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I have a small Kiln used for pottery. I use it to melt aluminum for casting. I was thinking about building an enclosed space (like plastic sheet walls), putting that kiln inside to dry some walnut slabs. Would have fans at one end (same end as the kiln) blowing towards the stacked and stickered wood. Prob then have the opposite end venting outside to get rid of the moisture.

My question: would this work better than air drying (better means faster)? What temp would I want the enclosure to reach to quickly dry walnut without limited side effects?

Or is this all just a stupid idea?

  • I don't think this is a stupid idea at all, if you're already doing something where you're generating heat (and lots of it!) it would be great to make use of it rather than it just dissipating into the air. The problem I think is in the duration of the heat generated, since if you're starting with green walnut the time it takes to get it full dry is likely many times more than the time you'd have the kiln running for melting the aluminium. – Graphus Aug 4 '16 at 18:05
  • You will dry a LOT of pottery and melt a TON of aluminum waiting for your walnut to dry out, but it's a great secondary use of all that heat you'll be generating anyway! – FreeMan Aug 5 '16 at 13:38
  • could you clarify how you intend to run the kiln? My first understanding was that you would just operate the kiln as a space heater regardless of whether or not it was filled with pottery/aluminum. I don't think it makes a difference either way though. – aaron Aug 8 '16 at 12:27
  • rgr; I melt aluminum sometimes. But mostly it sits idle. I was thinking just crank it all the way up, take off like, have a fan blowing behind it towards the wood. It would be open at the far end to let the hot air and moisture out. But I should prob do a cost to benefit analysis to see if green wood plus electricity vs lumber mill pricing. If it's only small savings, it is not worth the hassle. But I could see it being a saving for big slabs. – D_M Aug 8 '16 at 16:59
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  1. would work faster than air
  2. depends on drying stage and the wood (you want to prevent cracking)
  3. not a stupid idea

http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G5507 is a good resource for you.

You'll likely need a separate thermostat/controller for your wood drying kiln (the kiln itself might have one, but i doubt it controls to low enough temperatures for wood!). It could be accomplished by cycling the power to the kiln on and off. The above link says that temps range from 120-190 ºF, depending on the stage of drying.

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