Solar kiln

tumm21

Member
Jul 16, 2011
209
North Jersey
7E1864D3-B142-40F2-BCD6-8D0585D04649.jpeg

This a picture of one of my piles. Not exactly solar kiln material. But it definitely is hotter under the plastic. I measured a couple splits with my meter. Fresh split cherry was 16% inside. But fresh split oak was 26% inside. Hoping to get the oak down to 20% or less.
 

tumm21

Member
Jul 16, 2011
209
North Jersey
Do you guys think I could get my oak from 26% to under 20% by November the way I have my pile covered? Also am I doing more harm than good the way I have my pile covered? Should I just top cover so it could breath more? Or am I just overthinking this ?
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,298
Woolwich nj
Do you guys think I could get my oak from 26% to under 20% by November the way I have my pile covered? Also am I doing more harm than good the way I have my pile covered? Should I just top cover so it could breath more? Or am I just overthinking this ?
honestly.. its not a kiln.. thats basically top covered wood.. theres no way to vent the moisture out.. did you look at the pictures in the threads provided..
you could take that plastic off put the ladder onto of the wood.pile on end.. wrap the bottom of the pile with the wrap.. to where it would meet the plastic.. put the plastic on.. wrap the bottom of the plastic.. cut in 3 or 4 holes at the upper portion above the wood and you would make a kiln that way
 

Hoytman

New Member
Jan 6, 2020
39
Ohio
honestly.. its not a kiln.. thats basically top covered wood.. theres no way to vent the moisture out.. did you look at the pictures in the threads provided..
you could take that plastic off put the ladder onto of the wood.pile on end.. wrap the bottom of the pile with the wrap.. to where it would meet the plastic.. put the plastic on.. wrap the bottom of the plastic.. cut in 3 or 4 holes at the upper portion above the wood and you would make a kiln that way
Actually, the suggestions above are not that hard to do. You are 2/3 of the way to a correct kiln. Just follow the directions and you’ll be golden and have dry wood come November.
 

tumm21

Member
Jul 16, 2011
209
North Jersey
The problem is I can’t get the wrap around the back of the wood pile because it’s too close to my neighbors fence. I think I’m going to just cut the plastic back so it just over hangs 6” and hope for the best. I don’t want to trap moisture if that what you guys think I’m doing as of now. I did cut 3 holes in the plastic the way it is right now. But I’m taking it that I still will not be able to vent it enough not to cause mold or mushrooms the way it is.
 

Hoytman

New Member
Jan 6, 2020
39
Ohio
Drop the plastic in over to the bottom of the back side. Now the front will be too short, so slap another piece of plastic over the front and let it run down towards the bottom front of the stack. Tie a small rope around the stack. Surely you can fish a rope behind the stack? If not, I’d start moving that stack off the fence just a few inches because it will impede air flow anyway. I mean, where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? Using two pieces of plastic like I just mentioned you now have one piece laying over top of the other, or under the other. Make the front piece long enough to overlap a couple feet. Now you have a natural vent seem along the time. Or just go get a bigger piece of plastic and start over and save the old piece. Fish the new one down to the bottom of the stack and fish the rope down there and tie it up. It’s better than nothing. As condensation developed and you see how much, then cut you some vent holes.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,199
Fairbanks, Alaska
@tumm21 , I am about 4 weeks away from firing my stove up for the season up here. If you were my neighbor down the street I would tie a rope around that about six inches up from the bottom of the plastic, cut some vents along the side and hope to get the top 2/3s of that burnable this year.

You are sitting on a potential victory here, kiln and burn the top half or 2/3s of that stack this year maybe, restack the bottom third at one end next spring and go.

If the overhanging plastic is on the south facing side, it might be the south facing half of the stack you get burnable this year. I did that one as a new burner. It was late summer, the wood was too wet by a lot, so I stacked it several pallets long on E-W axis, covered the top and south facing side, left the north facing side open to air flow. The wood on the south side of that particulat EW stack was quite a bit dryer than the wood in the same stack on the north facing side.

This isn't rocket science. You need heat trapped in there under the tent to get the wood really hot so the water comes out of the wood, vent the hot moist air out, repeat. I was prepared to mount solar powered vent fans on mine, but haven't needed to, so I haven't done it.

If you do nothing, I bet a piece of folding money the wood covered by the plastic with moderate airflow will be dryer than a similar split three layers down outside the tent.
 

tumm21

Member
Jul 16, 2011
209
North Jersey
I’m thinking I’m going to leave it the way it is. It is definitely hotter under the plastic. And I have vents cut out. So it has to be drying a hell of a lot faster with what I did.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,199
Fairbanks, Alaska
Also I see no condensation on the plastic so that should be in my favor right?
Yup. If you do have condensation on the inside of the plastic and it can drip out and away that is in your favor also.
 

jaoneill

Feeling the Heat
I get 1/2 cord of 2' wood on a pallet; last year I did kilns of 4 pallets each and from mid August to mid October brought my hickory and sugar maple down from 25% +/- to a 12%-13% average. 6 mil was expensive so this year I'm capping individual pallets with leftover 6 mil from last year and wrapping from pallet up with 18" clear shrink wrap. Again, trees were cut 18 months ago and logs skidded out and mostly blocked up early this spring so I'm starting with 20-25% splits. I try to spend a couple of hours at it each morning while it's relatively cool. When I took this
IMG_1033.jpg
pic at 9:00 this morning it was 74 degrees ambient and temp in kilns was already over 120.
 
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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,298
Woolwich nj
I get 1/2 cord of 2' wood on a pallet; last year I did kilns of 4 pallets each and from mid August to mid October brought my hickory and sugar maple down from 25% +/- to a 12%-13% average. 6 mil was expensive so this year I'm capping individual pallets with leftover 6 mil from last year and wrapping from pallet up with 18" clear shrink wrap. Again, trees were cut 18 months ago and logs skidded out and mostly blocked up early this spring so I'm starting with 20-25% splits. I try to spend a couple of hours at it each morning while it's relatively cool. When I took this View attachment 261883 pic at 9:00 this morning it was 74 degrees ambient and temp in kilns was already over 120.
I was wondering what your results were from last year.. thanks for posting
 
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jaoneill

Feeling the Heat
I was wondering what your results were from last year.. thanks for posting
I thought I had posted results on the solar kiln thread last fall, but maybe I just meant to; getting old, tired, feeble, and senile these days :) . It worked extremely well; the eight pallets that I wrapped in August were at 12-13% in mid Oct, the eight that I didn't get wrapped until Sept were down to 15-16% in mid Nov when I moved them up to the machine shed where I could get to them if the snow got deep. I'm wrapping as I go this year, I spent more time than I had planned cutting up three year old tops that I had left where they fell. That small (4-8") wood doesn't add up as quickly as the bigger stuff but it did give me three cord stacked in the woodshed, dry and ready to burn. Then there was the haying to do; it seems that it now takes me most of a day to do what I used to get done before breakfast. I don't complain because many aren't as lucky as I am to still be vertical, never mind being able to do what I do at 73.
 

tumm21

Member
Jul 16, 2011
209
North Jersey
Checked my stacks and they are checking. I think my stack is definitely hotter with my plastic on it. But I’m debating on cutting it down so it just overlaps 6” around the whole pile. Scared I’m going to create mold over the next two months. Or should I just leave it be. I over think things to death. Sorry guys
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,867
Eastern Ontario
As long as it is vented there should not be much mold
Even if there is a little mold it will die very soon after
you take the plastic off. Mold need moisture as the wood dries
moisture is driven off so the mold can not live
 
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