Dry It, You'll Like It

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Project by woodrookieII posted 02-25-2012 02:47 PM 4762 views 12 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

30 years or so ago The Mrs. requested a dehydrator for doing fruit leathers, jerky, and just general drying fruits and veggies. So I found this outfit called Living Foods Dehydrators and ordered their plans. Remember this was 30 years or so ago. Well, The Mrs. eventually wore the thing out. So I made her a new one. Called the same outfit to purchase the Warm Air Generator (WAG) and surgical screening for the trays. Used (geographical reference word removed here) Baltic Birch plywood for the box, and fine pine for the trays and tray supports, and brass furniture. The top, which slides to allow the rising moisture laden warm air to escape, is hardboard to resist the rising heat and I left the inside of the entire unit unfinished. I made a twin for one of the daughters-in-laws as she wishes to start drying stuff. The sides are 16” x 16”.


19 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117746 posts in 4119 days

#1 posted 02-25-2012 03:42 PM

Dehydrate and don’t be late LOL Wow that’s a big unit great job.

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3627 days

#2 posted 02-25-2012 05:01 PM

Those dehydrators are great, I used my fish smoker to dry some Macintosh apples when my son was in Iraq-
Afghanistan, since fresh apples would not make it over there, and could not keep up with the demand from
the troops, for apples and buffalo jerky, then I forgot after he got out. Will have to check out your site, and get moving on making a good dehydrator for my own use. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2950 days

#3 posted 02-25-2012 05:12 PM

Thats a great rig. Good job.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3235 days

#4 posted 02-25-2012 05:31 PM

Very nicely done!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View PurpLev's profile


8552 posts in 4190 days

#5 posted 02-25-2012 05:48 PM

very nice build. was just looking at a fruit dehydrator a few days ago, nice to see a shop made one that lasts 30 years.

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

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2848 days

#6 posted 02-25-2012 06:07 PM

Really nice, I need to build one of those. 30 Years huh, that sounds like my schedule. Is this from a plan or of your own design?

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Woodstock's profile


256 posts in 3830 days

#7 posted 02-25-2012 06:17 PM

Ah this brings back some VERY fond memories as a kid with really bad allergies to artificial food coloring and flavoring that was in EVERYTHING back in the 60’s and 70’s. We made up most of our own foodstuffs for me to survive.

Let me let you in on a little secret. 1/4” thick x1”x2” blocks of cut (and the seeds removed) watermelon is WONDERFUL dried. Comes out looking like like thick rough construction paper. Better than candy. I used to catch you know what from my mom when I raided the dryer we had. Very little ever made it to the storage shelf. Pineapple/oranges and bananas are also good.

And we made our own jerky that is 1000% better than the stuff you buy shrink wrapped today.

(Ah nuts. Did it again. Now I’m hungry. Off to raid the kitchen…)


-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 2838 days

#8 posted 02-25-2012 07:16 PM

We were thinking about buying a large dehydrator. I found the website but it is REALLY thin on details. No pictures or anything. What IS a Warm Air Generator? How much electricity does it use? How much screening would I need to build something like you did? Thanks!

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 2838 days

#9 posted 02-25-2012 07:34 PM

I found their home page (google took me somewhere else originally). I’m good – thanks. I would be curious how long it takes to do something like apples or other fruits in your dryer. I was considering a fan forced unit for quick drying.

View woodrookieII's profile


286 posts in 3205 days

#10 posted 02-25-2012 08:07 PM

If you ask the folks at the website they’ll sell you the plans. That’s what I did 30 years or so ago. No need for plans this time tho.

Fan forced drying removes too much flavor and too many nutrients. Resist the urge for instantly dried stuff. Let the chimney effect do it’s thing and you’ll be very pleased.

Their book, Dry It You’ll Like It, is a fun/must read if you’re serious and a newbie to drying.


View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 2838 days

#11 posted 02-25-2012 11:13 PM

We have a Ronco, but it’s too small and S L O W to do any volume. Is the WAG basically a heating element? I would consider building one just for the extra capacity. And I wonder if I could simply utilize the base of my existing Ronco, which is just a low temp element. I could even but a thermostat in there to maintain a constant temp.

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4456 days

#12 posted 02-26-2012 10:00 AM

Mediterranean Baltic Birch? Isn’t that an oxymoron? baltic birch is normally from Russia

I’d like to build a dehydrator but will probably make a solar model but is the birch selected for any particular reason?

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View woodrookieII's profile


286 posts in 3205 days

#13 posted 02-26-2012 12:44 PM

Me and woodworker in the same sentence is an oxymoron for sure. :)

I selected the Baltic birch for is stability, it’s resistance to losing it’s shape.


View Sylvain's profile


891 posts in 3041 days

#14 posted 02-27-2012 03:20 PM

Well, I know nothing about US geography so I thought : I will shut up.

But as Daltxguy has made a comment…
After the dissolution of USSR, Russia as only a limited access to the Baltic.

You now have Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on the coast.
have a look at Wikipedia Baltic sea.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4456 days

#15 posted 02-27-2012 07:37 PM

thanks rookieII – so any stable wood is desirable. I suppose this might be important because of the relative differences of temp and humidity on inside vs outside of the box?

Sylvain, I believe ‘baltic birch ply’ also comes from Finland. So, I wonder if the term is used more liberally now or refers more to the product or the source of a specific kind of birch which grows in that region. It’s probably not inconceivable that baltic birch ply now comes from china, too with the logs coming from somewhere else. But, I have never seen a birch tree in the Mediterranean

On the other hand, I grow a californian pine here in NZ as well as Australian blackwood and eucalaypts and north american and european trees here in NZ, so I suppose anything is possible.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

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