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Author Topic: Help a 100% newbie please!  (Read 549 times)

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Offline GreatScott

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Help a 100% newbie please!
« on: August 17, 2021, 03:25:23 PM »
I work with a rather large Amish community, they would like me to look into setting up a kiln to dry mainly pine also a little cedar and possibly hardwood in the winter. I have zero knowledge in wood drying, iv tried researching what I can but seems rather overwhelming (and expensive). My question is for starters, is it possible to aquire or build a kiln that can do let's say 10k bdft twice a month, for $10k or under? Is it even possible to dry wet pine in less than two weeks? Any and all suggestions or comments are greatly appreciated. Iife is a struggle right now but I'm not afraid of hard work and love working with the Amish and lumber industry so hopefully I can find a solution, thanks again all!!

Offline WDH

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Re: Help a 100% newbie please!
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2021, 03:48:01 PM »
I can dry green pine to 8% in a little less than two weeks in my Nyle L53, but that is only about 500 bf per load so about 1250 bf per month averaged over a series of months. If the pine is air dried, I could about 2500 bf per month.  So why wouldn’t I air dry first?  The Nyle L200 could do about 2000 bf in a little less than two weeks or 4000 - 5000 of green pine per month and just maybe 10,000 bf per month if the pine was fully air dried, but forget doing it for $10,000.  It would take magic, smoke, and mirrors to do that.  

You volume is doable, your investment price is not. 
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Offline customsawyer

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Re: Help a 100% newbie please!
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2021, 06:46:41 AM »
How dry do they want it? If I am going to be doing the planing I normally only dry my pine to about 10%, this is for flooring and paneling. If it is for framing I would dry it to around 15%. I don't think you will get 10K bf twice a month out of a Nyle L200. You will need to go bigger than that. Might want to figure on adding another zero before the decimal point on your price too.
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Offline GreatScott

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Re: Help a 100% newbie please!
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2021, 11:14:42 AM »
How dry do they want it? If I am going to be doing the planing I normally only dry my pine to about 10%, this is for flooring and paneling. If it is for framing I would dry it to around 15%. I don't think you will get 10K bf twice a month out of a Nyle L200. You will need to go bigger than that. Might want to figure on adding another zero before the decimal point on your price too.


Probably 12% moisture from what iv been told in my area, that's about our relative humidity. The current problem in my area lumber can't be cut fast enough for demand so trying to get enough cut ahead to start air drying a bit first would be hard. 

Offline GreatScott

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Re: Help a 100% newbie please!
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2021, 11:18:02 AM »
I can dry green pine to 8% in a little less than two weeks in my Nyle L53, but that is only about 500 bf per load so about 1250 bf per month averaged over a series of months. If the pine is air dried, I could about 2500 bf per month.  So why wouldn’t I air dry first?  The Nyle L200 could do about 2000 bf in a little less than two weeks or 4000 - 5000 of green pine per month and just maybe 10,000 bf per month if the pine was fully air dried, but forget doing it for $10,000.  It would take magic, smoke, and mirrors to do that.  

You volume is doable, your investment price is not.


Maybe multiple smaller kilns that do around 4k bdft each? I know there's one about 20 miles away that does 10k bdft at a time, or so they say, and not a chance he invested over $20k. Unfortunately he's not sharing his methods with anyone 😂

Offline Swernicus

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Re: Help a 100% newbie please!
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2021, 12:02:22 PM »
From what I've seen in my area, the guys who go the cheap route with their kilns are usually running household dehumidifiers in self built chambers.  The quality on these systems varies wildly.

Even the best built chamber with a household dehumidifier is not going to match the precision, durability, and quality of a Nyle L200.  Also with the Nyle you receive fans, automatic vents, and other things you will find essential to controlling the drying environment.  Household DHs are not built to survive long in lumber kiln conditions, and you will likely go through a half dozen units per year.  I get a lot of requests to dry lumber in my L200 that was dried in these kilns and shows 8% on the shell but 35% on the core... You dont wanna do that to hardwood lumber!

Can you have success with the DIY DH kiln?  Yes especially if you're air drying the core to below 25% and finishing in the kiln.  Even then you will likely have to bypass the high temp auto shut off in the DH. But if you're drying from green you will find a Nyle system (to do 10k bdft a month you will need 2X Nyle L200s most likely) is 10000% more effective and you won't have as much risk at ruining lumber, especially hardwoods.  

To summarize, you can dry for cheap but you will have headaches and recurring costs.  If you really have a strong market demand for dried lumber, you can make a lot of money with the right set up but it will involve steep upfront costs and a learning curve.  Good luck!

Online Southside

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Re: Help a 100% newbie please!
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2021, 12:18:05 PM »
You can absolutely dry lumber cheap, fast, and good. The only thing you need to do is pick two of the above three qualities. If you want to pick all three then as Customer Sawyer said, add a zero to the right side of your budget.  Trying to cut corners will destroy your reputation and businesses. 
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Offline Nebraska

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Re: Help a 100% newbie please!
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2021, 03:50:35 PM »
One could build several solar kilns with the 10000.00$ Depending  on where you are and your seasons. I would think it would get your pine down dry enough to build with fairly rapidly.  Dimensional  lumber doesn't  need to be 8%. Less than 15% will do fine. As you went you could add dehy kilns to finish dry wood for non construction needs.  Just more fun to spend other folks dollars. :)

Offline Don P

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Re: Help a 100% newbie please!
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2021, 09:53:20 PM »
From the sounds of it I think you could draw up a business plan and a proposal. Have them finance the first kiln and see how it does. If its a winning proposition add more or larger kilns as needed.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Help a 100% newbie please!
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2021, 11:37:28 PM »
if i were trying to do what you are trying to do i would start with a wood stove and some big fans inside a 53ft dryvan on the ground as a preload rapid dry chamber with dual side by side carts and dual tracks that come out of the 53 and go right into the finishing kiln.  youd need multiple train cars and a loader that can pick the car and lumber at once.  theyd have to bring me the lumber stickered and banded on a deck i could unload from with the machine.  hand stacking that 2x a month is carpal tunnel and tennis elbow the first year.

it wouldnt be some little favor priced buddy job either.

i have a one winter's experience drying firewood in baskets inside a wood fired sort of shed with a rocket stove running through it burning junk.  interior temps could occasionally hit 150 and i probably kept it going 12 or 14 hours a day due to small burner and needing constant attention.  no fans, just heat.  fresh cut trees could burn after day 2. thered be just a little moisture left in the very center when busted.  probably avg 4 inch cross section.  2" thick woulda been dried through.   

granted lumber dried that fast will probably pop right open.  never tried. 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Help a 100% newbie please!
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2021, 11:59:09 PM »
Drying rate is controlled by the maximum allowable drying rate of the species of wood vs the maximum amount of moisture that a kiln can remove.  So the load size must be matched to the kiln.  Lots of wood plus double the space for stickers between the boards, plus kiln hardware = big space needed.  

There are several different types of kilns, from solar to direct fire.  Some operate at lower temperatures, some at very high, 200°F or so.  

No matter what kiln type is used, if the maximum allowable drying rate is exceeded for any species, then the wood will crack and make firewood.  For example, if lumber from a green, off the mill, white oak log is 50% water when it is put into a kiln, and the maximum allowable drying rate is 2.3% per day for 4/4, then in 14 days, the amount removed is 32% still leaving the wood at 18%.  So it’s is physically impossible to dry white oak that fast, unless using a true high vacuum kiln, which start at a couple hundred $K for this size.  Also, as the thickness doubles, the max allowable drying rate gets reduced maybe double, give or take.  So for white oak that is 2 inches thick, the max rate is 1% and in 14 days, you can only remove 14% moisture without cracking.  This is the physics of wood drying - it is what it is. There are tables of max allowable drying rates for different species. Pine can be dried fast.  Here is a publication specifically for drying pine and there are very aggressive schedules that can pull green pine down in 8 days.  

https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1578&context=agexp


A kiln doesn’t “suck” moisture out of the wood, it merely provides an environment where the moisture in the wood can easily migrate from the wood to the air.  In order for this environment to be favorable, higher temperatures and lower humidities are required.  Basically, it takes hot dry air and significant airflow.  As the moisture flows from the wood to the air, that moisture laden air must be removed.  So technically, a kiln is nothing more than a building with a high temperature source to heat and dry the air, then blowers to blow that air across the wood, and more blowers to pump the moist air out of the building in a continuous basis. 

Basically, all this contraption stuff costs money.  Money to build and money to operate.  Money to control the drying rate so as not to cause defects.  Control is the difference between producing firewood and producing lumber.

Anyway, simply constructing a building that would contain 10MBF of lumber, with a proper floor, good doors, and decent insulation would kill $10K. Actually, the concrete slab for the floor alone would break the budget.  

As others have said, add a zero to the $10K.  
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it won’t roll, its not a log; it’s still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, they’re burned, and you can’t fix them.  Don’t burn the cookies.


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