Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tips for Buying a Kiln



Check City Ordinance:
If you live in a city, there may be ordinances in place that limit the size kiln you can operate. Here in Springfield, you can't operate a kiln that's larger than 6 cubic feet from a residence, so I had to make sure that I bought a kiln less than 6cf (my kiln is approximately 4cf with the collar). The upside to buying a smaller kiln is that it takes up less space, takes less electricity, and costs less than a larger kiln. This kiln will also fire between 3 to 5 of my larger artworks, with about 10 smaller works strewn about.

Also, residential property usually operates on single phase electricity, so buying a three phase kiln won't work. Check with you city and/or electric company before purchasing a kiln.

Buy a ceramic kiln that fits your needs:
You can always buy more shelves, upgrade the controls, and fix electrical issues (such as burned out elements), but you can never make a kiln bigger. Before you buy a kiln, make sure you know the size that you need - if you buy too big, it will mean wasted space, time (firing will take longer for a larger kiln), and electricity (or other energy source). If you buy too small, you will be firing more often and may have to restrict the size of your artworks to match your kiln. Search ebay for electric kilns.

You also need to know what type of firings you want to do, types of finishes, etc. before settling on a ceramic kiln. Kilns that operate on different energy sources (such as wood burning, electric, propane, etc.) will produce different types of finishes and have very different rules for operation (some may be restricted by residential ordinances). Check the max. temp. of the kiln to make sure that it will work for you, (you will need a kiln with a max temp. of at least 2300 degrees to fire cone 10 clays and glazes). See buying / repairing a used kiln or buying a new kiln.

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