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New To Ceramics- Trying To Buy Used Kiln

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Hello, I am new to ceramics. I have made coil and slab pieces during high school art class, but that's it. I think I know the basics of making pieces, but I'm not sure how the whole firing process goes. I have found a used Skutt kiln for sale. Model LT-3K, three tier, new shut off tube assembly, inside 1/2 selves, on roll cart, and vents to outside for $700. Does this sound like a deal to anyone? What should I look out for when purchasing a used kiln?


Also, I need all the start up tools. I think I would like to purchase a wheel to make cups, bowls, plates, mugs, and vases. Any thoughts?



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Here is a recent thread on buying supplies --




On the kiln, LT-3K may be the model of the kiln sitter, not the kiln. Dawson makes a LT-3K kiln sitter. The kiln should have a face plate that shows manufacturer, model number, electrical info on amps/volts, serial number, and date it was manufactured. There are a lot of considerations besides price -- they cover the condition of the used kiln and whether that kiln can work in your house (right wiring, location, etc.). We can offer better advice on the kiln if you could post a couple of pictures -- exterior, control box, interior.


Here is a recent thread on buying a used kiln --



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Yeah, LT-# is the switch pt#, not the kiln. I think almost everyone has used that switch at some point.


That kiln looks like it's the older version of this one: http://www.bigceramicstore.com/skutt-ks1227-3-and-km1227-3.html


It's the "bigger standard"  manual Skutt. I could be wrong but I believe the 1227 is Skutt's biggest all-time seller.



We have one here that's used as a backup-backup. It's old and beat to hell but still works. I've never done anything to it but that doesn't mean it doesn't need anything.


I am CHEAP! If there is nothing else around and it is super pristine with no damage then $700 would be the ultra high end for my dollars. I wouldn't spend that much as I don't need it now or ever.  I might give $300 on a whim but only because I never met a kiln I didn't like (but ave seen many prices I thought were way too high) and it would have to look like it just came of of a crate.


I would tend to think that if they think it's an "LT-3" kiln, they don't know anything about kilns or how to access their condition or value accurately. The ad seems like most I've seen from folks that don't know anything other than, "Hey, kilns are expensive, that thing is worth lots of money"....


......Man, if I only had a dollar for each time......

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If it is a Skutt 1227 model . . . that is 10 cu.ft. of space; that size is more typical for a volume production potter and studio environment. If you plan on making a lot of wares, that size might be fine. If not, the size might be overwhelming and hard to fill. My main electric kiln is just under 7 cu.ft. and I am the only one filling it. So, think about how much you plan to make, how long you are willing to wait between loads, etc. This size may be a too much for someone just getting back into pottery.


Can't tell what the inside looks like. But check for damaged brick and whether elements are in good shape (if they are laying down, that shows lots of wear). Elements can be replaced, but that adds a couple hundred more to the investment. Ask the seller if they have a firing log and see how often it has been fired, what temperatures, how recently, etc. Before buying, ask them to plug it in and turn it on to see if elements work, etc.


Check the plug for signs of wear . . . is the plug clean looking? any discoloration? any signs of being wire-brush cleaned?


You will need a single-phase, 240v, 60 amp dedicated circuit to run this kiln and appropriate outlet. Check with your electrician (licensed) before you buy to see if your electrical panel can support such a circuit or whether you need to upgrade the panel and/or add one just for your studio. No sense buying a kiln you can't plug in. You will also need a separate 110 outlet for the vent.


Do you have any experience firing manual kilns? You may want to find a studio with a similar kiln (manual, not digital) and help with a couple firings to get the hang of it.


Finally, check with your homeowner's insurance to make sure having/running a kiln will not affect your homeowners insurance.

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That is an older manual kiln-as I have that same model. I just replaced my elements. This is not a computer controlled kiln as noted theLT3K is the dawson kiln setter(cone shut of with safety timer)

Comes with a fan and better stand-it still seems a tad pricy

offer them less money

Also its a bigger kiln (10 cubic feet) which is fine for us full time potters but as noted above it may be a bit large for many folks.

Just for reference I bought a Brent model B potters wheel and this kiln and all the person had in ceramic supplies for a thousand bucks-that was in the middle 90's when this kiln was newer.

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Based on your own description of your experience level, I would echo comments above. That kiln is too big! That size is typical of a kiln used in a classroom or studio situation. A kiln that is too big just won't get fired often which will impeed your learning and is a bit expensive to fire not filled. A kiln that is too small on the other hand becomes frustrating because you never can fit all your work inside.


Skutt makes a great kiln, as do many other brands. It is all about condition and what furniture (shelves and posts) are included, as they will add costs if you need them.


I would pass and keep looking. In the meantime determine your electrical situation as you may be limited as to what siz kiln you can buy.


One other hint, I often see sellers on Craigslist give the brand as LT-3. That is the brand listed on their kiln sitter, not the kiln itself. It tells me that they don't know what they have. Usually it was purchased used, given to them or something they really never used. Potters would know they have a Skutt, L&L, Paragon, Olympic, etc. These people either ask way too much thinking they have something quite valuable or they practically give it away. Keep looking there are some good deals out there, just figure out what you need.

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I have to agree with some other comments that is a good sized kiln. You sure you want one that big for starting out? I didn't see any photos of the inside. There probably were some but just not showing. I saw ti said plus 4 photos.


Are the bricks in solid shape? Any big chunks knocked out of them? Are any of the elements sagging outside their seating into the kiln? 


I agree that LT 3K is the Kiln Sitter not the model number of the kiln.  I prefer kilns that run with kiln sitters. Each person has their opinion on that. So to me that is a plus.


Does this kiln have 2.5" brick or 3" brick inside? I haven't had a Skutt brand so I don't know what their brick thickness is.  Depending on the temperatures your planning on firing you may want to do some research on that.


 If its in reallllllllly good shape inside and out I don't think that is a horrible price for it. I would say it partly depends on where you are located as well. I have noticed some places used kilns are just down right cheap, others they seem to resell for a bit more.  Plus if it comes with a decent amount of shelves, post, some stilts, boxes of cones,  thats worth something too.

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Does this kiln have 2.5" brick or 3" brick inside? I haven't had a Skutt brand so I don't know what their brick thickness is.  Depending on the temperatures your planning on firing you may want to do some research on that.




I spoke to someone at Skutt a while back and if I remember correctly, he stated all 1227s are 3" even if it doesn't use the 1227-3 model number. I'm pretty sure you can drop out the bottom ring on that kiln but the bottom may run a but cool seeing you no longer have the proper bottom element in the middle ring (that is now the bottom ring). You could always post the false bottom up higher to help with that I suppose but I wouldn't pay $700 for a compromise.


We have everything from a paragon Quick-Fire to a Skutt 1627 (although it's a project kiln that won't end up that big) but I like little kilns for some reason. I just bought a little guy like this for $40 on craigslist.




While it's a little sucker that'll only really do one pot at a time; when it doesn't have a glass crucible in it, it'll be firing a pot or two while it doubles as a heater in the "lounge" area of my studio during the winter. ( I figure I gotta burn the juice for heat  anyway so...)


I would recommend a smallish kiln (not that small) as you don't want to wait weeks only to have a kiln load of bad habits or mistakes. I like the idea of firing/testing something now. I don't want to have to wait to make more stuff cause by that time, I've already forgotten what I did to the piece I wanted to test. My current favorite kiln is one I built from parts from a junk Blue Diamond 180D. (Which was marginal at best when new. If Harbor Freight sold a kiln made in the US.... it would be a Blue Diamond...) :lol:


I had to stretch/unwind new element ends and then moved the lid to the center ring thus making it into a single ring "large" test kiln. I think it's 18"X9" and it's perfect for small test runs of a few pieces and "Don't try this at home" stuff I do. I do a lot of  experimental things with it that I wouldn't try with a bigger kiln just yet. It was "my" first kiln ( the one she didn't care if I mess up) and I find that very liberating. (not that she gives me static cause she never does). I guess you could consider it a "training kiln" and I think there is a lot to be said for something like that for a beginner. I think it costs me like $.60 to fire too. :lol: It's just a fun little kiln. About the only thing I'd change is make it 120v (That was the main reason I bought the Aim 88T; that and it's a cone 10 kiln for $40). ;)  (Did I mention I never met a kiln I didn't like?)


It all comes down to what you want to make, how often you will make it, how big it's gonna be and the ability to feed it properly whatever it requires wherever you want it to live. (We have three kilns on wheels for this reason that will most likely go to five or six.)


Wanna make wide stuff, tall stuff or both?

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First, before you buy any electric kiln, make sure you have the proper electrical outlet.

Check with an electrician before you buy.

If you can't plug it in and turn it on, it's a waste of money.


This week I will pick-up a kiln from an institution that couldn't work out wiring for a kiln with a Fire Marshal approved location in their building. The kiln has been sitting in a basement for 20 years unused.


Years ago, I bought a small new kiln from a man who wanted to do a little pottery in retirement but couldn't because his land lord wouldn't wire the garage for a kiln. I paid approx. 1/3 the cost of a new kiln, furniture, and boxes of cones.

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