Solar Kiln Swings Into Gear
With 3,000 board feet of Oregon white oak fully air dried and the sun each day rising higher in the sky, today we were pleased to wake up the kiln from its winter’s nap and apply the concentrated heat of the sun to the wood. Within hours the temperature in the chamber rose to 150 deg. evaporating the moisture from the wood and moving it toward its next home as a floor in the living room of the Hill Family in Kenmore, Washington. Shifting the heat to the wood is the 9th step in a 13 step process.
- Carefully select and mark the trees that can be removed from oak stands in ways that enhance the stand’s health
- Fall the trees
- Buck and limb
- Skid the logs to the roadside landing
- Truck the logs through the forest up to the sawmill
- Buck the logs to kiln sized lengths (9’2″)
- Mill them into lumber
- Stack and sticker the lumber in the kiln for air drying
- Once air dried, close the doors and apply the heat
- Once fully dried to 6% – 8%, rip saw the lumber to flooring blanks
- Run the blanks through a moulder to plane the top and bottom and add tongue and groove
- Deliver to its new home
- and repeat….
Forests are all about cycles – and this is just another one of the many interrelated cycles that we work with.
After waking up the kiln, sealing the chamber and getting the heat to the wood, I spent the rest of the day back on step 6, cutting up the logs for the next batch of oak.
Though the current flooring is spoken for, we are now taking orders for floors that will be ready by October. Satisfied customers tell us that good things are worth planning and waiting for.