Rescued Wood #16: My Drying Room (Kiln?)

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Blog entry by PG_Zac posted 02-02-2010 01:24 PM 2296 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: First Word-of-Mouth Referral Part 16 of Rescued Wood series Part 17: Flamboyant Crotch Anyone? »

I don’t really think I could call it a Kiln yet, but it is helping the wood to dry a little quicker.

More than a year ago I started building a prototype solar kiln, but didn’t finish it for various reasons. Among other reasons, we moved to the farm, and there are more pressing jobs taking up my time.

With all the logs I’ve been collecting and slabbing, I was running out of under-cover storage for air-drying, and anyway, my prototype kiln was never designed to hold this much wood, let alone the much larger collection of logs that are NOT under cover.

So one day my wife suggested I use “that corner room” which was not my intention, because that room will one day be renovated and rented out as a flatlet. So she says “It will be more than a year before we get to that point, so use it until then.”

Behind that red door in the center is my new 5m X 6m drying room

Needless to say, I didn’t protest any further and took possession of it and started stacking slabbed logs. In that room is a heavy-duty ceiling fan that (despite appearances) still works. So I ripped out the [email protected] ceiling and insulation and attached a thermostat to the fan. Now, any time the temperature in the room reaches 32 degrees C the fan starts blowing. I’ve walked around in the room when the fan is working, and there is a healthy breeze blowing through the air gaps between all of the slabs.

It gets very warm in there on a sunny day, and I can smell the wood moisture in the humid air. This room is definitely going to accelerate the drying process and give me some beauties to work with.

Currently I have the following woods drying in my almost kiln:

True Yellowwood – Podocarpus Latifolius
Outeniqua or Sickle-leaved Yellowwood – Podocarpus Falcatus
Wild Plumb – Harpephyllum Caffrum
Eucalyptus – I don’t know which one



Soon to be slabbed and added to the room are:
Flamboyant – Delonix regia
Kauri Pine – (apparently) Agathis Australis

To further accelerate the drying of the logs, I’ll be painting the outside of the roof sheets black, and placing the broken windows. After I repair or replace my moisture meter I’ll keep a weekly record of the moisture content of the slabs and compare them to some control slabs I’ll keep outdoors for air drying. Once I have some tangible results for comparison, I’ll post them for your info.


-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

8 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5446 days

#1 posted 02-02-2010 01:38 PM

what an opportunity! Seems like everything says, “I’m a drying room”.
Impressive collection of wood.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Walnutty's profile


11 posts in 4321 days

#2 posted 02-02-2010 03:15 PM

I like the flitched logs, that’ll make matching grain easy.

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4934 days

#3 posted 02-02-2010 03:53 PM

very cool.

not sure it qualifies as a kiln which is a bit oven. but definitely an indoor drying space.

now – since it’s indoor. I would recommend leaving some windows/doors open – preferably in 2 opposite directions. as what really dries the wood is air MOVEMENT, and not so much the fact that they are cut down.

there is a whole design theory on staking up lumber for drying, and putting it in piles in consistent distances from one to another to create air tunnels for wind to travel through which helps drying the lumber.

make sure you create some form of air CIRCULATION in there. or the lumber may not dry as consistent, even, and well.

But this looks like a great setup!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5013 days

#4 posted 02-02-2010 06:40 PM

another idea is to run a dehumidifier with the water pointed outside. That could help get things dry too.

View PG_Zac's profile


371 posts in 4674 days

#5 posted 02-02-2010 07:38 PM

Thanks Debbie. Sometimes my brain won’t stop churning over the possibilities awaiting me.

Walnutty – Grain matching is one of the reasons I stack complete logs, the other main reason is to prevent warping. You can see that some of the logs are strapped while others aren’t (I need to buy some more ratchet straps)

Sharon – Before I put the thermostat on the fan, I just left a door & window open, but I wasn’t happy with the lack of air through-flow. I’ve left enough space between the logs for walking around to collect the boards as they are ready. When the fan is running there is a good amount of air flow not only between the logs, but between the slabs of each log. There is a lot of circulation happening, even in the corners of the room, so I expect it should work well enough, and the air is constantly being replaced as the hot air leaks out of the gaps between the wall and the roof.

Hokie – I have thought of a dehumidifier, but decided against it for now. If this was intended as a commercial venture, then I’d go for it. For now though, let’s see how the setup performs.

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

View a1Jim's profile


118296 posts in 4862 days

#6 posted 02-03-2010 07:39 AM

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4626 days

#7 posted 03-07-2010 05:02 PM

thanks zac ,

you have a nice simple approach to this .

i’m exited for you ,
all that wood !

here we got pine ,
and mills with the new band saw sleds ,
so it’s easier to buy from them .
the cost of doing it myself ,
would keep me from ever finishing my house !

well done !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View PG_Zac's profile


371 posts in 4674 days

#8 posted 03-07-2010 06:24 PM

Thanks David,

The available floor space has dramatically reduced since the last posting. This afternoon I built a small 2nd and 3rd tier to accept my latest slabs, thus leaving enough floor space for the next load next week. Pics to follow in a new post.

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

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