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Build a solar kiln or pay someone to dry wood

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Forum topic by Doug posted 03-27-2014 09:33 PM 2246 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Doug

18 posts in 1214 days


03-27-2014 09:33 PM

I have about 2,600 bdft of red oak and black cherry to be cut in the month or so.

I am considering building a solar kiln which will run between $1,200 and $1,600 excluding labor which I will provide.

Question is whether or not just to pay someone to dry the wood, or go ahead with building one.

Anyone have an idea of cost per bdft to dry oak and cherry?

Thanks, Doug

-- Doug


8 replies so far

View MisterBill's profile

MisterBill

411 posts in 1719 days


#1 posted 03-27-2014 10:16 PM

Well, will you continue to use the solar kiln in the years to come or is just a one shot deal?

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7175 posts in 2265 days


#2 posted 03-27-2014 10:54 PM

You can build a solar kiln waaaaay cheaper than that.
Mine cost me some scrap OSB that was left over from a re-roofing, a little 6 mil plastic and the price of two cheap box fans and it works perfectly. It only does about 200 fbm at a time so yours would need to be bigger (or do several loads) but still you should be way down around a few hundred bucks …... unless you want it to be fully automated (unnecessary) pretty, and last a long time. Mine is about eight years old and is still operable. the only thing that goes is the plastic and it is cheap. It’s about five years old in the photos and all that is in it is a pile of stickers.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Doug's profile

Doug

18 posts in 1214 days


#3 posted 03-28-2014 01:06 AM

Mister Bill:

That would be an option to keep it and possibly rent it out, good possibility that I will sell our property (6 acres) and move south, so while I would like to keep it for future use, it may not work out that way.

Shipwright:

Looking for something to handle 2,000 bdft of lumber up to 11’ which i have a lot of at this time.

-- Doug

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 988 days


#4 posted 03-28-2014 03:53 AM

Doug : ”...good possibility that I will sell our property (6 acres) and move…”

It sounds like you aren’t looking for a permanent structure, especially a dedicated permanent structure that would be an unlikely attraction for a future buyer . . .

Doug : “Looking for something to handle 2,000 bdft of lumber…”

. . . and yet you want a large capacity utility. Why not make something temporary that can handle small quantities and run several batches ? Something like Paul’s idea could be a temporary build or maybe a dehumidifier kiln. Here’s one reference : http://lumberjocks.com/topics/26879 An internet search reveals plenty of others. I know of people whose kiln is nothing but a sealed plastic wrap with a dehumidifier and a moisture meter inside.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7175 posts in 2265 days


#5 posted 03-28-2014 04:17 AM

My kiln could easily be made larger with minimal extra cost. All you need is a solar collector (the plastic film) and a way to circulate the air. The rest is just an enclosure and a baffle or two.
This is the article that I based mine on. You can go more or less elaborate. Once you understand the principles involved, it becomes very simple.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Doug's profile

Doug

18 posts in 1214 days


#6 posted 03-28-2014 11:44 AM

Always options, time is the factor. If I build it will be on the order of a 8’ x 12’ unit that could be sold and moved easily.

One question not answered is what is the cost per bdft to have wood kiln dried.

No one in our areas is doing it, all the small mills are using air dry or selling green?

-- Doug

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

726 posts in 2425 days


#7 posted 03-28-2014 03:33 PM

I charge a buck a board foot, but I’m a ways away. But… the cost in kiln drying is often that of a less-than-knowledgeable kiln operator; a person can buy a kiln, puff their chest out and crow they have one to merely ruin everyone’s wood with improper procedures. So, it’s find someone who knows what they are doing or make your own kiln. If you make your own, you will study on how to get it right and you may get more for your dollar. My kiln can hold a charge of about 2000 bf, that is quite a stack of wood; I recommend make your floors and foundation accordingly, and best of luck to you.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Doug's profile

Doug

18 posts in 1214 days


#8 posted 03-28-2014 04:53 PM

Thank you, that was what I needed know. I have been studying it for about 3 years and am taking it serious about building it, and more so operating properly.

Virginia Tech has put out plans on one I would consider, and operation is something I am a concerned about as I want as high a yield from the process as possible.

Thanks again, Doug

-- Doug

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