One of the great things about working with wood is that nature itself provides you with plenty of raw materials for your projects. Collecting your own wood gives you a wider variety of choices beyond what’s available at your local mill or lumber supplier and the shapes and sizes of the wood you collect can even inspire your work. You must dry wood before you use it, though, which can be a hassle.
You can skip a lot of the headaches associated with drying wood if you have your own drying kiln. We’re not talking one of those large kilns used by mills to dry bulk lumber, either; you can buy or even build a small drying kiln that will be sufficient for most of your projects.
If you get someone else to dry your wood, you’re going to have to pay for it. You’ll have to transport your wood to the site, pay whatever they charge to dry the wood and then most likely have to transport it back. You can skip all of this with a small drying kiln on your property; the only costs you’ll have are the costs of operating the kiln, which isn’t nearly as expensive as you may think. If you want to save money on custom wood, drying your own is the way to go.
One of the great things about having a small drying kiln is that you can build your own, customizing it to meet your needs. There are a number of plans you can download or purchase for drying kilns, including solar kilns that cost next to nothing to operate (you’ll essentially have to pay to run a couple of box fans.) If you’re always looking for a project, then building a kiln will scratch that itch in addition to creating something you’ll use for years to come.
If you turn your wood over to someone else to dry, you’re leaving the final quality in their hands. For many reasons, your wood might end up coming back to you too dry or possibly even not dry enough. If you’re running your own kiln, though, you can keep an eye on the wood through every step of the process. If it’s drying too quickly or doesn’t seem to be drying enough, you can modify the airflow in the kiln and make adjustments on the fly. Once you get a taste for the control that a small drying kiln gives you then you might find it hard to trust anyone else with your wood again.
Having your own drying kiln is about giving yourself control over the final product – and that control starts before the kiln is even put together. You can choose the type of kiln that will work best to deliver the end product that you want.
- The solar kilns mentioned above use the sun the same way a greenhouse does, cranking up the heat without the need for expensive heating elements.
- Vacuum kilns suck the air out of the kiln chamber, making drying more effective (which speeds up the process, although it also means that you’ll have to keep a closer eye on things to prevent over-drying).
- If you live in an arid area, you can even set up a makeshift kiln in your attic during the summer to take advantage of high, dry temperatures to dry your wood at no additional cost.
There are other options available as well, and you can choose a kiln based on what works best for you and your situation
If you’re considering building or purchasing a small drying kiln for your projects, you likely already take pride in your work. Having your own kiln will help you to take this pride to the next level, since the increased control that it gives you over your wood will wind up giving you more control over the level of quality in the final product.
As you become proficient in drying your own wood, you’ll be able to produce wood dried to the degree that you want and ultimately cut or carved in the style you want. The added pride you put into your work will not only result in a better product, but it may even serve up some added inspiration for future projects, as well.