So I finally gave in and bought a kiln! I have been talking the ear off my husband for the past few weeks (probably anyone else who would listen as well - sorry family, lol) about differrent brands, shipping costs, maitenece, reliabilty ect. My husband finally just said, well... just go and get it!
I decided to go with the Paragon SC2 - with bead door and viewing window. My plan is to use the kiln mainly for Precious Metal Clay, but I didn't want to limit myself for the future, just in case inspiration strikes with a new media. I have had a little experience with both lampworking (glass bead making) and enamelling in the past, so I may pick them up again in a few years...who knows. I realize that by choosing this door style my kiln will be cooler at the front as some heat escapes through the window and mini door. I just need to keep that in mind when placing my objects in the kiln.
I went with the paragon brand because it seemed to be one of the most reliable, and I liked the programmable options it included. In my very limited experience with kilns (at art school and workshops) I worked with a few different models of the bright blue paragon kilns, I thought I would be most comfortable with it on my own. I immediately disregarded the smaller pot kilns, I wanted a kiln that would yield consistent results each time, a kiln I could trust. My studio is set up in two rooms and usually I close the door in between while I am working because my ventilation system in my "dirty" room is pretty loud. I wanted a kiln that I just check on once in a while, not sit beside for an entire firing.
After hours of research I found a company to buy from, hoping to save a couple of bucks by purchasing from the United States. I did phone around town to try and purchase the kiln locally but the cost seemed really high ( I was quoted $1300 by one place!) I have been looking on kajiji (another version of Craig's List) but nothing has turned up in the past few months.
The kiln was $707 USD with the extra cost of the bead door and viewing window. My shipping was $78 USD. I expected to pay brokerage, taxes and duty (I estimated around $150 for these fees.)
Well in the end my kiln actually cost me:
$935.93 (kiln + shipping x USD exchange rate into CAD @1.192280)
$112.15 (GST, duty, brokerage fee (yikes) from UPS)
For a grand total of $1048.09!!!! I was not expecting it to be so high in the end, those little extra hidden costs do add up! I better get my use out of it now... get to work Melissa!