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wongwaypottery

Looking at a ConeArt kilns for my home studio

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I'm in the process of setting up a home studio in my garage and have been talking to a lot of potters about what kind of kiln to get. I'm convinced that something in the 6-7 sq. ft. range will be sufficient for work I'll be producing. My former teacher pointed me towards Skutt but all the potters in my new studio say that ConeArt is the brand I should go with. I looked at ConeArt kilns and I like the features they have (extra insulation, floor elements, etc). The kiln I'm considering is the ConeArt 2327. I've been trying to do some more research on their kilns to get some other people's experiences/thoughts on those kilns but haven't found much online. Has anyone ever used/owned ConeArt kilns before and can toss out their thoughts about them (good and/or bad)? Any comments related to maintenance, durability, and customer service would be great.

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I'm in the process of setting up a home studio in my garage and have been talking to a lot of potters about what kind of kiln to get. I'm convinced that something in the 6-7 sq. ft. range will be sufficient for work I'll be producing. My former teacher pointed me towards Skutt but all the potters in my new studio say that ConeArt is the brand I should go with. I looked at ConeArt kilns and I like the features they have (extra insulation, floor elements, etc). The kiln I'm considering is the ConeArt 2327. I've been trying to do some more research on their kilns to get some other people's experiences/thoughts on those kilns but haven't found much online. Has anyone ever used/owned ConeArt kilns before and can toss out their thoughts about them (good and/or bad)? Any comments related to maintenance, durability, and customer service would be great.

 

 

 

 

I bought one in January. About 50 firings in, and no issues. Easy set up!

 

My only thought - do you have a local supplier? If they are more comfortable with one brand over the other? I'm thinking parts? questions? etc. No local place? Be careful where you order from. Some of the horror stories I've heard!

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Electric kilns are like toasters: they use electricity to make something hot. Ford vs Chevy. Stick shift vs automatic. That said, I agree with Mark; get an L&L.rolleyes.gif

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I own a Cone Art BX2827D. It's the first and only kiln that I've owned- so little basis for comparison. However, the support during set-up was excellent- and I've LOVED the thing.

 

I bought it for some of the reasons you cite (extra insulation, etc.)... and so far the only issue I've had is that it actually cools MORE slowly that my cone 6 profile calls for. I occasionally get error messages because my cool-down phase goes over-time. This is a reflection, I think, of how well the thing holds the heat.

 

In short... while I can't say anything one way or the other about L&Ls, I've never regretted buying from Cone Art.

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Thanks everyone for the feedback. I also had some local potters say L&L's are great b/c of the ceramic holders but they did have some issues getting support from L&L. In my classes I've helped load kilns but not gotten involved with any of the firings/maintenance. Does element sagging, bricks chipping, and replacing elements happen enough where the L&L ceramic holders are a major plus?

 

Right now it looks like L&L and ConeArt are the top choices so I think I'll start waiting around for the holiday sales to start. Knowing my luck right after I put in the order, someone will run a sale selling the same setup for cheaper.

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Chances are you won't find kilns much cheaper than they are now. Kilns are always on sale, at least 25% off.

 

L&L bricks will out last any other kiln on the market hands down.

 

The biggest down side to the Cone Art design is that replacing bricks is much more difficult than other brands due to the added insulation and the way the outer sheet metal jacket is formed. It's especially obnoxious is if you need to replace a brick in the bottom row. Other than that, it will fire great and shouldn't give you any problems.

 

Give me a call if you have any questions about L&L.

 

I'm sorry to hear someone had a bad experience with L&L tech support. Stephen and Rob at L&L are typically on the ball. I'm not defending bad tech support, but the distributor who sold you the kiln should be the first one you call if there's ever a problem with the kiln. It's their job. That's why they are given such good discounts from the manufacturer. Customer support is part of the distributorship deal. This is why you should always buy from someone who knows how to fix kilns. Calling the factory should always be your last resort. If everyone with a kiln question calls the factory techs, they will quickly be overwhelmed with calls from all over the country. Your distributor can take better care of you.

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I have a big Cone Art Kiln that is holding up just fine and have used L&L kilns. I like the fact that L&L emphases quality construction (even if I get a little tired of hearing about the element holders) and think they are a little better built than other kilns. But are they worth the extra money? Depends on the deals you can find. An L&L is worth paying more for but not a lot more.

 

Jim

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I have a big Cone Art Kiln that is holding up just fine and have used L&L kilns. I like the fact that L&L emphases quality construction (even if I get a little tired of hearing about the element holders) and think they are a little better built than other kilns. But are they worth the extra money? Depends on the deals you can find. An L&L is worth paying more for but not a lot more.

 

Jim

 

 

Element holders on L&L. I love them. That said, I noticed that Bailey is now offering element holders on their line of electrics also. I think that there are a lot of advantages to the element holder idea, beyond the ease of element replacement and brick protection is the idea of the reflective quality of the holder to push the heat into the kiln, and protect the brick behind the element. All too many times I have seen elements that have become glued to the brick because of glaze or other particles becoming stuck in the groove. Many would say that is solved by proper upkeep and firing, but it does still happen. I keep my elements spotless, in the L&L, and have had occasional glaze problems, but replacing an element and holder is not nearly the problem as replacing and errant brick and element.

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I have a big Cone Art Kiln that is holding up just fine and have used L&L kilns. I like the fact that L&L emphases quality construction (even if I get a little tired of hearing about the element holders) and think they are a little better built than other kilns. But are they worth the extra money? Depends on the deals you can find. An L&L is worth paying more for but not a lot more.

 

Jim

 

 

Element holders on L&L. I love them. That said, I noticed that Bailey is now offering element holders on their line of electrics also. I think that there are a lot of advantages to the element holder idea, beyond the ease of element replacement and brick protection is the idea of the reflective quality of the holder to push the heat into the kiln, and protect the brick behind the element. All too many times I have seen elements that have become glued to the brick because of glaze or other particles becoming stuck in the groove. Many would say that is solved by proper upkeep and firing, but it does still happen. I keep my elements spotless, in the L&L, and have had occasional glaze problems, but replacing an element and holder is not nearly the problem as replacing and errant brick and element.

 

 

I didn't say element holders weren't a good idea and I'm glad Bailey is copying L&L and don't know why other companies don't. It is just that in their ads and when someone mentions the advantages of L&L, the element holders is all they talk about. L&L also coats the bricks and covers the thermocouple and does other things that make their kilns worth more than most other kilns but not worth a lot more.

 

Jim

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If Skutt started using element holders, they would basically be admitting that their competition was doing something better than them. They should change, though, because brick life is the weakest link in Skutt longevity. Bailey will copy anything if it means increased sales.

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Bailey looks to be using a variation of L&L -- a two piece element holder that allows the front part to be removed, thus allowing easier installation of new elements. L&L has patented their element holder, so the others will have to come up with a new twist to it (or license the holder from L&L).

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I think removing the front of the holder to replace the elements is just a marketing gimmick that also allows them to get around the L&L patent. The L&L elements come out very easily anyway, without that feature. Plus removing all those front plates and putting them all back would just make the process take longer.

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i had two l&l and thought i loved them until i got my coneart2327. cone art kilns are easy to repair. those l&l element holders were a hard to work with especially if your element melts in the holder. it seems that is what mine did very often and so i had to dig out the holder and thus break into the brick. also i do my own electrical repair and the coneart control panel is easy to get into and service. now i am comparing a fairly new coneart to two very old l&ls, both of which have gone to the great beyond. and if i had to do it agani i would still do a coneart. also my coneart has a floor element and that helps to even out temperatures. if you want any more opinions and info from me just email me and i will be willing to talk to you about my personal choice

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i had two l&l and thought i loved them until i got my coneart2327. cone art kilns are easy to repair. those l&l element holders were a hard to work with especially if your element melts in the holder. it seems that is what mine did very often and so i had to dig out the holder and thus break into the brick. also i do my own electrical repair and the coneart control panel is easy to get into and service. now i am comparing a fairly new coneart to two very old l&ls, both of which have gone to the great beyond. and if i had to do it agani i would still do a coneart. also my coneart has a floor element and that helps to even out temperatures. if you want any more opinions and info from me just email me and i will be willing to talk to you about my personal choice

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I chose a Skutt. I am not a distributor. I have no vested interest in any kiln manufacturing company. My only interest is in a well made product with exceptional customer service.

 

I needed reliable information from patient folks who understood my questions and were willing to answer them. I needed a company that had printed information available for me.

 

I looked at the features of different kilns; the electrical specifications, largest interior capacities that I could use, ease of service and obtainable replacement parts and the warranty. I even went so far as to make a pro and con list.

 

I recommend you get as much information about different kilns from the manufacturers and choose the kiln that best suits your needs.

 

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I'm in the process of setting up a home studio in my garage and have been talking to a lot of potters about what kind of kiln to get. I'm convinced that something in the 6-7 sq. ft. range will be sufficient for work I'll be producing. My former teacher pointed me towards Skutt but all the potters in my new studio say that ConeArt is the brand I should go with. I looked at ConeArt kilns and I like the features they have (extra insulation, floor elements, etc). The kiln I'm considering is the ConeArt 2327. I've been trying to do some more research on their kilns to get some other people's experiences/thoughts on those kilns but haven't found much online. Has anyone ever used/owned ConeArt kilns before and can toss out their thoughts about them (good and/or bad)? Any comments related to maintenance, durability, and customer service would be great.

 

 

Wongway;

I had a Cone Art for years . Had to sell it because I moved studios and didn't want to carry it down a flight of stairs. I have a big Cone Art in my art roon at school. Have used it for 9 years now, no problems. You should not have to replace bricks. One issue is that the steel jacket makes it difficult to move. I just bought a used Olympic for bisquing. All of my kilns have been used. This one I paid $700.00 for. I have not bought a computerized one. They have all had kiln sitters.

You could look at Tucker Ceramic Supply for more info. Sorry I don't have the link. They are in Canada, so just look at their website

 

TJR.

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On the L&L kilns they offer the options of having quad elements per section. If I get the 23t, is it worth the extra $300 for the elements upgrade (I'm probably going to be doing cone 6 for the near future)?

 

 

The quad element design is great, but it's not necessary. The regular elements work very well, so don't spend the money if you don't have it. But if you have an extra $300 it's a nice upgrade. You'll probably get longer element life which could pay for itself in the long run.

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those l&l element holders were a hard to work with especially if your element melts in the holder. it seems that is what mine did very often and so i had to dig out the holder and thus break into the brick.

 

 

This is an interesting phenomenon with the L&L element holders. If the elements are fired to death, sometimes they can stick to the holders. I've seen this happen in only 2 kilns, and those elements were fired to death. The elements come out in small pieces (couple inches long) and it's a real pain. I'm not sure why it happens, though, because I've seen many elements fired to death that did not stick. Still trying to figure out what causes some to stick and not others. But if you keep up on your element changes, replacing them before they are toast, it doesn't happen. Pretty much all kiln manufacturers recommend replacing elements once the resistance is off by 10%.

 

If an element becomes completely fused into a holder, like from a glob of glaze or something like that, the holder can be removed and replaced without harm to the brick. You just have to crack the holder with a hammer and pull it out. Then nip off the bottom lip of the new holder and put it in, with the top lip holding it in place. I've done this a couple of times on my kilns and it works very well. Detailed instructions here.

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those l&l element holders were a hard to work with especially if your element melts in the holder. it seems that is what mine did very often and so i had to dig out the holder and thus break into the brick.

 

 

This is an interesting phenomenon with the L&L element holders. If the elements are fired to death, sometimes they can stick to the holders. I've seen this happen in only 2 kilns, and those elements were fired to death. The elements come out in small pieces (couple inches long) and it's a real pain. I'm not sure why it happens, though, because I've seen many elements fired to death that did not stick. Still trying to figure out what causes some to stick and not others. But if you keep up on your element changes, replacing them before they are toast, it doesn't happen. Pretty much all kiln manufacturers recommend replacing elements once the resistance is off by 10%.

 

If an element becomes completely fused into a holder, like from a glob of glaze or something like that, the holder can be removed and replaced without harm to the brick. You just have to crack the holder with a hammer and pull it out. Then nip off the bottom lip of the new holder and put it in, with the top lip holding it in place. I've done this a couple of times on my kilns and it works very well. Detailed instructions here.

 

 

I've also noticed this fired to death melt down with the L&L's. My earliest one 74-92 would get this at times. I would often use the kiln until the next year budget allowed new elements. Some times the old ones would heat up in a particular area-often in the center of the holder. You could see this heat up when checking the kiln elements visually. It often happened near a turn in the kiln wall. Don't really know why. The holders also made it easy to "force weld" a break when a spare element was not around.

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The effect of 'fired to death' in a kiln without element holders is that the element coils tend to expand and deform as they age. Because they are typically made to fit relatively snugly in the grooves in the brick, the bricks get chipped or worse when trying to remove them. No matter what kind of kiln you have, it will cost you more in the long rung if you don't keep up on your element changes. If the brakes on your car start to grind, you don't keep using them until they won't work any more....

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