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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
 

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from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
This looks like an interesting project. Keep us posted on how the drying goes.
 

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from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
that's really cool. "one of these days" I would also like to make one of these.
 

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from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
i use one of our greenhouses to dry wood . in the spring [ june] when the bedding plant are gone i stick green or air dried hardwoods in the greenhouse. i just took some ash out to check it that was put in about mid june. my moisture meter said 8 %. this ash was air dried outside for a couple of months before going into the greenhouse.
you may need vents in the front of your solar kiln so the air flows thru the sticked lumber and out the top back. cover the top of the pile with something to keep the sun off the lumber. i use a sheet of foam insulation. lumber goes thru a lot of stress during drying and the sun directly on the top board makes the wood do baaaaaad things.
you may need a fan or two in the top back hurry things up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
Jerry,
I plan on setting up a baffle, with a fan in the middle of it. I have a sheet of plywood left over that will be used to cover the lumber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
The weather was just warm enough for the aluminized roof coat to cure today, so I went ahead and painted the interior flat black. If I don't get home from work too late tomorrow, I'll try and get the top finished, and get the weatherstrip on so I can get this thing close to air tight. With some more luck, I hope to have the baffle, and fan installed this week.

On another note, I have found somebody in a nearby town with 2-2'x11' black walnut logs that have been air drying for a few years on some blocks. I just might be getting them both for $100. Thats only 50$ EACH!!
 

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from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
Great looking kiln and great catch on the wood.
 

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A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
I've been gathering a few materials and hopefully I can start on a solar kiln one of these days, been thinking about one for over a year now. Mostly, it's finding the time. Your kiln is exactly what would fit my bill. Keep the posts coming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
I let this wood air dry for a few weeks. I am under the impression that the mild weather won't cause the wood to dry too quickly, so I am not too worried about it. If the weather was warmer out, then I would have let it air dry for at least 30 days.
 

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from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
nice
 

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from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
Now that you have pulled your first load from the kiln, are there any design changes you would suggest for the kiln, or do you like it as is?
 

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from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
does it work well????
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
from design to construction

A few years ago, I had the idea of building a small solar kiln. Well, life happened, and I didn't have the time or money to build one. Then two weeks ago, my neighbor had a red elm cut down that had been struck by lighning earlier in the spring. I figured that a beautiful elm tree would never just fall into my lap, so I had the tree removal service roll the 8', 30"+ main trunk into my front yard. After having it milled, I realized that I couldn't wait an entire year to work with such a beautiful wood, so now the solar kiln is finally becoming a reality.

Here's a rough plan I designed in sketchup. It was actually the first thing I designed using sketchup, and I must say that the program is excellent! The kiln deck measures 4×10. The rear wall is 5', and the front wall is 1', making the roof 45 degrees angled to the south. It will be just large enough to fit 200-250 bf of lumber, which is perfect for my small scale needs.


I used 11 7/8 lvl's and I joists for the deck, and 2×4's for the walls. The whole thing was sheated with 3/8 plywood( on sale for only 8$ a sheet!), then insulated and plastic wrapped. The inside was caulked and so far has a coat of alumized roof coating. My plan is to have a double layer of plastic sheathing 3 1/2" apart for the top for now, and in the spring will use clear corrugated fiberglass. The top, which is not yet finished, will be on hinges in back, and lift up for access.



Hopefully, I will have this kiln completed and ready for a charge of red elm by the weekend.
Yes it works just fine and even works in the dead of winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
loading the charge

Well, the time has finally come to load the kiln. Now I am wishing that I would have made the kiln 5' wide. When I initially came up with the dimensions, I had only measured a few of the elm boards I had recently milled. Well, it turnd out that most of the boards are 19" wide, not 16" wide, so I couldn't get two rows in the kiln. I got all but 4 boards to fit, but I am not sure how it will dry since the top board are only 2 inches from the roof. I painted some leftover plywood flat black for the collector, but the front of the boards is exposed to direct sunlight. I am guessing that there will need to be some sort of cover to block this from happening, because I surely don't want case hardened lumber. I'll get some pics of it tonight if I have enough time.
 

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loading the charge

Well, the time has finally come to load the kiln. Now I am wishing that I would have made the kiln 5' wide. When I initially came up with the dimensions, I had only measured a few of the elm boards I had recently milled. Well, it turnd out that most of the boards are 19" wide, not 16" wide, so I couldn't get two rows in the kiln. I got all but 4 boards to fit, but I am not sure how it will dry since the top board are only 2 inches from the roof. I painted some leftover plywood flat black for the collector, but the front of the boards is exposed to direct sunlight. I am guessing that there will need to be some sort of cover to block this from happening, because I surely don't want case hardened lumber. I'll get some pics of it tonight if I have enough time.
A very interesting project.
I wish you a lot of success.
 

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loading the charge

Well, the time has finally come to load the kiln. Now I am wishing that I would have made the kiln 5' wide. When I initially came up with the dimensions, I had only measured a few of the elm boards I had recently milled. Well, it turnd out that most of the boards are 19" wide, not 16" wide, so I couldn't get two rows in the kiln. I got all but 4 boards to fit, but I am not sure how it will dry since the top board are only 2 inches from the roof. I painted some leftover plywood flat black for the collector, but the front of the boards is exposed to direct sunlight. I am guessing that there will need to be some sort of cover to block this from happening, because I surely don't want case hardened lumber. I'll get some pics of it tonight if I have enough time.
I have a very poor location to try something like this. I'm living vicariously through your blog. Can't wait to see the photos of it all loaded up. Virginia Tech has a solar kiln that they teach people how to use. It looks very similar to your design (although I think the general layout is pretty consistent from one design to another). I was looking at some of your projects. I hope this works well for you. Looks like you could make some more nice projects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
loading the charge

Well, the time has finally come to load the kiln. Now I am wishing that I would have made the kiln 5' wide. When I initially came up with the dimensions, I had only measured a few of the elm boards I had recently milled. Well, it turnd out that most of the boards are 19" wide, not 16" wide, so I couldn't get two rows in the kiln. I got all but 4 boards to fit, but I am not sure how it will dry since the top board are only 2 inches from the roof. I painted some leftover plywood flat black for the collector, but the front of the boards is exposed to direct sunlight. I am guessing that there will need to be some sort of cover to block this from happening, because I surely don't want case hardened lumber. I'll get some pics of it tonight if I have enough time.
Yes, I borrowed the plans from the Vtech website, and just shrunk it down a bit. I will get to finishing all the final details tomorrow, so pics will be up this weekend.
 

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loading the charge

Well, the time has finally come to load the kiln. Now I am wishing that I would have made the kiln 5' wide. When I initially came up with the dimensions, I had only measured a few of the elm boards I had recently milled. Well, it turnd out that most of the boards are 19" wide, not 16" wide, so I couldn't get two rows in the kiln. I got all but 4 boards to fit, but I am not sure how it will dry since the top board are only 2 inches from the roof. I painted some leftover plywood flat black for the collector, but the front of the boards is exposed to direct sunlight. I am guessing that there will need to be some sort of cover to block this from happening, because I surely don't want case hardened lumber. I'll get some pics of it tonight if I have enough time.
hmmmmmmmmm . . . quite interesting
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Almost complete!!

I finally can see the end is near for this project. The top is now weathertight, with the exception of the 2nd layer of plastic that is to go on the bottom of the frame, and the baffle with a fan installed . The weather is starting to cool off, so I am not too worried about things going sour on me. Here are some pics of the kiln loaded with just over 200 bf of red elm..



 

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Almost complete!!

I finally can see the end is near for this project. The top is now weathertight, with the exception of the 2nd layer of plastic that is to go on the bottom of the frame, and the baffle with a fan installed . The weather is starting to cool off, so I am not too worried about things going sour on me. Here are some pics of the kiln loaded with just over 200 bf of red elm..



Nice!

I'm anxious to hear how well it works and how long it takes to get the moisture down to the desired level.
 
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