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Thread: A beautiful day to unload the solar drier

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    WNY
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    A beautiful day to unload the solar drier

    A few black flies to ruin the otherwise beautiful morning, but still a great day to be outside. I had about 500 bf of very nice white ash that has been slowly cooking since last November. It's been done for a couple of weeks, but the ground was so wet that I had to wait for it to firm up. Here's the drier with just the remaining 8/4 from the load.



    And my drier. Solar panels power the two fans inside.



    And some of the 5/4 and 4/4 that was on top. The metal roofing I put on top of my wood stacks for air drying blew off sometime last fall and some of the wood got wet before I could cover it again. That's the reason for the water stains. Doesn't hurt anything, just detracts from the good looks. Oh well.



    John

  2. Very nice. Did you use someone's plan or design it yourself? Can you post the dimensions and any changes that you'd make?

  3. #3
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    I mostly used the design that Wood Magazine had quite a few years ago, but maybe stretched it a little and added another door on the other side. The footprint is 8 x 12 ft. They had a metal roof on the back side, but I used asphalt shingles because that's what I know how to use. The Wood design is vague with repect to the vents, but it's not rocket science so I just added two vents at the top and bottom with sliding doors for adjustment.

    Here's a sketch of the design:



    And during construction:



    When I built it in 2019 it cost about $2K all in to build.

    John




  4. #4
    John, first I don't have a kiln, nor sunlight space to operate one. One thought on construction. Instead of fixed back wall, I would add a header at top of back wall, then create a couple of swing out panels, same construction as existing back wall. To me this would make loading and unloading much easier, especially if you had a tractor with forks on the bucket. Just my thoughts, which along with a buck will get you a drink at McDonald's, just be sure and have the buck.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wrenn View Post
    John, first I don't have a kiln, nor sunlight space to operate one. One thought on construction. Instead of fixed back wall, I would add a header at top of back wall, then create a couple of swing out panels, same construction as existing back wall. To me this would make loading and unloading much easier, especially if you had a tractor with forks on the bucket. Just my thoughts, which along with a buck will get you a drink at McDonald's, just be sure and have the buck.
    If I had a tractor or forklift, Bruce, I would have done it exactly that way. Alas, I'm a completely manual operation.

    John

  6. #6
    John, I'm looking at doing something similar in my yard. What's your setup for milling? I've been looking at knock off chainsaws & mills on Amazon. The reviews seem pretty good for the quantity I plan on milling up. It all looks great!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Hi Dan. My current setup is a hobby level sawmill.



    It can handle a log up to 30" diameter and 10 ft long. In the background you'll see my little ATV and a log arch. That's how I move logs around my property.

    Before I got the sawmill, I used an Alaskan Mill with a pretty large chainsaw. I milled what seemed like a lot of lumber with it, maybe 8 - 10K bf with it over 15 or 20 years. I can mill that with the sawmill now in less than 2 weeks with a lot less work. The Alaskan mill was the lowest cost option at the time to get into milling lumber, around $1K. Today, it would be more like $2K, and still the cheapest option. After I got tired (old) using the Alaskan mill I mounted the chainsaw in a frame I made that pushed through the log like a sawmill. It was less work but still slow compared to the sawmill.



    Lots of options. It all depends upon how much you want to spend and how much effort you want to invest. If you decide to go the chainsaw route, don't cheap out on the saw. Milling lumber is really hard on a saw. You are running wide open throttle for 10 minutes or more straight. Only a pro level saw can take that abuse for very long. Also, you need at least 75 cc and bigger is much better. I have an 85 cc Husqvarna and have often wished for the 395 or 3120.

    John

  8. #8
    John,
    That's a beautiful setup. Thanks for the reply. I've begun to realize that I just may not have the time to mill like I had hoped. I recently purchased some green slabs and while I would like a solar kiln I'm not sure I'll ever get around to building one. Still working on the woodshop itself which pretty easily gets to 95 degrees in the summer so the slabs sitting in there will dry out some just from that. As I add insulation that will likely tamper down a bit but no A/C so on 90 degree days it will still get very hot and dry. Thanks for all the advice and I hope the kiln does a great job for you. (Picture of my last green slab purchase.)
    IMG_1229.jpg

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