One day about 5 years ago, I noticed a dusty blue metal box behind the shelves of ware containers in my mentor`s kiln room. When I asked what it was he said it was an electric kiln he had been given but never used, and did I want it? Said I could have it for free, because he got it for free, but that it ran on 3 phase 200 volt current.
At the time I didn`t have a studio let alone space for a kiln, or a 200 volt outlet, but it was always on my mind. Now, 5 years later, I have the studio and my new kiln cover for the wood kiln going in this fall, and wouldn`t you know it, a 200 volt outlet on the exterior wall of the studio that was put in for the immediate purpose of running a concrete mixer, but the long term purpose of running that kiln I`d seen years back.
The kiln is for firing Uwa-e, or overglaze enamels and it`s top temp is probably about 900C. It`s going to be a bisque kiln for me, since I bisque at around 750C. Doing a bisque in my propane kiln costs around $50 in propane. Firing this kiln will cost about $4. It will hold only about 1/3 of the gas kiln, but it`s still far cheaper. I figure $12 to $15 as opposed to $50 for the same volume of pots. A couple years of firings should make back the money (around $900) I spent running the 200V to the workshop.
Here`s the kiln after we loaded it up onto the truck. Boy was it heavy…. took 4 full grown grunting macho men to get it up there. To the left are the lids, and the control panel in the foreground.