The moisture in newly cut firewood should be reduced by about 80 per cent to ensure a good, warm burning fire. This normally takes a year of drying. If you depend upon firewood to heat your home, and you have a dependable source of fresh wood, having a drying shed will allow you to use the wood much quicker. Simply circulating fresh air over the wood in any watertight enclosure will reduce the time to dry by half or more, and you can add heat for quicker drying.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- 3.5-inch hollow concrete blocks
- 6-by-12 metal grates
- Solar powered dual outdoor lights with halogen bulbs
- Solar powered exhaust fan
Obtain a water tight enclosure that is big enough to hold the amount of firewood you need, loosely stacked. This can be a small, backyard shed from a hardware store, a greenhouse kit, a portable outdoor canvas tent, or even a garage in a pinch.
Create air intake vents around the bottom perimeter of the enclosure by cutting 6-by-12 rectangular holes and covering them with downward facing metal grates. Have at least two per side, or eight all together. Add more if they will be spaced more than 3-feet apart.
Cover the floor with 3.5-inch high hollow concrete blocks, spaced 2 to 4 inches apart to allow air to circulate between them but close enough to stack wood on.
Attach at least two solar-powered outside dual flood lights with halogen bulbs inside the enclosure and at the bottom near the floor. Buy the kind with the solar-collector on a cable that you can direct outside to pick up the sunlight. These will keep the interior warm enough to begin the drying process. Adjust the setting so that the lights are always on. If your enclosure has wood sides, screw the lights onto the wall using the mount that comes with them. If you are using something such as a canvas tent, then attach the lights with a set of spring clamps holding both the canvas and the light base in a firm grip.
Attach a solar-powered exhaust fan to the ceiling of the enclosure as per the instructions for the fan. Adjust it so that it's always on.
Test the airflow with the fan and lights on. There should be a steady draft from the bottom intake vents to the ceiling exhaust fan. After several hours of steady light from the halogen bulbs the temperature in the enclosure should be slightly higher than the outside. If not, add another light or two until they can keep the temperature slightly higher.
Tips and warnings
- Using solar power avoids having to run electricity to the shed or enclosure. Using a wood moisture meter helps to know when the wood is sufficiently dry and ready for another batch to go into the shed. A commercial backyard greenhouse may already have the necessary equipment built into it for an easy conversion to a drying kiln.
- The lighted wood drying kiln will not reach sufficient temperatures to kill insects within the bark and wood, unlike commercial firewood kilns.
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