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Choice - Which Kiln To Choose?


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#1 vinks

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 12:14 PM

I want to set up my own studio and I'm hoping someone can give me advice on the subject of kilns.Till now was using the shared kiln,wanna have my own,now. 

 

Various suggestions i keep getting posted is : following things to be consisdered while  purchase kilns:

 

electronic controller,front loader,size or power supply.

 

Plus I'm on a budget. I like the ones with the flip-up doors. If anyone knows of a brand that is reliable and inexpensive or has any other advice to offer on the subject, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

 


Keep Smiling!!


#2 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 01:38 PM

Most kiln companies are producing quality equipment. I think you should visit a supply house and try reaching in as if loading a shelf. Try them for size and comfort. Try to imagine the size you'll be needing as you progress in your skills.What temperature will you be firing.
Buying a controller when you purchase the kiln saves a lot of money. Buying from a close =by source saves in shipping.
Look at wholesalers to see what the cost is there. See what factories are close to you and possibly buy direct.You will most likely need to have the correct wiring installed, You can get the specs and call an electrician for an estimate before you buy the kiln.


Marcia

#3 Pres

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 03:01 PM

You could also run a search in the upper right on this page. There have been several strands on here of late about buying equipment. Kilns in particular.  You'll find a lot of differing opinions about various kilns, and learn some new things about what to look for.

 

Best,

Pres


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#4 vinks

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 07:46 AM

Thanks Marcia and Pres for your valuable inputs.


Keep Smiling!!


#5 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 11:23 PM

I would make sure it has an electronic controller, good thing to have. 

 

Size is determined by your power supply so find out what kind of power you can afford to get wired in.

 

Either spend the money on getting one that will work for the next 10 years or have the time to spend figuring out how one works when you inevitably buy one that breaks or is already broken.



#6 DirtRoads

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 11:41 PM

I've owned 5 kilns.  The only brand I would recommend is an L&L.    Look at the ceramic element holders.  You are going to have to change elements something like every 100 firings so do you want to spend half a day or 30 minutes changing elements?  Plus you don't have to worry about ripping out the fire brick.  I have the  L&L Quad Pro which has a much longer element life than 100 firings.   The investment in the L&L has paid for itself in production output and no down time.  It' s a pay more up front situation or pay continuously. 



#7 neilestrick

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:24 AM

Feel free to message me if you have questions about L&L.
Neil Estrick
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#8 Tristan TDH

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:32 AM

I have 2 kilns currently, a Bailey ( Tucker's coneart ) and an L & L. Both have their positives, though. I think overall the Bailey kiln has far superior construction. ( except for the ceramic element holders in the l&l, those are awesome ), the Bailey is put together better, has more insulation, cheaper firings, better lid hinge, and overall more sturdy. Both have modified Bartlett controllers, which are easy to use and reliable.
If it weren't for the ceramic element holders, I would recommend the bailey kiln without reservation, it's a better kiln except for that one factor.

My biggest recommendation though, is don't scrimp on the size. Get a kiln as big as you can afford, and as big as your electrical supply can handle. Make sure that you hard wire it, even if it comes with a plug, hard wire it, and make sure you have excellent ventilation. Both in the kiln and in the kiln room.

#9 vinks

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 09:12 AM

Thanks for all your feedback.Its great to have names of the kiln ,which i was wondering as all people have there reservations holding back the names.

My effort is to have a sturdy,and which last long without any calamity.

 

I appreciate for all your valuable inputs.Tistan,i agree need to get a kiln as big as i can afford alongwith electrical supply can handle.Thanks to all of you.


Keep Smiling!!


#10 neilestrick

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 10:35 AM

As Pres suggested, search the forum. There are a lot of discussions on here about the positives and negatives of all kiln features, including backup insulation, coatings, hinges, stands, vents, etc.

 

As a repair person, I find kilns with backup insulation much more time consuming to do brick changes. If you're doing your own repair work it might not be a big deal, but if you're paying someone, the extra time to do the work can negate the firing cost savings.

 

Whatever you decide, make sure it can come apart in sections. One piece outer jackets make repair work a nightmare.


Neil Estrick
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Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
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#11 synj00

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:18 PM

I went with Olympic Kilns, nothing that I've noticed bad about them but I'm a newbie too. I have fired 5 times so far and no issues. Very easy to use. It helped that the factory is only a few miles from my house. Shipping these beasts cost lots of $$$


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#12 Pugaboo

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 05:26 PM

I too have an Olympic and went with it for several reasons:
1) their factory was close to me so I could go down and try out the various models to see which one would suit me best. Fit best as in I have a bad back and could I reach the bottom, compared shorter versus taller models and went with taller since I do smaller items and if larger tend to be taller not fat, think vase not tray.
2) since I could pick up the kiln myself I saved a lot on shipping
3) the group studio I am a member of has 2 of them and a lot of the potters also have small versions of them at home as well
4) it came in 3 stackable pieces with an electronic controller, set of furniture, kiln wash, vent, etc
5) price for me was what I could afford

I have fired mine about 15 times and so far I am very pleased with choosing an Olympic. Buying a kiln is a lot like buying a car you have to decide which features you absolutely must have, which would be nice and which ones you can live without or don't need. At times it can be like asking someone whether they would rather have a convertible Porsche or a convertible Volkswagen, I personally would choose the Volkswagen because they have character but a lot of people would choose the Porsche.

I went with the Olympic 1823
It goes to cone 10 but I only fire to cone 6 so should get more use out of the elements by not stressing them to the maximum temperature each time. The digital controller is a dream to use and very easy to adjust as I get better and fine tune my firing schedule
It was the largest I could easily wire into my house and yes I had an electrician wire a special outlet, independent circuit and shut off switch for the kiln. The shelves are big enough for the type items I make yet small enough not to pull my back as I bend over to place them in the kiln. It's small enough for me to fill easily without weeks and weeks of work sitting waiting to be fired. This is important because it helps me fire more frequently so I can learn what it is I am doing right, or wrong, so I can adjust and do better much more quickly.

Terry
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#13 flowerdry

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 07:46 PM

I agree to not scrimp on size...however, keep in mind that if you get too big a kiln, it will take you ages to fill it if you don't have high output.  If you're like me, you don't want to wait forever to see how your pieces turned out.  As Terry pointed out, firing frequently can help you make adjustments along the way.


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#14 Pres

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:11 AM

Kiln size is a matter of work cycle and rhythm. Many of us take too long to fill a 15 cu foot kiln, where as others would fill it rather quickly. I like the fact that I can have a relatively large space by removing one section or adding another. Only problem with this was that I always had to have the one with the lid on top. So I removed the lid and put two handles on it so that I could have my kiln 2, 3 or 4 sections high. Over the years I have gotten used to where my hot spots and cold spots are in the kiln no matter how many sections I use. Lifting the extra thick lid is still pretty easy for me except when putting it on that 4 section tall kiln. Nice thing is a 3 section bisque usually equals a 4 section glaze.


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