Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:05 AM
Just to come full circle in case anyone is interested -- I ended up with the Euclid.
The configuration/footprint of this particular kiln for my small space was best -- that was really the deciding factor in the end. The ConeArt was going to make maneuvering safely in my tight space impossible. Plus, I do try to always go with simple over complex if it will do the job. And call me nuts, but I'm hoping that the Euclid cools down a bit faster than the ConeArt - because I am always impatient to see the results of my firings.
I went for bumped up power -- because we determined that the issue with my old Duncan kiln is that it is really designed for people doing mostly low fire work, and it just doesn't have enough power to sustain regular mid fire (cone 6) use without annual element changes. I just replaced them last year and already they are significantly slowed down -- from a 10-hour cone 6 firing, to 14+ hours and never fully reaching temp. The tech suggested more power for the new one to help the elements last longer and I'm getting the upgraded thermocouplers as well. So this seems like sound advice.
But equally important to making the decision to go with Euclid was the really good service I got from the guys at PSH -- they were on the phone with me several times helping me diagnose my old kiln's problems, walking me through multiple trouble-shooting tests to figure out if replacing parts would solve the problems. They actually wouldn't let me buy a new kiln until we'd tested all the parts and discussed my firing schedule and needs. In the end, we figured out there was really nothing wrong with my old kiln that new elements wouldn't fix, but that I'd be replacing them every year. I decided that upgrading to a kiln with more power and 3 inch walls (the old one has 2 1/2 inch walls) was a good move for the long run. My old Duncan is just not the right kiln for my use anymore. (I bought it used and it was a great first kiln for me - but not worth investing more $ in at this point). I'll take the it out to my cottage where I will use it to bisque fire when I'm working out there -- it's perfectly fine for that use, but can't manage the number of cone 6 firings I'm doing these days.
I'm looking forward to getting my new kiln - and just wanted to say thanks again to everyone for all the great advice in this thread.