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I am a relatively new potter and looking to buy a new kiln. Any thoughts on Olympic vs L & L easy fire? Can't find anyone who has used an Olympic. I really enjoy this forum and have learned a great deal from you all. Thanks.

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I had an Olympic many years ago and it was fine.

 

L & L kilns have a very good reputation

I currently fire with computer controlled Skutts with good results.

 

If I was starting over today and had the money available I would

buy a front loader rather than a top loader. Much easier on the back!

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I had an Olympic many years ago and it was fine.

 

L & L kilns have a very good reputation

I currently fire with computer controlled Skutts with good results.

 

If I was starting over today and had the money available I would

buy a front loader rather than a top loader. Much easier on the back!

 

 

Thanks so much for your opinion. Front loader sounds tempting but maybe more than I need right now.

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There are many kilns on the market. I would see what is manufactured in your area. Shipping can be a big concern. You might consider the less than a truckload freight discounts from Potters Council. I had Crucible kilns in Montana, manufactured in Seattle. Never had any problems with them at the University nor my school.

I have Axner super kilns right now. I had wonderful customer support when I bought a used Paragon and needed help. L&L has a good reputation as does Skutt. I was informed by a Skutt dealer in Houston, that Skutt will void warrantied if paper clay is fired in the kiln. Don't know if that is true, but that was the dealer speaking.

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There are many kilns on the market. I would see what is manufactured in your area. Shipping can be a big concern. You might consider the less than a truckload freight discounts from Potters Council. I had Crucible kilns in Montana, manufactured in Seattle. Never had any problems with them at the University nor my school.

I have Axner super kilns right now. I had wonderful customer support when I bought a used Paragon and needed help. L&L has a good reputation as does Skutt. I was informed by a Skutt dealer in Houston, that Skutt will void warrantied if paper clay is fired in the kiln. Don't know if that is true, but that was the dealer speaking.

 

 

I had not thought about joining any organizations since I thought of them as being more for the professional potters. After reading your suggestion, I checked out the Potter's Council and it seems to offer quite a lot even to a "newbie". Thanks.

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I just bought an L&L for a few reasons it's reputation, support ( http://www.hotkilns.com ) and ease of repair. The fact that my supplier Ceramic Supply Inc gave me a discount, would deliver it free and do the assembly free was a deal maker. Check to see if your supplier will do the same.

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Andy,

That deal is hard to beat. Where do you live that you have such convenient service to the manufacturers? I have lived hundreds to thousands of miles away from manufacturers. For 31 years in Montana and now is deep South Tip of texas, I need to consider shipping.

Marcia

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Andy,

That deal is hard to beat. Where do you live that you have such convenient service to the manufacturers? I have lived hundreds to thousands of miles away from manufacturers. For 31 years in Montana and now is deep South Tip of texas, I need to consider shipping.

Marcia

 

 

Marcia, I live in New Jersey and about 50 miles away from Ceramic Supply. If I purchase $250 or more in supplies they'll deliver them free. The only thing I have to deal with is they do deliveries to my area every other Tuesday.

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Andy,

That deal is hard to beat. Where do you live that you have such convenient service to the manufacturers? I have lived hundreds to thousands of miles away from manufacturers. For 31 years in Montana and now is deep South Tip of texas, I need to consider shipping.

Marcia

 

 

Marcia, I live in New Jersey and about 50 miles away from Ceramic Supply. If I purchase $250 or more in supplies they'll deliver them free. The only thing I have to deal with is they do deliveries to my area every other Tuesday.

 

I am a native Philadelphia. This long distance stuff has been a pain for decades. When a really retire I hope to go back to PA. or closer to suppliers at least.

You are lucky.

 

 

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cracked pot,

 

I have an L&L easy fire, and I just love it! It is now 6 years old, and fired frequently. Not a single problem, easy to switch out the elements and thermocouples. I think the ceramic element holders are a convincing reason to buy an L&L. Plus the company gives fabulous (and free) tech support.

 

-Mea

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I am a relatively new potter and looking to buy a new kiln. Any thoughts on Olympic vs L & L easy fire? Can't find anyone who has used an Olympic. I really enjoy this forum and have learned a great deal from you all. Thanks.

 

 

Welcome "relatively new potter" to the wonderful world of clay! I have no preference to any make or model of electric kiln, as I own a variety of makes and models. I would prefer a front loader, but own only the top loaders. I've been doing this more than 30 years... (old goat)

 

The engineer in me (we are notoriously cheap!) would like to tell you to look around before you buy. I have had three kilns given to me in the last year alone. While not HUGE, there is a market for used kilns. Unless you are just chomping at the bit to buy a NEW kiln, it may be worth your while to ask around at your local ceramic stores, art schools, and don't forget Craig's list and eBay. I have had success there, too.

 

If there is a way you can get into a group or class where you have 'hands on' experience loading, unloading, and firing - that might help you decide what would be most appropriate and manageable for you.

 

g

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I am also a new potter looking to buy (aquire) a first kiln. My main problem is that my house is all electric and with the current high monthly pwr bills, I don't know if the additional expense of an electric would be too much. I am still sitting on the fence over electric or propane gas.

 

p.s. Didn't want to start a new thread on such a new post

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I am also a new potter looking to buy (aquire) a first kiln. My main problem is that my house is all electric and with the current high monthly pwr bills, I don't know if the additional expense of an electric would be too much. I am still sitting on the fence over electric or propane gas.

 

p.s. Didn't want to start a new thread on such a new post

 

 

You may want to get advice from an electrician. You might be able to get a separate power box installed if the service to your house could handle the load.

Check the amperage in some types of kilns you are considering so you know the type of amps needed when you talk to an electrician. Kilns take a lot of power especially when running on high for several hours. If you can download any kiln company data to show the electrician, that would be helpful.

 

Marcia

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I am also a new potter looking to buy (aquire) a first kiln. My main problem is that my house is all electric and with the current high monthly pwr bills, I don't know if the additional expense of an electric would be too much. I am still sitting on the fence over electric or propane gas.

 

p.s. Didn't want to start a new thread on such a new post

 

 

 

Several of the web sites for kiln manufacturers have information on the cost of firing their kilns or how to compute the cost for your particular area. When I bought by L&L kiln that was one of the factors I considered. You might be able to find the same information for firing with propane. Or contact some potters in your area who use electric and propane and see what they can tell you about costs and other pros/cons. for example, an electric kiln can be operated with automatic controls, while a gas/propane will require manual adjustments during firing. If you use small propane tanks, you will need to consider having them refilled, etc. Also affecting cost will be the frequency in which you fire and at what cone.

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Thx to all for the input, I see that I have much more research to do in this area, just is frustrating to have to make this kind of decision with so little to go on. Dealers are fine but they are trying to sell their product and locating local potters is a very daunting task. Anyway, thanks again for your input and advise, I will try to keep the board informed of where I go with this.

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I am also a new potter looking to buy (aquire) a first kiln. My main problem is that my house is all electric and with the current high monthly pwr bills, I don't know if the additional expense of an electric would be too much. I am still sitting on the fence over electric or propane gas.

 

p.s. Didn't want to start a new thread on such a new post

 

 

 

I bought a Skutt 1027KM one year ago. Electricity cost averages $12.00 per firing at ^05 (average firing time 20 hours).

Have had very good support from Skutt.

Lucy

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I have had my new L & L Easy Fire cone 10 with 3-inch brick and the down-draft vent kiln for one year. I bought it because it of the ceramic element holders, and the price was good for what I got.

 

 

A few weeks ago my both bottom elements burned up, 35 firings total. Let me say that I do single-fire which means that I’m hitting cone 10 all the time with no bisque firings. This is hard on the elements because they never got a chance to build an oxide layer for protection. Also hitting cone 10 every firing takes the elements right to the limit. On top of that I’ve been firing a lot of 30% paper clay which may put the elements in a reduction atmosphere, shortening their life.

 

 

I found that I burned holes through two of the ceramic element holders where the elements burned up. I was told that maybe some glaze got in the holder.

 

 

In the end, L & L stood behind the warrantee on the elements and sent me free replacement ceramic element holders. The manual says to chip the element holders out and shows a modification to get the new holders in. I talked to a repair man and he suggested I remove the brick and slide the element holders out. I had my kiln stripped to the floor. It was easier than chipping the holder out. After L & L over-night the parts to me it took a little over an hour to get it back in operation with new elements. I’m new to pottery (14 months) and never worked on any kiln before.

 

 

I found with the new elements my last 3 firings took 6 hours shorter. What I learned is to log everything about the firing, including the time. Looking back in my log I can see where my firing time got longer. That was an indicator that I should have checked it over because something wasn’t right.

 

 

Bottom line L & L product is good and their service was good. I have not operated any other brand.

 

 

Joe Dillett

 

 

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I have had my new L & L Easy Fire cone 10 with 3-inch brick and the down-draft vent kiln for one year. I bought it because it of the ceramic element holders, and the price was good for what I got.

 

 

A few weeks ago my both bottom elements burned up, 35 firings total. Let me say that I do single-fire which means that I’m hitting cone 10 all the time with no bisque firings. This is hard on the elements because they never got a chance to build an oxide layer for protection. Also hitting cone 10 every firing takes the elements right to the limit. On top of that I’ve been firing a lot of 30% paper clay which may put the elements in a reduction atmosphere, shortening their life.

 

 

I found that I burned holes through two of the ceramic element holders where the elements burned up. I was told that maybe some glaze got in the holder.

 

 

In the end, L & L stood behind the warrantee on the elements and sent me free replacement ceramic element holders. The manual says to chip the element holders out and shows a modification to get the new holders in. I talked to a repair man and he suggested I remove the brick and slide the element holders out. I had my kiln stripped to the floor. It was easier than chipping the holder out. After L & L over-night the parts to me it took a little over an hour to get it back in operation with new elements. I’m new to pottery (14 months) and never worked on any kiln before.

 

 

I found with the new elements my last 3 firings took 6 hours shorter. What I learned is to log everything about the firing, including the time. Looking back in my log I can see where my firing time got longer. That was an indicator that I should have checked it over because something wasn’t right.

 

 

Bottom line L & L product is good and their service was good. I have not operated any other brand.

 

 

Joe Dillett

 

 

Joe,

I am curious..did you tell the kiln manufacturer you were firing paper clay? I was told by a dealer, that one company will void their warrantee if you fire paperclay in their electric kiln. I fired a lot f paperclay in my old Crucible kilns from Seattle and never had any problems after 6 years or so. When I moved 2000 miles, I got new kilns. I got Axner super kilns and I am happy with them. Just wondering if you or anyone else has heard about paper clay voiding warrantees.

 

 

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If you are planning to do mid-fire or high fire the L&L has the advantage of hard brick insert which SINCE you will have to change elements it should be as easy as changing a light bulb. Electric are being used for more high fire work since the Dawson Kiln Sitter became obsolete, which limited the number of high temp firings before you had to replace parts on it too. It is possible to change elements on other makes, but the soft brick becomes brittle over time, and eventually the elements won't glow evenly due to the impossibility of getting the mounted into the kiln evenly. If you want a heavy-duty kiln to last a long time, I'd recommend the L&L

 

I'd say if you have to operate under the radar, electric kilns are not highly regulated in most jurisdictions. Even an updraft gas kiln is sometimes labeled as a medium-duty appliance in some areas.

 

Anything that contains soluble alkalies should be avoided in the electric kiln. My brother uses a lot of unwashed wood ash and recently found his vent system was completely plugged up with a growth of soluble minerals. These adhere to the elements, shortening element life, too.

 

If you can go with gas, it may be the way to go. I used to fire a passive updraft Alpine kiln to bisque every Friday in school and the whole department couldn't keep enough production to keep the large kiln filled. Formerly they used electrics for bisque and always ended the semester not getting all the work fired. The cubic foot difference can be important. And it doubled as a glaze kiln to cone 10 as well. Easy to load too I might add, which some electrics aren't.

 

My brother does large work and often takes the kiln sections apart to put the work in the kiln then reassembles the sections again. So another design issue is sectional vs. not sectional.

h a n s e n

 

 

 

Thanks you all for your advise. I have decided to go with the L&L. I know buying used would be more cost effective but I really like the idea having a warranty for a little while. Again, thanks.

 

 

 

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Just an update - first let me say thanks for all the good information - that being said, I have fallen into potter's heaven. Through a lucky (for me) call from a friend, I have come in contact with a studio that has six - count 'em - six Skutt 10 cubic foot cone 8 manuel electric kilns and one 16 cubic foot gas kiln along with a knowledgeable potter in charge that was very happy to see me walk through the doors. I have already participated in my first bisque firing of my own pieces and will soon have my first glaze firing and will be learning to fire the gas kiln in early September. Also in this studio are throwing wheels, spray booths, molds and mold making paraphanalia and the means to make both personal glazes and clay bodies. And all at prices that are to low to even mention here. Before everyone wants to know where it is I have to say that it is on an Air Force base here locally but all those who have the base access, all are welcome. Look forward to my continuing adventures in mud and sharing the same with all of you.

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