If I got a kiln would it help make me a better potter? I could have let the studio I belong to continue to fire my work and never learn what I need to about firing work, never have control over the schedule, etc. I had power limitations, a 50 amp max so that's where I started, I have serious back issues so ended something I could reach into with shelves and ware that wasn't too big or deep. I looked at all the brands, really wanted an L&L but Olympic kilns are made a couple hours from me, the owner is friends with people in the studio, and I got to tour the plan and try out all the different sizes and styles. I have not yet had to replace anything so can't say whether I regret not getting the L&L or not but my kiln has been great for the 1 1/2 years I've own it. It's the perfect size for me I can fill fairly quickly learn, adjust and fire some more.
Next purchase was a slab roller, I looked at how much hand building I do and whether it would speed up production and give me better quality slabs. Looked at several online, used the one at the studio and ended up getting the Clay King version. I have no regrets and am really pleased with it. My husband still covets my big control wheel in it says none of his stuff has a wheel like that.
I build boxes lots of boxes in all shapes and sizes. I have also find people really like little collector boxes so looked at an extruder, would it make me better faster more efficient. The answer was yes. I bought a Scott Creek Aluminum extruder without ever having used an extruder. It's a great buy I think I chose wisely. I am looking at getting the expansion box with future revenues since I really want the hexagon box plate.
At this point I was happy with my setup then my husband announces I can't be a real potter without a wheel and he is going to get me one for Christmas last year. Told me to research it and pick the one I wanted or he would just pick one. So researched and ended up with a Bailey. I love it. I did try out several different brands at the studio and decided on the one I preferred then in research discovered I couldn't afford it but found the Baileys and they are REALLY similar and had all the features I liked plus a couple more like the claning slot that I have come to really like that the other one didn't.
I haven't even considered a pugmill so that basically completes my major equipment. Medium level stuff I am waiting to earn the money to afford are as I said the expansion box for my Scott Creek, an Airpen Pro, and a silk screen set up. I like to do surface decoration so the last 2 would make me more efficient and expand my repetroi in clay. I have just started buying the stuff to experiment with mixing my own glazes, drill mixer, 5 gal 80 mesh screen, buckets, gram scale, an a small quantity of dry chemicals.
I approached each buy from a do I really need it, can I really afford it, and taking those 2 things into account which one can I get that will do what I need. Used really wasn't an option small town, limited mobility issues made getting new the best choice for me.