Solar Kiln Question for Mcmoonter and all the other woodies!

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  • Solar Kiln Question for Mcmoonter and all the other woodies!
  • Premier Icon Stoner

    have you considered a s/h greenhouse off fleabay?

    Premier Icon alibongo001

    Not until you posted!

    Would it be worth getting some solar fans too? and maybe painting the back wall black to act as a solar collector?

    **hurries off to see if there are some local greenhouses for sale**


    Look up Yorwoods. They’re based up near Ripon but should be able to advise on a supplier near you, they have (or at least, had) a decent database of them. Failing that, South Yorkshire Forest at Sheffield might know.

    About the solar dryer, don’t know of anyone running one in the area, the best forced drying I saw was someone over near South Cave who had wood stacked in an old rail tunnel – the through-breeze worked wonders. I guess it’s economies of scale though.


    Most of the USA is much further South than the UK and so has a far greater solar resource. This might be of interest to you:

    Experiment in Alaska

    I doubt you’d get much and starting at this time of year gives you little time. Probably best to get the wood cut to length and stacked high and well spaced somewhere with good air flow.

    Premier Icon alibongo001

    I have 2 wood burners in the house and am looking to increase the balance of wood sourced heat compared to the expensive gas central heating this winter.

    Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of seasoned wood presently and found some info about solar kilns which seems interesting.

    They appear to be big(ish) in America, maybe not so in UK.

    I am keen to make a simple (cheap) one and site it on the edge of some woodland (south facing) just to dry out fire-wood. I thought a second hand lean-to shed or potting shed might be a useful starting point and then add the solar fans and heat collector.

    Does anyone have any experience of this type of thing?

    Alternatively does anyone know of a source of cheap (or free) dry wood in the Halifax area?

    Thanks for any help / advice!


    Have seen a wood drying kiln made from an old chest freezer.

    As long as the seal is still tight then should be fine.
    Needs a light bulb running inside (60w or so, not energy saver ones!)and a fan to circulate the air. A small drain in the lowest corner for any moisture and leave it sealed and running? similar to this

    Premier Icon alibongo001

    Interesting article tootall

    I would think that we may get a bit more sun than in Alaska, but clearly the balance of air flow and temperature is needed to dry wood effectively.

    The freezer one looks interesing Phil!

    I think I might look for an old greenhouse and try some solar fans / blacking to see if it works OK

    Maybe I should do some comparative stuff to see if the extra expense of the fans is worth while?

    Thanks for the input!


    I would think that we may get a bit more sun than in Alaska

    but a lot less than North Carolina.
    Most of the kilns I’ve seen detailed are for drying lumber (sawn wood) rather than firewood. You’ve got a big difference with things like surface area, lack of bark etc between the two. The freezer kiln is drying out small pieces of wood very slowly to prevent splitting. Fill that with firewood and it’ll just go mouldy.
    Comparative would be good, especially if you include capital and running costs.

    Premier Icon Stoner


    thread update. Just reading this month’s issue of “Living Woods” magazine and there’s an article in it on Solar Kiln drying.

    A link in the article takes you to:

    that may be of interest and the written article is an interesting read. I wont upload the article as Id prefer to recommend you take out a trial sub of 3x issues for a very reasonable £5.

    digital versions are available

    Premier Icon alibongo001

    Thanks Stoner, will have a look at the magazine sub.


    We’ve recently been doing a lot of research on solar kilning at Hooke Park and are currently building a timber seasoning shelter that should give us accelerated air drying with an option to retro-fit solar kilning later.( )

    I’ve seen a good number of poly-tunnels used as firewood kilns in Devon and Cornwall and for brutal no-nonsense cheap solar kilning of firewood they seem to do the job well. Kilning sawn timber is a whole different black art. There was a solar kiln in Cornwall built from Jim Birkmeir’s plans ( )and it was very successful, I don’t think there is any reason why solar kilning wouldn’t work further north.

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