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Author Topic: Kiln build  (Read 484 times)

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Offline D6c

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Kiln build
« on: March 09, 2019, 02:17:32 PM »
So, for a while I've been looking into buying/building a kiln to dry my own lumber.
Building a solar kiln would be relatively inexpensive to build and operate although drying times can be fairly long and controlling the kiln cycle seems like it might be kind of an art...and quality of the lumber may suffer.

On the other end of the spectrum there are kilns like the iDry vacuum kilns that are fast and are supposed to produce a very high quality lumber.....the problem being the investment is far above what I think I can afford.

The other day I was pricing a couple of 20' shipping containers for outside storage, and it occurred to me that a container might make a decent kiln if using dehydrator type kiln unit.  They're pretty well sealed, and not terribly expensive.  The floor may be the weak point since they're usually not a steel floor, just marine plywood over the bottom framework.
I don't know a thing about dehydrator units, their cost, how easy they are to operate, and how fast the process will dry lumber.
Has anyone built a kiln using a container with a dehydrator, or some other type of drying process?

Offline Southside

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Re: Kiln build
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2019, 03:19:05 PM »
Yes, several of us have, but you really want a refigerated container if you go that route. Stainless interior and an aluminum floor mean no corrosion issues or dealing with insulation, sheeting, sealing, etc. There are several threads on here about container builds. A regular steel can will have corrosion issues as they are designed with a limited life span to begin with. 
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Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Kiln build
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2019, 04:06:55 PM »
Are you in the business of selling lumber?  Or do you need a large volume of boards for some big project?  If you just build some projects in a woodshop, a solar kiln would probably work for you.  Even some of the commercial guys use solar kilns, and some more than one.

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Re: Kiln build
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2019, 06:26:38 PM »
Here is my documented DH kiln build in a high cube reefer trailer.  Its is extremely effective and this particular size, coupled with a Nyle 200 class DH unit, can produce approximately 3,500 bdft to 4,000 bdft of 4/4 hardwood lumber every 7 to 9 days, depending by using partially air dried lumber, year after year.  Pine or other softwood, even faster.

Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build in Drying and Processing

The standard metal shipping containers and manufactured using Corten steel, a material designed to passivate in a saltwater environment, so is very prone to rust and pin hole in the acidic environment of a DH kiln.  Not saying they can't be used or modified, just that a proper reefer constructed of insulated stainless steel and aluminum, therefore very durable and long lasting.

Solar kilns are also extremely effective, I have one of them also.  Build it correctly, and its pretty much a slam dunk for drying wood safety with minimum risk.  It is extremely easy to operate, and not to oversimplify the process, I call mine the "Easy Bake Oven."  Mine is modeled after the VaTech design.  Drying time is longer, but the quality of the product is very high.  For example, even though I have three kilns, my solar kiln is presently loaded with $8,000 of veneer grade 9/4 walnut.  That should illustrate my confidence in the unit.

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