Appearance: You'll get the box, open it up, fish through the packing peanuts and squee! This kiln is so gosh darned CUTE!! I love that Tabletop Furnace gives us color options. I have a nice, girly purple kiln, so different from my "grown up" (BORING!) colored tools. The color is vibrant, even and well done. (By the way, that handy photo to the left is from Tabletop Furnace Co's website-you can click on it to visit-it will open a new window so you can keep reading here)
Function: It does what it's supposed to and does it quickly! I can run a complete firing and have my glass cabs cooled and in my hands within an hour. I ramp up from room temp to about 1050 degrees, hold for a few minutes, then ramp up to 1550-1600 degrees, hold and then check the glass every 5 minutes until it's done, then ramp down to 1000. I hold it there for a while to anneal the glass and then allow it to cool. Keep in mind I am a complete novice when it comes to glass fusing (photo from one of my first 'batches' below), but I've dropped the cabs I've made so far on concrete floors with absolutely no ill effects. The one I have does not come with a programmable controller, but for the price ($369-$389 retail) I really can't argue. Plus it works quickly enough for the small pieces that I am making that I can just work in the area on other pieces and work the controls manually. The fan is very quiet and I confess, looks pretty cool. Since I received mine, they have come out with a model that has a programmable controller if you prefer it. ($459-$479 retail) Also, and this was a treat for me, it has two standard plugs. No awkward plugs or rewiring!
It comes with shelves so that you can fire more pieces at once. My suggestion is to put glass you want to end up as round cabs on the top and put glass you want to end up as angled cabs on the middle shelf. The top gets more heat, but I consider that a plus as I can make more variety with one firing!
Customer Service: I dealt personally with David through my ordering and follow up process. He is a gem, quick to respond to questions and feedback. I don't foresee having any issues with my kiln, but I know if I do that Tabletop Furnace Co. will treat me right!
Overall, I think it's a great kiln and an absolute bargain. I've been able to make glass cabs I wouldn't otherwise and it is also opening up the world of PMC for me.
Now, since I am an artist-partner with Tabletop Furnace Co, you can mention my business name (GossamerScapes, of course!) when you order and they will give you 5% off! (which you can then spend on glass or clay, hahaha!)