03 Feb. 1994|
Solar wood dryer plans,woodcraft kitchen cabinet doors,how to make a rustic wood dining table,build analytical skills - For Outdoors
For figured, thick, prized or check-prone wood, it’s best to start the drying process with the vents closed. I added a couple of remote sensors in the middle of the stack so I could tell when the wood was dry without having to open the kiln (Photo 5).
When you’re done stacking your green wood, attach a plastic sheet to the bottom of the fan plenum and drape it over the stack (Fig.
American Woodworker magazine was acquired by F+W Media (parent company of Popular Woodworking) in 2014. Shortly after retiring from a 30-year career with a utility company, Jeff found a small farm that was approximately half mixed hardwoods and half pasture, sold his property in town and moved.
Unfortunately, Jeff did not realize that it usually takes five to eight months for green firewood to dry enough to burn easily and provide more heat.
A solar firewood dryer will cut the wood drying time in half and the wood you cut and split in late summer or early fall should be ready to use later in the winter. It is important to split the logs to speed drying before putting them in the dryer and to keep the wood off the ground with bricks, concrete blocks, pallets, 2×4’s, fence posts, etc.
Before the pesky winter rain and snow come, make sure the plastic sheeting has no rips or tears that allow the wood to get wet.
You will know the wood is dry when it is showing cracks or splits to the center of the piece. As I read the article I was thinking how great if we could have a solar kiln drying our lumber and having the exhaust air from the kiln to heat our home in the winter.
I have managed to obtain green wood at a lumberyard at a fraction of the price of dry wood. Because the wood is protected from the elements, this solar kiln offers more control with much less chance of defects than air-drying provides. This keeps the humidity in the kiln from dropping too quickly and slows the drying process.
The big pile of green wood in front cost the same as the tiny pile of kiln-dried wood behind me. The fresh cut wood was too green to burn well and was also producing too much smoke inside the house, causing a two-fold problem. The graying board and batten farmhouse had electricity, gas, water, and a septic tank but was heated by a wood-burning stove with which Jeff had no experience.
Had he built a solar firewood dryer when he moved to the farm in August, he would have had the dry firewood he needed in January when the temperature dropped.
The fully seasoned wood will burn cleaner with less creosote and smoke and also burn more efficiently. Insulation in the walls and floor helps the kiln retain heat, which helps speed the drying process. They are closed toward the end of the drying process to help maximize heat and get the wood down to the target 8 percent MC.
Jeff realized that there was more to learn about firewood than just cutting a tree down, splitting the logs, and sticking them in the wood heater.
The right exposure lets the wood receive the maximum amount of the sun’s heat to speed up the drying process. After the majority of the moisture is out of the wood, which usually takes a week or two, go ahead and shut the vents to maximize the temperature. Corrugated roofing manufacturers offer various solutions to this problem, such as wood strips cut to match the undulating roofline or strips of foam that conform to the corrugations.
He cut a couple of green oaks from the property for firewood but found the green wood did not burn efficiently, so he was forced to buy seasoned firewood from a supplier in the county. To increase the insulating value of the roof, I also stapled clear 6-mil-thick plastic sheeting on the underside of the roof frame. After the kiln is loaded, all that’s required is some minimal vent adjusting while the wood dries.
You may find it’s easiest to simply leave the vents closed all the time for thick or hard-to-dry wood. Moisture is drawn from the wood into the air and is vented outside through the vents or leaks out naturally through the kiln’s joints and seams.
The surface of the wood gets wet and cool, relieving any drying stresses that built up during the day.