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TortoiseAvenger

Bought A Used Kiln--Opinions On Condition/repair?

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Hello everyone!

 

I'm new to ceramics, and on a budget. I bought this kiln for $100. I'm pretty excited, because for $100 it seems to be in good shape. It is old, though.

 

I've included some pictures. A few things are minor concerns to me.

 

There is (what I would consider) a hairline crack traveling across the bottom of the firebrick inside. I've heard that hairline cracks are normal, and not a problem.

 

Overall, the kilns seems rust free, except on the attachments of the handles, and a few screws. Should this concern me? The handles seem pretty solid.

 

The lid has a few chips on the very outer edge of the firebrick. They don't seem to extend in far enough, in my newbie opinion, to cause a problem.

 

My biggest concern, however, is that one of the clamps holding the metal ring that goes around the lid is broken. (See pics) Do you think I can solder this back on? I'm concerned about the solder melting during the firing process. I'm not sure how hot that part would get...

 

Basically, I'm looking for confirmation that I got a good deal and that the kiln is more or less ready to go. Is there anything I should do to it before I christen it with one of my $hitty test pots?

 

Thanks so much!

 

TA

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That looks to be in really nice shape.  I've seen kilns for sale that looked like they fell off the back of a truck, rolled down a hill, caught fire and sank into a swamp, to be discovered 30 years later and used as a fire-pit by homeless guys until someone got the bright idea to sell it to the ceramics shop for the cost of a bottle of Ripple.  And the ceramics shop wants $250 for it as-is.

 

My first kiln was made in before 1968, and the only significant thing I've had to do to it because of age was to replace the old 3-prong plug with a 4-prong plug to meet modern code.

 

The clamps around the lid were likely spot-welded.  You could probably just drill through it and use screws to reattach it.

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Looks to me like you got a great deal. The crack along the bottom doesn't look like much to worry about. The bottom of my kiln is in much worse shape.

 

Not sure about the soldering as I have never tried but it would be a good idea to try and fix it to keep the steel tight.

 

Fingers crossed the electrics are good, have you looked at them?

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I had a used kiln that had the same issue with the banding.  I just got 2 normal screws and put it back in.     Now when I see that I use some of that stuff in the L&L kiln repair kit to make the screws more secure.   But I used that first one about 6 months with just normal screws in it, tightening occasionally

 

I would just kick that thing up to the cone you are going to fire too and make sure it will heat.   Heating up and reaching cone temperatures do not always coincide.

 

I've had 2 used kilns and looked at around 30 used kilns (unbelievable how many people have a used kiln lying around).  Looks in way better shape than some I've seen ppl asking $300 plus for.

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I would use a wire cable that goes all the way around the lid with a turn-buckle to tighten up the cable and not rely on the two screw repair.

 

Do you know how thick the walls are and what is its maximal firing temp (or cone setting)?

Since it is old, I would guess it is set up for cone 10 firing assuming the elements are still good enough.

 

Congratulations,

 

Jed

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When those tack wields give up like in your photo-you can drill a small pilot hole with a hardened drill that works on stainless steel and then use a small stainless sheet metal screws to hold them. The spot that was spot wielded is the hardest to drill si drill a new hole nearby. Once the screws are in the clamps work like usual.I have done this to a few skutt kilns-they always snap at the spot wields

All of these items are at any hardware store for little $$.

Mark

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Not certain about this, but I believe that the solder job is stainless solder, requires higher temp. I would take a pic to someone local that does repairs. You might get a better handle on that repair. Other wise, a strap with a fastener that went all the way around the outside would work.

 

Best,

Pres

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Can anybody explain why the lid is two different colours?

The discoloration is where it fits over the walls and is not getting as hot-also no telling how long its been sitting.

Maybe it got wet?

Mark

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It looks to be a good kiln as far as the bricks are concerned. But you should open up the panel and check the wiring for discoloration or corrosion. If you see any, replace the wires. Also replace them if they are crunchy when you bend them. Be sure to check where the power cord connects in the panel, as well as the condition of the prongs on the plug.

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