Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Buying a New Ceramic Kiln - New Kiln Sources, Buying Guide

While used kilns are a great way to save money initially, many new kilns have added safety and convenience features built in. They usually have thicker walls, so that they hold heat better and take less energy. Some have digital controls that take the guess work out of firing and help the kiln to heat evenly. Newer kilns usually have more accessories available (I have difficulty finding accessories/replacement parts for my 20+ year old kiln - if you have the same trouble, check out Euclid Kilns). Most of the companies that sell new kilns will ship your kiln professionally to ensure that your kiln arrives safely, while buying a used kiln means your selection is local and you have to move the kiln yourself (trust me, that's not an easy task!).

So, with all of the benefits of buying a new kiln, why did I buy mine from ebay (see buying a used kiln)? Any artist starting out knows why - initial cost. It was less than $300 including the drive to another state to pick it up. I knew next to nothing about kilns when I bought it, and basically I lucked out - the seller was honest and had taken very good care of this kiln. There was a definite learning curve when it came to firing - I had never fired a kiln before in my life. My first few firings were riddled with broken artworks (I was firing my work too fast), which resulted in a burned out element (I didn't remove the clay from the element after a sculpture exploded, which caused a hot spot on the bottom element and burned it out). I emailed a local ceramic supply business and asked them for information, and they supplied me with everything I needed to know about firing (they are also the people from which I received my firing chart information). Anyone who lives in the Springfield/Branson area of Missouri should check out L & R Specialties Nixa, MO, they are outstanding! They are also a great (price-wise & quality-wise) local source for clay (clay bought online doesn't cost much, but the shipping can get you!).

For anyone who does not want such an extreme entrance into the world of kilns, a newer kiln is the way to go.

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