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My kiln build

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by John Turpin, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. John Turpin

    John Turpin

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    A few months ago, I began work on a dedicated bowl turning studio in my backyard. I've been thinking about this project for a year, but broke ground on it just recently. The building is 11' X 14' and is attached to my existing (tiny) 12' X 18' workshop. Planning for this build has been great fun. (Planning for the costs has been quite depressing.)

    One of my requirements for this building is a bowl blank kiln--well, more of a drying closet--but to impress people I'm calling it a kiln. I'll post a photo now and then to show the process and the decisions I've made. When doing my research, I learned quickly that these things are sort of a lightning rod for turners. Depending on the turner, they are loved, mocked, valuable, dangerous, vital, worthless and certainly not as good as a paper bag. But, I decided to build one anyway.

    The little closet is about 24" X 38" X 7' (inside dimensions). I'll get to the more glamorous insulation and heating technology later, but I'll start with the drip pan. Guys like Glenn Lucas have a steady stream of water running out of their kilns. I'll never dry that many blanks, but I decided to plan for a wet environment anyway. This weekend, I made sort of a removable 'drip pan' that will sit in the bottom. It is sloped toward one corner and a tube will be there to route water out the wall. Unless I put a bottle outside to collect drips, it might be a good spot for visiting raccoons to get a sip of woody water. The pan has been sealed with a coat of marine epoxy.

    kiln1.jpg kiln2.jpg kiln3.jpg kiln4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  2. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    I like this--- I am curious about what you will use for walls and heat??
    I am also curious about the size--- why not bigger?
     
  3. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that you should consider putting Formica laminate on the walls, ceiling, and maybe floor because it will be humid and it will be easier to clean up and keep mold from becoming a part of the kiln if porous surfaces like wood and insulation are exposed to that environment.

    Maybe also put in a bench so that it could be used as a sauna when not being used as a kiln. :D
     
  4. John Turpin

    John Turpin

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    Hi Tom. As for size, I'm pretty squeezed for space already. Hmmm. Maybe I need a second story. [thinking] As for those details, watch this space.

    I hadn't thought about mold. That would be pretty crummy. I think I'm going to start with foil clad insulation panels first. But, I'll make them removable so I can pull them off after a while and check on that mold business. Hopefully the circulating fan and ventilation will keep that at bay. If not, I'll line it with something slick and plastic.

    I like Idea Men. Why stop there? Why not just smoke briskets in there too?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  5. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    I think you are spending more that me. I found a broken, about the same size as yours, glass door refrigerator. Cindy Drozda gave some input, and I have a great kiln. I dont have to open it to see how things are going, or to see the hydrometer. I finally settled on a heavy duty 15 watts bulb, used for ovens... How fun to plan a new shop! Aloha
     
  6. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I have a friend that just picks up broken dish washers. Drills some holes in them and then uses different size light bulbs to regulate the heat. He had 3 last time I visited and they are all in various stages of drying. this allows him to turn bowls over pretty quickly. I've also seen it done with old refrigerators. I've been thinking about just using junk cars. That way my yard would look more like my neighbors. :)
     
  7. odie

    odie

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    Hi Emiliano......:D

    How does that work? Do you use a hydrometer to determine the MC of your roughed bowls? I'm so dumb about kilns, that I had to look it up:
    -----odie-----
     
  8. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    A hydrometer is what we use to check sugar content when boiling down the maple sap to make syrup.

    You'll want to use a plain old Moisture Meter for checking wood moisture content.
     
  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm sure that he meant hygrometer ... an instrument to measure humidity. Just a spelling error, but context should clue the reader as to what was meant. The humidity of a kiln needs to be carefully regulated.

    BTW, I used a hydrometer back in my vintner days to check the sugar level of the grapes.
     
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  10. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    Well, speaking for my own ignorance, I did not know what a hygrometer was until now-- so in this case the "context" left me clueless.
     
  11. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    Thanks Bill for the correction, sorry for the confusion, lol. Its a little thing I got from Amazon, tells you the humidity and temperature. Its a guessing game at first, depending on the size of the holes, and size of the light bulb. I finally got success with 2 holes on the bottom, 1 1/4 each, and 2 on the top. And the oven light bulb, the lowest one they had.In 3 weeks I have the blanks for the boxes down to 10 %, so, super dry for Maui, then goes back up to 12.4 once out of the kiln.. Unlike Kelly Dunn, I do not place my Koa bowls in there, they go down to the gallery with 12.4 MC.... Aloha
     
  12. John Turpin

    John Turpin

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    I spent most of the day in closets. My new studio will have a "noise" closet that will house my noisy dust collection system and air compressor. And, of course, there's the kiln closet that's the subject of this thread. After a pre-sunrise run to the big box store for sheet rock and insulation panels, I started insulating. I envisioned this taking an hour or so. It took more like eight hours. But, the kiln now has 3 1/2" of pink stuff and another 1/2" of foil-backed rigid foam. Next, I'll be tackling the shelves.
    20171104_144221.jpg 20171104_152715.jpg
     
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  13. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Don't forget that you will need a thermostat to regulate the temperature. Otherwise, it will become an oven. A small fan to keep the air moving would be a good thing to have. Whatever you use for a door needs to have a tight seal.
     
  14. John Turpin

    John Turpin

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    Great points, Bill. I'm using the same stuff (mostly) that Sam Angelo did in his kiln build. I don't have working electricity yet, but have the thermo and monitoring devices sitting there waiting to go in. But first, I need shelves. I was going to use that plastic/wood material that they make decks out of. But instead, I think I'll just put in movable/removable cedar slats. Cedar should do pretty well in that environment.
     
  15. John Turpin

    John Turpin

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    After a week on the road (movin' and shakin', dialin' and dealin'), I got back into the studio-in-process this wekend and made some progress. The walls are now sheetrocked, mudded and textured. I'll paint later today.

    While waiting for the mud to dry, I managed to knock out my kiln shelving. I've now got a set of adjustable cedar slats in five levels. I can rearrange them as needed for blank sizes. I could even put long boards in there (< 6'), but they'd have to stand on end.

    slats sm.jpg slats 2 sm.jpg
     
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  16. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    Still waiting to here what the heat source is--- or did I miss it?
     
  17. John Turpin

    John Turpin

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    Hi Tom. The electric wizardry goes in this week. The current plan for heat will be a pair of light bulbs. If they don't produce enough warmth for that space, I may move up to one of those ceramic terrarium heaters or a heat lamp. But, hopefully a pair of incandescent bulbs will do it. And, that heat will be supported by a thermostat and a remote temp/humidity sensor. Photos to follow.
     
  18. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It takes a while for the temperature to reach steady state, but if your closet is well sealed then I suspect that you may eventually back down to just one bulb of perhaps 40 watts or so. My shop is so well insulated and sealed that in the winter the fluorescent lights (16 X 32 watts = 512 watts) and computer (500 watts) generate enough heat to keep it warm except on really cold days.
     
  19. John Turpin

    John Turpin

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    That would be great. I'm curious to see if there is much of a difference in heating that space when it's full vs. partially full. It will be interesting to track.
     
  20. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    I agree that you are going to have mold issues there. Water vapor is going to get around the cracks of the foil insulation unless you caulk and tape it. If it gets in the cracks, the moisture will condense on the back side of the wall board. Mold loves the paper on that stuff!
     

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