Solar Kiln Experiences

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Forum topic by Matt posted 04-10-2016 05:59 PM 613 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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137 posts in 1849 days

04-10-2016 05:59 PM

Last week, I picked some fresh-sawn hickory boards from a tree I salvaged this winter. I have 18 8/4, 6-11” wide, 8-9’ long boards. They’re currently stickered in the insulated but not climate controlled attic above my shop, where they can air dry just fine. They’ll even get some help from the sun and heat up there this summer. I’m considering building a solar kiln to quicken the process so I can get to building chair parts with the lumber.

I know that lumber drying conditions and results vary widely due to what climate and weather you have and to species of wood you’re drying, but does anyone have any relatable experiences with solar kiln drying thick lumber? One table I’ve seen says that 4/4 hickory can take 60-200 days to air dry to usable moisture content. So what I’m getting at is how much quicker, generally, will a solar kiln dry lumber?

Included are some pictures of the lumber.

2 replies so far

View TraylorPark's profile


212 posts in 1565 days

#1 posted 04-10-2016 06:54 PM

Here is an excellent post answering a lot of your questions about solar kilns. Link Good looking lumber btw. Good luck.

-- --Zach

View Matt's profile


137 posts in 1849 days

#2 posted 04-10-2016 07:05 PM

Thanks, Zach. The tree had some very tight growth rings and was roughly 70-80 years old. It was dead at the butt but still green up top. It was knocked down with an excavator before I could get my saw to it and it whipped around a few times before it toppled over, possible causing some shakes in it, but the lumber looks like it’ll suit my purposes very well.

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