Hello, all. I was formerly an active member but a change of e-address left me missing my favorite forum. Pilot error, now fixed.
I am respectfully asking for advice. I have been an avid fan of my precious Paragon Home Artist kiln for nearly two years. I bought it before I ever even took a class but knew if I didn't commit myself via a kiln purchase, I would never get off my duff and start out on my lifelong dream of becoming a potter. Then, along the way, I wound up being a glass artist as well, enjoying paid fruits of my labor in a local gallery. Now, I am in the position of needing to purchase a larger kiln to accommodate the orders for glass work at the gallery. I adore ceramics, however, and have no intention of limiting myself with a glass kiln purchase. I still want cone 8 (or 10 someday), a fully programmable kiln with ramp/hold as well as cone capabilities, and am even considering a front loading kiln to help with a fused back situation. I've tried to load a friend's Skutt 1227 but cannot reach the bottom safely. Additionally, due to my location, I've decided to stay with an electric kiln.
I have been reading posts about used kilns and have found one on Craig's list (a six year old Cress with furniture for $450.00) but it is not digital and does not have elements in the lid. I realize this is primarily a ceramics forum. I'd like to add that to date I have had (to my knowledge) good results with my Paragon which also does not have lid elements. Maybe I don't even need lid elements...I've heard a lot of talk in that direction but cannot find a forum to which I can address this question.
So, this leads me to my request for assistance from you folks. If the kiln looks good, would this be a good price IF I COULD RETROFIT IT WITH A DIGITAL CONTROLLER? Does anyone have anything to offer about the ease and success of such a conversion? Obviously, I'd check with the folks at Cress but I'd like an objective opinion from people with nothing to gain! And, is there truly any advantage to having lid elements? It would be nice to know I had every option available to me, but as I said previously, I've had great success thus far, just need the additional firing space that a larger kiln can offer. The price of the used Cress isn't really as important as knowing I've invested in the correct tool for my trade.
Anyone out there who has gone through a similar situation? Anyone have any gut instincts for me? I appreciate any assistance you can send my way. I'd like to get this decision behind me so I can a) get some sleep, do something besides research this topic and c) get some sleep...I think I already said that.