My Poor Man's Solar Kiln

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Project by MikeSpanky posted 09-07-2015 04:06 AM 2048 views 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My Poor Man's Solar Kiln
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Going to try drying this load of cypress as best I can. I have a 48” attic fan blowing directly on it. The lumber was fresh cut a week ago. Using a moisture gauge I saw moisture fall 10-20 percent in only two days using this method. The daytime temps are running in mid 90’s. My suspicions are, this is a fairly normal drop but I’ll chart it anyway and see. Would love to hear about other’s experiences drying lumber and how long it usually takes with cypress.

We plan to use the lumber when ready on two sides of a room that will be designed with a rustic feel to it. We’ll work outside and inside. Inside planning to build hickory cabinets.

-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.

6 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21743 posts in 3309 days

#1 posted 09-07-2015 11:18 AM

Very ingenious! I talked to a guy that air dries like that and he covers it just to keep the rain off and has good air circulation like that! It should work well!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

513 posts in 3720 days

#2 posted 09-07-2015 12:04 PM

The rule of thumb that is quoted often in magazines is 1 year per inch of thickness.

-- jstegall

View Roger's profile


20952 posts in 3008 days

#3 posted 09-07-2015 12:17 PM

I agree w/John above. This should dry very nicely. I think the ratchet straps are a gr8 idea.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View MikeSpanky's profile


179 posts in 1567 days

#4 posted 09-07-2015 01:16 PM

Hope that rule applies with Cypress. I’ve read that the inside of a board can retain high moisture for up to three years. Not sure the variables on that though, (thickness, climate,etc). Thanks for the input.

-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.

View HerbC's profile


1790 posts in 3063 days

#5 posted 09-07-2015 04:11 PM

I had good luck drying cypress with similar setup w/o fan. I actually let it dry for several years but it was suitable for my use after six months of air drying.

I’m currently using it to do interior renovations in living room and dining room, making wainscot height paneling, chair rail molding, window trim, door and window molding and false beams….


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View MikeSpanky's profile


179 posts in 1567 days

#6 posted 09-08-2015 02:50 AM

Herb thanks. It’s my opinion that in our part of the country lumber will dry out more faster than other areas. All wood species seem to be quick to dry here. I purchased some red oak in July. The man told me it was from a tree cut in early May. It had been under a shed air drying with stickers dividing it when I bought it. After storing at home for a few days I put the moisture measure to it and it read 17%. A week ago I measured and it was down to 12%. There’s no fan and no direct sunlight. With our humidity being 60-85 I have been quite surprised at the readings.

The cypress I can use as quickly as it gets down to a useable reading. The oak I have later plans to build a farm table with it.

-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.

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