2005 - Volume #29, Issue #6, Page #11[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Firewood Air Dryer Handles 50 Cords At A Time
Perry Bubnick says he designed his 50-cord air dryer to speed the drying process evenly without having to do any hand stacking.
He set up two 80-ft. long rows of 10-ft. tall poles, 8 ft. apart (because his loader bucket is 7 ft. wide) and then nailed 1-in. thick second cut oak slabs to the inside. The overlap of the slabs alternates on each pole so that 6 to 10-in. openings are left for air to pass through.
"I didn't use wide slabs but there's very little problem with firewood pieces falling through," Bubnick explains. "I used thin cable to tie the tops of the two rows of poles together, preventing them from spreading. I went 10 ft. high with the walls, but the higher the better if you have the means to fill it. Both ends are left open so you can add green wood or a different species to one end and still get at the other end."
The dryer walls face squarely into the prevailing winds to promote airflow, he says, and Bubnick located it close to his lane so he has easier winter access.
He used his loader to fill it the first fall, and managed to put in 30 cords of 18-in. by 8-in. dia. unsplit Trembling Aspen Poplar. By the next fall, it was just right for burning, he says.
"I expected to still see some green pieces and possibly having to leave it in for two years, but that wasn't the case," Bubnick says. "The theory that gave me the idea for the dryer was that if all the pieces are round or rather cylindrical in shape, and piled at random, the air should flow freely through them if exposed to a wind. When I walked along the downwind side after first filling it, I knew it was going to work well."
Bubnick explains that a cone-shaped woodpile, as dumped from a conveyor, will dry quickly on the outside but will take forever to dry at the center. His idea to create a "wall of wood," was to promote an even airflow for uniform drying, thus having the entire load ready at the same time.
"I now have a conveyor on my wood processor with 360 degrees swiveling wheels so I can push it along sideways, completely filling the dryer to capacity, and this year I'm filling it with 16-in. split wood and feel it will work okay as long as the load is clean without too many bark pieces and splinters, etc., that are typically produced with a firewood processor. Our processor uses a clean-out grate, but is not 100 percent effective. This ęshrapnel,' as I call it, can impede airflow."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Perry Bubnick, Box 455, Esterhazy, Sask., Canada S0A 0X0 (ph 306 745-2429; perrys_email @myway.com).
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