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KILN CONUNDRUM: Was offered TWO FREE KILNS...what to do?


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#1 myrmaedluvr

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 11:06 PM

Hello Everyone!

My name is Jaena and this is my first post on CAD. I'm a newbie and just finished my first semester of ceramics. I'm hooked! I want to set up a home studio and have a small space to do it in; I live in a townhouse in central Phoenix. I have enough room for a wheel and a small wedging table and maybe some shelves for drying pots and I'd love to have a home kiln. We have a decent sized patio with enough electrical out here to operate a 220V kiln so theoretically I could do it. I've been looking at the Paragon Home Artist kiln because it's small and portable, plugs into any 120V outlet and fires up to cone 6 which is fine for bisque and raku. Does anyone have experience with this little kiln? I'm worried about it only being 12"x12" in the chamber; how many pots could I realistically fire in such a small space? If I drop $1000 for this little kiln, it needs to be worth the investment. So my boyfriend and I were taking a glassblowing class today and the owner of the studio found out that I'm an aspiring potter and want to set up a home studio. He promptly took me out back and told me I could have the two kilns he has there for free as he is never going to use them. My first thought was "JACKPOT!!!" but then I looked at them and saw they were pretty old and haggard-looking. I don't care about looks as long as they work, which he said they do. I would be fine if they didn't work but were easily repaired at a fraction of the cost of buying a new kiln. The Cress is ridiculously heavy; my bf and I together couldn't pick it up. The Duncan (Model ES 1029-2) came apart so it would be easy to transport but it's only a cone 8 whereas the Cress (Model FTX-2831P) is a cone 10. Also, they don't make Duncan kilns anymore but I understand Paragon has taken over the servicing of them. Whichever of these I take, the kiln will be outside on my patio exposed to the AZ sun; is this ok or will I have to create some sort of shelter? I assume that because it's outside, I won't have to worry about ventilation...am I correct to assume this? I'm such a beginner and don't know the first thing about kilns or how to operate and maintain them but I want to learn! Should I get the Duncan or the Cress for free? Or just buy the tiny luggage-like Paragon kiln? I would really appreciate any feedback from more seasoned artists. I can also post more pictures if that will help. Thank you so much for taking the time :)

Duncan
Attached File  IMAG0130.jpg   1.37MB   73 downloads

Cress
Attached File  IMAG0138.jpg   1.05MB   69 downloads

#2 Mark C.

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:04 AM

The cress photo is a bit unclear but it looks in better shape-how are the insides?? bricks ?elements?I prefer the cress as it looks to be in better shape on the outside.
This kiln could be great or a lot of work-Howard is the expert on this and hopefully will give his opinion
You can remove the lid and bottom so its easier to move-If the walls are 3 inches vs 2.1/2 that would be better for all fires. These are older kilns but may work fine
How long have they be in the weather??
The duncan is missing parts on the controller. and looks rusty
You will need to shelter your kiln from the elements with a roof.
The 12x12 is a great test kiln size but to small for a potter.
Thats my 2 cents
Mark
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#3 myrmaedluvr

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:14 AM

Mark,

Thank you SO much for your reply. Here are some more detailed photos of the Cress; let me know what you think. Thanks!
Attached File  IMAG0141.jpg   1.45MB   37 downloads

Attached File  IMAG0142.jpg   1.12MB   45 downloads

Attached File  IMAG0140.jpg   1.26MB   28 downloads


Is there another kiln that anyone would recommend for the beginning potter, taking into consideration the kiln will be outdoors on a patio?

#4 Mark C.

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:56 AM

Any electric will work on your patio but you will need to keep it dry (no rain or showers on it ever) Build a lean to shelter for it or is your patio covered from the sun/rain?Should be getting to be in the 100's soon there. That will dry this kiln out.
The photos show a cress just like one I brought back for a friend on My twice annual Tempe Art fair potter vendor trips. A retired potter (my customer) gave me (super low cost this kiln and a wheel) from Scottsdale.

The elements are jumping outside the brick near the bottom but it all looks ok in the photos.
The setter may need some work
Lets see what Howard from Paragon says about this -he should respond in a day or two here.
Mark
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#5 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 06:08 AM

I would say the Cress too. The controls were more modern and in better shape.. I think you need a knob for the switch , but that is cheap. You do nee to dry them out if they have been outside and exposed to rain at some point. Then you also need to build some shelter for protection.

Marcia



#6 Wind n Wing

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:49 AM

Welcome,

I too live in a townhouse only in Montana. Before you try to decide which kiln to settle on you need to check if you can even have one.
Insurance companies can be very touchy not to mention your Home Owners Association when it comes to anything they might view as a potential hazard. The idea that the kiln would be exposed to the elements and your neighbors view are both possible roadblocks for a home kiln. I suggest that you check out the codes where you live before you take or invest in anything. If for any reason (heaven forbid) there should be an electrical accident that leads back to you the lawsuits that would follow would not be worth the momentary convience of a home kiln. I hate to be a naysayer but better to be prepared for all possibilities.

RJ

#7 timbo_heff

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:40 AM

NOt the Home artist: That is really for low fire only ! Has difficulty with cone 06 ... will not do 6.
It's a good 120 kiln for glass or Raku .
I think Harold will agree.

#8 Arnold Howard

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:53 AM

My name is Jaena and this is my first post on CAD. I'm a newbie and just finished my first semester of ceramics. I'm hooked! I want to set up a home studio and have a small space to do it in; I live in a townhouse in central Phoenix. I have enough room for a wheel and a small wedging table and maybe some shelves for drying pots and I'd love to have a home kiln. We have a decent sized patio with enough electrical out here to operate a 220V kiln so theoretically I could do it. I've been looking at the Paragon Home Artist kiln because it's small and portable, plugs into any 120V outlet and fires up to cone 6 which is fine for bisque and raku. Does anyone have experience with this little kiln? I'm worried about it only being 12"x12" in the chamber; how many pots could I realistically fire in such a small space? If I drop $1000 for this little kiln, it needs to be worth the investment. So my boyfriend and I were taking a glassblowing class today and the owner of the studio found out that I'm an aspiring potter and want to set up a home studio. He promptly took me out back and told me I could have the two kilns he has there for free as he is never going to use them.


Jaena, the Paragon Home Artist is great for raku, low-fire ceramics, and china painting. People even use it to fire silver clay. However, I don't think it would be suitable for pottery, because the maximum temperature is 1900F. Thank you for considering it.

Have the Cress and Duncan kilns been left out in the rain? They are rusty, even though you live in a dry area. The Cress was too heavy for you and your boyfriend to lift, which may indicate that the firebricks have been saturated with rain water. If this is the case, I would not haul the kilns home. If they have been protected from the rain, they may be worth restoring. It is difficult to know without seeing them and opening the switch boxes. If you look at them again, open the switch boxes and look for corroded wires and rust. Bend the wires. Does the insulation flake off?

You will probably need a new lid for the Duncan. The original was ceramic fiber. Paragon sells Duncan parts. Duncan stopping manufacturing kilns in 1997. Since we agreed to service their kilns, they sent us skids of kiln parts.

As others have mentioned, you will need a roof for your patio. It is okay to have open sides, but the patio will need a roof to protect the kiln(s) from rain. You should also find out how much it would cost to have the correct circuit installed on your patio.

Good luck with your pottery adventure! I love your enthusiasm.

Sincerely,

Arnold Howard
Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

#9 myrmaedluvr

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 01:08 PM

Thank you SO much for your responses. The home artist sounds great for Raku, which I'm interested in but not exclusively. I've determined that I won't take either of these kilns. I'd rather figure out a solution for a smaller kiln given my limited space but one that could at least fire to full ^6 and preferably ^10. There are just so many choices out there and I'm so lost on where to start. I don't want a kiln that's too big or too small and I'd also like one that could be cross utilized for Raku pieces. Oh what to do? I'm thinking about seeing if one of my experienced instructors will come to my house and help me evaluate the possibilities. Thank you again!

#10 neilestrick

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 09:46 AM

I would avoid that Cress unless you're willing to put in a lot of time and effort on repairs. It has a one piece outer jacket. If you need to replace bricks you have to loosen up the entire kiln, which is a real pain, especially of you need to get to the bricks at the bottom. It takes at least twice as long as a sectional kiln, and when you get them back together the peep holes and other penetrations in the jacket may not line up any more. I would definitely take all the stuff out of the inside and inspect the bricks. There's a good chance there are already a few at the bottom that need replacing.
Neil Estrick
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Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
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neil@neilestrickgallery.com

#11 myrmaedluvr

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 12:25 PM

I would avoid that Cress unless you're willing to put in a lot of time and effort on repairs. It has a one piece outer jacket. If you need to replace bricks you have to loosen up the entire kiln, which is a real pain, especially of you need to get to the bricks at the bottom. It takes at least twice as long as a sectional kiln, and when you get them back together the peep holes and other penetrations in the jacket may not line up any more. I would definitely take all the stuff out of the inside and inspect the bricks. There's a good chance there are already a few at the bottom that need replacing.


I decided not to get either one of them; i'm looking at getting a new Cress ET28...anyone had any experience?




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