KILN CONUNDRUM: Was offered TWO FREE KILNS...what to do?
Posted 29 April 2012 - 11:06 PM
My name is Jaena and this is my first post on CAD. I'm a newbie and just finished my first semester of ceramics. I'm hooked! I want to set up a home studio and have a small space to do it in; I live in a townhouse in central Phoenix. I have enough room for a wheel and a small wedging table and maybe some shelves for drying pots and I'd love to have a home kiln. We have a decent sized patio with enough electrical out here to operate a 220V kiln so theoretically I could do it. I've been looking at the Paragon Home Artist kiln because it's small and portable, plugs into any 120V outlet and fires up to cone 6 which is fine for bisque and raku. Does anyone have experience with this little kiln? I'm worried about it only being 12"x12" in the chamber; how many pots could I realistically fire in such a small space? If I drop $1000 for this little kiln, it needs to be worth the investment. So my boyfriend and I were taking a glassblowing class today and the owner of the studio found out that I'm an aspiring potter and want to set up a home studio. He promptly took me out back and told me I could have the two kilns he has there for free as he is never going to use them. My first thought was "JACKPOT!!!" but then I looked at them and saw they were pretty old and haggard-looking. I don't care about looks as long as they work, which he said they do. I would be fine if they didn't work but were easily repaired at a fraction of the cost of buying a new kiln. The Cress is ridiculously heavy; my bf and I together couldn't pick it up. The Duncan (Model ES 1029-2) came apart so it would be easy to transport but it's only a cone 8 whereas the Cress (Model FTX-2831P) is a cone 10. Also, they don't make Duncan kilns anymore but I understand Paragon has taken over the servicing of them. Whichever of these I take, the kiln will be outside on my patio exposed to the AZ sun; is this ok or will I have to create some sort of shelter? I assume that because it's outside, I won't have to worry about ventilation...am I correct to assume this? I'm such a beginner and don't know the first thing about kilns or how to operate and maintain them but I want to learn! Should I get the Duncan or the Cress for free? Or just buy the tiny luggage-like Paragon kiln? I would really appreciate any feedback from more seasoned artists. I can also post more pictures if that will help. Thank you so much for taking the time
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Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:04 AM
This kiln could be great or a lot of work-Howard is the expert on this and hopefully will give his opinion
You can remove the lid and bottom so its easier to move-If the walls are 3 inches vs 2.1/2 that would be better for all fires. These are older kilns but may work fine
How long have they be in the weather??
The duncan is missing parts on the controller. and looks rusty
You will need to shelter your kiln from the elements with a roof.
The 12x12 is a great test kiln size but to small for a potter.
Thats my 2 cents
Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:14 AM
Thank you SO much for your reply. Here are some more detailed photos of the Cress; let me know what you think. Thanks!
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Is there another kiln that anyone would recommend for the beginning potter, taking into consideration the kiln will be outdoors on a patio?
Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:56 AM
The photos show a cress just like one I brought back for a friend on My twice annual Tempe Art fair potter vendor trips. A retired potter (my customer) gave me (super low cost this kiln and a wheel) from Scottsdale.
The elements are jumping outside the brick near the bottom but it all looks ok in the photos.
The setter may need some work
Lets see what Howard from Paragon says about this -he should respond in a day or two here.
Posted 30 April 2012 - 06:08 AM
Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:49 AM
I too live in a townhouse only in Montana. Before you try to decide which kiln to settle on you need to check if you can even have one.
Insurance companies can be very touchy not to mention your Home Owners Association when it comes to anything they might view as a potential hazard. The idea that the kiln would be exposed to the elements and your neighbors view are both possible roadblocks for a home kiln. I suggest that you check out the codes where you live before you take or invest in anything. If for any reason (heaven forbid) there should be an electrical accident that leads back to you the lawsuits that would follow would not be worth the momentary convience of a home kiln. I hate to be a naysayer but better to be prepared for all possibilities.
Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:53 AM
Jaena, the Paragon Home Artist is great for raku, low-fire ceramics, and china painting. People even use it to fire silver clay. However, I don't think it would be suitable for pottery, because the maximum temperature is 1900F. Thank you for considering it.
Have the Cress and Duncan kilns been left out in the rain? They are rusty, even though you live in a dry area. The Cress was too heavy for you and your boyfriend to lift, which may indicate that the firebricks have been saturated with rain water. If this is the case, I would not haul the kilns home. If they have been protected from the rain, they may be worth restoring. It is difficult to know without seeing them and opening the switch boxes. If you look at them again, open the switch boxes and look for corroded wires and rust. Bend the wires. Does the insulation flake off?
You will probably need a new lid for the Duncan. The original was ceramic fiber. Paragon sells Duncan parts. Duncan stopping manufacturing kilns in 1997. Since we agreed to service their kilns, they sent us skids of kiln parts.
As others have mentioned, you will need a roof for your patio. It is okay to have open sides, but the patio will need a roof to protect the kiln(s) from rain. You should also find out how much it would cost to have the correct circuit installed on your patio.
Good luck with your pottery adventure! I love your enthusiasm.
Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.paragonweb.com
Posted 30 April 2012 - 01:08 PM
Posted 01 May 2012 - 09:46 AM
Kiln Repair Tech
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
Posted 01 May 2012 - 12:25 PM
I decided not to get either one of them; i'm looking at getting a new Cress ET28...anyone had any experience?