Opening the Solar Kiln

This winter, I wrote about Mountain Man building a solar kiln to help speed along the firewood drying process.  (You can read it here: “Building a Solar Wood Drying Kiln.”)  Despite the lack of sunny days, Mountain Man decided to open the kiln at the end of February because we were in need of wood.

Mountain Man’s first step was to roll up the tarp. This photo gives you a good view of the wood inside the solar kiln.

He had designed the solar kiln to allow him to easily get his tractor forks in and under his palletized  wood crates.  Each crate holds 3/8ths of a cord of wood.  Mountain Man can comfortably lift that amount of weight without the tractor flipping over.  He had experimented with different weight loads and this size was optimal for his 75 h.p. tractor.  

Mountain Man examines the wood.

The side of the logs closest to the solar panel shows evidence of drying. You can tell by the cracks in the logs.

Mountain Man examines the other crates and decides he is going to tweak his kiln design and add more depth to it so more air can circulate around the side of the logs closest to the tarp.

But he decides the logs are dry enough for burning and they head off to our wood shed.

At our wood shed, he puts supports under the crate to keep it off the floor of the shed and allow air to circulate.

Into our wood shed it goes.

All done, he heads back to the kiln to close the tarp and allow the other crates to keep on drying.

 We used the logs from the kiln that very same night.  They caught fire quickly and burned with intensity and produced a lot of heat.  We left the other crates drying until March at which time we once again opened the kiln.  Those logs were completely dried.  Mountain Man is happy with the results and will build permanent doors for the kiln and relocate it next to our wood splitting station.   

If you have any questions regarding how to make your own solar drying kiln, please ask.  Mountain Man is happy to help.

Mountain Man and Mountain Woman can also be found at Red Pine Mountain.