It has become evident that the small updraft gas kiln I purchased and have been using is not going to keep up this next year. It is only 8 cuft and the effort to keep up with demand will necessitate me doing a glaze fire almost every 2 weeks., which is more effort than I can realistically do. Which tells me I need a new high fire glaze kiln. I my bisque in an electric kiln which is big enough for me now and for the foreseeable future, so I am good there.
My question was around what is the prevailing thought on build versus buy. The component costs for building make that very attractive, but of course I have the build time that I will have to plan for. The testing for either choice still exists, as I would have to test any new kiln to understand how it fires. I am also going to change over to a downdraft which is more of what I am comfortable with and will eliminate some of the compromises I have to do with my current updraft kiln.
I am think I need a 24-30 cuft capacity kiln which will allow me a firing every 4-6 weeks or so, which is more reasonable. A Laguna, Olympic, or Bailey all seem to be about the same price as a custom from Seattle Pottery Supply (SPS). However all of these are considerable more that building my own.
I am confident that I can build a working kiln over a few weeks time period so that should be fine. I just wanted to know any advice from people who have been in the same situation I am in. I assume all potters have had this dilemma at some point in their past.