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Author Topic: Solar Kiln Doors  (Read 302 times)

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Offline dollar

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Solar Kiln Doors
« on: May 10, 2020, 11:57:12 AM »
New Member here hoping to give a little back to try and help the Forum which has helped me so much.

Many thanks to all the Members for both the Sawmill and the Drying Process help that I have gotten.

A special thanks to Dr. Gene Wengert for the Solar Kiln Build-and to the Va Tech guys from long ago through today for the idea.

I built my kiln to the Va Tech specs for the large kiln-I did raise the overall height almost 2' and overall width to 20' so that I could stack a little higher and get 10'4 and 8'4 lengths in the kiln side by side.  We build tables and this best fits our needs.

The finished Kiln:




One thing that worried me the most in the build was the Doors.  I wanted 16'8" x 8' opening with two door that would swing completely open to be able to get the two stacks in side by side using a forklift with a sideshift.  I knew a stick built door would sag and not hold up.

We framed up the opening using a two 20' LVL Headers cut to size and we overdid the framing using 5 king studs and three jack studs for strength for heavy doors.

Luckily a good buddy has a welding business so we made a steel frame using 1 1/2" rectangular tubing.



He made the doors at his shop and then sent two men over job build the hinges, bottom slide locking bolts, and install the doors.

Top Hinge


Bottom hinge


Bottom Slide Bolts-The kiln is on a slab so we drilled holes for the bolts to slide into-very sturdy.


His two guys were there a little over three hours.  I am not a welder but I'm sure most of you guys could do this.
Cost on all steel was about $120.  My buddy charged me $500 for everything which was a deal I thought.

Next I built inside framing to attach interior/exterior sheathing.  Used store bought 2 x 4 ripped in half to fit perfectly in the 1 1/2' square tubing.  Framed up vent openings. 


Be sure to notch all inside corners of framing to allow for welds.


Added 1 1/2" board insulation


Then added interior 1/2" plywood sheathing same as rest of kiln and exterior board and baton sheathing.  This was SYP green off the mill and the doors were Heavy.  
I did get about 3/8" sag in one door. We had allowed for 1/2" so this worked-actually helped as the two doors meet at the top right before closing to make a tight fit. 

Put in 1 1/4" thick door stops with exterior door weatherstripping fitted in a kerf and attached a t-astragal like a outswing home double door to one of the doors.  This sealed the gap in middle and around the entire frame.


Added a top sliding bolt and handles and installed the sliding vents-nothing special here just 1/2 plywood  with 1/2 insulation glued on with a thru bolt to hold in place if needed.




Loaded it with 5/4 and 10/4 Poplar and started drying


Offline btulloh

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Re: Solar Kiln Doors
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2020, 12:06:23 PM »
Looks good. I like the doors and the vertical vents. 

FWIW, my stick built doors havent sagged a bit. They are supported when closed, so that helps. Your doors should work great. Nice. 

Nice load in there.  Keep us posted on the progress. 

I assume that picture was taken before you put the black layer on top of the stack and blocked the openings. 

Welcome to the Forestry Forum, btw. Lots of good folks here. 

Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Solar Kiln Doors
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2020, 11:16:38 PM »
I am a little bit behind you.  Finished my doors Friday, and put the aluminum roof coating on the inside Friday evening.  My doors are stick built, used bifold to get a big opening, with doors folding. Ran a 2x4 on angle from bottom corner to top corner, and cut the studs to the angle.  Did not want the doors to sag.  So far so good.

Offline tacks Y

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Re: Solar Kiln Doors
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2020, 07:36:44 AM »
Dollar, NICE looking job. And welcome aboard here.


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