Pennsylvania Limestone Farmhouse Renovations to an 1863 farmhouse built of limestone

January 19, 2010

Details about another project

Filed under: solar kiln — Duane Diefenbach @ 8:48 pm

So not only are we building an addition on our house, but I am building a solar kiln.  This is something I have been threatening to do for several years.  Right now all my lumber is air dried – I first stack it outside for about a year and then bring it under cover into either the pole barn or the barn, and then if I want to make furniture I bring it into the woodshop for several months.  With a solar kiln I can (should be able to) dry the wood and get it to 7-10% moisture content in a few weeks if the wood is first air dried.

The design I am using is based on the Virginia tech design. It will process about 1,000 board feet of lumber and supposedly dry green oak in about 30 days.  A more complete description for this design is available on this website.  Anyway, the process is slow because I am trying to do it on the cheap AND do it in my increasingly rare spare time.  In November I constructed the floor using the joists from our former deck (removed for our home addition).  I hauled the floor up into the pasture with the tractor to where I get a good southern exposure.

Poor Ethan has become the forced labor on this project.  But it’s his grandfather’s fault because he gave him a hammer and tool belt for Christmas. The only benefit to Ethan is that he gets to drive the truck back and forth from the barn to the project when I forget a tool.

By mid-January this was our progress:

Check back as I will add to this post with more details. Right now it’s under roof and (mostly) sided.

While working on this project we are visited occasionally by two idiots.


  1. Shwew! When I read about the two idiots, I thought for sure I’d scroll down and see a picture of me and Ken! But then I thought, man, is talking about Lisa and Molly?, what a jerk. But no, it’s the dogs. Duane, you are mean. Bad dog owner! Bad dog owner!

    Comment by Liz — January 28, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

  2. Hi,
    I write books about woodworking and I need a few photos of a solar kiln.
    Can you help?

    Comment by John English — June 12, 2013 @ 9:13 am

  3. John,

    You are welcome to use the photos on my website (please just give me attribution), but if you Google ‘solar kilns’ you will find others with much better setups and more knowledge than I can provide.

    Good luck,


    Comment by admin — June 12, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

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