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Whole Leaf Tobacco

Industrial/resourceful entrepreneur's and product developers wanted

FmGrowit

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#1
There will be several new forums introduced here in the near future.

One of the forum categories will be "Products". I'd like someone to put together all of the components needed for making a personal sized fermentor or curing chamber, build a fermentor from those parts, test it and if successful, market the components in the "Products" forum.

Some members might have access to some of the components, but not all. Some members might be able to build a component. However it works out, I believe there is a market for a standardized fermentor. It would be a lot easier to teach someone "how to" if our equipment was at least similar.

Please understand that by doing the legwork in designing, testing and resourcing, you're going to be giving up a lot of your work to someone who could borrow your information and find the components himself. I think in the long run, you'd come out ahead though.

This opportunity is extended to all other aspects of "Products" associated with growing, curing, processing and finishing tobacco and any other related aspect of tobacco.

The "products" forum will not be open for comments, nor will just anyone be allowed to post items. Only approved items will be allowed...and I have the right to restrict too much competition for the same item or remove inferior products or over sold items.

...and you have to be an established member of the forum to be considered for selling in the "Products" forum.

Any questions about the process, post them here or send me a PM.

Thanks,
Don
 

Chicken

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#2
i plan on making one this weekend,,,, i will document it,,,,

and you can do with the pictures what you want,,,,

the only thing im gonna be stumped on is hooking a hot water heater thermostat up to it,,,,{ i know nothing of electricity} but got a friend that may wire it all up for me,,,
 

deluxestogie

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#3
This is a generic design for a 2'x2'x4' kiln box. The scaling is for 2"x2" and 2"x3" members (real measurement). If the panels are plank or plywood, then no diagonal braces are really needed at this size. If building this of wood, the parts will be less affected by humidity if the parts are attached using brass wood screws.

It shows a general location for a water heater thermostat, the back of which must be exposed to the interior. A notch is shown for running electrical wire into the box.

The door is elevated from touching the floor by the thickness of the kiln floor. Any hinges can be used, but the design provides room for a brass piano hinge along the length of the door.

Insulation can be added to the interior (between the posts and diagonals) or as sheet to the exterior, including the bottom.

The edge of the box that makes contact with the door should be fitted with folded PVC weather strip all around.

For safety, the thermostat exterior should be covered by a plastic utility service box large enough to cut out its back (and provided with a means of locking or otherwise securing it, if children may be around it). The remaining back flange of the utility box is then drilled and screwed onto the side of the kiln.

The dimensions chosen are large enough to accommodate hanging leaf, while still allowing room for a Crockpot at the bottom. Interior hardware is whatever seems convenient for you--wire, hooks, rod, shelves.

Any comments are welcome (even harsh words).

Bob

EDIT: The thought just occurred to me that if the unit described is considered a module, and provided with removable side walls and lid, then multiple units could be bolted together to create, for example, a double-wide or double-height kiln, with double doors. With bolts and wing-nuts attaching adjacent modules, the larger assembly could be separated for moving. The lid can also be hinged for top access. The fewer exterior walls for the same enclosed volume would increase thermal efficiency. All the components could probably be cut and pre-drilled as a kit.
 

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#4
I have a small Kiln design that I already know works very well. I would have to work on the components to improve there availability. most of them are sold by Home Depot.
I did have a couple of pieces that where scrounged and would have to come up with something that someone could get pretty much anywhere. For example a Styrofoam box. I got mine from a medical school. A Styrofoam ice chest would be an acceptable substitute. Other components are a water heater thermostat. Computer power source and fan. A bottle lamp kit from Home depot and a light bulb. I also incorporate a method that allows very tight heat control with the water heater stat. beyond that is a container to hold water that is the correct size for producing the desired humidity. Sorry but that one you have to experiment with as it differs with location and climate conditions.

I am working on a large refrigerator size kiln as well. still tinkering with it and it is presenting some problems that the smaller version did not have.

Once I have it working it could be designed for commonly available materials as well.
 

Jitterbugdude

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#5
Bob, I think it would help if you mentioned how much tobacco ( just a ball park figure) this size kiln will hold. You'll have some people thinking it will only hold 10 leaves, whiles others might think it will hold 250 plants!
Randy B
 

deluxestogie

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#7
I think it would help if you mentioned how much tobacco...
Randy,
The generic design was intended to allow it to be scaled to any length or height, up to probably double their current dimension, without using heavier members and bracing.

At the currently displayed size, the leaf hanging area is 2'x2', with at least 3' of leaf length. This could accommodate two parallel hanging rows of wilted leaf (2 two-foot rows). It filled with smaller, Oriental leaf, then probably two tiers of leaf would also fit (4 two-foot rows). How many leaves? That is entirely dependent on the thickness of the central vein.

If the design is doubled-up laterally, by attaching two modules side-to-side, then it would double all that. It is likely that the heat/humidity source for one module would be sufficient for both connected modules, if a fan were included.

I'm pondering the various ways of connecting all the members, so that it would be easily modifiable. I'm also making up a list of possible materials for the frame as well as the sheathing and insulation. With just the diagonally braced framework, the entire thing could be sheathed with 2" Styrofoam, except for the bottom. It would be fragile, but I'm sure it would work.

More later.

Bob
 

Chicken

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#8
^^^^^^^^^

that is exactlly what im going to do,,,,,bump a cabinet up to a allready existing one,,,,

it's going on tonight,,,, pics to follow,,,
 

FmGrowit

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#9
I've been working on packaging processes and materials and have been thinking about what problems mold is going to present in sealed bags. The bags are expected to keep the tobacco in medium case for at least a year. These are some pretty heavy duty vapor proof, FDA approved, thermoplastic bags, but if the mold spores are in the bag, they could begin to grow if the bags are kept at the wrong temperature. So, I though maybe some type of pasteurization would resolve the issue. This chart might be helpful with using a kiln/fermentor.
 

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deluxestogie

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#10
FmGrowit,
As you know, mold spores are and will always be present in all tobacco. If a food (or tobacco) is Pasteurized, that is only effective until the packaging is opened. Then the contents are re-exposed to ubiquitous organisms. The temps in the chart are precariously close to the denaturing temp of tobacco oxidase (149ºF, and I don't know the duration of exposure required to bring it about). Also, I believe such temps would significantly darken the leaf, and alter its aroma and flavor. I suppose you could try it, and see what you get. Perhaps a different approach would be to aim at storing leaf in the bags at low case (60-65% RH), which would inhibit mold growth.

A problem either way, since the RH is dependent on the ambient temperature, is that variations in storage temperature inversely vary the RH. In the range of 50 to 80ºF, a 20ºF drop will nearly double the RH. (Cheese caves are kept in the neighborhood of 50ºF, and this does not inhibit mold growth.)

With regard to more usual kiln temperatures, I've run mine between 120ºF and 130ºF, averaging about 127ºF. I consider 140ºF as the upper limit for the kiln.

Bob
 

FmGrowit

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#13
Yeah...I've been tinkering with that too...I'm guessing....a vacuum tube on one side of the bag and then inject a little CO or N2 or H2 into the bag...but I'm just guessing.
 

BarG

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#14
Are tobacco moulds anerobic{doesn't need oxygen to grow} or aerobic[needs oxygen] ? As far as which gas to use for lack of better term I'm sure your guess would be better than mine lol. I bet some one will be glad to answer that one, maybe hakamodo, isn't he into science alot. Am sending Hakomodo pm with thread.
 
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deluxestogie

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#15
Don,
Most molds are aerobic, though they require very little O2 to grow. Is there a particular reason to want to store leaf in middle case, rather than in a somewhat drier state?

Bob
 

BarG

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#16
This would be a good thread, cured tobacco mould prevention. I have a cast iron stomach and can eat anything preservatives or not. Potassium sorbate is an antimicrobial and used in foods, and wines after fermentation to keep sweet wines from changing flavor by slowing or halting yeast growth. From reading Bobs post I know he would never dream of using and I'm not suggesting anyone should,however I haven't as yet been able to find any info on side effects of burning or smoking. I would'nt mind keeping a few pounds around in mild to medium case as is easier for me to dry than rehydrate and wait for proper case to handle. As of yet I havent had any problem with mould but then again I Haven't had to store large quantities as I will this year. I want mine to age naturaly by coming in and out of case I presume and still have generous supply ready to smoke.
 

deluxestogie

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#17
For those who have considered what it would require to create a flue-curing kiln, I've accumulated a bit of info and prices on likely hardware. I'm just guessing, but I believe this would be ample for a 4'x4'x4' container.

First of all, residential water heater thermostats max out at 150ºF, which is not high enough for flue-curing. There is an "industrial" version (actually, the same ones that used to be put on residential water heaters) that goes to 180ºF. This is high enough for all but the most aggressive flue-curing.

http://www.plumbingsupply.com/elements.html#thermo
Water Heater Thermostats (Commercial)
180°F thermostats that are designed for commercial use
# 08314 For lower thermostat element: Therm-O-Disc Style $11.67


The heating element is the pricey part. I suppose it's possible to run a large Crockpot empty, and maybe get the required temps, but I don't know how long it would hold-up under that kind of abuse.

There are two more suitable heat sources, aside from a jury-rigged baseboard heater (which you might be able to get free through your local www.freecycle.org). One is a finned strip heater:

http://www.tempco.com/Strip Heaters/finned_strip_hto_T3term.htm
CSF00005 12" 500w 17w/in2 120v $95.50


also:

http://www.hotwatt.com/finned.htm
Strip heaters: Ceramic Insulated Finned
12" FS12 500w 120v 24w/in2 [no price]


Both are good up to 500ºF.

And there are silicone rubber heating pads:

http://www.watlow.com/products/heaters/heater1.cfm?pageid=47&famid=13
Silicone Rubber Heaters
Operating temperatures up to 500°F
http://www.watlowdistributor.com/HTML/Watlow-SRH-Heater-Order.php
060150C1 6" x 15" 120v 450w $58.20 ($79.36 in quantity 1)


Both the finned-strip and the silicone rubber mat would require some creative mounting.

The setup is similar to the familiar Crockpot Kiln. The difference is the schedule of heating over 3 to 5 days, and the humidity that is required only for the first day. Since it starts with green, wilted leaf, there is a need for ventilating the moisture. Basic flue-curing yellows the leaf at temps between 110ºF and 120ºF over 1 to 2 days, then rapidly dries it to a max of about 155-160ºF, to fix the color. This leaf will still age, slowly. Taking it up to 195ºF during days 4 and 5 will prevent the leaf from further changes, but is not needed for home use.

Bob
 

Hakamo0o

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#18
Are tobacco moulds anerobic{doesn't need oxygen to grow} or aerobic[needs oxygen] ? As far as which gas to use for lack of better term I'm sure your guess would be better than mine lol. I bet some one will be glad to answer that one, maybe hakamodo, isn't he into science alot. Am sending Hakomodo pm with thread.
Well.. as far as I know there are many types of micro-organisms that could grow on a tobacco leaf, O2 or no O2 if the humidity is just right they will start feasting on your leaves. The best thing you could do is store it dry (which would contradict the fermenting conditions) or obtain a humidor like relative humidity and use some Propylene-glycol in your water container (kills off micro-organisms).
As for vacuum; using just vac. will dry out the leaves while displacing the air with CO (toxic) H2 (explosive) or N2 (OK I guess) might affect the way the leaf ferments, I don't really know if there are any side effects from using inert atmosphere.

is there something I am missing here?
 

BarG

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#19
Your not missing anything, we were contemplating a way to store tobacco long term in a mild- medium case, possibly for shipping small to medium quantities, and cut down on handling.
 
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#20
As for shipping in small quantities (1/2 to 1 lb packages) The way I see it being done is in a bag that is then filled with air for cushion. The tobacco is not in med case and is actually dry enough to roll into cigarettes as is. I am talking about buying RYO cigarette tobacco via the mail. whole leaf and mainly cigar leaf would have extra issues. I can tell you that tobacco at high case to actually being wet will both mold and compost very quickly. I have not noticed the same for tobacco at med case so far. So far needs to be taken seriously because I don't have all that much time under my belt with it. In my experience if tobacco is going to mold it will do so quickly, like bread.
 
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