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Buying a used kiln

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Hi, I am going to look at a used kiln tomorrow to set up in my basement for a home studio at some point. I have been making pottery for many years in classes and would like to do it from home. It is an electric L&L Econo Kiln with shelves and furniture. The overall height of the kiln is 37" and it is 35" at the widest part (where the control units are) It is made up of a 5" stand, a 2" botttom and 2" lid and three 9" rings that are 23" in diameter. The seller bought it from someone else a few years ago so it has been moved a few times. She believes the kiln is between 20 and 25 years old. The pictures look like the kiln is in excellent condition although she said there is one cracked shelf. She is asking $450 but I am going to negotiate with her and hope she will take less. My concern in reading about used kilns is if the kiln is that old and lead glazes were used, is the kiln contaminated? Any thoughts on that and any anything else would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your input.

Lana

 

We looked at the kiln today. It was much smaller than I expected even tho I was given the dimensions. The kiln was made in 1983 according to the serial number so it is 30 years old. It surprisingly passed the lead test we took with us and did look in pretty good condition. I offered $350 for the kiln but she would not accept and I was very reluctant to go higher than that. I would not be happy with the small kiln anyway so will hold out since I am not in a hurry. Thank you to everyone who commented. You were extremely helpful.

Lana

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Guest JBaymore

The lead issue is easy to test for....... get a lead test kit from any good hardware store. Swab the brickwork interior hot-face surface somewher near the elements in the upper third of the inside chamber. If it comes up positive.... pass.

 

Also, check your installation location as to the voltage you have available on the supply service and make sure that the kiln is wired for that voltage. If the voltage rating is mis-matched, you'll experience some issues. And you possibly (likely) will have to change out the elements.....which is not all that cheap.

 

best,

 

...............john

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The lead issue is easy to test for....... get a lead test kit from any good hardware store. Swab the brickwork interior hot-face surface somewher near the elements in the upper third of the inside chamber. If it comes up positive.... pass.

 

Also, check your installation location as to the voltage you have available on the supply service and make sure that the kiln is wired for that voltage. If the voltage rating is mis-matched, you'll experience some issues. And you possibly (likely) will have to change out the elements.....which is not all that cheap.

 

best,

 

...............john

 

 

Thank you John! I will buy a test kit on the way to see the kiln tomorrow.

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I think 450 is high for that old of kiln, around here old kins don't bring much because everyone wants a programmable kiln. You may need to rewire the kiln and that is an expense you need to figure in your total cost. When I look at a used kiln I always assume it needs rewiring. I had put in a bid for that same size, age and type of kiln at an estate sale recently for 300 but turned it down when i found out that they had sold the shelves and stilts. Denice

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$450 is high, but those old L&L kilns are usually in really good shape. The bricks hold up very well over time. Verify the voltage is what you need. Take a look at the elements. If they are corroded, or the coils are starting to lay over or sag at the corners, it probably needs new elements. Depending on the model, that means 6-9 elements at $50 each. That shouldn't necessarily mean you should pass on it, though. L&L elements are easy to change. Also look at the sensing rod on the sitter. If it's corroded away to nearly a point it needs to be replaced, at about $8. If the metal cone supports need replacing, they're about $7. Check the plug for corrosion. Check the jumper cords between the sections for corrosion. If the wires are really crispy and crack and snap when you bend the cords, they are probably due for replacement. It all adds up, however if you can get the kiln for a couple hundred bucks, you'll have one like new for another $400 in repairs. It's like buying a used car that needs brakes and tires.

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Neil has covered the bases. The only thing I can ad is the Serial Number is the date of manufacture; last 2 digits is the year. And, at around $50 a pop, an old kiln can be pretty costly in a hurry.

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