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Just put a heat lamp in an old locker to make a kiln. This is the same set up my dad had to dry walnut planks when he was making rifle stocks. I don't know how much faster this will dry sticks so I bought a moisture meter to track the progress. I had been using the locker for storing wood. Tomorrow I'll clear out the locker and trim some new cut sticks so they will fit and get the process started. Bumper Automotive tire Automotive lighting Automotive exterior Vehicle door
 

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Looks like it would work. I have a commercial hardwood mill near me that uses a solar kiln. Like a green house with a vent to regulate the drying.
 

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It looks like a good idea. Do you rotate the shanks to equalize the drying of top and bottom of the sticks?
 

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Cool idea. The handles of the last few sticks I've done I dried in the microwave, but that obviously wouldn't work for a shank. It would be interesting to know how much (if any) checking you get in the cut ends. Or do you wax or paint them to reduce cracks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This is the first full day I've had the kiln going. My dad had used it for about 25 or so years but didn't use it for the last 5 years or so he was living because he had slowed down and had 200+ blanks dried -plenty to pick and choose from. He was drying walnut heartwood planks so I assume a shank with sapwood and heartwood (basically a section of a whole, yet small tree) is more likely to crack. Very rarely, if ever, did he have a plank check. He always dipped the ends in wax. Every once in a while rotating the wood but I think there would be enough airflow through the locker that it may not be necessary if it is not very full.

Basically this is just a metal box with a 250 watt heat lamp with a 12 inch reflecter hung in it. Not counting the moister meter I got just to satisfy my curiosity $17 + electicity is all I have invested in this. A pretty simple set up so I'll be happy with however long this cuts down the wait for sticks to dry. At least I feel like I'm doing something about it.

For now I'm drying some shanks I cut last winter and dead limbs from earlier this year just to finish them off before getting started with the new cut sticks. I just didn't have as much time today as I thought I would to trim and reseal the new stuff. Should get to it this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I havn't kept track of the moisture levels like I had thought I would but started working on a hiking stick I cut from a redbud tree that was knocked over by a dead tree between Thanksgiving and the 1st of Dec. The moisture reading is at 9%. It is a little thinner than most of my cane and stick blanks start at- 1 9/32 at the top and 3/4 on the bottom. Everything that is larger in the kiln has a higher moisture content 10%-19%. No issues with checking if it is sealed on the ends. Not sure how much this has shortened the drying time but at least I feel like I'm doing something positive about it. As it is I took the heat lamp out of the kiln and put it under the house for just over a month this winter to keep the water lines from freezing.
 

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I have used a moisture meter for a few years and use when reading is 14% or less, in the uK we tend to leave bark on and also straighten our shanks and at the14% moisture reading and have no problems with cracking when heating and straightening. Used a similar chamber when home wine making and fitted a wired in thermostat to maintain a more constant and controllable temperature (one used for home central heating), also a small computer fan linked in to create an air flow to eliminate/reduce hot and cold spots - worked well. The added bonus of the thermomstat is it reduced running cost, the cupboard was also insulated to reduce heat loss.
 
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