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EmilyG

Used Duncan teacher plus kiln experience?

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Hello,

I'm working on getting a kiln, and I'm considering getting a used Duncan automatic teacher plus. They are asking for $850 for it and say they only fired it a couple times. I haven't been able to find anything about this kiln, or a new one listed for sale on any of the websites I've previously looked at like clay king, kiln frog, etc. I don't feel very comfortable buying a kiln I can't find any info about. Does anyone have experience with this particular kiln? Is the price reasonable? I can't even figure out what size it is! 

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Duncan kilns haven't been made for a long time. Paragon used to carry parts for them, but they are phasing out any remaining inventory, and they may or may not have any parts for that particular kiln. You can always get elements made by Euclids, though. They do a good job. The switches are not specific to kilns, so you'll be able to find replacements for them, too. The bad part about these kilns is that they usually need twice as many elements. That is, each element only wraps around once, so they use twice as many. That makes replacement costs higher than usual.

You may also have trouble finding replacement bricks that have grooves that line up with the old bricks if you ever need to replace any. You'd have to call around to the other manufacturers and see how their bricks line up. For that reason alone I wouldn't buy the kiln unless all the bricks are in good condition.

That's not a very big kiln, and it's no longer made, so I wouldn't pay anywhere near $850 for it. At 24 amps, it's probably only 18 inches wide by 18 inches deep. A good starter kiln, but not worth that price. I wouldn't pay more than $300 because of the trouble with making future repairs.

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Thanks so much, that helps a lot! I'll see if the seller is flexible on price. I'm also considering an older Skutt, it's about 20 yrs old but it looks like its in good condition. I'm waiting for additional pictures to see the condition of the bricks and elements. It's a 1227-3 though which would be a great long term kiln and they have it listed for $500 which seems reasonable to me. Looking at used kilns is a bit stressful but I just can't afford a new one unfortunately. 

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1 hour ago, EmilyG said:

Thanks so much, that helps a lot! I'll see if the seller is flexible on price. I'm also considering an older Skutt, it's about 20 yrs old but it looks like its in good condition. I'm waiting for additional pictures to see the condition of the bricks and elements. It's a 1227-3 though which would be a great long term kiln and they have it listed for $500 which seems reasonable to me. Looking at used kilns is a bit stressful but I just can't afford a new one unfortunately. 

The 1227 is a big kiln, about 10 cubic feet. It may be bigger than you need right now. 7 cubic foot kilns are the most popular size. But at $500 it's a good price if the bricks are in decent condition. Is it a digital kiln? If so, it's definitely a good price.

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The -3 means 3" bricks, but always double check the voltage and phase that the kiln is set up for. In your home you have 240 volt 1 phase service, and the kiln must be wired for that. If the phase is different, then some minor rewiring will be needed. If the voltage is different, then you have to change the elements. If both are different, you may have to change everything. The other issue with the 1227 is that on 240V 1P service, it's only rated to cone 8. So if you're planning on firing to cone 6, your element life won't be as good as a cone 10 kiln. Lots of people do it, though, so it's not necessarily a deal breaker.

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Thank you. I might pass on the Skutt because it's so big... I believe it has 3 zone control, not sure about the brick size. I would prefer no more than 7 cubic feet. Ive been doing more research and now I'm feeling insecure about using a manual kiln sitter since I've always used digital skutts in the studios I've worked in. There's another used kiln for sale, an L&L that looks like it's in great condition, but the owner hasn't told me how much she's selling it for yet, just that it's worth $3150, its a JD230. She hasn't said how old it is, but the pictures show it's in good condition. I know used kilns are typically sold between 25 and 50% of their original price, and clayking sells it for $2430 new. I don't want to offer something so low she is insulted but I'm not willing to pay much over 1k. Is that unreasonable?

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29 minutes ago, EmilyG said:

Thank you. I might pass on the Skutt because it's so big... I believe it has 3 zone control, not sure about the brick size. I would prefer no more than 7 cubic feet. Ive been doing more research and now I'm feeling insecure about using a manual kiln sitter since I've always used digital skutts in the studios I've worked in. There's another used kiln for sale, an L&L that looks like it's in great condition, but the owner hasn't told me how much she's selling it for yet, just that it's worth $3150, its a JD230. She hasn't said how old it is, but the pictures show it's in good condition. I know used kilns are typically sold between 25 and 50% of their original price, and clayking sells it for $2430 new. I don't want to offer something so low she is insulted but I'm not willing to pay much over 1k. Is that unreasonable?

It's not unreasonable.  L&L specifically advertises that the life of their kilns is 10 years, and that the life of "other" kilns is 5.  So the value of a kiln is speculative.  You as the buyer have to recognize a value and be willing to pay.  Go in well educated on what to look for as possible issues and weigh that against how much you'll have to pay.  I wouldn't spend over 500 on a used kiln because for just over twice that much I could buy a brand new Olympic kiln and have it delivered to my door for free.  I'm talking about 7 cuft kilns here.  I'm actually in the market for a used or new electric for bisquing, but am going to wait til after Christmas when everyone needs to make room for THEIR new kilns and their old ones go on craigslist

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