What to Look for When Buying a Used Kiln

 This site showcases the ceramic works of Vicki Hardin that are fired with pit fire and raku techniques.    Here  you may visit Vicki's online gallery and find out about where her work is showing.
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I'm interested in resuming a pottery career but have never owned a kiln of  my own.  Am trying to find info. about a Gare kiln 18" electric and if that  > would be good for doing some raku?  Thank you for any info you can give  me. 
I  have the chance to buy one for $300.00 but would like to know if  that is  adequate.    Nancy

Nancy, If you are considering purchase of a used kiln, I would take into consideration how old the kiln is, its condition, how it was used, and the type of wiring it requires.  Most houses are wired with single phase electricity while industry uses 3 phase. If you plan to use single phase electricity, make sure your kiln is wired for that.  The elements, the wires inside the kiln, should be intact in channels. It is not good to have them hanging out although the kiln will sometimes work when they do.  Get a history of the kiln's use.  A kiln is to firing as a car is to mileage. It is only good for so many.  You will only need to get up to approx. 1800 degrees F for Raku so it should not be a problem with temperature. I would want something that fired up to cone eight though in the event that I wanted to fire cone six stoneware some day. You never know what you might want to do next.  Kilns are not a hot selling resale item. I have seen some really great ones at the price you mentioned, some hardly used. If this is not the one, I would keep looking.  In terms of using an electric kiln for raku, some people do. I have a friend that does it very successfully. Remember, you will be reaching into a hot kiln with metal tongs. She has her kiln where she can throw a breaker so she has no chance of electrocution. Her's is outside also with a she over it. I would not be planning to put it inside and then going out the door with work at the red heat stage.  For one thing, on some glazes, your aim is to get the work into the reduction can as soon as possible to get a good luster. Well, that's all I can think of. Let me know if you have further questions and Good Luck!

Vicki Hardin

FAQ #2 How to Pit Fire
FAQ #3 Care for Raku