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Need advice for newbie

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My daughter has done a lot of throwing and has had her work fired at her class facilities. She wants to set up a small home studio.

I bought an old Paragon sitter kiln for $25 but would really like to upgrade the manual controls to digital.

Thing is that to get this kiln working I have to buy/spend on several things (furniture kit (including shelves), peep hole plugs, new power cord to use in my 30amp service, stand and of course the new digital control panel)

Question is: is it worth spending the money and time in this kiln or should I buy the bullet and buy a new one that has all the furniture, digital panel and maybe even works with a 120v circuit?

Any help is appreciated


PS: If you think we are better off buying a new kiln, do you have a model in mind?







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Any kiln that will run on 120V is going to be tiny, too small for anything other than a couple of mugs.

I also wouldn't waste money on upgrading the controls for that kiln. If anything, you should get an external digital controller. If you get the 50 amp size, you could use it on just about any used studio size manual kiln that you buy, up to 10 cubic feet in most cases.

If you were to get a new kiln, the smallest I would buy would be 18x18, like an L&L e18S-3 or Skutt 818. It's the next size up from what you have there. It can hold a couple dozen mugs, depending on what size you make them. Your daughter's skills will improve, so get a kiln that will still be useful in 5 years.

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Your daughter will learn a lot by firing a fully manual kiln.  

Electrical "work" is essential, props and shelves maybe not if she's making tall pots.

Add up the "must spend", then the "nice spend" and compare to better second hand or new kilns.

I paid £25 for a second hand kiln, plus about £60 for new elements. Two years later spent £350 on digital controller.  Still way cheaper than £1,200 for new.

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Be the most awesome parent in the world and get her a newish used kiln that is up to snuff for 2019. It will serve her well over the years and while deep discounts  are great, old crappy stuff is not.  People can make do with a lot of used equipment and supplies, but, to my mind, a decent, preferably computerized, kiln of the right size is worth every penny.  I have an L&L e-23S-3  in my small home studio and it is just terrific.  It is a bit large for me, actually, so the 18 Easy Fire would have been perfect.  The 3" brick is wonderful.  If one take's the craft and the art of ceramics even half-seriously, outfitting a studio space to work in clay should feel good and be very functional. There's nothing better than your own kiln in your own space, and a decent wheel. Remember other things are needed as well-a vent system, nearby running water, a work table suitable for wedging, shelving for drying greenware, and space for storing clay & glazes.  My studio is small,  about 10x12, and fully stocked with many goodies; with good organization there is still room to move around-not much, but enough!  If it doesn't work out, you will certainly be able to sell the  equiptment and recoup some of your investment. The investment in her creativity, motivation, enjoyment, talent etc. is "priceless".  Lee's 2-cents worth! 

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