What exactly am I wrong about? Am I wrong to say not all kilns are built the same? Is that what you're saying?
I didn't say all kilns are exactly identical, the same, I said they are all BASICALLY the same- THE major component of which is nothing more than firebrick, the other major component is the controller and there's VERY few choices on those, even the L&L kiln Neil here sells is nothing more than a custom BARTLETT controller with a different face plate.
Yeah, you can get softer lower priced firebrick K-23 for firing low temperatures, but a cone TEN kiln is not going to use the lower fire brick, it will have brick rated for cone ten kiln firing. I didn't buy a cheap cone 8 max kiln with 2-1/2" K-23 brick, I bought a cone TEN kiln with 3" brick.
The retail price difference for brick on one supply site between K-23 (2300 F) and K-26 (2600 F) is $4.60 v/s $5.80, a whopping $1.20 difference. On a whole kiln the price difference MIGHT be $75-$100 difference in materials cost there.
There is nothing about one model of kiln that makes it worth $3,000 against the same identical sized kiln by another brand selling for $1500. A little "proprietary" surface wash supposedly to harden the bricks more is not worth the $1,800 additional cost! Neither are the ceramic element holders instead of the usual pins or other means used worth the additional $1,500 cost in this example.
The "proprietary" wash, ceramic holders and a few other tidbit mostly cosmetic or sale pitch differences might be worth a couple or three hundred bucks difference- certainly no justification for the price to be $3,000 v.s $1,500
Compare the Jupiter L&L kiln the same size and 3" brick my Olympic is:
Add $335 for the furniture kit that my Olympic freedom kit includes...
Standard feature: Automatic 24-Key DynaTrol with zone control
Dynatrol- a customized BARTLETT 24 key controller with a difference face plate having the L&L color and logo on it, mine came with the Bartlett 24 key controller, sans the L&L blue and logo.
The kiln sections are unplugged and then taken off one at a time. There is no charge for this option.
My Olympic kiln has the same, unplug-the-sections deal, 1 or 2 small screws and the sections simply lift out- no extra charge there either!
Three-year Limited Warranty
I got a three year warrantee too...
Vent-Sure Downdraft Kiln Vent System (See page 11) ... $440
$440 extra, gee, mine came with the complete Orton vent kit included, even the holes predrilled for it.
So let's see what we have now:
The L&L Jupiter the same size as mine roughly 18x23 costs $2,495, furniture is extra- $335, vent is extra- $440, total= $3,270 and you haven't even paid to have it shipped yet!
If you add another $100 for the 2 elements my kit included that you'd have to pay extra for, that $3,270 kiln becomes $3,370 plus shipping.
It's not a case of I bought a "cheap" kiln, it's more a case of a kiln like Jupiter being way OVERPRICED, hidden by the fact it includes nothing the kiln I bought did- not the furniture, the extra 2 elements, the extra thermocouple, the crimp tool, kiln wash, box of cones, vent system and all the rest the package included.
If you don't need the package included in the freedom kit, then that particular kiln kit would NOT be valuable to you, I DID because I had no vent, furniture or anything else, this one came with everything I needed- $1,800 to my door instead of $3,370 plus shipping, plus the cost for the other items that were included in my kit not included with the Jupiter.
You are dissing me right here in your post with your insulting comment: "you bought a CHEAP kiln," and rude "that's fine and dandy for you" you don't know what you are talking about. I have checked this kiln out with many hours of research and reading reviews on all brands of kilns over months of time. I know what I am looking at when it was delivered and I examined every part of it as someone who knows about engineering, mechanics and materials, and it's an excellent kiln and excellent package deal all around.
Aside from MINOR differences between kilns, they are all basically the same components- a pile of firebricks cemented together, a controller, and a cover. This is not a $5 casio v/s a $50,000 Rolex watch here, it's a Ford v/s Chevy!
FYI, the Olympic warrantee is longer than one year, I didn't buy the cheaper economy Medallian series, I bought the cone 10 kiln with 3" brick, that's a 3 year warrantee:
Olympic delivers Performance - we make our kilns for easy maintenance and repair. Our stackable electric kilns will come apart in sections for easy movement without removing the electrical boxes from the kiln.
Warranty for cone 8/2300°F kilns is 2 years and for cone 10/2350°F our warranty extends 1 year. We stand behind our product because our reputation depends on it. We are proud of our work and we want you to feel the same.
How dare you insult me the way you have with your "fine and dandy" dismissing comment too! I'm done with you bud, go buy a used kiln and enjoy it then, no sweat off my backside!
I don't know which firebrick company you're talking about, but "BNZ Insulating Fire Brick have been manufactured continuously at Zelienople, Pennsylvania for over 60 years". So I think there is probably more than one company, unless BNZ has another plant in Georgia. I honestly don't know.
The source for the statement about the firebrick was taken from this line in the "about us" at Olympic:Olympic Kilns started manufacturing kilns in Seattle, Washington and derives its name from the Olympic Mountains. As the company grew so did its product lines to include electric, gas and glass kilns for the hobbyist, production artist and manufacturer of finished fired ware.
Some 20 years ago Olympic Kilns moved to Georgia to be near its source of insulating firebrick, which is only manufactured in Georgia.
Make of that what you will, that's their published statement- they moved the whole company to Georgia because that was the only place to get the firebrick they use and it was closer to them to do that, which saves on the shipping costs of raw materials.
but I've used almost every major American electric kiln made and repaired many of them and rebuilt a couple of them,
So you are more than a toaster repairman, great, well bud, I may not know toasters well since I don't own one, I DO know how to do research on a kiln and it's maker. A kiln is an electrical appliance just like a furnace, hot water heater or anything else of a similar nature. I know how to read REVIEWS on multiple forums, web sites etc., from people who own the product. I know how to compare one product to another, not JUST by price, but by materials, includes, customer reviews, BBB history and everything else.
There is no perfect kiln made, and none of them lasts forever, every one of them has good points and poor points, YOU the buyer has to decide which good points and features you want, and which poor points you will accept.
If you happen to be an idiot who can't figure out how to program an electronic controller, then you'd better get one with a kiln sitter, and if anything goes wrong you'd better hope you can find someone to fix it FOR you. Me on the other hand, I know how to operate milling machines, do welding and brazing on steel, and cast iron, soldering, metal casting, sheet metal work, masonry including building brick walls, foundations, repointing, electrical, plumbing, re-roofing, tiling floors with ceramic tiles and the list goes, I figure at my age and with my experiance with all of those things, including operating and repairing high pressure steam boilers in a commercial building as the building superintendent, I can determine the QUALITY, workmanship, materials used on a product and know right away how well or how poorly it was made.
When my Olympic kiln arrived, the very first thing I noted was how it was shipped, on a new wood skid not a used one salvaged from the dumpster or a previous shipment, the kiln was very carefully wrapped in a heavy cardboard box, well padded, shrink wrapped, all of the includes were boxed carefully and not a thing was damaged or missing. It was all securely banded to the skid and arrived in perfect condition due to the care it was packed with- right there's a good sign.
Next, I looked over all of the parts, excellent fit, no cracks or damage, the controller, fit, finish all looked good. The lid was nice and secure and closes flat and smooth to the top of the kiln. I did not buy the lid spring or counter weight system because I don't need one to lift the lid.
The elements were all good and securely seated.
The elements also came with a new in the package wire cutter/crimp tool, and it was not a cheap brand it was a decent quality brand tool, surprising since it might be used ONCE in 5 years maybe.
The ONLY part of the whole package I was not completely thrilled with was the Orton vent, it works fine but Orton uses an all plastic housing (which I dislike) for the motor and the motor is what I call a disposable one- it has no ball bearings or provisions to grease it, the motor goes out you toss it because it's non-repairable basically. I can live with a cheap vent motor, when the motor goes out I'll retrofit the system with a quality aftermarket greaseable Baldor or equiv motor, not a replacement Orton motor.
I bought the kiln at a slightly higher price than another web site had, because after communicating with the owner I really liked his attitude, plus the fact his store is a family owned and operated store, there's a lot more to buying a new kiln or anything else than just price or whether it has some gimick on it, here's one of his emails:
Lets see what we can do to earn your business. My competition has given you a great price (1,675.00 including delivery). I have no way of knowing exactly but I believe I am the second largest distributor of Olympic kiln in the Pacific Northwest.
Consequently, I have been assured by the owners of Olympic that my wholesale cost is the best price they offer to any of their distributors. ( probably why we sell their kilns nationally).
With that said, I would be willing to sell the kiln for $1,551.00 however, wholesale cost on freight to you is $190.81. If we add the two together it is $1,741.81 This is my lowest cost I am willing to offer it to you.
However, as an incentive to do business with us I am willing to offer you a 50.00 gift certificate good for your next purchase of 100.00 or more.
If, the other company can truly sell you the kiln for $1,675.00 that is a great deal and I would jump on it. If they can sell it to you they must have purchased it last year when our cost was less.
On a personal note: My wife and I are trying our best to make a difference in the world of ceramic art supplies. We are a family owned and operated business. We have one part time employee. Literally my children sweep the floors and clean.
You are important to me and would love to earn your business,
The Potter's Shack