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Author Topic: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one  (Read 1484 times)

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Offline Delawhere Jack

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Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« on: February 27, 2013, 04:08:58 PM »
I'm going to need a kiln, but I've been holding off on building one because I seem to get a mix of species and thicknesses all the time. Right now I've got som 8/4 walnut slabs, 4,5 and 8 qtr white oak, cherry and so on.

It dawned on me that maybe I should build several smaller kilns so that I can run several batches at once. Maybe about250 bf capacity, enough to put an entire 30" slabbed log in. What I have in mind would be a kiln roughly half as deep and half as tall as the VA Tech design, so roughly 1/4 the interior volume.

I'm looking for advice from anyone who has tried something like this. Would it need a radically different collector area/board footage ratio? Are there any design changes that should be made to account for the smaller volume?

The VA Tech design is well proven, I'm just not sure if there would be any major issues in scaling it down.

Thanks,

Jack.


Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2013, 04:51:51 PM »
Scaling it down in width and depth is fine.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline Den Socling

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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2013, 04:54:20 PM »
Multiple small kilns are always more versatile than one large one. But I would plan on wider widths for slabs. The stem may be only 30" but it is often desirable to have a stump of a branch to get figured wood and enhanced live edge. 

Offline Delawhere Jack

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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2013, 05:59:38 PM »
Thanks guys. I'll be drawing up plans tonight. Yes, I'll probably keep the depth at 48". I can't cut anything that wide with the LT40, but it will leave room for airflow front and back.

Offline Seaman

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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 07:18:48 AM »
Good post, I been wondering the same thing.
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Offline pineywoods

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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 10:39:43 AM »
Definitely the way to go. Couple of other things I would recommend. Full width doors across the back side so you can load/unload it with a fork lift/fel. Build it on skids so it can be easily moved or re-aligned with the changing seasons. Some places that's not considered a building, confuses the tax man.  ;D
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Offline Den Socling

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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 02:23:11 PM »
We had a guy here a few years ago named Jason, if I remember correctly. He built his solar kiln on a hay wagon. No increase in taxes and definitely easy to realign.

Offline Warren

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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2019, 08:15:30 AM »
My apologies for resurrecting a 6 year old thread.  I am curious if anyone else has built a small solar kiln to be "mobile".  I am thinking either on a set of 10 ton wagon running gear, or, 12ft to 14ft equipment trailer.  Trailer jacks on the 4 corners to level it up and take some of the load off the tires. Focus on mobility, not tax reduction.

As always, pictures would be appreciated. Thank you !
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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 08:22:03 AM »
I built mine on skids, much like a portable shed, and move it easily with my front end loader.  Either permanently or temporarily putting it on a trailer would be easy, but it would depend on how often and how far you want to move it, also whether it would be road ready.
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Offline Warren

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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2019, 10:47:15 AM »
Sir,   Thank you for the link !

YH,   Skids might be an option.  I build wagon flats with 5"x9" oak runners. Same would probably work O.K. for skids under a small kiln.  OTOH, have a 10K or 12K skid steer trailer that has not been used for 2-3 years.  So, it is readily available at zero cost.
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Online btulloh

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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2019, 07:55:51 AM »
Having it on a trailer and higher off the ground makes access more difficult.  Are you going to be using a forklift to load it?  If skids make it portable enough, I'd go with the skids.  You can always skid it onto the flatbed for a move.  If you build it on skids you could decide to leave it on the flatbed.  Or not.  
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2019, 04:36:56 PM »
Do not forget that 1000 bf of oak weighs 6000 pounds when freshly cut.  
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

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Re: Several smaller solar kilns rather than one big one
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2019, 12:00:08 AM »
I forgot to mention I set the skids so they the whole thing can be picked up by my forklift.  So it can be skidded or lifted.  Iíve moved it several times.
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