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Author Topic: Actual Kiln users please respond  (Read 3060 times)

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Offline Fla._Deadheader

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Actual Kiln users please respond
« on: April 23, 2003, 05:36:11 am »
I have been reading about Solar Kilns, DH Kilns Steam Kilns and Vac Kilns, for some time. I would like to know, from those that actually own and operate them, how difficult they are to run and how critical for proper drying?
 There seems to be some difference of opinion among those "over the fence" ???? ::)
 What MC to put the lumber inthe kiln, etc.,etc., helpful hints.
 The stuff I get will sell much better if I can get it dry. Thanks
All truth passes through three stages:
   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Offline BBTom

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Re: Actual Kiln users please respond
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2003, 05:51:54 am »
F-D,
I built my own hot water heat kiln.  It is very easy to operate, each morning I find the moisture content of the lumber in the kiln, and set the controls according to the kiln schedule for that specie/thickness/moisture.  I use firewood to keep the water in my Taylor waterstove up to 180 degrees. Mine is only a 2000 bdft kiln. but I made it track loaded, which cuts down on loading and unloading labor and time. I have lots of pictures of the progress and building of it at http://maplewood-farm.com/kiln.htm. Good luck on your hunt for the best. I already had the waterstove, so total cost on mine was about $4300.
2001 LT40HDD42RA with lubemizer, debarker, laser, accuset. Retired, but building a new shop and home in Missouri.

Offline Frank_Pender

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Re: Actual Kiln users please respond
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2003, 07:54:19 am »
DH, I too have a hotwater Taylor stove.  I also use an Ebac 800 in the refer trailer.  the DH does not remove the moisture that is created in the trailer unit as fast as it is produced.  That was my whole intent on the sizes of the DH unit I installed.  MY thought was to leave that hot steam in the trailer and have that help in the drying process as if it was a steam drying system in and of itself.  The results have been terrific.  I run a 30 day cycle for 5/4 wood.  Wood that is larger I leave in for 34 or 35 days.  It all seems to flow together beautifully.  I can dry about 200 feet per load if the need is there.  I am about the remove 100 feet of Wild Cherry this coming weekend.
Frank Pender

Offline Rick Schmalzried

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Re: Actual Kiln users please respond
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2003, 08:17:02 am »
Fla.
I built a 750BF solar kiln late last summer.  I was able to dry one load of Osage Orange before it turned colder (took about a month).  Because it was so slow, I didn't have to do anything with the kiln other than wait.

I put a load of walnut just off the mill late last fall and it still has a ways to go to get fully dry.  I know that my vents are too large and letting too much heat out.  I am hopeful that with some tweaking, I will get the kiln to dry faster.

I have been drying lumber that is pretty forgiving on drying.  There are some woods that have problems if dried too slow (maple for instance).  These woods will start to discolor or stain and will reduce their value if dried too slow.  I would be concerned drying them with my kiln in it's present configuration.

After just having the 2 loads in mine, I am drooling about a DH kiln and trying to decide how I could make one work on my property.  I think I could sell kiln time and make it pay for itself pretty quickly.  In your case, the interest on the cash flow may make a powered unit more economical than a solar unit, even though the operating expenses (electricity and such) will be higher.

--Rick
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Offline wiam

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Re: Actual Kiln users please respond
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2003, 02:32:44 pm »
I have a Central Boiler outdoor wood boiler. What are you guys using for heat exchangers in your kilns? I am thinking cast iron radiators because they can be had pretty cheap around here.  Meaning mostly FREE.

William

Offline Neil_B

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Re: Actual Kiln users please respond
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2003, 03:28:18 pm »
Hey wiam, I'm a Central Boiler owner as well. How do you like it? I've got the small CL17 had it for 5 years now and thinking on upgrading to a larger one with the back up oil burner for when I put the kiln in. Been working quite well so far only a bit small for our house.
I can't see why you couldn't use the rads as long as you have fans to move the air around. If they are free, make em work ;D.
Timberwolf / TimberPro sawmill, Woodmizer edger, both with Kubota diesels. '92 Massey Ferguson 50H backhoe, '92 Ford F450 with 14' dump/ flatbed and of course an '88 GMC 3500 pickup.

Offline Fla._Deadheader

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Re: Actual Kiln users please respond
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2003, 04:43:12 pm »
Thanks guys. I have a small backyard and need to make this thing look like a yard shed.  ::)
   I can get sliding glass doors for $10 or so, occasionally. They are double glass.
   I have read about guys using house type DH units. The down side ? is, the coils will corrode. So what?? If I can get the job done 4 or 5 times and throw the thing away, is it worth it??
    Down here, solar will melt yer buns on a clear day!! Can you dry wood too fast??
   The waterlogged stuff we get has to air dry to what MC, before it can be put into a kiln??
   I know most of you don't understand what this wood is like.
  When I used to cut Sycamore with a circle mill, there was usually a puddle of water running ahead of the blade. That's what this stuff would do on a Circle mill??
    I am trying to adapt all the info I can get to see how long it takes from sawmill to seller?? Easy question, right ?? :D :D :D
All truth passes through three stages:
   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Offline wiam

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Re: Actual Kiln users please respond
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2003, 05:14:01 pm »
New_Sawyer
I have had my CL40SB for about 6 years now.  I have had no real problems with it and would buy another in a heart beat.
William

Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: Actual Kiln users please respond
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2003, 05:27:44 pm »
The point of any dry kiln is to remove moisture to a point below what air drying will do.  Usually this is done by raising the air temperature within the kiln to reduce the relative humidity and exchanging this heated air with fresh air from outside to remove the moisture it has accumulated.  This has to be done in a controlled fashion as drying too fast will cause the wood to develop surface cracks (checking or case hardening).  It takes time for moisture to move from the center of the board to the outside where it can be removed.  Some species will move the moisture faster than others and can be dried faster without the surface checking.  If you put fresh cut wood into the kiln, it will have a great deal of moisture and will take longer to dry without checking than that which has been air dried for some time.   Controlling the heat, air exchange, and relative humidity within the kiln is the difference between a happy customer and one who gets junk lumber back from your kiln.  Oh yeah, stickering the pile correctly is part of the equation too.  As you raise the temperature of this moist wood, it becomes more pliable like you were setting up for steam bending.  The stickers have to be much closer together than would be normal for air drying, and should themselves be dry before using so the lumber doesn't warp between stickers and make a pile of waves.  The stickers must be lined up, one directly above the other or the whole pile will warp into unusable shapes.
I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline Fla._Deadheader

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Re: Actual Kiln users please respond
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2003, 05:40:12 pm »
Nother question.  ;D Most of the logs we get are no longer smooth on the ends. They are cut out from the erosion from the water current. Would it be better to trim the ends square before milling so the end coat will get better coverage?? This MAY cause loss of about 2 feet because of the length to keep even numbers of footage for the lumber ??  Clear as mud ?? ::) ;D
All truth passes through three stages:
   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Offline Jacar

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Re: Actual Kiln users please respond
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2003, 06:36:47 pm »
I built a solar kiln early last year.  It holds about 1000 bdft.  I ran a load of red oak(600 bdft) last June and it went from an air dry 17 % to 8% in 22 days.  I had about 18 days straight clear, hot sunny days.  I live N of Houston.  

This past fall I loaded some mesquite in Nov and pulled it out the last week of Jan.  Had a lot of cloudy cold days.  I loaded some W. oak on Feb 1, green, and pulled it out Mar 24 at 8%.  Had about 10 days of cloudy, rainy weather during that run.  I believe that if I timed it right, I could run six loads a year.  But you are at the mercy of the weather.

The quality of the lumber has been good, and the quality of the dried lumber is more a reflection of how it was handled  before it was loaded.

Jack
Jack Watkins

Offline ElectricAl

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Re: Actual Kiln users please respond
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2003, 08:59:11 pm »
Fla._Deadheader,

A yard shed kiln,    huh?

Seems to me we had one of those once.  Back in 1993 while still living in town we built a 1500' kiln in an existing yard shed. The property was zoned commercial. Well, after drying a few loads we got a certified letter from the city attorney stating we had to stop "Manufacturing" on the property.
Long story long, the only way to continue drying lunber in our kiln was to be rezoned to Light Industrial.
Oh yeh, the city council refused our rezoning request >:(

Small town politics...it isn't what you know, but WHO you know!

So, we sold the house and moved 8 miles West.  8)

Unless your son is mayor and a couple of your buddies are on the council, check the zoning rules close :P


Also, read and understand Minnesoda_boy's post, drying wood properly is more technical than turning on the heat and hoping for the best.  

I took a 4 day hands on kiln operators class. If you really want to know how to do it right there are classes to attend.


ElectricAl
Linda and I custom saw NHLA Grade Lumber, do retail sales, and provide Kiln Services full time.