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Thinking of buying a small to medium sized electric kiln

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Thank you everyone! All great ideas and suggestions. I have decided 18x22 is the smallest I will go, there are a lot of kilns in this size range. I even made a mock up of the interior with a shelf too and placed a bunch of items on it and inside the "kiln" to see how it "felt". Looking at it it just feels like the right size for me to start with... I think... Oh dear there I go dithering again. Okay how about this... This is the size I will start out planning on but stay open to other options if I come across them. Whew that was close almost fell off the train again there. Also need to remember possible amperage issues that might limit me in size as well. Will know more on this once I get the electrician to come by hopefully this next week.

 

I have seen a 28x27 interior kiln and how much it holds and even though I may be wrong just find it hard to believe I will fill something that size up every week. If the art center goes belly up... Hmmm that could be a problem, but I might be able to grab a kiln real cheap on closing day! Lol no seriously I hope it doesn't happen and they have been around for a long time and are doing well enough to expand their operations a bit so hopefully it'll be around for a long time to come. I am going to look at the Olympic factory since it is very close to me and I will be able to see other size kilns to hopefully tell if a different size would be better, don't plan to buy anything right away but it's the only place I can get to easily to see a bunch of different sized kilns. I am hoping once I see additional differently sized kiln I'll be able to focus more on the other details.

 

Art is my full time occupation, mostly painting currently. I am also a full time caregiver which limits how far from home I can get and my time is not always my own but I have learned to be flexible when he has a good day I plan a day out if its a bad day I stay close to home. Not sure if I can arrange a day away to get up to North Carolina but will keep it in mind thanks for the suggestion.

 

Additionally the huge tray I made I only did as a required class assignment, would never have done one that size on my own, I have no idea what to do with it. I have been selling art online for over 10 years (not pottery) and have a rule nothing gets listed online to sell that won't fit in a priority mail shipping box. I found people always had issues with the cost of shipping large packages and its really nice not to be hassled about shipping which they never seem to understand I don't get a penny of it all goes to the shipper, but everyone knows the price of a priority mail package. So over time I have gotten used to a certain size item and that's actually smaller than I can put in the size kiln i am domsidering so I can do a bit bigger stuff now to sell locally and even bigger as long as the center is still around. The things I am attracted to making are small lanterns, ornaments, utensil holders, mugs, small bowls, ornamental boxes, pug figurines, dog bowls, etc. I would like to make some dinner plates eventually but they would fit in the 18 inch kiln anyway since they are only about 12 inches and that pretty much covers it.

 

Ahhh oldlady so it's a title you wear with pride! So I will say it with respect Oldlady you rock and I am impressed with your get up and go!

 

Again thanks everyone for all the helpful input I know picking a kiln is a touchy subject but figured if I can't ask a bunch of potters their opinion on kilns who can I ask!

 

Terry

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Once you figure out how much the electrical upgrade is, you can decide what you can actually afford in a kiln.L&L, Skutt, etc may be within your budget once you know for sure.

 

 

Ohhhh marketing! I always get turned off by fancy deceptive names/terms for items for sale. Chrysler and the "not cute ute" because it was %$#&^ugly, or the biggest little kiln. . . what does that mean? In the end, give me a good reliable manufacturer that sells a product line with simple name, and great reliability, even though I may pay a little more for it. 3 series BMW, Mazda 3, L&L, or Skutt, and these days even a Bailey. To not pay the little extra, and then find that after a few firings you are not satisfied because it doesn't reach temp, is not big enough, suck up a ton of electric or all of the cords and boxes heat up. . . well you get what you pay for.

 

 

Actually the 'biggest little kiln' moniker is just referring to the fact that they had the largest kiln they could get from that manufacturer that would work on a dryer plug and a very long cord. So there is a point to the tag line.

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ok............... i promised myself i would not be an interfering old woman but today i looked at craigslist for atlanta and saw many good looking kilns for sale. they are in various places i am not familiar with but might be near you. they are so inexpensive compared to new and some look new from the pictures.

 

then i looked at craigslist for detroit and found even more and even better looking ones all over michigan. i cannot pm vervain to encourage her but maybe someone else in michigan needs a kiln today. don't think i am suggesting the bad ones (boy there are some doozies) what is a "coffin kiln" anyway?

 

if you have never used it, just go to craigslist and choose the city nearest you. it will come up with a box where you enter " Kiln" in the "for sale" box. the next screen offers additional choices to narrow it down. choose " title only" so you eliminate most of the kiln dried lumber and junk then choose " has image" so you get a picture. then hit "select" and you will see lots of things for sale in that city and nearby.

 

now i will shut up and go sit in the corner.

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ok............... i promised myself i would not be an interfering old woman but today i looked at craigslist for atlanta and saw many good looking kilns for sale. they are in various places i am not familiar with but might be near you. they are so inexpensive compared to new and some look new from the pictures.

 

then i looked at craigslist for detroit and found even more and even better looking ones all over michigan. i cannot pm vervain to encourage her but maybe someone else in michigan needs a kiln today. don't think i am suggesting the bad ones (boy there are some doozies) what is a "coffin kiln" anyway?

 

if you have never used it, just go to craigslist and choose the city nearest you. it will come up with a box where you enter " Kiln" in the "for sale" box. the next screen offers additional choices to narrow it down. choose " title only" so you eliminate most of the kiln dried lumber and junk then choose " has image" so you get a picture. then hit "select" and you will see lots of things for sale in that city and nearby.

 

now i will shut up and go sit in the corner.

 

Oldlady- thanks for checking I appreciate the effort you went to. Atlanta is a least 2 hours away from me one way and that would only get me to the far north outer ring and if its towards the south well that could be 4 hours depending on traffic. I looked around here and even talked to my teacher about it since he's the only person I have to ask . I showed him the new kiln I decided to get and he liked it and said its a good setup since it comes with everything I'll need since I don't have anything yet. So it'll be a new kiln for me, I had the electrician confirm I could handle a new 40 amp breaker so ordered one the other day and now just have to wait for it to be built before I can get it. I got a really good deal on the complete setup and am happy with my choice.

 

Thanks again for your input I appreciate it.

 

Terry

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i got my wife a wheel and she loves it.  I wanted to get her a beginner kiln, but have no idea what to buy.  only 120 outlets and it will be setup in the garage.  any help would be appreciated.  

 

thanks,

otis

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Congratulations on making the decision to purchase a kiln. One of the considerations I find to be helpful is to make a template of the kiln shelf (half and whole) for each size you are considering. The place your pieces on it, allowing room for kiln posts and remembering shrinkage percentages. How many items can you comfortably fit on a shelf without too much wasted space, and how many shelves can you put into the kiln based on your pieces. Then the next and most crucial point is what amperage can you accommodate - Neil is very correct that you need to allow extra amperage over what the kiln "draws"; ie., 28 amp kiln needs 40 amp breaker, 38/39 amp kiln needs 50 amp, etc. It is worth every penny you pay to have a qualified electrician check how much amperage is coming into your home as well as what is available to still use. Just because there are unused slots doesn't mean that the box hasn't been maxed out. Best of luck to you and happy potting!

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