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new dry kiln on the cheap12/11
Howdy all, i will see if i can get some photos off my phone onto here so you can all see some details but my homemade kiln is working quite well and wanted to share some details. I've had a nyle 200 kiln before so i'm familiar with how they work. I have a woodboiler to heat my house with so i wanted to use that to heat the kiln.
My shop is 40' long so i made an 8' wide leanto on to the outside using pine i have salvaged and sawn on my woodmizer to frame and build the lean to. I poured a concrete pad on foam and with a vapor barrier to make a thermal break with the soil as i live in michigan and it gets quite cold. I bought a bunch of factory defect foam off craigslist so i have about R36 in the walls and roof of closed cell foam that i sealed as well as i could. Built a door on some heavy hinges and made some kiln carts from C channel and some v groove wheels off ebay. Based on my old Nyle kiln carts. I have two 50k btu air heat exchangers in the kiln and can achieve 150 degrees pretty easily with the setup, though it uses a lot more firewood now than with just the house and shop. But it should be worth it. In the last 2 years i have spend around $30k having my lumber dried locally. I plan to keep that from now on.
I bought an inexpensive kiln monitor from lignomat. It uses one of their hand held meters that you plug into a rotarty dial that allows you up to 12 probes in the kiln. its the easiest, most accurate and cheapest way to monitor your charge that i've found. I air dry my wood quite well down to roughly 20% mc before kiln drying anyhow so its as easy as possible.
I also followed Gene Wengerts advice on pouring some concrete slabs to use as top weights which has greatly improved the flatness of my slabs in particular. Slabs, of walnut and cherry have a lot of desire to move with so much sapwood on them. I think Gene suggested 6" thick, but i went with 4"and 5" at 4'x8' this weighs about 3,000 lbs at least.
My last great addition is a chiller for dehumidifying. Why pay to chill the air when you live in michigan? I added 16' of 8" metal furnace duct that takes the air outside and back in again with an inline duct fan. The cold steel condenses the humid air and a hole at the lowest point outside collects the condensate in a bucket i can monitor. Seems to be working quite well, just as well as the nyle, if not better. I will see if adding length will remove water any faster.
I will see if i can post some pics from my phone on here now. I recommend this system to anyone. I will probably add a commercial size dehumidifier for summertime use, but will duct the air from inside the kiln to inside my shop where the dehumidifier will operate in much cooler atmosphere, and duct the discharge air back into the kiln chamber. I'll update how that goes.
Here are some pictures
This is so nice.
What happens when you need to use those windows for another project?
Ha! I guess it won’t work anymore then. My wife was also impressed with my design.