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Author Topic: Make a good kiln?  (Read 2230 times)

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Offline welderskelter

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Make a good kiln?
« on: December 26, 2014, 08:50:19 PM »
My basement is so dry down there because we have a wood outside wood burner and floor heat in the basement floor. My wife complains it is so dry her pianos get out of tune and sound plinky. Can I just strip fresh sawn lumber down there and use like a kiln ? It stays about 80 degrees in the winter down there. Just want your thoughts on this. Thanks

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Make a good kiln?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2014, 12:17:55 AM »
So, every 10 pounds of wood that starts out green will lose as much as 5 pints of water.  So, with a large stack, that will be many gallons.  Where will all this moisture go?  Will it rust tools or other metal items, create moldy conditions, etc.?  I am not in favor of your approach, therefore.

If you do use the spot to finish off the drying, it does need to be as dry or even a bit drier than the location where the furniture, cabinets, flooring, etc. will be installed.  So, a basement is often more humid than the rest of the house, which means it is not the best place.  Maybe a small amount can be put in the attic.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Online Ianab

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Re: Make a good kiln?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2014, 03:14:23 AM »
What might make sense is putting air dried wood down there to finish off the drying. Get those last few % of moisture out and acclimate the wood to indoor conditions.

Because there is only a small amount of moisture you avoid the issues that Gene mentions. That is, getting rid of many gallons of water vapour without creating a mushroom farm.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline logboy

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Re: Make a good kiln?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2014, 07:12:44 PM »
I'm with Ianab. Ive been using my house as a dry kiln for years, despite people telling me it would never work, air dried lumber will crack indoors, it needs to be put in a proper kiln, etc etc etc. I put air dried stuff (NOT green) in my basement to finish off the last few percent. I realized I'm already paying to heat my house, so it doesnt cost me any extra to throw a few boards down there (unlike running my kiln). My basement is 70+ degrees with 35% humidity in the winter with the wood stove going, which gives me an EMC between 6-7% depending on how long I leave it down there. With slabs I generally get them in the 8-9% EMC range and call them good. Years ago I was doing carpentry work and put green lumber in a house in the winter because the homeowner absolutely needed their poplar lumber to use as trim. It warped and twisted badly, and the whole house felt damp and smelled of musty lumber.  I'm not saying it cant be done, but I think there are a few variables you'd need to work out like moisture removal, airflow, and drying too quickly. Better to air dry, then move it inside right when its start getting cold enough to run your furnace. The humidity in your house will gradually decrease as winter approaches and dry it like a kiln. By Christmas it's more than ready to use.
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Offline 5quarter

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Re: Make a good kiln?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2014, 08:41:26 AM »
You need more humidity in your house for the pianos. A piano likes about 42% RH at 72. drier conditions not only affect the pin block (tuning pins) but can damage the sound board and cause it to lose its crown. That kind of damage is nearly irreversible. get a humidifier for the pianos so you can control the RH in the room they're in. If your wife values them, she needs to take care of them.

Acclimation was the usual way to dry lumber/furniture back in the bad old days before kiln drying. but it was always air dried first. Nothing wrong with your plan, just air dry it first. 
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