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Solar Kiln Project

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Drying firewood more cheaply

My plan to lower the cost of drying firewood has taken another step forward. I’ve been awarded an Innovation Voucher by Invest NI to develop designs for a solar kiln. These devices are used in the United States to season timber but are not much in evidence here. 

If you’ve been following the story of the solar kiln I have already commissioned, you’ll know that during the summer I tried to find out if it could dry wood faster and to a greater degree than could be achieved by simply ...

PermalinkPublished at 2015/11/30

What the solar kiln is for

Five weeks of using the solar kiln have revealed new insights about wood drying in this climate.

As I’ve pointed out the kiln even in this dreich weather has managed to prise out a lot of moisture from the beech blocks I’ve been working on. 

The blocks which were weighed and left in the kiln four weeks ago have lost 30% of their weight - a loss I imagine is pretty much all down to evaporation of water in the wood. Similar logs left outs...
PermalinkPublished at 2015/07/26

Drying faster and further than nature?

For centuries if not millennia wood has been gathered and burnt so families can stay warm. If the practice has remained essentially the same over all that time, so too have the methods of drying the timber. Trees are brought down, cut up and left to season in the wind and sun.

The traditional drying process works which is why it has lasted so long. But you have to think with advances in technology, there has to be a better way. That’s where the electric kiln comes i...
PermalinkPublished at 2015/07/20

Reflections on four weeks of drying wood

The weather has been so bad in the past week I have been tempted to write off the whole seven days completely and ignore what has or more likely has not been happening in the kiln. But then the sun came out today and the temperature in the kiln reached over 50 degrees Celsius giving me hope that the drying process has been able to continue albeit very slowly.

We will see tomorrow when I weigh the blocks just what progress has been made. It will be as I say quite lim...
PermalinkPublished at 2015/07/19

Three weeks of drying in the solar kiln

The indifferent weather of the past seven days slowed down the rate of wood drying inside and outside the solar kiln.

In the kiln the blocks lost on average 5.6% of their weight during the third week of the drying process while those on the stack shrank by 3.6%. 

Those that had been in the kiln for just a week reduced by 6.6% during the second week while those outside on the stack gave up 4.5%.

It’s clear the kiln continues to outperform the wood stack with the cumulati...

PermalinkPublished at 2015/07/13