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My wood drying idea is it a crappy one or not

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by ScottF, Oct 22, 2008.

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  1. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

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    Well here is the idea for drying wood and only moving it around once. Its just an idea and I have not put too much consideration as to the pros and cons. That is what you all are here to do. I will not be offended if you think it is a crappy idea. I am open to constructive critisizm. Just be easy on my feelings as I am quite sensative (insert laughing face because I dont know how to do those) Feel free to let me know if you think it is ingenious.

    Build a large size wood shed with posts and all open sides. Roof the top. Install a small wood stove in the middle like you see in a Bob house. Fill your 3 or 5 or 7 (or whatever you use a year) cords of wood leaving a proper clearance around the wood stove. Roll down canvas sides . Run stove until the wood is dry. Wood is ready for burning in several weeks. No seasoning needed. EASy Peesy and no moving your wood several times. You can use it straight from the shed. You can cut and burn all in the same year. Dont know how long it would take to season but it shouldnt be long. So what do you think?

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  2. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

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    It may work like a charm.... or spectacularly go up in flames. either way you still get to cut and burn in the same year ;)
  3. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Instand wood drying kiln. You can find charts on drying times vs. temp for various woods. Let's look at oak as it's common and hard to dry- you need to get it pretty darned warm if you want to dry it in a few days I think. Too warm to walk in there and reload. Also- you need to draw moist air out, and circulate the warm air in the shed to make the drying times work. This would all argue that a blower putting the heat into the shed would make more sense- which complicates the scenario quite a bit.

    I have thought about this a bit.

    Oh- and the idea isn't stoopid, you are.

    Love, AP
  4. sbohlen

    sbohlen Member

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    I have heard of people totally enclosing thier wood pile and putting a large dehumidifier in with it. Has anyone else hear of this? Any idea how it works?
  5. FireWalker

    FireWalker New Member

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    I know a guy that uses an old semi box trailer placed in an open field as a kiln. Cut a hole at either end and put a fan in one. Works great in hot weather. He uses it for lumber but says it will dry firewood as well.
  6. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    You can buy systems to convert conex containers and semis into lumber or firewood dryers.
  7. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

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    Well I already know that, My wife tells me all the time, Hey but at least I didnt have a stewpid idea. One outta 2 ain.t bad!!!!


    Of course it doesnt have to be just two days. We could make it say 2 weeks or so and lower the temp.
  8. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

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    No no no A P cant call it a Kiln because then you couldn't burn it in a wood stove ;)

    As for the need to draw moist air out just vent the bottom of each side of the tent with a solid roof thingy and the stove should draw air in and expel air out so no extra ventilation system needed???

    I for one still think it is a Smoking Hot idea ;)
  9. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    There are lots of plans for solar based lumber dryers, all of which really need an electric fan. I have thought (and posted) about having a black sheet metal pre-heater down low for the air intake to speed up draft and get some more temp in there.

    Reports on other passive systems - based on using plastic with venting around a pile don't seem to work. Realloy boosting the heat actively, or passively, might do the trick. maybe a passive solar hydronic heater with gravity circulation in addition to traditional passive solar? How about a modified woodstove to heat water like the one that's been shown here for hot tub water?

    See- I'm just too cheap to want to burn wood to dry more wood.
  10. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

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    Why would you need to draw the moist air out.? Would the heat from the stove just dry out the air already in there. It does in the house when I run my wood stove. I know this because all of the woodwork shrinks in my house when I run the stove. I realize the moisture has to go somewhere but the stove would draw in make up air for combustion. What if you just ran it on a dry day or days.
  11. woodzilla

    woodzilla New Member

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    I have read that seasoning wood allows the "pores" to contract resulting in a slower burn. Kiln drying is so quick that it does not allow this to occur. Resulting in faster burn times.
  12. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Air circulation moves water away from the wood as it evaporates into the bulk air. this is a strong driving force towards drying the wood- if the air is dry against the wood, then more evaporates per unit time.

    Heat itself does not dry air- it boosts the amount of water that that air can hold. Fresh wood holds a surprising amount of moisture! I have put bow stave wood in my car in the summer (what we call a "car kiln"), and the windows fog up PDQ.

    A woodstove makes the air in a house feel dryer by 1) boosting the water that it can hold by heating it (see above) , and 2) by creating a draft that sucks air into the house, which replaces air that would be more humid from breathing, cooking, shower steam, etc.

    If you don't watch where the air comes from and where it goes, then you will have drafts of colder air impinging on some parts of the woodpile near the leak, and lots of heat near the roof. Also- most of the structure is full of wood- so heat will not get to all parts easily. Circulating air reduces that issue as well.
  13. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    I paid for my woodshed and I pay for my firewood. I don't have to pay for the sun or the wind. I don't want to devote that much space inside my woodshed to another woodstove I have to put wood in & burn to try to season my other wood. I just make sure I have enough wood on hand for 2-3 years, and everything that goes into the shed's already seasoned & ready to burn through the upcoming winter. Everything that's still outside will go into the shed next year when it's ready. Seems to me that what you propose would require the wood in the shed to be stacked very loosely (ala kiln-drying)...not efficient use of the available shed volume. It's intriguing, but I'm thinking maybe it's just a bit more complex, cumbersome, and expensive way to go about watching wood dry than I would try. But stoopidh? No, not at all. Rick
  14. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    The major reason I've thought about drying methods is to produce hyper-dried wood for the kiln. I need explosive fast heat release... so instead I cut up pallets :)
  15. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

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    Ok, So it is a little more complicated than just the heat from the stove and the natural draft of the stove for moisture removal. Therefore not such a good idea. Anyhow, It was just a thought as I also stay about 3 years ahead of my firewood needs for drying purposes. You hear of so many posts where people want to burn the same wood they just aquired in the same year. It got me to thinking of a low tec way for them to dry it. Thanks for all the information ..
  16. jqgs214

    jqgs214 Minister of Fire

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    Best method of drying firewood hands down is in the sun/wind split and TIME!
  17. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    If you can get the heat UNDER the wood box-stacked wood, then it becomes easier to do (I think). Natural convection does a lot more work in that case, and a vent in the roof should suffice.
  18. Dill

    Dill Feeling the Heat

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    Back in the late 50s and early 60s when oil was dirt cheap, a number of farms in New England had drying barns. You'd bay the hay up with some moisture, and then pull the wagons into the drying barn. Close the doors, hit the heat and the next morning you'd have dry hay. Does anyone do that anymore? I've never met one.
    I used to work at a sawmill that ran 4 kiln buildings, they are down to 1 now. The rest is air dried.
    Where am I going with this? You can spend lots of money and save time. Or use time to save money.
    I for one would just cut wood and let mother nature do her magic, drying it for me for free.
    Or cut Ash and burn it right then.
  19. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

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    So you could replace the solid non permeable floor with some sort of an open grate. Somehow duct the heat from the outside stove under the shed. Install a vent on the roof and use natural convection. Just brainstorming here. Just trying to use the energy from woodburning as the fuel source. No real need to do this nor does it really make sense.
  20. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    I suppose in a scenario like this, some will have to assume that you may not be 1 year ahead in your wood and you would rather find a way to dry some green wood that you have now. I think this idea will work but not sure how long it will take.
  21. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

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    Incorrect sir, With all due respect, Read my previous posts. I now have 17 cords and am at least 3 years ahead. I was just brainstorming an idea I had in my head (for fun and others that may not be years ahead) and wanted to pick the brains of some of the brilliant minds that frequent this site. Simple as that.
  22. Dill

    Dill Feeling the Heat

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    sorry tried to edit for spelling ended up requoting.
  23. the_dude

    the_dude Feeling the Heat

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    Scott,

    Isn't this a chicken and egg scenerio? If I need to burn wood to season my wood, how do I get seasoned wood to season my wood? :)
  24. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    I already have something similiar and it works great. I've been heating 100% with firewood for over 30 years and have tried different systems. Two years ago I built a new, well-insulated room attached to my house and gargage/barn with a hot-air wood-furnace in the middle of it. The room holds 4-5 full cords of wood, all stacked around the furnace. If anything, it works better then planned. Attached barn holds another 6-7 full cords. Also have an 80 gallon water-storage preheat tank hooked to coils in the furnace. Circulates by thermosiphon and makes more hot water than we ever use - with no electricity or pumps involved. Pretank feeds into an LP heater that only comes on in the non-heating season.

    The room has one door attached to the house, one to the barn, and one to the back property. Many ways to bring wood in. Also have a battery-backup and inverter system under the clothes drying rack in the photos. This way, when power is out, the blower in the furnace keeps on working. Hot air pipes go underground and come up in several rooms in the house. Heat pipes are 10" flexible insulated pipe put inside hard plastic culver-conduit for burial.

    Chimney is a Canadian version - better insulated and more fireproof than US built versions. CF Sentinel with a lot of fireproof insulation in it. One really nice feature is - I clean the chimeny without even going outside. Just pop it off the back of the furnace, and run the brush up from the bottom. A thorough cleaning takes less than half an hour.

    Having the room attached to the house is a pleasure. The room also works great for drying our wet winter clothes, boots, etc. On a drying rack and also laid right on top of the furnace bonnet. I do not , however rely on this to dry green wood. I cut and stack outside all summer. Then before the fall rain and snow comes, I fill the room. Once the fire is going full-time though, wet wood brought into the room drys very fast. This is the best system I've used yet. Only drawback is the electricity to run the furnace blower. I wish I could of built it to run by convection only - but that would require a furnace in the basement and centrally located. Not possible here. In my case, it's a moot point since I have solar-electric anyway. Subsequently, the furnace room has two backups - its own small battery bank and inverter, and also my main battery bank and twin inverters that run the house. This redundancy is not needed, but I had the stuff anyway. The batteries in the furnace room are pulled out every summer and used at a remote camp I have in the Adirondack mountains.

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  25. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

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    jdemaris, Wow thanks for sharing, That is an awesome system, Talk about being self sufficient. I kind of thought it would work very well. I know that if I bring wet wood in my gargage , just by pulling the cars in with warm engines once a day and closing the doors the wood drys out very quickly and I have a moisture meter to verify this. Its amazing what a small amount of heat in a room does to dry wood. You are obvioulsy one very mechanical and smart person. Thanks again.
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