ITEMS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING A SECOND HAND GAS OR ELECTRIC POTTERY KILN.
Many kilns coming onto the market are now more than thirty years old and new legal requirements (particularly with gas kilns) can mean an additional substantial cost to the purchaser. Ideally, I would recommend that a kiln be inspected prior to purchase, although this can be difficult in itself. Below is a check list to help you make a decision.
- Is the kiln less than ten years old? The cost of repairs may increase with age and lack of maintenance.
- Is it being used? Electric elements and fibre deteriorate if a kiln is not used. eg. Kiln has lived unused in a shed for the past 20 – 30 years.
- Check make of kiln and availability of parts. Several kiln manufacturers have closed business which makes parts, particularly elements difficult to obtain.
- Some American kilns are manufactured to suit their lower voltage, and though converted to 240V they still contain lower 110V components and do not last.
- Check maximum temperature. Our stoneware is 1280 degrees – but some kilns are built to a maximum 1200 degrees. – ie. similar to earthenware kilns.
- Gas kilns – Check with a gasfitter for positioning of kiln, cost of certification and installation. This can be more than the purchase price of the kiln. (NB: New kilns are certified prior to sale.)
- Gas kilns require installation by Class “B” licenced gasfitter. You need this certificate to use >45kg gas bottles.
- Kiln MUST be well packed for transportation. Electric elements become brittle once fired, bricks fall out, fibre falls off. You do not want to be on the receiving end of a pile of bricks, rust and dust.
Next week: How to service your kiln.