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buying electric kiln - need advice

updated sat 5 jun 04

 

Steve Slatin on thu 3 jun 04


Clifton --

Not all the EasyFires are cone 10 -- some are cone 8. If you really
need cone 10, make sure you're looking at a cone 10 model.

I have an EasyFire and have done just a few firings with it, but find
it extremely easy to use. The controller's programmable cycles
make it extremely flexible, and it's easy to program (I have no other
programmable controller experience to compare it against).

I think the standards of construction on the L&L are very good, and
the element holders are a real plus. I have replaced elements on
an L&L and a few models without the element holders, and it's
quite a bit easier on an L&L.

I had one question about assembly on the L&L and called the
(toll-free) hot line, got the expert right away, and got good advice.

Whatever you decide, good luck. Steve S

clifton wood wrote:
hi, everyone.

well, i'm buying my first electric kiln... finally leaving school!

i need advice about brands as well as controller vs cone sitter.

here's my wish list:
- 6-8 cubic feet
- wider than deeper
- fires to cone 10 (though i'll only be going to 6)
- 3" brick
- modular build
- manual with kiln sitter

i've looked at the major brands & have narrowed it down to paragon,
skutt & L&L.

the only kilns i can see locally are L&L. I did like the ceramic trays
that the elements sit in, so you don't break brick when replacing them.

given what i need - are there any of the 3 above brands you would
REALLY recommend - or HATE and why?


-- Steve Slatin -- Entry-level potter, journeyman loafer, master obfuscator
No website, no sales room, no scheduled hours
All talk, no action
Sequim, Washington, USA
48.0937N, 123.1465W or thereabouts

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Cindi Anderson on thu 3 jun 04


Hi Cindy
I agree with everything you said, with a couple modifications. List price
on a KS1018 with kiln sitter and timer is $1405. Also, while an L&L J23 is
only Cone 5, an e23S is Cone 10 just like the Skutt. In fact the L&L e23S
and the Skutt 1018 have identical electrical specs (39.4 amps at 240v.) Of
course, I would recommend the 3" brick on either version if someone wants to
do Cone 10.

Cindi
(any other Cindy's/Cindi's want to weigh in?)

clifton wood on thu 3 jun 04


hi, everyone.

well, i'm buying my first electric kiln... finally leaving school!

i need advice about brands as well as controller vs cone sitter.

here's my wish list:
- 6-8 cubic feet
- wider than deeper
- fires to cone 10 (though i'll only be going to 6)
- 3" brick
- modular build
- manual with kiln sitter

i've looked at the major brands & have narrowed it down to paragon,
skutt & L&L.

the only kilns i can see locally are L&L. I did like the ceramic trays
that the elements sit in, so you don't break brick when replacing them.

given what i need - are there any of the 3 above brands you would
REALLY recommend - or HATE and why?

the local L&L dealer wants me to decide by TOMORROW....

if i decide by tomorrow, i'll get old prices & go in on a group order,
so there's no shipping... a savings of $400.

this is with a 20% off old list prices.

he is pushing me to buy a kiln with a controller....

if i buy a manual kiln similar in other aspects to the EZ fire with
controller, it will cost me $600 more... for some reason, L&L prices
their manual kilns more. and he says the controller don't break down
any more than the kiln sitters, tho when they do, they cost about $50
more to fix. I don't want a controller, but i do like the $600. and
the kiln without a controller doesn't come with a counterweight lid.

so - here's a summary of my questions:

- any strong preferences between skutt, paragon & L&L
- am i dumb to save $600 and take a controller i don't want
- is 20% off old list without shipping a good discount in the industry?

thanks for you help.



clifton, norwich & sabra

Cynthia Bracker on thu 3 jun 04


I'm sure you will get TONS of response on this, but here's my $.02 as a
supplier who represents all three kiln mfgrs.
First: You should NEVER feel pressured to make a decision by your
supplier. Although getting a kiln at the old price is attractive, let's
look at the actual numbers, old price on an e28T is $1825 retail. The
new price is $2025. After 20% discount (which is pretty common in this
industry) The overall price difference is $160.00. ($1460 vs $1620).
By the time you buy furniture, vent etc., the new price will probably
reflect about 2-5% of your total bill.
Second: $400 shipping seems like a lot. Is that to your home or to the
supplier? Most suppliers I know of don't charge shipping on a kiln
picked up at their store unless it's a strange special order. You can
probably still negotiate free shipping if you pick it up at your
supplier even after this order as long as you're willing to wait a bit
for their next order (At least if you pick a Skutt or an L&L)
Third: L&L's element holders are excellent. They do make it much
easier to change elements, and give you a more efficient firing because
the elements are a little closer to the chamber of the kiln and the
element holder material is more reflective than soft brick.
Fourth: Controller VS sitter/timer issues. L&L's jupiter series is
more expensive mostly because of the wiring. (For instance you can add
a third wired ring to a 2 section Jupiter kiln by simply plugging it
in) The Jupiters come with sitter and timer OR controller. Now, here's
the thing. A J2918 (same size as e28S) or a J23 (same size as e23S)
would only be a Cone 5 maximum unless you get a powered bottom. A Skutt
1018 (same size as e23S or J23) with sitter and timer is $1370. After a
20% discount, it would be $1096 and that is a Cone 10 kiln. The
computer controllers can be really nice and I think that you would come
to love it in a short time. As far as breaking down, the biggest
problem is that it will be more difficult for you to fix it yourself.
You would have to remove the computer and send it in to get it fixed
(unless you have a kiln repair tech in your area). A good tech can talk
you through how to fix a kiln sitter kiln problem. (If you do plan to
work on your own kiln, Skutt has the simplest wiring and therefore fewer
parts that can go bad, thus less guessing at what is wrong etc.)
Ultimately, if you don't want the controller, don't buy one. Find the
brand that fits your needs best.
Fifth and finally, the three brands you suggested are good quality
brands. My suggestion is to sit down and make another, more extensive
list (and give physical dimensions rather than just "wider than deeper"
of exactly what you want in a kiln (i.e. your dream kiln). Include
everything from size to firebrick thickness to controller to lid hinges
to price etc., basically anything important to you. Then just start
comparing your top five or so models that you are looking at to your
wish list. Send the list and your top five models to Clayart also for
further opinions.
Good luck!
Cindy

clifton wood wrote:

> hi, everyone.
>
> well, i'm buying my first electric kiln... finally leaving school!
>
> i need advice about brands as well as controller vs cone sitter.
>
> here's my wish list:
> - 6-8 cubic feet
> - wider than deeper
> - fires to cone 10 (though i'll only be going to 6)
> - 3" brick
> - modular build
> - manual with kiln sitter
>
> i've looked at the major brands & have narrowed it down to paragon,
> skutt & L&L.
>
> the only kilns i can see locally are L&L. I did like the ceramic trays
> that the elements sit in, so you don't break brick when replacing them.
>
> given what i need - are there any of the 3 above brands you would
> REALLY recommend - or HATE and why?
>
> the local L&L dealer wants me to decide by TOMORROW....
>
> if i decide by tomorrow, i'll get old prices & go in on a group order,
> so there's no shipping... a savings of $400.
>
> this is with a 20% off old list prices.
>
> he is pushing me to buy a kiln with a controller....
>
> if i buy a manual kiln similar in other aspects to the EZ fire with
> controller, it will cost me $600 more... for some reason, L&L prices
> their manual kilns more. and he says the controller don't break down
> any more than the kiln sitters, tho when they do, they cost about $50
> more to fix. I don't want a controller, but i do like the $600. and
> the kiln without a controller doesn't come with a counterweight lid.
>
> so - here's a summary of my questions:
>
> - any strong preferences between skutt, paragon & L&L
> - am i dumb to save $600 and take a controller i don't want
> - is 20% off old list without shipping a good discount in the industry?
>
> thanks for you help.
>
>
>
> clifton, norwich & sabra
>
> ______________________________________________________________________________
>
> Send postings to clayart@lsv.ceramics.org
>
> You may look at the archives for the list or change your subscription
> settings from http://www.ceramics.org/clayart/
>
> Moderator of the list is Mel Jacobson who may be reached at
> melpots@pclink.com.
>
>

Rob Van Rens on thu 3 jun 04


Clifton,

First of all, take what I am telling you with a grain of salt - I'm an L&L
dealer myself.

Having used all three types of kilns extensively (in addition to several
brands not mentioned), I would go with the L&L, or failing that, the
Paragon.

Day-to-day operation is pretty much the same for all the kilns. It's in the
maintenance that the difference really comes through.

L&L kilns are FAR AND AWAY easier to maintain. Have you ever had to replace
the elements in a Skutt? If you own the kiln for any length of time, you
will have to do this, and believe you me, the hard ceramic element holds
make this MUCH easier.

As far as manual vs. computer controllers...all other things being equal,
why would you prefer manual? The EZ-Fire controller (or the Skutt KM
Conroller, or whatever Paragon calls their little red box) allows you to
easily set up firing ramps, holds, soaks, and a variety of other bells and
whistles that a manual conroller doesn't easily allow for.

Anyway, that's my two cents. Oh, BTW, your dealer isn't kidding about the
price increase.

Rob Van Rens

Frederick Clay Art Center
5400 Yukon Ct, Unit 500
Frederick, MD 21758

(301) 371-0310
www.frederickclayartcenter.com
----- Original Message -----
From: "clifton wood"

> hi, everyone.
>
> well, i'm buying my first electric kiln... finally leaving school!
>
>
> i've looked at the major brands & have narrowed it down to paragon,
> skutt & L&L.
>
> the only kilns i can see locally are L&L. I did like the ceramic trays
> that the elements sit in, so you don't break brick when replacing them.
>
> the local L&L dealer wants me to decide by TOMORROW....
>
> if i decide by tomorrow, i'll get old prices & go in on a group order,
> so there's no shipping... a savings of $400.

Mildred Herot on thu 3 jun 04


Hi Clinton: I have an L&L kiln and also a Skutt. Both of these are old
with the L&L older and has been fired more often. Saying this, I am partial
to the L&L since we had to change an element and found this quite easy to do
with no damage to the kiln walls. The Skutt I have (both kilns have been
bought used) has the kiln sitter in an awkward place and since I am very
right handed, setting the cone in with my left hand is annoying. I am in
the market for a NEW kiln myself and will probably go with the
L&L......Mildred Herot
----- Original Message -----
From: "clifton wood"
To:
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2004 1:38 PM
Subject: buying electric kiln - need advice


> hi, everyone.
>
> well, i'm buying my first electric kiln... finally leaving school!
>
> i need advice about brands as well as controller vs cone sitter.
>
> here's my wish list:
> - 6-8 cubic feet
> - wider than deeper
> - fires to cone 10 (though i'll only be going to 6)
> - 3" brick
> - modular build
> - manual with kiln sitter
>
> i've looked at the major brands & have narrowed it down to paragon,
> skutt & L&L.
>
> the only kilns i can see locally are L&L. I did like the ceramic trays
> that the elements sit in, so you don't break brick when replacing them.
>
> given what i need - are there any of the 3 above brands you would
> REALLY recommend - or HATE and why?
>
> the local L&L dealer wants me to decide by TOMORROW....
>
> if i decide by tomorrow, i'll get old prices & go in on a group order,
> so there's no shipping... a savings of $400.
>
> this is with a 20% off old list prices.
>
> he is pushing me to buy a kiln with a controller....
>
> if i buy a manual kiln similar in other aspects to the EZ fire with
> controller, it will cost me $600 more... for some reason, L&L prices
> their manual kilns more. and he says the controller don't break down
> any more than the kiln sitters, tho when they do, they cost about $50
> more to fix. I don't want a controller, but i do like the $600. and
> the kiln without a controller doesn't come with a counterweight lid.
>
> so - here's a summary of my questions:
>
> - any strong preferences between skutt, paragon & L&L
> - am i dumb to save $600 and take a controller i don't want
> - is 20% off old list without shipping a good discount in the industry?
>
> thanks for you help.
>
>
>
> clifton, norwich & sabra
>
>
____________________________________________________________________________
__
> Send postings to clayart@lsv.ceramics.org
>
> You may look at the archives for the list or change your subscription
> settings from http://www.ceramics.org/clayart/
>
> Moderator of the list is Mel Jacobson who may be reached at
melpots@pclink.com.