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I am looking into buying my first kiln, a Skutt.

I found one online for a very great price, but only one problem... it only fires to cone 5. While in school, I made tons of functional pottery and was looking into doing that more, plates and cups in particular. My question is, is there much of a difference between a cone 5 and a cone 6 as far as strength and durability goes?

Would you recommend me buying a kiln that only fired to cone 5 if I'm making functional pieces like cups and plates?

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You need your kiln to fire several cones hotter than the cone at which you plan to work. If you have a cone 5 kiln, you'll be maxing it out every time you fire, and once the elements wear even just a little bit, it won't hit temperature. That means half the element life you would normally get, and lots of headaches. Which model are you looking at? Most Skutt kilns go to cone 8 or 10. Is the kiln going in your home? If so, you most likely have 240 volt single phase electrical service. Make sure that's the wiring configuration you're looking at.

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@katiesherfield If you plan to hook that up at your house, you'll need to change out the elements to run on 240 volts, which will make it a cone 8 kiln. Still not ideal, but it'll work fine, especially if you work at cone 5. As far as the difference between cone 5 and 6, most commercial clays and glazes will work fine at either temp, and you could always add a hold time at the end to get a little more heat work. Elements will run you $54 each, and that kiln has 6. Get an electrician in to verify your voltage, just in case you have low voltage (it happens, but rarely). You'll need a 60 amp breaker on single phase service.

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41 minutes ago, katiesherfield said:

@neilestrick Sweet, Thank you so much! How difficult is it to change the elements in the kiln? Or should I call someone from skutt to do it?

It's not overly difficult, just time consuming, especially the first time. There are videos and instructions available online. It would be a good thing to learn how to do.

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Even with the higher voltage elements this kiln is not ideal for cone 6 firing.  I have the same kiln and only get about 20 bisque (^04) and maybe 30 glaze (^6) firings on a set of elements.  I thought it was a fluke the first time, but I am just about to replace them for the second time and got almost exactly the same number of firings.  For a casual potter this is a lot of firings (many years), but not great for higher production.   I am planning to order a new L&L e-quad kiln very soon to get some longer life. 

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