[thank you so much for the info. i have been looking online at restaurant used equipment, as i was thinking about that when i saw the price of the professional ceramic work tables. Yipes! I've got a kiln - front loading. S far, that's all I have. I'm sleepy tired but wanted to drop a quick note of thanks to everyone for your help. Keep it coming - there's so much to think about and consider...
quote name=oldlady' date='28 September 2012 - 07:40 PM' timestamp='1348882805' post='22831]
continued because i was interrupted.
sinks can be set at various heights to accomodate kids whose reach keeps changing. find a kid of each size and check his or her reach to determine the settings for the sink heights. inserting a 3 inch tall pipe to stick up inside the drain will help keep mud out of the plumbing also. do not miss one other thing about cleanup. tools will often find their way into the bottom of the first clean-up barrel. to save them from sinking four feet into the muck, (and have volunteers ready to dig them out!) suspend a piece of hardware cloth inside the barrel just a few inches below the water level. this will not be easy, maybe you could ask for help from your new best friends. use 1/2 inch mesh to keep the mud flowing but the tools safe. you will probably still lose some tiny paintbrushes but most every other tool will be caught close enough to the surface for retrieval. setting up hardware cloth drainboards between every two sinks will help keep things neat. no dripping stuff dragged across the aisle to a table for storage. where the water drips below is something to discuss with the maintenance folks, too. get them involved, they will be cleaning up your space every night, make it easy for them.
kilns...........O. K. we all have our favorites. remember that you will be loading and unloading lots and lots of (probably heavy) student pots. get a front loader since you can afford it now. yes, today you are young and strong but that will change and why work harder than you have to? i know that Paragon is close to dallas, well, reasonably close. if you talk to them and let them know your needs, they will be happy to work with you. my old paragon was used when i bought it in the 70s and bob, since retired, helped me every time i needed it. ( it needs new elements now, anyone want to volunteer to do it?)
if you really want a top loader, L & L kilns are great. banging shelves loaded with pots on the sides as you lift them hardly hurts since the elements are set in hard grooves. my old paragon has chipped bricks near the elements, my 10 year old L & L looks new. the advice they give is priceless and free for the price of a phone call. rob battie is the best and he is patient about explaining how things really work. with his help, the maintenance is simple enough that i can do it. (at age 72 and afraid of electricity.) my kiln has 3 inch thick walls which helps hold heat in. because the walls are so thick, check the size of shelves so you do not wind up as i did with 21 inch shelves in a 22 1/2 inch space. that is hard on the elements since there is little room around the edges. if you can, add a second bottom so you have even more insulation available. do not go without a vent system! the school will probably require it anyhow.
whoever you buy from should offer you customized advice if you provide them with floor plans and details you can get from your maintenance people. remember them, your new best friends? talk to them early and often.
tables...............sturdy is the word. DO NOT cover the tops with canvas! the trapped dust is an unnecessary hazard. use TYVEK instead. it is wipe-down-with-water easy. it comes in hundred foot rolls 8 or 10 feet wide. was about $70 last time i priced it. it will last a long time if you do not cut it and is easy to staple into place over the edges of your tables so you can wipe things off easily. it will not stick to clay that is being worked on its top. it is magic.
there are lots of other things you can do to make your money last and the fun not stop. most of all, enjoy the experience. you will be setting up something which will last a long time. influencing kids who want to learn is wonderful for your soul. ENJOY!