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Do I need a gas kiln?


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I've fallen down the ceramics rabbit hole for the past four years.  I've been working with cone 6 clay and glazes, and firing with my home studio electric kiln.  I love shinos though and have been missing being able to fire anything in reduction.  I have the opportunity to buy a small used gas kiln but I just can't decide if my love of shino is enough to justify the investment into another kiln (and getting the propane tank, permits, etc...)  Besides being able to fire shino and oxblood glazes, why did those of you who moved from electric to gas choose to do so?  Thanks so much for your thoughts!

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I moved the other way, from gas to electric. I think that's pretty common nowadays what with the limitations on where you can set up a gas kiln nowadays. I could have continued to do gas, but there were numerous benefits to switching to electric, which together far outweighed my need to fire shino and tenmoku glazes.

Oxblood can be done very well in an electric kiln, using silicon carbide for localized reduction. Shino not so much. I've yet to see a convincing electric kiln shino or tenmoku. None of the commercial glazes they call shino are at all close to the real thing. So if you want to do shino, then yes, you'll need a gas kiln. Are there any potters or community studios in the area that have a gas kiln that you could use just for that, and keep using the electric kiln for everything else you're doing?

If your'e also looking for that earthy, iron-specked look of reduction fired work, then get a good cone 6 brown speckled body and find some glazes that will play well with it. They're virtually indistinguishable from cone 10 reduction when done right.

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I love gas kiln pots-always have .Never left gas kilns in the early 70s-I have an electric but only use it for bisque now and again.  Reduction glazes lite my creative ceramic soul.

I would not go the other way unless they dragged me screaming away from my gas kilns

I love the firing the glazing, the results so do my customers.

So many things are just right about for for me-I also live in one of the most expensive electric rate areas on the country.

Of course 48 doing it with gas makes it a no brainer for me as well

My best answer for you is of course you need one.I have 3 and need a few more

 

 

Edited by Mark C.
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My advice is to not get a new kiln just for one glaze. At 4 years in, you are still somewhat new to pottery, and your interests in glazes may still be evolving. 

When I was younger, I was convinced that I would someday build a wood kiln, because I loved the aesthetic and thought there was nothing as good. As I got older and became a more knowledgeable potter, I outgrew that. I still love the aesthetic and admire those who do it, but am very happy doing electric kiln work.

At 4 years in, your focus should be on improving your forms and pottery building skills. A lot of potters at this stage (including me back then) place too much importance on glazes and firings, thinking that this will elevate their pots to a higher level. But really a glaze cannot do that. And when your pottery building skills have reached a high level, any glaze and firing will elevate your pots. 

Edited by GEP
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Thank you for your thoughtful advice -- I really do appreciate your sharing your experience and perspective! I feel so much enthusiasm for exploring clay -- it is sometimes hard to not fly off in all directions and want to try and explore everything at once.  You've given me some good things to think about.

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