Neil :)

Updraft works for me because we live in an area where I don't think a chimney for a kiln would be looked kindly upon- which a downdraft would require. And also, i have never fired a downdraft, so not sure what the learning curve would be there. I actually had contacted Cooperworks already, and had a good discussion with Jim from there. We have the gas line run already, and have checked with the city for any regulations, which are pretty sparse in our area. We have  planned the protection from the weather and have the slab poured. 

Appreciate the input :)

Have a good evening,

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@potterpat A chimney is not required for a downdraft any more than it is for an updraft if you're using power burners. A downdraft will fire more efficiently and faster (if you want it to). The key with updraft kilns is to not rush them. You can't fire them evenly in 7 hours. You have to figure out how fast it can handle and don't go faster than that. Once you dial it in, it will fire just as evenly as a downdraft. I've fired lots of old Alpine updrafts, and have friends that still use them, and they all say the same thing.

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hmmm...i hadn't ever considered power burners...again, no experience with them. I agree- i do believe that a downdraft will fire more efficiently and with more control- have heard that for years and a downdraft has always been my plan and 'dream kiln'. However, I have envisioned them with these killer chimneys and didn't think, with a chimney, it would be appreciated in my neighborhood. (I live in a historic neighborhood with a relatively small yard.) So what you are saying is that one can have a downdraft kiln, without a tall chimney for draft, correct? Again, is a downdraft going to be a trick to learn to fire, after firing an updraft for years? 

 

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Correct. With power/forced air burners, the chimney does not need to be any taller than the kiln arch itself. It's an easy switch to firing a downdraft, and you'll find it's easier to fire evenly. The learning curve for figuring out your new kiln will be much faster. It's essentially the same as the updraft- enough gas to climb at the rate you want, enough air for the atmosphere you want, and a touch of back pressure out both the top and bottom spy holes.

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The downside on power burners is they are noisy and need power. The venturi,s are quieter. I have been around the Olsen 24 during a few firings and they are quiet and do not use power burners The new kiln I was around 2 years ago had a pilot ring for starting.Burners are pointing up in floor.

Geil kilns do not use power burners and do not have a stack any higher than the kiln top.The chimney does not need to be very high ,just helps create a draw.More important is getting the right flue size.

You can go with power burners and not have a stack with no chimney or you can go Venturi  with a short stack (chimney).Either way.

It sounds like a quiet kiln is what you need either way. One idea is surround the kiln with some metal panels to keep any noise contained.

 

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All good information!! I am talking to Jim Cooper at Cooperworks again. He has a few different ideas.

Maybe that will end up being the way to go. :)

If I still lived on 2 acres outside of town, it wouldn't really matter to me as much-- about the chimney and the noise. But i want to be a good neighbor.

Thank you guys!

Pat

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