Setting up your own pottery studio can be a costly venture. Purchasing used pottery equipment instead of new equipment can be a way to save money while setting up your pottery studio. Below is a guide for what to look for when you shop for used pottery equipment so you can purchase quality products instead of duds that will end up costing you more in repairs and replacements than the initial cost savings.
A search on your local Craigslist or perusal in the classifieds section of your newspaper may turn up advertisements for used potter’s wheels. To determine whether a used pottery wheel is a good deal, or a waste of money, find out what brand and model the used potter’s wheel is. If it is not listed in the advertisement then you should contact the current owner to ask.
Look up the used pottery equipment online to make sure that it will meet your requirements. Find out how many pounds of clay it can be used for at a time and consider whether that will work for you. If the used potter’s wheel meets your specifications, then make an appointment to view it in person.
Although the current owner may have described the potter’s wheel as being in excellent condition, you may find that when you try it out yourself it is closer to “fair” or even “poor” condition. Take the time to try out the different speeds, if available, to make sure that it works. Find out how old the potter’s wheel is. A few years is fine, since a well maintained wheel can last decades. But if it has been poorly maintained and needs a new motor you may be better off with a new potter’s wheel – or looking elsewhere.
Used Pottery Equipment – Kilns
The other expensive piece of pottery equipment is your kiln. If you can purchase used pottery equipment instead of a new kiln, then you will be able to save substantially. Like a potter’s wheel, a kiln that has been maintained should last through several years of firings.
When looking for a used kiln keep in mind not only that you need one that meets your specifications, but that you also must be able to get it out of the current owner’s home or studio and into your workspace. While new kilns are delivered to your door, purchasing used pottery equipment means negotiating delivery with the current owner. Kilns are both large and heavy, which means that moving one will require the use of a truck as well as at least two strong movers, if not more.
Before purchasing a used kiln, look around where it is located. Is it even possible to move it out of the current location? Often potters will set up studios in one corner of their basement and refinish the rest of the basement, making it impossible to remove the kiln without dissembling it. Unless you have advanced knowledge of kilns, this would be a bad plan since you would be risking being able to rebuild your kiln and getting any use out of it.