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Experimenting with a cheap solar kiln - open to ideas

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by basod, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    Messages:
    937
    Loc:
    Mount Cheaha Alabama
    With the volume of folks who will be showing up here soon wondering if their "seasoned oak" they bought will be ready to burn this year, and I'm way ahead on wood, I've been toying with the idea of a convenient solar kiln.

    Saw a nice clean freshly blown over red oak today while riding the quad - nice sized 16-18DBH tree has been bucked to get it off the roadway. Leaves are brown with a touch of green tint so it's effectively GREEN. I'll do some weighing(maybe even oven bake a few hunks) and take some resistance readings to get baseline moisture content for future reference.

    My thoughts are stacking the wood as a face cord like most would already have and then building a wrap of either poly or the old pool cover tarp I have up in the garage. I might splurge on a piece of the clear polycarbonate for the "tin" roof. I have some galvanized pipe laying around that should work well for corners and use some ripped PVC to attach the tarp/poly.

    I know everyone will be against covering the wood but I'm planning on passive circulation for now, maybe a solar roof vent fan with a tarp at the base to prevent ground moisture from evaporating.
    I have access to a psychrometer to do occasional measurements on the heat/humidity.

    Any ideas thoughts or input from other folks experience with this would be appreciated.

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  2. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Kennett Square, PA
    It might accumulate some mold or fungi being red oak, but I"ll be waiting for you're results.
    Seems like a good plan.
  3. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    NNJ
    Problem is going to be airflow. You'll get plenty of heat, the molds and fungi will love it.
  4. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    May 29, 2012
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    424
    Loc:
    central NJ
    I considered the same thing, did a bunch of reading, and decided it probably wasn't worth the effort. Here is a study you should read where the guy basically did exactly what you're describing and the top-covered wood dried just as fast: http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_rn450.pdf
  5. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
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    937
    Loc:
    Mount Cheaha Alabama
    Thanks for the link Jeff, didn't find that in my searches - does sound futile.
    The highest temps they were getting in Fairbanks appeared to be ~75 ambient, with 12-15F higher in the solar kilns.
    Down here I should be able to get some higher temps:cool:
    I got the tops of the tree bucked up and split last evening, I'm bringing the splitter with me for the rest as handling rounds twice isn't really my system

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