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The Value of Heat

Posted by on Aug 30, 2016 in Blog |

Some like it hot – but the Hyla Woods team does not.  Though we are champion “heat wimps”, our work at our mill and kiln teaches us the value of heat.  This has been one of our best summers yet for using our solar kiln to dry green (wet!) lumber into high quality products.  Using less than a dollar a day of electricity to run the fans that circulate the hot air, the kiln captures the sun’s energy and puts it to work in drying the lumber.  As the photo shows, the kiln is running full bore.  On the far left is thick, live edged, oak lumber air drying for a local furniture company.  Beside it, having just completed the drying cycle, is 3,500 board feet of premium fir.  The doors are being slide shut on 3,500 board feet of oak headed toward becoming our next batch of end grained cutting boards in time for the holidays.  And on the far right fir planking is being air dried before being used for the rebuilding of a deck.  At the mill and kiln it has been a busy summer; as the days grow shorter we’ll work to squeeze as much wood drying power as we can from the life giving sun.  Such is life in this land of “will it ever rain?!” and “will it ever stop raining?!”.   More information on this kiln and other solar kilns may be found...

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The 230 Year Challenge – Who’s In?

Posted by on Aug 6, 2016 in Blog |

In the forests, every year and season brings some new adventure. A low point of 2014 was that the largest oak in our Mt. Richmond Forest died.  We’re not sure of the cause – perhaps just old age? The discovery of this winter was that once the old, dead monster tree was cut and came thundering to the forest floor, we counted the rings and discovered that the tree held 230 years of life. This means that the acorn sprouted in roughly 1786, and was a 20 foot sapling at the time when Lewis and Clark came over the hill. After much effort, the tree has been felled, bucked, yarded, loaded on the tree taxi and transported up to the hilltop mill – where we are thinking through how to mill the 44″ in diameter butt log into lumber. The Challenge  – If the forest can spend 230 years growing such a magnificent tree, shouldn’t some one of us be able to use its wood to make an equally magnificent piece of furniture that will still be going strong in another 230 years (the year 2,246!)?  That is the challenge that the Hyla Woods team is issuing.  The sawdust covered glove has been thrown down; who will pick it up?  Who will give this tree a second...

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