Here’s a pic of a used, new to me kiln from Takasago Industries in Imari. A bit more insulation than is normally used, even for a Japanese kiln maker. Hot face IFB backed by a lower temp brick, backed by fiber board, covered with a thick corrugated steel sleeve reinforced with heavy steel framework all around. The door swings out on a heavy arm and closes, then seals with the 4 worm screw round handles shown. The top of the kiln is covered with backing brick, then about4 inches of a insulating castable containing lots of vermiculite. the floor has sand troughs on either side of the car, which the skirts of the car slide into, to create a sealed chamber (aside from the burner ports).
This kiln was used by a school for about 5 years, and is in pretty good condition. The car has some loose bricks, but those will be fixed along with rust removal and fresh paint before they deliver. Also new fiber gaskets around the door frame, as well as on the door and flue where the car comes in contact.
The price included the kiln, furniture, a new pyrometer w/ 2 new thermocouples, delivery, and installation including the roofwork required for the chimney, and the rail placement for the car.
So, the price for the kiln itself came to about $5,000 – $6,000. Much reduced from the original price of $22,000. I checked with other kiln makers as well, and the same specs ran from $20,000 – $28,000, no shipping, no furniture, no installation, etc… Talk about shocked.
I also looked into building my own, a minnesota flat top, and the brick alone came to about $6,000. IFB is expensive in Japan, 575yen was the cheapest I could find in my area. There were cheaper places in other parts of the country, but the shipping crossed out the savings.
This kiln should be a good size for a studio like I am planning. It’s 0.3 cubic meters of stacking space. Big enough to do most of the sizes I make, small enough that I don’t have to wait long to fire. I might find firing more often inconvenient, but I think the increased number of firings will be good for my experience and allow me to experiment more.
I will also have my homemade gas ‘ittekoi’ kiln which I built as a small volume test kiln.