[Clayart] dampers and flues

Terry Lazaroff zalt57 at videotron.ca
Tue Jul 25 00:32:05 EDT 2017


You are correct with your observation. 

 Charging, for the kiln upkeep and replacement plans, is a good business model.   The difficulty facing many clay clubs is the ability to correctly analysis the true kiln costs.  Part of the difficulty is due to being able to determine the life cycle of the kiln.  This ability is compounded by the turnover of the members and the lack of establishing records of when things were done.  When a new kiln is brought on to the inventory, a plan should include establishing a trust fund to affect future repairs and replacement.    Even when bricks come from some free donor, and construction was carried out by a bunch of good people who are volunteers. 

Potters come and go in a club environment. This result is the condominium mentality.  When people purchase a new condo, They do not want high condo fees. so they are reluctant to put money aside to cover the cost of future roof replacement.  They state that they will  pay for a new roof when it is necessary.   Then they move out two years before the roof has to be repaired, leaving both old and new owners the bill to replace the roof. 

In your case, you have sufficient information to analysis the cost of firing, and how much of the cost that should include the, replacement, costs that will come up in five years.  The next item on the order of business should be the selling of shares in a new kiln.  This will ensure that the share holders look at putting aside funds derived from the firing costs to affect future repairs.

Even when the group is in some sort of community club, a business plan should be put together so that members understand the cost of doing business. 

Terry  knowing that there is no such thing as a free bicycle. 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: Robert Harris
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2017 11:38 PM
To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum
Subject: Re: [Clayart] dampers and flues

My biggest object to "My kiln fires for the cost of a mug", is that this
does not adhere to most rules of accounting and economincs.

When calculating the cost of a kiln you need to include
depreciation/amortization. In our guild we charge people not just for the
natural gas, but also for the projected cost of replacing/rebuilding the
kiln. For example our kiln has been rebuilt once, and needs to be replaced
within the next five years. The bricks are 30+ years old, and simple can't
be reused any longer.

I'd guess that the kiln has been fired 350+ times. But the current cost for
a replacement is approaching $20,000. This doesn't include the cost of the
rebuild about 15 years ago, nor periodic maintenance nor new kiln shelves
or posts (even the most careful person breaks one every so often). Should
we include cones in the cost, replacing thermocouples etc ... etc ... We
estimate it costs well over a hundred dollars to fire a kiln (about the
same size as yours) when you include replacement value. And to not include
it, (particularly in the context of a guild/co-op setting) is at best
disingenuous, if not dishonest (if you were a public company you would be
breaking SEC regulations ;) ).


On Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 5:39 AM, mel jacobson <melpots2 at visi.com> wrote:

> in my opinion, when building a kiln you have to be able
> to change the size of your flue outlet, and try to think
> of nils and the idea of turbulence at the flue.
> even with higher altitude if the flue opening is too big, you just heat
> the atmosphere. so, saying that...you should be able to take out a partial
> brick, or add a partial brick until you get it firing just right.  i would
> stay in the 40 square inch area to begin. just don't get in the 70-80
> square inch size that so many old books talk about. it is just too big.
> fuel is expensive...why waste it for nothing.
> there is a reason our kilns fire so fast...like 5 hours.
> the flue and stack are just perfect.
> you can always fire longer, slow it down...but..when
> you have to fire a 15 cube kiln for 18-24 hours...there is a problem..big
> problem.  it is your money going up the stack.
> learn to down fire..your life gets better.
> bill schran, dave lyons and others were firing our small kiln to cone 11
> in under 5 hours. 6 days in a row.
> the kiln is in perfect balance. it is a one brick thick kiln. two stacks
> of shelves. 11x16's. mn flat top.
> kiln is made mostly of broken and rubble bricks. the needle on the gas
> gage barely moves.  but, a great many people fight us like made...can't be
> true...well, it is.
> we like to tell people that the kiln is done before the outside of the
> bricks get really hot.  it is true.
> colleen and lynn fox, with john post built that kiln in two days. ben
> burgert age 16 was the strong kid that did all the lifting. we used sacrete
> to tie the block to the ground...level. it is rocky and sandy.  no slab
> needed.
> the next summer we built a wooden frame with a metal roof over the kiln.
> nice little shelter.  cost was under a hundred bucks. (you buy that steel
> roofing that is left over from other jobs...you know, in the corner of the
> lumber yard...`hey joe, you want to get rid of that steel roofing?
> 4/3 foot by 8 feet. who cares what color.
> we fire about 45 pots or more, in five hours and the cost is
> about 20 bucks for propane. do the math.
> my 45 cubic foot natural gas kiln fires for the cost of a mug. true.
> there is a reason i did not get a bigger meter.
> that kiln fires in 9 hours, i do not rush it. that is the timing it has
> always had. big kiln, lots of pots and shelves to heat up.  about 100 pots
> a firing. (size matters when counting., of course.)
> --
> Mel's Website:  www.melpots.com
> http://www.melpots.com/CLAYART.HTML
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