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Thread: Culled My Kiln

  1. #1

    Culled My Kiln

    It is one nasty day here...okay it has been really nasty all week with rain and heavy winds. I just finished up my last woodworking project (a wooden model of my Uncle's silage chopper) so I am in between projects. No big deal but everything I started, I lost interest on. So I decided to cull my kiln.

    Now my kiln is a solar kiln so its more storage then kiln, but I had lumber in there for the last 3 years. Its kind of funny too, I remember putting some Maple Boards in there and was very hesitant to put them on the bottom of the pile. Oh how I wanted to get right to them and make something from them. Now I am glad I put them on the bottom. Over the years I have steadily built up a pile of green lumber and slowly my kiln become inverted.

    That is I had dry, dry lumber on the bottom and greenier lumber on the top. Since I typically use small quantities of wood, I would run out, grab something only partially down and use it. Something had to change.

    So day I pulled everything out and redid the pile. I took out all my stickers and flat piled everything since its now all dry. I also put everything into same species piles like Ash, Basswood, Beech, Apple and Maple. That will make life easier when I want a certain species.

    While I was in there I culled a lot of my nastier boards. Since I saw my own lumber I tend to keep the whole log, but after awhile I get tired of moving and moving again, marginal lumber. So I had a big pile of wood, and even bigger fire and culled my kiln.

    I still have not got anything in mind to build, but my kiln is at least organized. The one thing I probably should have done is write down the lengths, widths and species of boards I have so I have an inventory of sorts.Perhaps in another lifetime I will be more organized

    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Orem, Utah
    Posts
    936
    Sounds like a nice, productive day so far.

    I need to get myself to cull my basement of ... ah ... "stuff".

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Manistique, Michigan
    Posts
    297
    Travis,

    That is a really nice kiln. I am interested in building one in a few years. Where did you get the plans?
    Rich (the Yooper)

    "To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world."

    "Common sense is not so common."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Winchester Ky.
    Posts
    98
    Travis I would also be interested in the plans on your kiln. One questions how do you keep it from drying out the lumber to quick from overheating due to the sun exposure??

  5. #5
    Oh there are no plans, I designed the thing myself. Its not actually all that practical. The problem is it is narrow (4 feet) and long. (16 feet) I did that because I have been known to cut long boards for such things as my hardwood flooring and whatnot. The problem is,this long narrow approach kind of makes loading and unloading the kiln kind of tough. If I was smart, I would put an access door inside the back wall of my shop that way I could get at wood inside the kiln from both ends. The one from inside the shop would be nice because I could just stand in my shop and get dry wood as I need it.

    As for keeping my kiln from over drying wood, its impossible to do with a solar kiln because it just does not get that hot. It helps too that I live in Maine on one of the foggiest spots on the east coast.

    I could do a ton of things to improve the effeciency of this kiln. The first being to orient the angle to a lower pitch. Its something like 55 and should ideally be 49. The other thing is to insulate it and paint the interior black to help retain heat.

    So if I know all this, why don't I do it? Well I alluded to that in my first post. It has to do with time. Just piled up under cover, boards will dry out on average in one year for every inch of thickness. Since my wood has been undercover for 2 years and is only 1 inch thick, they are plenty dry. I also got about 2 thousand board feet under cover in the sawmill. At some point I might try and make my kiln work better, but for right now I really don't need to dry wood fast.

    Now the one thing this kiln MIGHT be able to do that I have not tapped into yet, is help heat my shop in the winter. It might not heat the place to 70, but it could certainly help lower the btu requirements of my propane heater by quite a bit (I think anyway). I am just saying this kiln has quite a bit of potential to be more then it is at this point. Just need sometime and motivation to do it.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Westphalia, Michigan
    Posts
    955

    kiln designs

    Rich and Ken, You can find everything you need to know about kilns at www.woodweb.com This is a web site devoted to the science of forestry/wood industry. There is a whole section in the knowledge base on all kinds of kilns with lots of detailed designs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Manistique, Michigan
    Posts
    297
    Paul,

    Thanks for the lead - lots of information here. I now have another website that will make me loose track of time.
    Rich (the Yooper)

    "To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world."

    "Common sense is not so common."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Westphalia, Michigan
    Posts
    955
    Travis, What sawmill are you using? I am sawmillenvious. I've been pining away for a mill for about 8 years. I just lost out on a Lucas Mill a couple of years ago at an auction and have looked at a few Woodmizers a few times. I really want to get a Peterson mill.

    A few weeks ago a friend of mine called and asked if I would help him clean up a few trees when the power company felled them in his front yard. I told him I would be over as soon as they got them down. A few days ago another friend asked me to help him cut up 2 large trees as soon as the excavation crew pushed them over. I said "sure, I'll be right there". Heck I heat the home and shop with wood so it's a good deal. Well, The excavation crew knocked them down today and the power company crew knocked theirs down TODAY. I had to put the one job off to go clean up the power company trees because they are blocking his driveway. Before I was done I ended up felling a 2' dia. cherry tree. and did a test cut on a 4' dia. hard maple that split and blew over just behind the cherry. This was in my friends woods and the maple is curly and spalted. The total for his place will be; 2 very large hard maples, 1 cherry, 1 large white oak, and the top from 1 walnut + several other walnut limbs. Also he is going to sell 2 veneer walnut trees that are 2'+ dia. and probably 80' tall.
    The second place has 1 large soft maple, 1 large Chinese elm, and an orchard that had 20 apple trees.
    I'm always finding free trees and I hate to cut them into firewood. The cherry was dead but looks real good with only about 2" of rot on the outside. I bucked it into 3 logs.

    I need a mill!!!!! It just doesn't work well to use a Alaskan chainsaw mill clone. I share one with a friend and it has worked in a bind, but it is slooowww going. I run a 385xp husky most of the time.

  9. #9
    We have a couple of sawmills. The first is a 1901 Lane which is a 52 inch rotary sawmill and was more of a production mill. No portability to this thing. It was a stand alone building, ran on a 1965 327 engine and would hog through wood all day at about 5000-7000 bf per day.



    The second sawmill was one me and may dad fabricated up, and while it worked, it was driven by a chainsaw, but as you well know, you make one cut today and finish the second cut tomorrow. It was slow.....We are thinking about redoing it over so that it will saw clapboards instead and maybe make better use of time and the time we got into it. But right now we really have no use for clap boards so reconfiguring it is not high priority.



    The sawmill we own,that we use the most now is actually a portable bandsaw made by a neighbor called the Thomas Bandsaw. He makes and sells a lot of them and its a pretty good rig. It can only saw 1000-1500 bf per day as this one is only a hobby mill, but for the occasional tree we want converted into boards, it works just fine.


    Now most of the time I have my logs sawn by a custom sawyer. It sounds crazy with so many sawmills in the family, but its just easier. I have barely enough time to pull the logs out of the woods, let alone take the time to cut them into boards. For 20 cents a BF I can have a local Mennonite come in and knock them out in no time. He's fast, cheap and does a good job. I have used him so much now that its just a matter of calling him up, telling him I got some wood and to try and work me into his schedule. That has really worked out good. He was just over last month cutting 2500 bf of softwood for me (for shop framing for my dad.)

    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  10. #10
    I've been super busy this year harvesting wood too. Not just for wood for my woodworking shop but mostly firewood. Everyone wants it this year. I have been going around the edges of my fields cutting back the trees so that they don't bust out the windows on the tractors. I flattened something like 54 cords just around the edges of the fields and have yet to make a dent on what's there.

    Now normally I try and cut back to the rockwalls that are here, and sometimes it can be as far as 50 feet from the rock wall to the first row of corn that is planted which equates to a lot of loss in crops. This one field was funny. I found two rock walls. Apparently my great great grandfather or whatever had a hard time keeping up with encroachment too. You can see where the field was originally cleared in the 1810's, then another rockwall was started 50 years later or so. The trees had just encroached that much, so they just started a new rockwall and made the field a bit smaller.

    Here is a picture of that field, taken in the winter time. You can easily see why I am trying to knock the trees back here.



    I did get out in the woods and cut down some nasty fir that needed to be culled. Around it was some nice Spruce that I want to grow. This was the first load of softwood I have cut in quite sometime so that was fun.



    Its been an interesting year. Firewood is high, but hardwood pulp is even higher right now, and even the waste wood like sawdust and slabs from the sawmills are being sold faster then it can be made. I am sitting on a bunch of firewood right now, but while a bunch of people want it, no one has any money.

    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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