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"Home Kiln Drying" works for me

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by 80s Burnout, Dec 6, 2008.

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  1. 80s Burnout

    80s Burnout New Member

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    There was a prior thread about drying wood in the basement. That thread lead to a debate about the effectiveness of drying wood near any stove. Now I didn't weigh pieces of wood before and after or take readings with a moisture meter but I can say the following:

    1. I have a Jotul Oslo (pretty large stove) installed on a hearth in front of a pretty good size fireplace.
    2. I stacked semi-seasoned wood (~3" - 5" splits) behind the stove in the fireplace space for 2 days
    3. I stacked kindling made from same wood to the right of the stove - on the hearth pad

    This wood previously sizzled when initially burning. It now burns nice and hot - no sizzling!!

    I let the stove temp get up to ~550 degrees during heat up and then choke it back. The average temp is 350 to 400 degrees throughout the day........I'm guessing the air temp behind the stove is ~100 degrees. The wood is warm to the touch, that's it. Whatever the case, this does work. I could see how larger splits will take longer, maybe 4 days? This is the trick for smaller stuff. I have no idea what kind of wood I have. I know some is birch and some is probably oak, but not sure what kind of oak. Try it for yourself.

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  2. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

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    I've done the same before - flys in the face of clearance to combustibles, but it does work. Has the added value of increasing the humidity in the house at the same time, so long as the wood doesn't catch fire until it is behind the closed stove door :)
  3. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I keep about 4-6 days worth 2' from my stove and I can also tell a difference. My firewood is all dry by the time it comes in next to the stove 17-20%, but just playing around with my moisture meter I have seen 5-7% moisture lose after a few days.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    As for me and my house, we'll allow Mother Nature to do all of our wood seasoning.
  5. TreeCo

    TreeCo Member

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    Drying wood for a while beside the stove sure seems to be a natural tendency.

    A wood/box/kiln designed for 'in the heated space use' would be an interesting idea. I picture it being heated to 120f or so using heat from the wood stove and being screened in some way to capture insects that awaken. Fire safety would be of utmost concern. All of the energy used to heat the wood/box/kiln would remain inside the heated space along with humidity and possibly surprising(interesting?) odors.
  6. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I can do 1/2 cord that way when need be, works good!
  7. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Well 80s I wouldn't have thought such a thing possible...I'm sure many will benefit from your experiment.

    Last year there was another quick drying topic floated around here tongue in cheek I suggested putting one of these on top the stove....

    [​IMG]

    ...and putting a few splits on. Theory being the pre-warmed splits would be next to go in the stove then you'd put a few more less than seasoned splits on the grates and continue rotating splits.

    Now I'll be the 1st to admit that at 1st glance that idea is totally without any doubt totally FUBAR ...

    ...but after hearing your results I'm thinking with some tweaking, mostly elevating the grateholder a quick drying process may be closer than previously thought.


    What's needed are a couple of high speed retired guys to try this while sitting right there and observing and elevating the grates as needed to get the correct distance. As a final test with wood on the grates they have to attempt an overfire situation for the duration of a full load...

    ...there is much work to be done.
  8. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    A sexy way to direct heat through a close by woodpile would provide dry wood and would humidify the house some. If I had the gasifying boiler that I want, I'd put the emergency dump through tubes under a wood crib.
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    My mother often put a few splits in the oven of the cookstove.
  10. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

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    I've been known to put a few in my gas bbq for a while too. It wont get 40% wood to 20, but it will get 28 to 20.
  11. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    I've done it on the stovetop, no grate involved. Of course I was right there with it the whole time. I got some blackening on some splits, but never any smoke/fire. This was for about 3 hours of direct contact with the stovetop metal. Not saying it's a good idea, and it didn't dry the wood fully, but a whole lot of boiling water came out the ends. This was red oak, and even the guy that brought it to me said "It could have used a little more time seasoning". Knowing that wood that you purchase is 100% of the time not seasoned even when they say it is, this leads me to believe the wood was mostly green.
  12. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    "High speed retired guys" LOL!
    I guess I'm one of those. I still move pretty fast.

    Anyway, your idea is right on. I don't know why you dismiss it. Not all that FUBAR. I think it's reasonably practical and safe to do this. Heck, even direct contact with the stove as karri0n mentions can 'work' fine. You just need to be there to watch it and check it. I have used both methods, mostly the grate. I have a grate suspended above my stove top by the thickness of one firebrick- that's just over an inch. Seems to me that you are running little risk with the grate. It would probably take many weeks of very intense burning before there would be any risk of spontaneous combustion. And those splits are going to be on there for what? A half hour? A couple of hours at most? And watched over and occasionally turned? I see little downside to the grate method, so long as you don't go out leaving it that way. With direct contact, I've found that the dry time is considerably less. That one bears close watching and frequent turning, but I feel quite safe even with that one. One caveat- that method demands constant vigilance. Admittedly, the downside is that if you ever got careless with direct contact, you could indeed burn down your house. I much prefer the grate method. I think it is near bulletproof, i.e. fairly forgiving if you forget for a while.

    BTW I dry all of my wood outside, but I do bring in small amounts (small fraction of a 'face cord') to finish drying naturally inside. I don't dry very much directly over my stove.

    Edit: My stove has a pretty good size firebox. I have never been even remotely near an overfire condition. I'll leave that sort of research to others. I run conservatively here. I don't want to pop any welds.
  13. Chief Ryan

    Chief Ryan New Member

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    I do the same thing. I have the stove on the hearth in front of the firebox. I fill the firebox with wood and then i turn the Eco Fan around. It blows into the firebox. I'm sure it helps. It sure doesn't blow anywhere else.
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