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Author Topic: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up  (Read 5312 times)

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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #60 on: December 23, 2017, 08:44:14 AM »
I also typically air dry my walnut slabs for months before I DH kiln them as it doesn't make sense to commit the excess kiln time to dry green.  I have a specific building dedicated for air drying slabs.  However, I have also dried them (walnut) in the kiln with only a few weeks in the air drying shed when I really need some out.  I also use my solar kiln, and will dry pretty much every species from green in there, takes several months, then finish them in the L53.  I regularly dry 9/4 poplar, basswood, pine, soft maple from near green in the L53.  In these cases I will flash off the surface moisture with blowers to prevent sticker staining.  I have also experimented and slipped a few pieces of 9/4 walnut into my 4/4 stack as an experiment in my L53.  The 4/4 acted as ballast and prevented the 9/4 from drying too fast.

Its very important to know the species' drying behavior, max moisture removal rate, etc.  I've never dried Claro Walnut, but Appalachian Black Walnut can tolerate 8% moisture loss per day, 4/4, so probably 4% for 8/4, and its pretty hard to get that rate with a DH kiln, so I've had success with it.  The kiln generally can't remove moisture faster than walnut can tolerate, especially at the lower MC's.  I don't use long probes with thick walnut, the oven dry method is the best, surest way to to see how the core is drying in relation to the case, as demonstrated in this case.  I will stick the case with the Delmhorst to see what the case MC is, and compare it to oven dry for overall results. 

I've never heard of the the techniques described using a hand planer.  Seems like he has a system that works for him.  It seems counterproductive to seal the heartwood, which is where the wet pockets would be most prone to stall.  Why seal the wood to protect from excess moisture removal when that is the very problem, i.e. moisture removal is too slow.  Again, its important to know the characteristics of Claro to develop or optimize a strategy specific to it.  There may be some historical literature on the subject.

One thing that jumps out at me is that your top slab was 30% dryer than the slab underneath.  This is a very important clue.  Why did this happen?  What was different about it?  Heartwood/sapwpood ratio, thickness, etc?  What about the kiln geometry?  Typically, a differential drying on the top layers my DH kilns indicates more airflow and more exposure to the airflow to transport moisture.  I typically see this on the top layer if it is fully exposed to the airflow.  Normally, I cover my top layer with a light canvas tarp to restrict excess airldfow across it.  In your case, it might indicate that the airflow across the top was more optimized.  Were there defects in the top slab indicating excess drying rate?  The effect of airflow/velocity is well know, and it is proportional to the moisture content of the wood.  The higher the airflow and the higher the moisture content of the wood, then the more moisture will be removed.  As the wood dries, the moisture removal rate decreases.  Thats why many folks, like myself and WDH use air drying sheds as the fans will remove moisture as fast as the wood can tolerate, without tying up the kiln.  So I would say, without more information or a clearer visualization, that there is as airflow issue which caused the top layer to dry faster than the other layers.  It could be the baffling or a stagnant airflow through the pack.  In addition to the two fans in the L53, I have added 4 fans to the horizontal baffle, and cut another intake on the bottom of the kiln, to blow out any dead spots.  I have a total of 6 fans across the length of the baffle.  I used an anemometer to measure airflow though the layers to make sure it is consistent and uniform when I first setup the kiln and to make sure my baffling was effective.  Where is your baffling?  On top, sides, bottom?  The top slab behaved more like what I would have expected.  If the top layer was only one slab, it may be the properties of that particular piece of wood, if it was two slabs, then its a kiln condition issue.  The information that there is such large differences in moisture across the length of the second slab also indicates an airflow problem. However, it would be useful to understand where the wet and dry areas were in the wood.

Some detective work is in order.  That's what makes kiln drying interesting.   
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Offline maderahardwoods

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #61 on: December 24, 2017, 08:03:53 PM »
Yellowhammer and WDH thank you for the excellent responses and information, you have really help keep me grounded.  There aren't a lot of sawyers let alone kiln operators in my neck of the woods. 

I was a little nervous about placing such freshly milled boards in the kiln for drying, but Stan a Nyle mentioned many people place freshly milled slabs in the kiln to fully control the drying process.  I understand it isn't the most efficient, but I really need to get my first load out to have product to move.

I am currently air drying all of the slabs I have milled under the shade of a large orange tree out of direct sunlight. All slabs are placed on leveled cants and are ratchet strapped down to keep the slabs flat. I will be purchasing some mesh tarps to keep any debris of them, and when it does rain I will cover them fully with a tarp.  I will just have to make this work, I have plans on building a drying "patio" in the future. 

I really can't speak to the sawyers methods in Minnesota, but it does seem like it is working for him. He produces some gorgeous flat slabs.  The contrast between the sapwood and heartwood is amazing. 

After taking the measurements and seeing the discrepancy between the top slab and lower slabs I am inclined to pull them out of the kiln and shuffle the top to bottom.  Until just recently I was using two foam panels to baffle the slabs, but I switched to two sheets of 1/4 plywood as they are less prone to moving, I use pieces of plywood to baffle between the kiln walls and the slabs. About two weeks ago I added three box fans between the back of the slabs and the L53 unit.  The top baffle has two auxiliary Mechatronics fans blowing towards the doors with a slight angle. 

All slabs are cut at 9/4 with exception to one or two that are typically on the bottom of the log when milling.  It seems really odd that I got measurements in the 40-50% range, as I took a few measurements from slabs (also claro walnut) that have been air drying for a few weeks and got readings in the 35-45% range.  It may be time to purchase an anemometer to maximize my kiln design.

Do you have problems with the fans moving the canvas in the kiln? The foam was so light that occasionally the pieces would shift, the plywood seems to have solved this problem.   

When it comes to oven dry samples with slabs, do I need to rip the slab in half? Or can I take a cut 12" from one end across the gran and use that piece as my sample?

I am determined to find a drying schedule that will work for Claro, as I have 1000's of bd ft of walnut to mill and dry in the next few months. 

Once again thank you for the great information, great community!

Merry Christmas!

-Marco





Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #62 on: December 25, 2017, 12:46:17 PM »
Marco,

I think one problem you have is relying on meters to determine moisture levels.

As I understand it, even the best quality meters are not reliable at higher moisture levels. I think the cutoff point seems to be in the 30 percent range.

On the other hand, using the oven method to determine moisture level seems quite reliable if you have an accurate set of scales for the range you are weighing.

Good luck!

Herb

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #63 on: December 26, 2017, 09:22:06 AM »
Under 30% MC, the Delmhost pin meter has been confirmed to be within 1/2% MC or better for North American.species, if they are used correctly with insulated pins driven 1/4 the thickness, etc.

The oven test requires some care as well...215 F until weight loss stops and a scale or balance that measures to two decimal places.

For example, if the sample weighs 55.0 grams and the oven dry weighs 50.0, the calculated moisture is 10.0% MC. However, with two digits, the weights are 55.05 and 49.95.  This gives 10.2 % MC.  So, with one digit, we have an uncertainty of around Plus or minus 0.4% MC.  With no digits, the uncertainty is 4% MC.  This assumes the balance is working perfectly and is properly calibrated.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #64 on: December 26, 2017, 10:10:51 AM »
For oven dry samples, I usually have at least one slab that has a poor end, or one with cracks, or one that will need future dressing.  So I cut samples off and weigh them and write in on them on the samples with a Sharpie.  Once the preliminary weighing and drying are done, the only thing that is required to get a new moisture content is to take the piece and put it on the scale and run the calculation.  I determine the new MC, write it on the sample piece, and put it back in the kiln.  I keep the scale in the kiln controller box, so the whole process only takes a minimal amount of time.  I've got a slide hammer for my Delmhorst but I prefer to weigh thick slabs, just because I know its right, and its fast and easy.  I use a food scale, $25 or so at WalMart.  The sample pieces are relatively small, and would be trimmed anyway.

I use 2 inch foam as a baffle from the horizontal fan deck to the lip of the forward lumber stack in the kiln.  I don't like to have free air blowing over the top layer, so I try to simulate a layer of wood on top of it.  I use canvas and stickers to weigh it down.  I've also used burlap, and even corrugated metal roofing, the same way I cover the top layer of wood in the solar kiln.  Sometimes I'll even use the foam board.  Just depends on what seems to wok best.  Its very helpful to standardize the lumber height of the stack so once the configuration is optimized, I don't have to play much with it on successive loads.  By the way, if you have found that due to the inlet plenum size of the stack (from of pressure side of the stack to nearest wall) is causing a significant pressure drop and air flow reduction across the face of the stack, and causing the air to cheat, the burlap sheet technique is a good way drape over the upper layers and force air to go down to the lower level of wood in the stack.  If thats the case, then it should be a temporary measure and either the kiln or stack geometry should be addressed on successive loads.

Typically, most of this aggravation is goes away with pre air drying as kiln airflow and velocity have much less influence as the wood drop MC. 

   
 
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Offline maderahardwoods

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #65 on: December 26, 2017, 11:33:31 PM »
Thank you guys guys again.  I think I will take 12" off one of da longer and shorter slabs and use dat as disguy's core sample. 

I think yoozguys may be on ta something, I wonder if having da shorter slabs centered on da longer slabs with side baffling is causing some issues. I will take some updated photos of da stack and baffling tomorrow. 

Thanks,

Marco

Offline xlogger

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #66 on: December 28, 2017, 06:19:55 AM »
For oven dry samples, I usually have at least one slab that has a poor end, or one with cracks, or one that will need future dressing.  So I cut samples off and weigh them and write in on them on the samples with a Sharpie.  Once the preliminary weighing and drying are done, the only thing that is required to get a new moisture content is to take the piece and put it on the scale and run the calculation.  I determine the new MC, write it on the sample piece, and put it back in the kiln.  I keep the scale in the kiln controller box, so the whole process only takes a minimal amount of time.  I've got a slide hammer for my Delmhorst but I prefer to weigh thick slabs, just because I know its right, and its fast and easy.  I use a food scale, $25 or so at WalMart.  The sample pieces are relatively small, and would be trimmed anyway.

I use 2 inch foam as a baffle from the horizontal fan deck to the lip of the forward lumber stack in the kiln.  I don't like to have free air blowing over the top layer, so I try to simulate a layer of wood on top of it.  I use canvas and stickers to weigh it down.  I've also used burlap, and even corrugated metal roofing, the same way I cover the top layer of wood in the solar kiln.  Sometimes I'll even use the foam board.  Just depends on what seems to wok best.  Its very helpful to standardize the lumber height of the stack so once the configuration is optimized, I don't have to play much with it on successive loads.  By the way, if you have found that due to the inlet plenum size of the stack (from of pressure side of the stack to nearest wall) is causing a significant pressure drop and air flow reduction across the face of the stack, and causing the air to cheat, the burlap sheet technique is a good way drape over the upper layers and force air to go down to the lower level of wood in the stack.  If thats the case, then it should be a temporary measure and either the kiln or stack geometry should be addressed on successive loads.

Typically, most of this aggravation is goes away with pre air drying as kiln airflow and velocity have much less influence as the wood drop MC.
 
Robert I've been thinking about weighing samples which I not done in the past. I was reading in the Nyle book what formulas to use. How big of a piece of slab do you cut off? If you can would you take a quick picture of it next time you get a chance.
Thanks

   
 
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #67 on: December 28, 2017, 09:38:15 PM »
The technique of using sample boards is well documented in Drying Hardwood Lumber...available on line from many sites.
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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #68 on: December 28, 2017, 10:02:00 PM »
This is the kind of trim I use and cut for kiln samples as I put in a load.  I don't cut regular or textbook sized pieces, just whatever is representative of the load, large enough to get a decent measurement, and what seems to makes sense.  Cut out an irregularities, cracks, pith or anything else that may make the sample non representative.  Then I take the piece and half it, and use one for the oven sample, and one for the kiln sample.  Since these are walnut, I re-use the sample boards and saw them into small, sellable pieces, maybe 2"x4"x12" or similar when the load is done and I'm not wasting wood or money.  Personally, I learned a lot when I first did the technique, and it really is pretty easy.  It also takes out all the guesswork and will answer lots of question about the accuracy of your meters.  Take a weight, calculate a MC, and then check it with the meter.  I have done this many, many times, and it has proven invaluable.  Lets just say, I originally had three different types of moisture meters, and I had no confidence in any of them.  In very short order, I finally believed one of them, and the other two were literally tossed in the garbage can.   
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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #69 on: December 29, 2017, 04:41:14 AM »
Thanks Robert, next week it's going to really cold here so I'll have time to figure this out I hope. Maybe need to go further south to your place and look and learn. ;D
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #70 on: December 29, 2017, 07:10:19 AM »
Robert makes a key point...we are concerned about the MC of the useable wood, so moisture samples should not have defects.  We want the samples to represent the other good and expensive pieces in the load. 

As samples are typically full width and 30 long, they are end coated with a coating that will stop moisture loss from the ends (making them behave like they are long pieces of lumber) and will not melt off.  Paint is not good enough, Anchorseal end coating melts but their BOSS product is perfect, roofing tar is ok too, and there are a few other brands of sample end coating.  To get the samples initial MC, we cut 1 long pieces from each end before end coating and weigh, oven dry, reweigh, and calculate the MC.  The average of the two small pieces is the estimated MC of the 30 sample board.

For wetter the stock, the sample needs the same air flow, RH, and temperature as the rest of the lumber in the kiln.  For 25%MC or lower, air flow can be different as variation in air speed does not affect drying speed at lower MCs.

Using this technique, any time you need the current MC, weigh the sample board and calculate the MC in seconds.  YH even has a computer spreadsheet that does the calculations for you.
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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #71 on: December 29, 2017, 09:33:08 AM »
Ricky,
Come on by anytime. 
I have a spreadsheet I made years ago that does the calculations, and automatically graphs the moisture drop. 
 
If anyone wants it, send me a PM with your email and I'll send it to you. 
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Offline maderahardwoods

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #72 on: January 01, 2018, 09:45:07 PM »
Update:

Oh man what a week, my wife came down with a serious stomach flu and was out from Tuesday evening to Friday evening.  While at the same time this was going I had to replace 90ft of water main line which required the cutting and patching of 40ft of concrete. 

Wife is finally back in action and water line at my dads place is patched and leak free so far. 

So Sunday morning I opened up the kiln completely with intentions to rearrange all of slabs from top to bottom and measure the moisture content of each slab in three places (far right, center, and far left).

I started with the slabs on the top stack, they were pulled out and rearranged, all of the moisture contents are captured in the photo below.  I then moved on to the long slabs, after the third all of the moisture contents were reading from 45-60% so I decided there was no point in rearranging the 12ft pieces. 

The first photos show the original arrangement of the kiln, I had the shorter slabs centered on the longer slabs with the sides baffled.  I decided to maximize the kiln charge and place some smaller pieces to side of the shorter pieces, which also made it easier to baffle. 

I really have no idea how the 12ft slabs are still 45-60%+ moisture content, they have been in the kiln for almost two months.  Do I have extreme case hardening? Is Claro Walnut just a slow drying wood?

I am considering asking a local hardwood processor if they are willing to sell time on their vacuum kiln as I really need to get some dry wood to market.

Slabs are currently at 120DB with the WB at 85, just going to try and follow the advice from the sawyer from Minnesota for the time being. 

I thinking about coating the slabs with pentacryl, I have read that it prevents the crotch grain and figure from drying to quickly and can also speed the drying up by 30%.  I have had some issues with the crotch grain drying to quickly and checking/"collapsing". 

Once again any help is appreciated. 

 

 

Original Stacking

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #73 on: January 01, 2018, 10:20:47 PM »
I know absolutely nothing about drying in a DH kiln, but it seems to me that they would've air dried to a lower MC (especially in you CA climate) than that in two months if they had been stacked outside under a shed.  Something must be "off", what it is I have no idea.
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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #74 on: January 02, 2018, 12:58:06 AM »
Did you baffle the skids?  Floor to first layer?
 
The plastic sheet drops down to cover the doorway?  I haven't seen that before, not sure what purpose it would serve? 

The side baffling looks fine. 

I can't see behind the plastic to see the fans clearly?  Mine are mounted horizontally through the fan deck, blowing toward the ceiling.  Yours are near vertical?  With the sheet down and the doors open, you should see a very pronounced billow of the plastic sheet out the door as the air is pushed along the ceiling, against the plastic sheet, down the front of the stacks, and forced through the the stack.  The billow would be caused be the back pressure forcing the air through the front of the stacks. 

I like the steel runners.

Thats some pretty wood.

   

 
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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #75 on: January 02, 2018, 02:28:24 PM »
I have not baffled the skids, I will do that next. 

I used the plastic sheet to help insulate the door, it has really helped keep the temperature stable.  It is also great at preventing heat loss in when I open the chamber door(s) to check the moisture content. 

The fans are near vertical, I gave them 5 degree kick towards the ceiling (leaning backwards toward rear wall). I will snap some photos of the current fan configuration tonight.

I like your idea for fan baffling and will convert to this style this weekend when I baffle the metal skids.  You haven't had any issues with the fans pulling air that has not been processed by the Nyle unit?

When I open the door to enter the kiln I definitely see the plastic being pushed out, I will take a photo with the doors open and all fans running. 

Thanks for the great tips!

PS: Has any one played with baffling behind the stack? Something shaped like a funnel with fan stacks along the length? It might be easier if i draw it out. 

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #76 on: January 02, 2018, 08:28:03 PM »
Here is a pic of my L53 fully baffled. 

 

 

I plug every hole that is not a stickered layer of lumber.  Air will preferentially go through the largest gaps and holes, so plugging every opening that is not a stickered layer of wood forces all the air through the wood layers and evens out the drying from the top to the bottom of the stack.  My auxuillary fans are mounted at a 45 degree angle to the ceiling.  With the two in the unit, I have 6 fans altogether. 
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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #77 on: January 03, 2018, 12:25:16 AM »
Great looking setup WDH. 

Here are some photos of my fans, the doors open with the fans on, and finally the current DB and WB temps.



  

  

  

 

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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #78 on: January 03, 2018, 01:18:30 PM »

I like your idea for fan baffling and will convert to this style this weekend when I baffle the metal skids.  You haven't had any issues with the fans pulling air that has not been processed by the Nyle unit?
No since the system is not a single pass environment, its very important to get a fully toroidal, circular mixing airflow path in the kiln, low pressure to high pressure across the entire stack, across the face.  This also eliminates any need for further baffling.  The main thing is to do as WDH shows, close off any path where the air can short cut around the stack, which it will do readily, as the wood acts as an obstruction and the air will simply go around, it allowed.  That's one reason I like to use foam, both 2 inch and 1 inch, because the better the stack gets sealed the more the foam gets sucked in the stack due to the pressure differential.  You mentioned you had foam blowing around, it should get almost sucked into place, which is one reason to baffle on the high pressure, intake side of the stack.

 
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Re: Nyle L53 Kiln Start Up
« Reply #79 on: January 03, 2018, 08:38:01 PM »
Your auxillary fans just seem to be mounted on top of the back table that closes off the top of the dehumidification unit, and they do not seem to be pulling air from below the table, air that has been through the wood stack.  If you look at my auxillary fans, they are mounted in boxes.  Below each box, directly under each fan, there is a 9" diameter hole in the table allowing the fans to suck the air from behind the lumber stack below the table and blow it back to the front of the kiln, creating a continuous circular air flow over the top of the baffle, through the wood layers and sucked back up through the holes in the table and so on.  The two fans in the unit blow the air that has been through the condenser out towards the back side walls, and the auxillary fans blow that air directly to the front of the kiln to be circulated through the wood layers.   
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com


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