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Author Topic: L200, can't decide on the chamber.  (Read 913 times)

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Offline 4x4American

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L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« on: September 07, 2021, 10:07:55 PM »
Howdy fellers,

Welp, I've been researching kilns for the past month or three, and I've decided I'm going to go with a Nyle L200 to start.  I have a big, bad, mean, ugly wood fired hot air furnace that I plan to hook up to help with getting up to temp here in the glaciated north.  
Anyways, I'm in between building my own freestanding kiln chamber, or, using a 40' reefer container.  I'm trying to keep my costs down as much as I can (without cutting corners), while still being able to have a kiln that can dry up to 4mbf at a whack.  
Building my own chamber, I would pour concrete for sure.  I also don't know if I want to go long or tall, to be able to fit the 4mbf inside.  If I go long, I don't have to have use my tetris degree in engineering, getting random lumber piles stickers' to line up.  I like the idea of a container with a rail track and carriages so that I have multiple stacks and I don't have to worry about getting stickers all lined up, I think.  But, it's going to cost me to set up track and carriages.  Whereas if I build my own chamber, I would just stack on the concrete, which, the concrete and building all that is gonna cost me too, and, it doesn't look like a ratty container dumped in my yard.  On the same token, if I go the container route, it won't raise my taxes, and it might help scare off weak people.  Another drawback to the container is that it will take up more yard space, especially with the rail track.  
Finding a reefer container right now may be difficult, if I can find one, I expect to pay a premium for it.  I am not trying to build it twice, so, if I do go container route, it's reefer or bust.  I'm not doing a reefer trailer, I think they look terrible, are not as beefy compared to a container, and they stink.  
So what is more expensive, to stick build a chamber on top of a concrete slab, or, to buy an insulated container and turn it into a kiln?  I would probably just park it on a bed of gravel.  Anyways, sorry for the incoherent rambling lol 
Boy, back in my day..

Offline Southside

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2021, 10:31:23 PM »
I found that I could not build a chamber for the price of a container system, especially when considering getting it sealed up and not having it rot out in a few years.  Containers have gone up since then, but so has concrete, metal roofing, etc.  Don't forget to figure in some value to your time in the process. 
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Offline 4x4American

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2021, 10:41:40 PM »
To get Nyle's 40' container package that comes with the track/carts and all that's needed to build a kiln chamber out of a container, is $18,750.  Then you add the L200M for $8k, and then add the container, and then hook everything up, you're in it for over $30k I bet.  I wonder how much of that price is the track...steel is very expensive right now, but like you said, so isn't everything.
Boy, back in my day..

Offline customsawyer

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2021, 06:43:03 AM »
There is not a cheap way to build a proper kiln. If I was to put in another one right now I would go with the refer container and set the track up in such a way that I could add another container in the future that used the same track. It would make it less painful down the road. The biggest draw back to a stick built kiln is getting a good seal on the doors so they don't leak.
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Offline 4x4American

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2021, 07:47:32 AM »
There is not a cheap way to build a proper kiln. If I was to put in another one right now I would go with the refer container and set the track up in such a way that I could add another container in the future that used the same track. It would make it less painful down the road. The biggest draw back to a stick built kiln is getting a good seal on the doors so they don't leak.
DanG good idear!!  I knew I shoulda just called you, but, didnt wanna wear you out on this subject lol 
Boy, back in my day..

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2021, 01:38:05 PM »
I've had my high cube reefer up and running for years, zero maintenance.  You'll pay as much for the concrete slab under a stick built kiln and apron than the reefer itself.

Good kilns aren't cheap and the drying unit is one of the least expensive components.  

High cubes are easy to expand, simply place one on either end of the center track.

The key to a solid system is steel, steel, and aluminum.  Stuff that doesn't rust, doesn't move, and doesn't ever need fixing.  

I've posted a topic about building one.    

 

YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.

Offline 4x4American

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2021, 07:44:37 PM »
Thanks Robert,

I priced out a high cube 40' reefer today.  Couple pesos shy of $10k delivered to my yard for an approximately 2005 year model.  :o Does that seem high?  I'm curious what they went for pre-2020.  The track and carriage system isn't going to be cheap either.  I priced out some steel the other day, prices are crazy, plus it's gonna take time to fabricate.  Do you remember what your thread is called?  I'll try and find it.  
I was talking with a friend of mine and he said he had a kiln with a reefer container and it only lasted him a couple years, he was doing firewood in it, but, he said he got it too hot.  That's one thing that worries me about hooking up my wood furnace to it, prolly gonna get it too hot...or maybe not.  
Boy, back in my day..

Offline scsmith42

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2021, 08:49:13 AM »
Looks like Im the outlier.

Ive been running a high cube container kiln since 04. My next L200 will be a stick build chamber on an insulated concrete pad.

The reason why is loading time and airflow.  I can load my 2k bd ft solar kilns in less time than the carts on my container kiln. Fork in the door, side shift as needed, set it down and baffle. Versus the time it takes to line up the carts and roll them into the container.

Heat varies somewhat In my container kiln. Its cooler towards the ends of the container versus in the middle by the kiln unit. Ive had to add additional fans to distribute heat lengthwise in the container during sterilization.

Based on Jakes experience, there are trade offs either way.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2021, 10:22:22 AM »
My chamber was about $10K when I bought it. Still looks as good as the day I did.  I tilted my deck fans at an angle to get a spiral airflow down the chamber so circulation has not been a problem on the ends.   

I prefer my cart kiln to my stick built kiln, and much prefer to load my container kiln carts with a forklift because my hired help can do it without supervision.  They cant damage anything.  Put the pallets on the carts, holler when its done vs put the pallets carefully inside my kiln, dont hit anything, dont hit the door, dont rub the sills, dont hit the walls, etc or Im down for weeks.  So loading on tracks is pretty bulletproof.  I wont even let them near my stick built kiln.  One wrong move loading a stick built kiln with a forklift and its busted.  What happens if someone raises the loader a little too high when backing out and takes out the door frame?  Or just rubs the edge of the doors and takes out the door seal?  Or drops a load forward and takes out the entire kiln unit?  

If the hired help screws up on a kiln cart, or drops the load, or misaligns a load on a steel track outside, on a steel kiln cart, then I just tell them fix it or pick up the lumber and restack it and laugh as I walk away.  

Container kilns have flat floors, dont rust, dont degrade, have triple seals, and I have not had to do a single thing in mine since it was installed.  In the other hand, my stick built kiln has had several overhauls such as new paint, caulk, seals, etc in the same time.  Also, the vapor from drying wood degrades and chips concrete.

Other than the time it takes to roll the carts in or out, a couple minutes maybe, the loading time of a cart kiln and a stick built would be the same. 

Anyways, people have different opinions, and all have experience.  However, if I was installing another tomorrow, it would definitely be a high cube reefer in the other side of my existing track.    

Heres a video. 
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.

Offline cabindoc

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2021, 06:14:31 AM »
I am in the container camp.  I did mine with a refer truck body, albeit smaller then what your doing, but I see them on sale for $2k all day long.  maybe because I am smack in the middle of 2 major ports.  Have you priced the concrete?  a 36' x 10' x 6" slab is about 7 yards of concrete never mind rebar, wire, plastic sheeting, insulation and if you need a permit, add footings etc....  

As to track, I put roller beds on the floor of the refer and made a simple cart with C channel.  You could make 8 at 10' each and have 4 of them loaded in the kiln and 4 loaded ready to go in.  

So for my 21' unit, L53 with aux heat and fans, tracks, cart etc I am at around $12k  can dry 1000-1,200 BF

What you don't see is I have another 20' of rollers on legs so I roll cart out onto second set of skatewheels so cart is completely out of the kiln while loading and unloading.  

good luck


 

 

 

 
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2021, 06:35:11 PM »
Excellent points Robert!
Peterson 10" WPF with 65' of track
Smith - Gallagher dedicated slabber
Tom's 3638D Baker band mill
and a mix of log handling heavy equipment.

Offline 4x4American

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2021, 11:49:11 PM »
Excellent points Robert!
I agree!
Thanks everybody!  I was at a mill yesterday and I just missed them getting delivery of their new kiln direct kiln thats supposed to be able to dry like 13mbf in 10 days.  Conventional kiln, just heat and air.  Hes trying to sway me to check them out.  Their smallest lumber unit does 9mbf iirc
Boy, back in my day..

Offline Southside

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2021, 11:55:09 PM »
They must be talking about pine with those numbers. 
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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2021, 08:57:32 AM »
I think he was, as pine is the plan for him, and possibly hardwood in the future.  They have a medium sized mill, 7 employees plus 2-3 family members.  Debarker, circle head rig feeding a linebar resaw, end trimmer, chipper, tub grinder, big old Yates American Planer, pretty awesome setup.
Boy, back in my day..

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Re: L200, can't decide on the chamber.
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2021, 09:42:41 AM »
I looked at the Kiln Direct units very closely, talked with their engineers, and they have a very nice system, best as I could tell, without actually owning one.  They use a burner to generate constant heat, and a venturi system to maintain temperatures, generally reaching temps in the conventional steam kiln range.  They are exceptional for drying high moisture release rate species such as pine, poplar, and such because the high water volumes released at higher temperatures wont overload the moisture removal capacity such as of a conventional DH unit.  So, for example, with a L200, even though it can handle 4MBF of green oak, it can only handle 1 MBF of green pine or poplar.  

However, the kiln direct units can handle full capacity of any wood, so a 9MBF unit can dry 9 MBF or either oak or pine.

The disadvantage of a direct or indirect fire kiln is since they turn at higher temperatures, they reduce the color quality a little, which really doesnt matter in some woods, (but it was significant for me) and for slow drying wood, such as oak, the burners are pretty hard on fuel, so the price goes up per bdft dried.  Since I dry lots of hardwoods, that was also a consideration for me.

Some people consider a direct fire unit a fire hazard, so prefer an indirect fire system which is safer.

However, for cranking out high moisture release rate species, direct or indirect fired kilns are about the best you can get, by any manufacturer.  

Back when I was looking at them, they also offered a wood boiler option, which may be perfect for you.  Also, since they operate at higher temps and internal geometries specific to fired kilns, I would probably buy a premade unit from them, as opposed to a reefer unit.

If I was drying pine, poplar, and such exclusively, I would definitely own a fired or indirect unit.

Each kiln type has its sweet spot.    
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.


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