Home-built solar kiln
Fully illustrated details of a solar dry kiln. May 5, 2003
Solar Wood Drying Kiln
Made with plans from Woodweb.com
By Jamie Duckworth
The final dimensions are: 4 feet wide, South wall is 2 feet high and hinges downward. North wall is 6 feet tall, the roof angle is 45 degrees (+ 10 degrees my latitude). The North and South walls are 10 feet wide, so my footprint is 4 feet by 10 feet.
This is my solar kiln during the Dec 5, 2002 snow.
This is the original roof made from 6 mil plastic which lasted one summer.
The newly added fiberglass roofing. This is a lot better than the plastic. I used "wiggle" foam to seal the waves of the sheets.
The North wall showing the vents. The top vents are intakes and lower vents are exhaust. The paddles below each door help me regulate the vent door openings.
These are the fans. I use regular box type window fans. The stickered red oak lumber was my first charge. My sample boards are to the left.
This is a charge of walnut and hickory put in Januarty 11, 2003. The lower baffle is hinged up so I could load.
Here are some of my controls. I use a wet bulb tobacco barn thermometer to check humidity. I also have a thermostat with a remote bulb placed behind the baffle to control the fans.
This is the west wall showing the access door to the controls. The roof hinges up and the south wall hinges down for loading access.
Above is the interior of the roof showing the second layer of glazing. I used UV resistant 100% light transmission greenhouse plastic.
This is my homemade "sawmill". It is a Husqvarna 288 with a 32 inch bar.
This is the way I key my boards after cutting. The helps when I go to use the wood with grain matching. I use Anchor Seal for the end coating to help prevent checking.
Here is some hickory I cut up with the chainsaw on the left and a friend used his bandmill to cut up the hickory on the right. My guide board is shown left and Solar kiln on the right in background. My kiln is 10 feet wide, 4 feet deep. The south wall is 2 feet high and the north wall is 6 feet high. I have the roof angled at 45 degrees for optimal winter collection. The interior was painted with aluminum paint and then overcoated with flat black paint. The walls and floor are insululated.