What is the most common type of kiln used in schools?
Because time and budget are limited, school teachers (and administrators and facilities coordinators) need a kiln that is easy to use and inexpensive to maintain. The most typical kiln used in K-12 schools is a 7 cubic foot School-Master with extended warranty and easy-to-use One-Touch Controller, or an Easy-Fire kiln with three-zone control.
All L&L kilns feature hard ceramic element holders to protect the inside of your kiln. This makes it easy to keep your kiln clean with no hanging elements or pins and makes element changes much faster and easier.
Basics of Choosing a School Kiln
L&L makes the market's most user-friendly and budget-conscious kiln. Teachers and service technician say time and again that L&L kilns last the longest and are the cheapest and easiest to maintain because of our intuitive panel design and hard ceramic element holders, among other unique features.
Excellent customer support, videos, and a vast knowledge base are the backbones that make owning an L&L the best choice you could make on a school budget.
School Level (Elementary, Middle, High)
An elementary school will not require the kind of ceramic equipment that a high school will. The projects are often smaller, less precise, and may require shorter firing times and a smaller kiln room. With that being said, it is hard to judge the kind of turnover that a particular school might have, especially if the program is brand new.
What is the depth of the ceramic program?
Some schools will only include ceramics as a portion of a semester lesson plan, while others have ceramics departments that run classes year-round. Class size also factors into the depth of the program. You can have a serious program that puts out a lot of work but has a relatively small number of students. That kind of program would require a large sized kiln. The teacher or program director is the best judge of this. Different programs will do their firings with varying methods. A school that fires its kilns to cone 6 every day will have different requirements compared to a school that fires to cone 04 once a week. These are all questions that need to be addressed by the department head before selecting the right kiln or kilns.
The size of the work being fired is another variable in the kiln selection process. As a result, we have put together a way to calculate the average cubic foot requirement for any given class. To estimate cubic feet with any precision you need to know how many student projects will get fired in a one-week period. You will also need to know what the typical size of a project is, anything from large sculptural items to small pots or cups. Take the typical cubic inches of a project and multiply that by 1-1/2 to get the kiln volume needed to fire that project. Most teachers will not want to fire their kiln every day.
A Middle School has two classes of 24 children making one project per week per child (48 children). The typical project is approximately 4” x 4” x 6”H (1536 cubic inches x 1.5 = 2304 cubic inches / 1728 to get cubic feet = 1.3 cubic feet. They will need 1.3 x 48 cubic feet of firing capacity each week (64 cubic feet). If they fire four times a week they will need 16 cubic feet of kiln capacity. So a 7 cubic foot and a 10 cubic foot kiln could work or better yet two 10 cubic foot kilns.
Why the biggest Kiln is not a good idea
To someone who is unfamiliar with kilns, it may seem like purchasing the largest kiln the budget will allow is the best solution; this is usually a good idea. If you have a smaller program, or one that requires specialty firings, buying the largest kiln may actually hinder your efficiency and creativity. For instance, if you are having a hard time filling the kiln, it will postpone your firing schedule. One might assume that you can fire the kiln half empty, and for certain firings that is the case but for a glaze firing, uneven loading can lead to inconsistent firing results, underfiring and cold spots. It also may cause adverse effects on the kiln interior and its elements. If you are looking to have a quick turnaround time for your student's work, a big kiln does you no service.