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when to buy a new electric kiln

updated fri 23 aug 02


Brad Sondahl on thu 22 aug 02

They can last a very long time. My first kiln was purchased used in
1975, and I used it frequently for over twenty years. Along the way I
replaced gobs of elements, wires, switches, and ended up with large
sections of elements supported by ceramic thumb tacks. The critical
criterion is whether the kiln has become unsafe. Crucial to electric
kilns is the condition of the lid and bottom, particularly the bottom as
it supports the weight of all the pots plus the outer skin of the kiln.
After safety, reliability should be the next consideration. I kept that
kiln going, but stuff went wrong on a regular basis. And when it goes
wrong, pots get wrecked from overfiring, underfiring, etc. I bought a
kiln two years ago, firing over 100 times per year, and haven't had to
replace anything yet. I've really been enjoying that.
Also it's possible your old kiln may have thinner walls than the current
standard, so you may improve on economy by buying a new kiln.
You may also be able to sell your old kiln to someone more interested in
a cheap clunker, or converting it to a raku kiln or something.
Brad Sondahl
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