Jeff France's Solar Kiln
Jeff France's Solar KilnJeff France recently sent me an email from New Zealand to introduce himself and his solar kiln.

Jeff's kiln looks like a standard VT kiln, but it's what he's drying in it, that makes it interesting.

In Jeff's words:

I'm originally from Montana, but moved to NZ four years ago.  After enduring a wall of anti-americanism in the business world, I decided to start a log furniture company.  Lodgepole pine was introduced here in the 30s, but is now considered a pest, as it spreads so well.  I've tried to use dead standing, but it rots very quickly in our moderate environment.  (In MT, it gets down to 20%mc quickly as dead standing).  I have air dried some, after pealing, but it took 4 months and checked terribly.  So...I built the kiln last month and tossed some green logs in to dry. 

My kiln is 3.2m long by 2 high.  (10ft by 6ft)  I made a light weight double glazed window from greenhouse plastic and 2X2 framing. ($40).  Fans are 60watt house fans (2).  Its fully insulated, siliconed etc.  I used black "pool" paint to seal the interior, and tar paper for the baffle.  I've played with vents and baffles to get the lowest difference between temps inside intakes at top and exhaust vents at the back of the load.

Each section is modular and bolted together, so I can move it to a new location if necessary.  Construction took about 8 days,(by my self).  Total cost was $1300NZ or $800 US.

Temperatures at the exhaust vents range from 70F to 100F, with humidity dropping from 50 to 30 as the day progresses.

Big thanks to Jeff for sending the pictures and description!  The furniture that Jeff is making with lodgepole pine is incredible.  Check out the forums for some posts from Jeff that include pictures of his furniture as well as some details on kiln uprades he's made.
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