Kiln drying can be a very confusing process. Unless you have been involved in the lumber industry, it is one of those things that you have heard about but is not sure if it is something you need and if so, how much it cost.
Dry kilns are used to control the moisture content of the wood to a specific percentage and are generally used for wood to be sold as lumber. There are many types of kilns, with varying costs and sizes, but for this article, we will cover small conventional kilns (less than 1 million board feet) that would be used by a small lumber mill or a hobbyist.
The first thing to consider when looking at the cost of kiln drying is the price of electricity. The cost varies from area to area and even from season to season. Typically, electric rates are higher in the summer than in the winter.
This means that if kiln drying costs $0.03 per board foot for a 4/4 red oak board in January, it could cost $0.06 per board foot in July because of higher electric rates. In addition to considering this seasonal rate fluctuation, also consider that your kiln will be running 24 hours a day 7 days a week while it is being filled, dried, and unloaded.
How Much Does It Cost To Kiln Dry Wood
The cost of kiln drying wood depends on several variables, including the size and moisture content of the wood, the number of pieces to be dried at one time and the type of kiln used.
On average, it costs anywhere from $5 to $15 per 1,000 board feet for hardwood. For example, a 5/4″ x 6″ x 8′ Southern Yellow Pine board that has been dried in a kiln will cost more than twice as much as a 2x6x8 that has not been dried.
Kiln-dried boards are usually more expensive than air-dried boards because they are considered to be more stable and also because they take up less space during shipping and storage.
The cost of kiln drying varies depending on how long it takes to dry the wood, which is usually measured in units called “board feet.” A board foot is equal to 144 cubic inches or 1-inch x 1-inch x 12 inches.
Therefore, a 4-foot x 10-foot sheet of plywood contains 40 board feet. The cost per board foot can vary from $0.25 to $1.50 or more depending on the size of the load (the amount of wood being dried at one time) and the initial moisture content of the wood before it dries.
How to Kiln Dry Lumber at Home
- Step 1: Mill Up Your Wood. Finding rough timber and logs to mill is a lot easier than you may think.
- Step 2: Wood & Moisture.
- Step 3: Air Drying.
- Step 4: Build the Kiln
- Step 5: Using the Wood.
- Step 6: Making Furniture.
What Are My Alternatives
Wood-Mizer dehumidification systems and solar wood kilns are available in capacities ranging from 300 to 35,000 board feet for drying lumber. Kiln drying lumber is a simple and cost-effective method that is recommended for anyone who wants to increase profits by selling dried lumber in large quantities.
When compared to green lumber, kiln-dried wood typically sells for about a third more, and it saves customers the expense of having to dry lumber before using it.
The Wood-Mizer KD series of lumber kilns are constructed of 100 percent corrosion-resistant aluminum cabinets and dehumidification coils that have been specially coated to ensure high-quality lumber drying performance and exceptionally long service life.
What is the approximate cost of drying wood in a kiln?
The cost of vacuum kiln drying varies from $1-$2 per board foot, depending on the thickness of the material. Furthermore, rather than paying for years of storage, your lumber is ready in a matter of weeks rather than months. 2) You can air-dry lumber wherever it is permitted by law, and there are typically lumber drying services available in most large cities.
How long does it take to kiln-dried wood?
The high temperatures in the kiln cause the resins in softwoods to dry out. Air-drying is a natural process that can take anywhere from 8 to 16 months, depending on the type of wood used. Drying in a kiln, on the other hand, can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. There are no internal tensions introduced into the wood as a result of this process.
Can I kiln dry wood at home?
The process of kiln drying your wood at home can be a great way to harvest materials sustainably while also drying them quickly enough to use in furniture construction. If the furniture is constructed from wood that is too wet, the wood will continue to dry and crack, potentially resulting in the piece’s destruction.
How hot is a kiln for wood?
In the kiln, temperatures vary from 120 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the stage of drying that is taking place. Although there are kilns that can reach temperatures of up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, they are typically used for softwoods that dry quickly and low-value hardwoods that are not worth much.
What is the fastest way to dry wood for woodworking?
If your wood is exposed to a large amount of sunlight daily, it will dry much more quickly. As a result, if at all possible, position the drying stack in the sun. In addition, having it exposed in an area where there is a lot of wind is advantageous. The greater the amount of sunlight and wind that can reach the drying stack, the more quickly this process will proceed.
Is it necessary to dry wood before using it for construction?
To ensure that your projects dry properly, start by allowing at least a few days between each major cutting and planning step as you construct them. Freshly exposed wood surfaces require the most drying, and you want this to occur before the critical joinery stages of the construction process. The increased air circulation speeds up the drying process by at least twofold.
Is it possible to dry wood in an oven?
Cut pieces of wood can be dried in the oven of a standard household kitchen. Dried wood produces more heat and less smoke than freshly cut lumber that has been left to dry. Using a kitchen oven instead of an outdoor drying rack can reduce the time it takes for wood to harden and cure by several months to just a couple of hours or less.
How can you dry wood without causing it to crack?
Pentacryl is a wood stabilizer that helps to prevent cracks in the wood. Cut the wood during the winter months if you want to keep the bark edge on a slab. Wood that has been exposed to the elements, particularly in the winter, should be brought to room temperature before being treated with Pentacryl.
Pentacryl should be completely saturated into the wood, either by soaking it or brushing it on. The wood must be allowed to dry evenly after it has been treated.