Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: Solar kilns

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Central (upstate) NY
    Posts
    1,457

    Solar kilns

    Does anyone have any experience with solar kilns? I've got a bit of maple that has been sitting under a tarp since last year and I'm wondering if it is worth my time to build one of these things.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,833
    If that maple was stacked so air could circulate, it may be OK now.
    However, a member of my woodturning club is in the business and solar kilns all his wood. The room faces north, is about 15' wide and, maybe 10' deep. The north wall is simply a sheet of visqueen (sp?) about 12' tall. There are a couple small fans to bring air in and move out. That's it. Wood is stacked and stickered. He says that the room, in daytime, is always 75 degrees warmer than outside air. I have no idea how long it takes to dry the wood. Sure it varies with type and thickness, time of year, etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Central (upstate) NY
    Posts
    1,457
    Most of the maple is 4/4, but some is 8/4 or even 10/4. It is stickered, although it looks like it isn't flat resting after the winter - when we first got our dogs we bought one of those little self-contained kennel deals and then never used it. I put the wood in there and it has tilted and is resting against the kennel - still stickered though.

    My wood storage room tends to get kind of warm, especially if I open the curtains, maybe it is time to bring it on in soon. Not tonight though, I noticed a huge puddle of water on the tarp and took to cordless shop vac out to give a little suck on the end of the siphon hose I have out there. Hehe, I took some used, improperly cleaned brewing siphon line, screwed in an HF male air fitting for weight and tossed her in. I periodically go out with the cordless shop vac to get it going - this is my first time since winter - I am impressed that the HF tarp is still loving the huge lake of water that it is holding.

    Thanks Frank!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Floydada, Tx
    Posts
    1,941
    Mark, Being in the upstate area, I would look into building a kiln that uses a dehumidfer(sp) They are easy to control and will dry the wood quicker then a solar kiln.

  5. #5
    I've got a solar kiln and I have had good results with it. I say good, and not great, awesome, or fantastic only because I framed the thing and never really got beyond that. I am sure if I insulated the thing, painted the inside black and installed circulating fans it would dry wood much quicker.

    As it stands now it gets quite hot in the summer when the sun hits it,even as drafty as it is. I have never noticed any boards to adversely warp from it. In about 3 months time I can get wood fresh off the sawmill to dry. Mine is a bit small, at 4 feet wide, and 16 feet long and can hold a few hundred feet of wood. Its also wired for lights and outlets. I would certainly recommend anyone to build one.

    The good thing is, you can not over-dry wood in the thing. The temp does not get so high that it can honeycomb, or dry out your wood too fast. At the same time you can use a solar kiln for wood storage, since the heating side of the thing relaxes at night, giving the wood a rest period from drying.

    Still there are improvements I would like to make and here are some of those ideas. The first is to insulate it the living crap out of it, install some circulating fans and paint the inside black. Then I would like to install some baffles and install a small dehumidifier I have kicking around, to jump start the drying process if need be. Just a flip of the switch and you would be drying...even at night. Some temp gauges running to my shop would also be nice, along with a remote moisture meter too so I could keep a better eye on the dryness of the wood.

    One other option I thought of, was to heat water via a compost pile, then pump the heated water through baseboard heat radiators into my solar kiln via slow circulation. By doing this I could raise the temp of my solar kiln, and dry wood even in the winter, or on cloudy days.

    Here is a picture of what I have now anyway, but as I said I never got much beyond the framing stage. I've just had other things to build that were more important...like a house

    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
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Central (upstate) NY
    Posts
    1,457
    Travis - you got me wondering if (budget permitting, which means not this year) if I were to build one, maybe investing a solar panel from HF to run the fans / dehumidifiers.

    It looks like your setup is just exterior grade ply? Would setting the whole thing up on some PT 4 by 4's be a sufficient elavation to keep it from rotting? And is black needed or would any old dark colored "oops" paint do?

    What kind of insect control is done with these things? Both against the woodeaters and the "let's see if your harbor an anaphalactic shock reaction you didn't know about" kind.

    Now I need to figure out how much sun the flat spot where I would like to set this up gets. I guess I could always build it some where else if needed.

    Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    3,383
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    If that maple was stacked so air could circulate, it may be OK now.
    However, a member of my woodturning club is in the business and solar kilns all his wood. The room faces north, is about 15' wide and, maybe 10' deep. The north wall is simply a sheet of visqueen (sp?) about 12' tall. There are a couple small fans to bring air in and move out

    Errr, North?

    Does this friend of yours live south of the equator?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,807
    Mark, a ton of good info >> HERE <<

    If you have not already found that page.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,833
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder View Post

    Errr, North?

    Does this friend of yours live south of the equator?


    Yer right. SOUTH

  10. #10
    Stuart,

    Great website. I saved it as a favorite for a future project. Thanks.

Similar Threads

  1. Solar on Roof
    By Leo Voisine in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-24-2015, 08:41 PM
  2. Solar Roadways
    By Dan Mooney in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-29-2010, 04:33 AM
  3. Solar Eclipse
    By Stuart Ablett in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-22-2009, 01:45 AM
  4. Solar Heating?
    By Travis Johnson in forum Carpentry and Construction
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 08-24-2007, 06:33 AM
  5. Solar Heat
    By Bill Simpson in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-23-2007, 12:00 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •