Solar Kilns
Several home-made lumber drying kilns have been constructed over the last 20 years. Each new kiln is a little better design than the previous one. The kilns are heated by solar energy, both direct (panels) and indirect (wood fired boilers) using sawmill wood waste. The total kiln capacity is about 50 thousand board feet. Lumber is air dried for several weeks to about 20-25% moisture content (MC). The lumber is then placed in the kilns and dried to 6-8% moisture content. One inch thick pine requires 7-10 days in the kiln. Hard woods require up to 20 days to reach 6-8% MC. A slow drying process is used to minimize degrade, maintain lumber quality and to eliminate internal stresses.