Killing it with Fire

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Forum topic by TrialThroughError posted 06-25-2015 03:02 PM 1390 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TrialThroughError's profile


3 posts in 1084 days

06-25-2015 03:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lumber reclaimed termite ant insect bug kill infest infestation fire heat heat source kiln rh humidity drying question

Morning friends,

To summarize so you don’t have to read the whole thing:

-Can you use one salamander/torpedo heater to heat a 12’x6’x4’ OSB-framed kiln to a minimum air temp of 150 for at least 4 hours, for the purpose of killing anything alive?

-Will the power of the heater matter much? Or is even the weakest of these heaters capable of creating an air temp of 150 inside this box?

-Do I need to vent the box? I want as much heat to stay inside as possible.

The Details:
I have a stickered stack of reclaimed lumber.
I know there are some wood boring insects inside, (a recent infestation). Grubs/eggs or whatnot.

My plan:
Kill ‘em with fire.
150-200 for 4 hours ought to do it.
Build a makeshift kiln around the stack.
Four walls and a roof made of cheap osb on a 2×4 frame.
Dimensions of stack: 12’x6’, rising to approx. 4’ off the ground.

The question:
Heat Source?
Looking for effective, cheap, easy, safe.
In that order, lol.

My current options in order of my preference:

1: Salamandar/torpedo heater
$20 to rent from HD. Won’t actually place in the box, but place it maybe 3’ outside. The business end sticking into a “tunnel” of cinder blocks leading into the box. This way, no actual wood is in contact with the heater.
Possibly add a fan, if air circulation is lacking.

2: Small fire in a circle of cinderblocks, just outside the box, venting into the box.
Definitely need a fan inside the box. Definitely need to keep a sharp look out for safety.

3: Steam. Rent steam cleaner from just about anywhere.
Possible problems:
-Warping of OSB box walls, releasing the heat.
-Saturating the wood. I believe the steam would actually lower the RH of the wood, but I’m no expert.
-It kind of seems like going around my * to get to my elbow. The other two options involve ONLY a heat source, where this option uses a heat source to heat a 3rd party substance, to then heat the wood.
However, steam is a common way of killing insects/sanitizing.
-Not as cool/satisfying.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
You guys, and this place, are awesome.

7 replies so far

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1514 days

#1 posted 06-25-2015 03:09 PM

Of the options you present, I think I like the torpedo heater the best. I don’t think you need a tunnel, though .. may waste lots of heat. How about the heater blowing into a hole with an angled wall of cinder blocks somewhat blocking the entrance so the air deflects off them and into the kiln ?

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1224 days

#2 posted 06-25-2015 03:29 PM

Wouldnt steam do the opposite of drying the wood? If you were looking to bend a ton of lumber this would be a good idea.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3079 days

#3 posted 06-25-2015 04:25 PM

It being hot right now and me being not overly ambitious, I would use chemical means, bug bombs to
kill the insects.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View TrialThroughError's profile


3 posts in 1084 days

#4 posted 06-25-2015 04:49 PM

Thanks for the input, everyone.

Yonak: Yes, I think that is a great execution.

SirIrb: I am not trying to dry the wood, just kill anything living inside. I had a similar worry, that it may soak the wood, but I think it may actually have a drying effect. Not sure though. I can’t find any info on how a quick steam affects relative humidity of the wood.

Bluepine38- I contemplated tenting it and throwing a handful of bug bombs inside, however, intuition and a little research led me to believe the chemicals may not find their way around the corners and through the debris of the insects holes.

Thanks again!

View WDHLT15's profile


1738 posts in 2469 days

#5 posted 06-26-2015 01:12 AM

A bug bomb will not penetrate the wood enough to kill powderpost beetles.

The wood must be heated to an internal temp of over 133 degrees for several hours. May take longer than 4 hours at 150 degrees to reach an internal wood temp of over 133 degrees.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View jumbojack's profile


1676 posts in 2617 days

#6 posted 06-26-2015 04:17 PM

Solar power. Wrap in black plastic, in your sunniest location. Let it sit for a week. Here in California this method works great. Yesterday was 106.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3578 days

#7 posted 06-26-2015 08:05 PM

I say either microwave ! or if too big for the m w then coat liberally with kerosene/parrafin and leave .Possibly storing after wards in a sealed box or wrap with plastic bags etc.There is no need to fill the bag with kerosene just paint it on liberally and wait. I also understand they don’t like heat but then neither does wood usually.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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