drying lumber

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Forum topic by Joseph Jossem posted 05-19-2012 03:58 AM 1472 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2290 days

05-19-2012 03:58 AM

Aloha lumber jocks I produce alot of lumber in hawaii .it is hot here but not what I want for commercial drying.

Tell me what are your best ideas for drying here as far as a heat source.What do those houses run on for winter time over there.I think solar and propane are my best bets here any ideas and advise on space heaters etc.I have tried all types of space heaters mainly I use fans to force the lumber to dry if I could add heat to that cheap I could pump lumber faster.Spending 50k on a kiln is not in my near future.Thanks for any help on tips to heat etc.

9 replies so far

View Abhilasha's profile


1 post in 2220 days

#1 posted 05-19-2012 06:41 AM

When it comes to manufacturing wood into furniture or structural pieces, such as a Mission glider, lumber goes through a number of processes. One of these processes is known as drying, in which excess moisture is removed from lumber to ensure a quality product that will not warp or change shape over time and when exposed to different element conditions. Makita

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2286 days

#2 posted 05-19-2012 07:52 AM

I’m not really sure what you are asking.

What is your definition of “a lot”? What type of wood and dimensions are you drying? How fast do you want it dried? What will the wood be used for?

It’s kind of hard to suggest a heat source when we don’t know the size kiln we’re dealing with, the location, or any other actual details of where you are drying wood.

I will try though.

Why not just build a large solar kiln? If you’re in Hawaii, I’m going to assume you get plenty of sun exposure.

Other than that, a conventional fossil fuel burning kiln is fairly simple to construct. It may not be very efficient though.

Pretty much any commercial kiln you build is going to have some pretty high expenses associated with running it whether it’s fuel or its construction.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3258 days

#3 posted 05-19-2012 11:48 AM

Here's a link to the solar kiln information at Virginia Tech. They have a great set of plans online (free) and lots of people have used their plans to dry lumber. I’m sure where you live, the sun shines enough to dry your wood.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2290 days

#4 posted 05-19-2012 03:42 PM

Doss I currently have a 20’ container and 2 10×20 metal sheds for drying main thing I am looking for is a cheap heat source propane or a space money wise what is the cheapest source propane or a plug in space heaters.I have the drying process down and setups just need to add heat cheap and more then the sun can offer.I ran a few small cheap space heaters didnt do much but make the electricity bill climb.

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 3006 days

#5 posted 05-19-2012 04:09 PM

heat will not be as effective as dry air. What you really want is a shed or something with a dehumidifier in it so that the moisture in the wood can leave more easily. As I understand it, Hawaii is rather humid, with heat not being much of an issue.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View a1Jim's profile


117113 posts in 3598 days

#6 posted 05-19-2012 04:25 PM

If you mill wood you must have a good amount of wood scrap that you could use a wood stove or two , I agree that removing the humidity is a main concern, so I’m guessing you already have fans to blow air in and out.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2286 days

#7 posted 05-19-2012 05:00 PM

Like the others are saying, dehumidifying is going to be a major concern for you. Since you have a lot of wood, building a typical kiln with an AC unit or small dehumidifier are probably not going to work unless you’re doing small loads. The same for a space heater kiln.

If you don’t have a heavily controlled space (sealed) to do this in, heaters and dehumidifiers are essentially going to be spitting into the wind. Since you seem to have nice stacks, I’d go ahead and build a shelter to put them in and let them air dry while waiting to run them through the kiln and just build as much kiln as you can afford. Solar might be something good to try, but make sure you have the fans and humidity controls in place to effectively dry the wood.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Scsmith42's profile


125 posts in 2698 days

#8 posted 05-19-2012 07:36 PM

Aloha Joseph. I envy you living in Hawaii; my wife and I spent a few weeks on Maui and really fell in love with it.

To your question – I am a kiln owner and operator.

There is a lot more to drying lumber than just adding heat. Humidity, temperature and air flow are the three elements that you need to control throughout the process. Additionally, the kiln operator uses different temperature and humidity settings depending upon the species, thickness, and moisture content of the wood being dried, and these settings change throughout the drying process.

To answer your question in greater depth, as well as being able to provide the best advice, we need more information. For starters, we need to know what targeted board footage you want to dry on a monthly basis, as well as the species and thickness. Are you intending to air dry for a few months first (less time in the kiln), or do you want to go directly from the sawmill into the kiln. Also, what is the intended use for the lumber that you are producing? Is it furniture grade wood, structural wood for housing, or ???

If you can provide additional information, we will be in a better position to offer you sound advice.



-- Scott, North Carolina,

View killerb's profile


150 posts in 2419 days

#9 posted 05-19-2012 08:22 PM

Scott is giving good information. Still don’t know why you don’t think the solar kiln will work. I made one years back and it works fine. I am in Wisconsin, so I am sure it will work in Hawaii. bob

-- Bob

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