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Is there a practical limit to how small a kiln can be?7/22
I have a portable mill and solar kiln on a large piece of property I own. Its an adjunct to our shop work but I dont saw a tremendous amount. I do saw off that property occasionally and dry in the kiln (1000-1200bf/load). We bring in all our material at present from a hardwood supplier about 4hrs away via tractor trailer or hot shot for smaller loads. I am in the initial stages of dialing down my work so bringing in 5-10k feet at a time isnt going to be necessary all the time in the future.
I have been kicking around an idea of building a small kiln here at the shop (10 miles away) that might handle just a couple hundred feet at most. Perhaps some sort of enclosure that may handle 6-10 layers of 10' material max (talking 4/4, less for thicker), perhaps 18-30" wide. I was thinking of possibly using one bunk on my hardwood rack and building somewhat of a mini kiln with a drop down door on the side (length) for loading and unloading?
I dont get to the property as often as Id like but have a good amount of air dried material up there and rather than having to deal with drying, and then storing, an entire load I got to thinking about drying smaller amounts. When I dry up there its a commitment but have been thinking tending a small setup here at the shop may be worth taking up the space given Im here daily.
Waste of time? I have no access within perhaps 40 miles to any commercial drying.
I have a kiln which is fine for me already its just that its a distance from my shop and at a location I dont get to for periods of time so tending the kiln is an issue. This isnt such a big deal for a solar kiln as it can somewhat tend itself for periods of time.
That aside, I got to wondering if I couldnt actually dry MORE material here at my shop in smaller batches where I am here all the time. Further, for the work Im moving into, being able to dry a bit of this, or a bit of that, based on what I have coming up for work could prove quite handy.
The issue for me is simply having to house the quantities of dry material once they are out of the kiln. I dont have exterior space available at my shop to build a kiln here nor do I want/need to be drying 1MBF or more at a time (large quantities I would still order in from my suppliers) but it sure would be nice to be able to dry a few hundred feet here and there.
I think I came across wrong. I would like to dry 200 or less at a time. Once you start drying in solar kiln
If the lumber is fairly dry, you can put it in a heated room...120 F and 25% - 30% RH in many cases is ideal. This will achieve the low MC you need. However, it will be hard to get a taxable depreciation for a heated room, but you can get one for a kiln. So, make sure you call it a kiln.