Running a Kiln


Operating a solar kiln seems to be pretty straightforward business. Load the kiln, let the sun shine in, and watch the wood dry. But there are details that impact how well your lumber dries and how quickly it dries. Kiln drying lumber is usually a dance between drying the charge as fast as possible to get money in your pocket more quickly and drying the charge well so there is a minimum amount of loss due to drying defects. The lumber can be dried in record time, but if half of it becomes firewood because of checking, then you've just been quick to lose money.

The controls on a solar kiln are minimal. A solar-only kiln like mine only has one variable to actively control - opening and closing the vents. If you run powered fans then you add one additional element to control - air flow. At night when the humidity rises, the fans should be shut down with a timer. If you choose to go one step further, a humidistat can shut the fans down during the day if the humidity rises. But for the most part, operating the vents becomes the most important activity in controlling a solar kiln.

As I gain more experience drying with a solar kiln, the information in this section will hopefully grow. For now, consider this a starting point and proof-positive that even a beginner can use a solar kiln to dry good lumber.

 

 

 
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