Thoughts On Bailey's Kilns
Posted 20 September 2013 - 12:05 AM
I am looking for an electric kiln between 7-10 cu ft. (I can't make up my mind there) the ability to hit cone 10 but only want to reach cone 6 consistently. I also want a solid controller to drag out the cool down and extend the apex temperatures. From what I can tell Bailey has some great things going for it like 3.5 inch brick with extra insulation to boot. Coils in the floor. Stronger than your average coil. Also, they are dishing out some sweet package deals right now on these energy saver kilns. Don't get me wrong, I think L&L makes a fine piece of equipment, I know lots of folks feel this way.
I really only have one question, why do I not hear more about these Bailey's kilns when they appear to be so good? Below is the link to the bailey kiln and the L&L kiln I am comparing.
Posted 20 September 2013 - 09:48 AM
mostly because bailey is more interested in selling great big kilns to institutions and have not aggressively marketed their smaller studio kilns as individual products.
Posted 20 September 2013 - 11:10 AM
The Bailey's are great: they are made for them by ConeArt /Tuckers. That is the same kiln sold by other retailers as a Cone Art bx2327d.
I like the floor element/ 3 zones standard/ lid hinge system / extra insulation etc : they have a lot going for them !
Cone Arts have been selling like hot cakes and I think for good reason.
There is also a new size which is kinda nifty: 2322 so a few inches shorter: about 6 cu ft. Makes easy loading for those of us who are vertically challenged (:
Posted 20 September 2013 - 11:16 AM
reminds me. i saw something really practical when i visited Mike Faul's operation in herndon. they had a very deep kiln with a 3/4 inch plywood ring matching the top of the wall placed so someone could lean on the plywood while loading. they said the idea came from the Workhouse in woodbridge, va. once the kiln is loaded the ring gets put aside so the kiln lid can close and the firing can begin.
mike, if you are here, a picture would be great
Posted 20 September 2013 - 01:08 PM
I love Bailey's products.
I hate their website so much. I really wish that half of the images weren't broken links.
Sorry, I know that's not super helpful. They're both great kilns though, it would be hard to go wrong in my opinion.
Posted 20 September 2013 - 11:13 PM
I am also interested in hearing comments on Bailey kilns, though I won't be buying one this big. I did notice our university has a great big Bailey kiln, as referenced in oldlady's comment.
Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:06 PM
I love my Bailey; I have to 10 cu. ft. electric model. For the size and price, no other kiln came close. I also like having 3 thermocouples because my firings are even throughout the kiln. I am still going on the original elements. This week was my 165th firing!
Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:13 PM
I think Bailey makes great products, especially for the pricing he's at. Their customer service is also good as well. I don't have any experience with His electric kilns, but have seen them in person and talked to Jim about them several times - the front-loading electrics are very tempting for our next electric kiln upgrade. In my studio I've got 3 Bailey downdrafts (12, 54, and 130 ft^3) that are around 16 yrs old and they still fire beautifully. I would recommend them.
Posted 28 September 2013 - 07:53 PM
I keep coming back to L&L because of the system they use to mount the heating elements (among other things). When push comes to shove, the ease of replacement as well as the fact that elements last longer (eg less maintenance) is what makes the difference for me.
Less maintenance, less expense over time, and less wear and tear on me. There are other features I find attractive as well, but that is the one that puts it over the top for me.
Posted 28 September 2013 - 07:56 PM
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Posted 28 September 2013 - 09:38 PM
Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:33 AM
I love my Bailey kiln, I get great firings every time, no cool spots because of the bottom element. Great slow cools and my firings are costing about 30 percent less. I also feel like my bailey kiln is constructed a little better than Land L kilns. ( mind you the l and l element holders are sweet ) but the extra insulation, a better lid hinge and the outer construction are superior. I prefer my Bailey kiln, but L and L is a high quality product too. Either would be a great choice, but my 2 cents is to choose the Bailey's.
Well dang, accidentally hit the back button and it wiped out my response! So here goes again:
First, let me point out to the OP that Bailey kilns do NOT have 3.5" of firebrick; they have 2.5" of firebrick plus an inch of some kind of fiber insulation. I cannot tell from the information I could find online what the characteristics are of that fiber insulation. However, L&L has published technical specs of their kilns comparing the 2.5" firebrick to the 3" firebrick. I doubt the extra 1" of fiber insulation (2.5" firebrick plus 1" of this other type of insulation) exceeds that, but it may very well be comparable - can't tell without the actual specs.
L&L kilns offer thermocouples mounted in protective ceramic tubes; by mounting them this way, they extend the life of the thermocouples and a replacement thermocouple is about half the price of thermocouples typically used in a kiln. You can also upgrade to an S-type thermocouple with an extended lifespan even over and above the standard thermocouples.
L&L has a spring-assisted lift assembly on all but their smallest kilns; indeed, they even have counterweighted lids on at least one of their larger kilns. Bailey's MAY have a similar system, but I don't see it mentioned and I can't tell from the pictures on the Bailey's website.
The L&L the OP listed (on the Clay King website) is probably about $200 cheaper than the price on the website; they're not allowed to list the actual sale prices on many of their kilns because of restrictions imposed by manufacturers. But the actual price (if you call and ask) is probably about the same as the Bailey kiln.
Bailey's kilns have something that looks like an attempt to imitate L&Ls ceramic element channel, but it is an add on thing that you have to remove to get at the element. I'm sure it DOES provide extra protection to the element - but not to the surrounding firebrick, and when it comes time to remove and replace the element, you have to pull out all those little ceramic pieces first, and then put them back. They look to be about 4" long (which means there are a LOT of them), and it doesn't look like you can even get them for the smaller top loading kilns. L&L wins hands down on this issue.
There are other things about the L&L to love but most of them relate to larger kilns or high temp firing (such as the super-heavy duty quad core elements, and floor mounted controllers).
I'm not saying Bailey's aren't to love; but given the OPs original statement, in a kiln that size, the L&L is the one I'd recommend.
I had some other points but I don't feel like going back and doing all that work over again, and given the sale at Bailey's is over tomorrow, I'm guessing the OP has already made his/her decision, LOL! I don't think there is a "broken" decision between the two though.
Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:14 AM
The Bailey will fire just fine. You won't have any problems with it. It uses the same type of controller as L&L and Skutt, so no problems there. You get zone control like the L&L, so that's good. But the Bailey doesn't have thermocouple protection tubes like the L&L. The Bailey round kilns don't have hard element holders, and that is the single greatest advantage of the L&L design. Yes, Bailey shows a kiln with over 900 firings where the bricks still look great. But that has nothing to to with their construction quality. They've just taken good care of the kiln. Any brand can do that.
I'm a big fan of simplicity in a kiln. It makes them easier to maintain and repair. Some brands, like L&L, build their kilns with the same idea. Bailey tends to go the other way and put as much engineering into their kilns as they can, which gives them great marketing ammo. The Bailey is a good kiln, but don't get sucked in by their marketing. For instance, the status lights on the control box are unnecessary. They already exist on the controller itself. Ventilated control box? Every kiln has to have that or the controller will overheat. Floor elements? Unnecessary unless you're firing very dense loads like tiles, and another level of potential problems. The element holders they're putting in their Thermal Logic kilns are an over-engineered version of the L&L holders. From a repair standpoint, the control panel hinge system makes the box awkward to work in. The way they have to make the metal outer skin of the kiln to hold the extra fiber insulation makes it difficult to change broken bricks.
Replacement elements for the Bailey cost 20-25% more than L&L.
The added insulation makes the Bailey slightly more efficient. I can't argue with that. But in my opinion, it's unnecessary. For me it falls into the same category as ITC coating, which we've debated here on the forum quite a bit. The 1-2 dollars you'll save in electricity costs per firing don't outweigh the hassle of dealing with the design.
You'll be happy with either kiln. They both fire great and last a long time, but I think the L&L is has a smarter design, and will last longer.
Kiln Repair Tech
L&L Kilns Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
Posted 02 October 2013 - 12:37 AM
(You can also upgrade to an S-type thermocouple with an extended lifespan even over and above the standard thermocouples.)
I would add this feature as these are way more acurate-I also really like the L&L element holders
I really like my Bailey power slab roller but would buy an L&L kiln.
Posted 03 October 2013 - 08:28 PM
I'd say they both look like nice capable kilns. The Baily's kiln being a re-branded Cone Art kiln does mean something to me anyway. I guess you should also ask what is the after purchase support and warranty like? I can say first hand that Cone Art / Tucker pottery is amazing. I'm just over 30 minutes away from Tuckers and every time I drop in with questions they're amazing. It definitely makes a difference to me. I've got a first generation Cone Art 1822 (before they started chopping them into 3 pieces.) Has been pretty reliable so far... It's got the 2.5" brick with 1" insulation. I'd say the main advantage is weight. Now I know that generally speaking once you place your kiln, you don't move it so it may not be important to you. It was to me when I was installing it. I guess you may also pay a bit less for a kiln with 2.5" brick and insulation over a 3.5" brick only. I have my doubts regarding the performance of one over the other. I like the multi point attachment for the lid on the Cone Art as well. Spreads out the stress on the lid. Mine being an older kiln before they started building with the new hinge design has a bit of twisting torque on it when propped open which I don't like. Not sure how the L&L design compares.
Ultimately though; outside of getting both and testing them out side by side, if they both perform comparably well then it is going to boil down to which one makes you happy. My vote is go with the Cone Arts/Bailey. But I'm biased. (by my experience)
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