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Solar kilns

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  • #345457
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    As we all know that buying kiln dried wood is expensive. I was wondering if anyone has ad any experience with solar kilns for drying wood.

    #345476
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    I haven’t heard of a solar kiln. I know some guys do it with a dehumidifier.

    #345498
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    I haven’t heard of a solar kiln. I know some guys do it with a dehumidifier.

    how does it work with the dehumidifier, do you have to run in a box with the wood 24/7?

    #345519
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    here is a link to plans for one done by Wood Magazine. several other woodworking magazines have done articles and plans also.

    http://www.woodmagazine.com/materials-guide/lumber/wood-magazine-solar-kiln/

    Attachments:
    #345525
    Toolshead
    Pro
    In the Rice Fields, South TX

    Theory of operation and typical plans at https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/420/420-030/420-030_pdf.pdf .

    You’re just trying to speed up the process of raw wood drying from the rule of thumb of 1 year per inch of thickness.

    You have to enable moisture exit, limit moisture ingress, and do it at an even and somewhat controlled rate to limit checking. In the proper setting it can be done by heating a box full of ventilated wood with the sun.

    If your site is completely shaded as mine is, it won’t work well. In other areas it can work well and be economical.

    Since what I do for the most part is small in scale, I use a dehumidifier – the air conditioner. I stick freshly cut wood up to 1.5 inches thick and up to a few feet long vertically around the edges of my HVAC air return, leaving a gap between them. There’s a continuous flow of relatively dry air there. After a couple of weeks I flip them end for end and rearrange front to back. After a couple more weeks they go to the overhead area in the shop for at least a couple of weeks to equilibrate before resawing. While my relative humidity is often 90-100%, temporarily storing the boards a couple of feet under a shingled roof seems to work.

    For a larger scaled operation it would be advantageous to track amount of time by wood species and duration in each phase of drying. I’ve forgotten and left wood in the initial phase of drying for a couple of months and there’s some over the shop that’s been there a couple years.

    I’ve done it with equal success with bois d’arc, pecan, oak, elm, and hackberry.

    Given the right conditions and needs, I’d certainly consider a solar kiln.

    #345563
    sergey061478
    Blocked

    I have not seen or heard of solar kilns. However, I think they are possible to make. Please post plans if anyone has them.

    #345619
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I have not seen or heard of solar kilns. However, I think they are possible to make. Please post plans if anyone has them.

    @sergey061478 Plans have been posted in the posts above. You need to read the threads before posting and check your PM’s……Dabbs

    #345646
    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    Theory of operation and typical plans at https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/420/420-030/420-030_pdf.pdf .

    I have not seen or heard of solar kilns. However, I think they are possible to make. Please post plans if anyone has them.

    Dude the plans are in the post right above yours.

    #345673
    whitehill
    Pro
    Ottawa, ON

    I’ve purchased birch that was dried in a solar kiln from a small woodlot operator in Saskatchewan. He was pleased with how it worked. That was quite a while ago. With the advances that have been made in sensing technology and low cost computing since then, it should be possible to more easily automate adjustments in air flow and temperature for optimum drying. Sorry, haven’t seen any plans lately.

    #345675
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    Thanks for the plans, now everyone of them calls for 1 or 2 fans above, does anyone know if there is a solar powered fan? I want to build this in my backyard in a removable fashion. If i were to move I want to be able to knock down the walls and take it to the next house or that piece of land I want to buy.

    #345684

    @Toolshead Awesome information Phil! I don’t have wood to dry for use as lumber but I would like to apply this to drying wood for smoking food. My father-in-law has Guava I’d like to dry for that purpose. Thanks.

    #345737
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    We have installed fans similar to this on attics. they work well, I am sure they would work for a kiln. they even have a temperature sensor option to turn them on and off.

    http://www.zoro.com/broan-solar-powered-attic-ventilator-mount-345csobk/i/G5889021/?utm_source=google_shopping&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Google_Shopping_Feed&gclid=CIyWvYiW9MUCFZaMaQoduLsAHg&gclsrc=aw.ds

    #345739
    whitehill
    Pro
    Ottawa, ON

    @r-ice, there’s lots of options 😉
    Solar powered fans are a cheap commodity item from China. Try DX.com or Fasttech.com, both places I’ve purchased from. Read the reviews though because some stuff is only cheap, not good value.
    There are diy versions google will lead you to as well.
    Canadian Tire has been running some good deals on Coleman amorphous panels (generally more effective than crystalline at Canadian latitudes), combine that with any 12v fan. Ibet checking out Princess Auto might be worth it too.
    If you or any buddies are into electronics and computers then a control system using Raspberry Pi or Arduino would be cool. Which reminds me, check out sensors from Adafruit.

    #345740
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    we have used fans like this on attics, they work well. they even have a temperature sensor to turn them on and off

    #345753

    we have used fans like this on attics, they work well. they even have a temperature sensor to turn them on and off

    When I was looking into these years ago, I heard they could contribute to the spread of a house fire. When the hot air from a fire triggers the fan it would pull the fire upwards and fan it more. Decided not to get one at the time but hopefully they figured out a way to stop that from happening since then.

    #345755
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    we have used fans like this on attics, they work well. they even have a temperature sensor to turn them on and off

    When I was looking into these years ago, I heard they could contribute to the spread of a house fire. When the hot air from a fire triggers the fan it would pull the fire upwards and fan it more. Decided not to get one at the time but hopefully they figured out a way to stop that from happening since then.

    There’s a point I wouldn’t have thought of, But really; If a fire is that far along it probably wouldn’t matter much anyway??

    #345774
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    we have used fans like this on attics, they work well. they even have a temperature sensor to turn them on and off

    When I was looking into these years ago, I heard they could contribute to the spread of a house fire. When the hot air from a fire triggers the fan it would pull the fire upwards and fan it more. Decided not to get one at the time but hopefully they figured out a way to stop that from happening since then.

    There’s a point I wouldn’t have thought of, But really; If a fire is that far along it probably wouldn’t matter much anyway??

    I would think the draft you get from standard roof venting would be plenty to keep the fire going. I don’t think a fan would add a lot to it. By the time the smoke and fire gets to the attic, I would think the solar cells or wiring powering the fan would melt or be blocked out by the fan. In reality, that I don’t think it would have much of a effect on a fire for a very long time.

    #345776

    we have used fans like this on attics, they work well. they even have a temperature sensor to turn them on and off

    When I was looking into these years ago, I heard they could contribute to the spread of a house fire. When the hot air from a fire triggers the fan it would pull the fire upwards and fan it more. Decided not to get one at the time but hopefully they figured out a way to stop that from happening since then.

    There’s a point I wouldn’t have thought of, But really; If a fire is that far along it probably wouldn’t matter much anyway??

    I would think the draft you get from standard roof venting would be plenty to keep the fire going. I don’t think a fan would add a lot to it. By the time the smoke and fire gets to the attic, I would think the solar cells or wiring powering the fan would melt or be blocked out by the fan. In reality, that I don’t think it would have much of a effect on a fire for a very long time.

    Actually when I was looking there weren’t many solar ones. I was looking at one of those louvered gable vents which can move a lot of air.

    I don’t think the one shown would move as much as one of the electrically wired louvered fans.

    #345790
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    Theory of operation and typical plans at https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/420/420-030/420-030_pdf.pdf .

    I have not seen or heard of solar kilns. However, I think they are possible to make. Please post plans if anyone has them.

    Dude the plans are in the post right above yours.

    Dirty an all time classic post right there. Good job.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #345841
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Theory of operation and typical plans at https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/420/420-030/420-030_pdf.pdf .

    I have not seen or heard of solar kilns. However, I think they are possible to make. Please post plans if anyone has them.

    Dude the plans are in the post right above yours.

    Dirty an all time classic post right there. Good job.

    sometimes you gotta wonder????

    that is a classic

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