Jump to content

Is this a good starter kiln for $195?


Recommended Posts

Hello! Looking for some advice on whether to buy this used Cress Kiln. I haven’t thrown on the wheel since college, so I am intermediate at best. I just need a good kiln for hobby pottery pieces and don’t know a whole lot about kilns yet, or whether this is a good price at $195.

Thank you so much in advance!!

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/478879423099184/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It looks like the bricks are in good condition, so it's worth it. However it's missing some parts from the Kiln Sitter, and you have no idea what kind of condition the wiring and elements are in. If it needs a new power cord that'll cost you up to $75. The Sitter parts will be $50-100 depending on  just what's missing. If the elements are shot then that'll be another $200+. So be prepared to spend more once you get it. You could not replace the sitter parts and instead invest in a digital wall mount controller system. Those run about $1000 but they're worth every dime, and could be used on another kiln in the future if you get one rated for 48 amps. Ask if they have the stand for it.

The down side of a kiln that it's too narrow for bowls and platters. If you only make cups and vases, it'll be great. It would also make a good second kiln if you every get a bigger one.

have you had an electrician out to your place to make sure you can hook up a kiln? All kilns need a breaker that is 25% greater than the draw of the kiln. Kilns of that size typically pull about 24 amps and need a 30 amp breaker. Ask the seller for a picture of the serial plate that shows the model, voltage, phase, amperage, etc.

Also double check the max temp rating of the kiln. If you plan to fire to cone 6, you want a kiln that will go to cone 10 for the best element life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, I ended up buying this kiln yesterday. It does need a new kiln sitter tube assembly and electrical plug head. It is a Cress FX1814. It was made in 1990. The Kiln bricks are in decent shape. the lid is in great shape inside but a little rough on top. The floor has cracks but no holes. I plan to patch the floor with brick repair material. I bought it as a second kiln to supplement my much larger Skutt 1227. 

I just checked the elements and the "least-in-spec" element was only 3% off spec!!! The other 3 elements were within 1% spec. It does not really have the appearance of being fired as much as it was just stored. It did not come with a stand but I already had one laying around. I'm planning on replacing the kiln sitter tube parts and putting on a 6-50p plug for a total of $80-90 total for parts. I'm not really sure if its worth it to me to add a digital controller. Maybe i'll just get a pyrometer and stick with the kiln sitter. Since it has no plug i have not been able to check the relay yet but everything appears to look normal.

I plan to use it for glaze test pieces and small volume firings (compared to my 1227. This kiln is about 1.8 cu/ft. My 1227 is 10 cu/ft.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A good reason to get a digital controller is because your new little kiln is going to cool a lot faster than your big kiln, which will affect some glazes. You want them to cool at the same rate and give the same results, especially if you're running tests or filling orders.

Don't worry about the floor cracks. Hairline cracks are normal, and not an issue if they don't go all the way through. Patching won't hold anyway. If the cracks go all the way through, just make sure the floor is well supported. Put a piece of rigid sheet metal on top of the stand if needed, although that's usually only necessary in the worst cases.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice. You make a great point about cooling rates and firing consistently with my larger kiln. I think you’ve convinced me to get a digital controller. From what I gather I would need to get the kiln run in a manual mode at full power to make it work with an external controller. It’s a bit different than a manual kiln. Are there any controllers you recommend?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They're all good. I'm a big fan of the new touch screen models, but those do increase the price by a couple hundred dollars. They're all about the same in terms of functionality and ease of repair. Get a 50 amp model, so you can use it on other kilns in the future.

Yes, you just turn the kiln on full power and let the controller run it from there. The controller will cycle the power to the kiln on and off to control the rate of climb. Take a look at your little Cress and see what it takes to make that happen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Hi Neil,

To update the progress of my Kiln, I ended up getting an Olympic Electrositter with Bartlett Genesis touch screen controller. It took about 2 months to get but it was worth the wait. I ran two bisque firings and one glaze firing with it so far. I AM GLAD I FOLLOWED YOUR ADVICE! The kiln drops temp sooooo much faster than my 1227. I used the controller's cool down mode that slows cooling to 150f/hr from 1900-1500. 

IMG_1310.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.