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Deluxestogie's Endoskeletal Wood Tobacco Kiln / Flue-cure chamber

BarG

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There aint nothing nice about that Bob! It is just really fine. It looks like you and knucks worked out all the kinks. I aint jealous or envious or any of that.You built a badass mother ****er.Nothing nice about it, your just bad.
 

BarG

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I'm pleased with how little outgassing came from the kiln construction materials (specifically, the XPS foam and the Tyvek tape adhesive). So, to celebrate, I took down some of the hanging leaf from my enclosed back porch--the leaf that was hanging in the way of where I wanted to position the new Endo Kiln. It wasn't in as high a case as I would prefer for close packing, so I went with about 2/3 of a full load--some on wire strings, some in tied hands, and a pound of leaf in a gallon Ziplock for the basket--and deposited it in the Endo Kiln.

EndoKiln_1726_firstLeafLoad_300.jpg


For starters, I've put 2 cups of water into the 2 quart Crockpot, set it on low, and left off the lid. I'll have a look in two days.

Bob

That looks like a new crock pot! The leaf right next to it will stay in lower case due to proximity to heat. I love the whole nine yards you go on building a wood kiln. Its fantastic. It will be a good thing. Wimter is over I can finish off some Jalapa. I don't kiln in winter . I hope yours does.
 

Jitterbugdude

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Bob, What I really like about your entire build is your choice for a Temerature Controller. I have a Ranco that I think I paid close to $60.00 for. I'm willing to bet they both perform the same except yours is about $45.00 cheaper!
 

deluxestogie

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The most common problem with a thermo-disc water heater thermostat is that the relay eventually becomes "sticky." My greatest concern with this miracle $15 digital controller is that its relay will fritz out sooner rather than later--but we'll see.

So far, it is behaving.

With water in the Crockpot, I began to see very slight condensation at the upper corners over the door. I added a small, removable wedge of XPS foam to each corner.

EndoKiln_1729_latchBlockCornerWedge_300.jpg


About 12 hours after the corner wedges were placed, the only condensation was appearing above the door itself.

EndoKiln_1728_condensation_400.jpg


Because of the R-10 insulation, I don't expect to see much condensation inside the kiln. I checked beneath the kiln, especially below the front corners, and saw only a couple of drops of water. So I think the kiln is holding the moisture fairly well. I'll open it, and look inside tomorrow, and maybe add more leaf.

Recall that the top XPS foam is taped only on the outside, because the permanent, top shelf is in the way.

Bob
 
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Nic

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Very nice build bob! I'm planing to build a kiln/flue curing chamber this summer and found your post very inspirational!
 

deluxestogie

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Thank you. I should emphasize that my build turned out to be far more tedious than it really needs to be--a result of putting the framing on the inside of the insulation. Do read through Knucklehead's approach (http://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/5688-Knuckleheads-Wooden-Box-Kiln-Build), which places the framing on the outside.

Kiln requirements:
  • a well insulated box
  • a well closed (sealed) box
  • a controlled heat source
  • a source of humidity
Bob
 

Knucklehead

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Thank you. I should emphasize that my build turned out to be far more tedious than it really needs to be--a result of putting the framing on the inside of the insulation. Do read through Knucklehead's approach (http://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/5688-Knuckleheads-Wooden-Box-Kiln-Build), which places the framing on the outside.

Kiln requirements:
  • a well insulated box
  • a well closed (sealed) box
  • a controlled heat source
  • a source of humidity
Bob

What made it more tedious? The taping of the corners?
I thought the main difference was the steel vs stone tools used in the constructions.
 

deluxestogie

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What made it more tedious? The taping of the corners?
I thought the main difference was the steel vs stone tools used in the constructions.
Way too many wood members. Nearly 2 pounds of deck screws (~78 2-1/2" and 49 3"). Swing-away XPS foam corner blocks for the door. Having to mount casters to the internal frame, with foam on the outside of the bottom. And yes, a whole lot more taping.

I think that, even with a fully equipped wood shop, it's a lot more work. But now that it's built and running, I'm delighted with it.

One curious question for me, since the big Pink Box sits next to the glass storm door of my enclosed back porch, is the extent to which sun exposure will degrade the XPS foam on the back of the kiln. I doubt photo-resistance was a design consideration in manufacturing insulation foam intended to be sandwiched between other sheeting.

UPDATE:
Today, there was still slight condensation along the upper edges of the door. When opened (after 2 days, with 2 cups of water in the Crockpot, and the Crockpot lid off), the Crockpot was dry, there was no sign of condensation (or past condensation) on the interior of the kiln, and the hanging leaf was crispy dry. At some point, the leaf had come into high case, and relaxed, so I added two tied hands of tobacco. I also had increased the temp range during the run to 127-121ºF.

For this next span of time, I've added 2 cups of water (probably not enough for this big kiln), but with the lid on. I'll check it in two more days, to see what difference the lid makes.

Bob
 

Nic

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Thank you. I should emphasize that my build turned out to be far more tedious than it really needs to be--a result of putting the framing on the inside of the insulation. Do read through Knucklehead's approach (http://fairtradetobacco.com/threads/5688-Knuckleheads-Wooden-Box-Kiln-Build), which places the framing on the outside.

Kiln requirements:
  • a well insulated box
  • a well closed (sealed) box
  • a controlled heat source
  • a source of humidity

Bob

Yes, I glanced through it and I think I can make a cheap combo-kiln from scraps if I build something similar to yours and knucklehead's build. I don't worry so much about the building part since I have some experience, its more the humidity control that has left me pondering different kinds of solutions (and the fact that i have never processed or even seen a mature tobacco leaf before):D

Sry to hijack your tread but I was thinking I would do something like this:
  • Box insulated with rock wool? Outside wall plywood, inside something fire proof like pressed wood board (I have no good translation for this type of board, but I have used it in a sauna build so it should be safe up to 80 deg Celsius)
  • Seal it with tape or adhesive, door design like yours and maybe double plexiglass as a peephole for temp and humidity monitoring
  • 100w Heating lamp mounted in ceramic plant pot and controlled with a pulse width modulator (PWM) dimmer type control (should be able to control the heating lamp from 10% to 100% effect)
  • pot of water that you can refill without opening the kiln
  • Ventilation pipes/fan for fluecuring and maybe an outside smoke generator for firecuring and cold-smoking...

This design would give me a good variety of options in curing and kilning, could even double as a Snus oven and cold smoker?!
The main problem for me is, since I have no experience of this, the humidity control!
Two Q's has not yet been solved from the information I have looked at and I would appreciate your input:
Would an open pot filled with water be sufficient to keep the humidity at rh 75% when kilning?
I have no Idea how to firecure tobacco but from the info available, I have assumed that adding smoke in the last 2-3 days to the curing scheme in your trashcan tread would produce firecured tobacco, right? Heating lamp would still be the main heatsource.

I have most of the material readily available, only thing I would need to by is a PWM which costs about 3-5€ on ebay and maybe a new heating lamp for 10€.
The smoke generator is an easy design found on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfAkb3ARuss Not sure if I will include it in this build tho...

Sorry again for the hijack,
//Nic
 

deluxestogie

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Two Q's has not yet been solved from the information I have looked at and I would appreciate your input:
Would an open pot filled with water be sufficient to keep the humidity at rh 75% when kilning?
I have no Idea how to firecure tobacco but from the info available, I have assumed that adding smoke in the last 2-3 days to the curing scheme in your trashcan tread would produce firecured tobacco, right? Heating lamp would still be the main heatsource.
A simple, unheated, open pot of water may not be sufficient. But dipping one end of a small towel into the pot as a wick might be enough surface.

Firecuring involves exposing the leaf to heat and smoke for the duration of the cure--several weeks or more.

If you use a chamber for fire curing, it will likely impart a smoke odor to any other tobacco kilned in the same chamber at a later date.

A Crockpot heats the chamber by convective heating. A heat lamp heats by radiant heat, with which I have no experience.

Feel free to start a thread for your build or further questions about your build.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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Actually, the new kiln is the size I've needed for several years. Its capacity is just about right for my production rate.

Bob
 

Chicken

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Perhaps when it gets time i may add some temp controllers to my kiln...

The more i see them in use the more im liking them
 

Knucklehead

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Perhaps when it gets time i may add some temp controllers to my kiln...

The more i see them in use the more im liking them

You can't beat the price of the ones Bob and I bought for our kilns. $15.00 with free shipping. A hot water heater thermostat was going to cost $9.00. It wasn't much of a decision.
 

deluxestogie

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Rigging a Variable Speed Fan

If I ever use the Endo Kiln for flue-curing, it will need a fan. The kiln's present use may benefit from better distribution of heat and humidity, though I'm not sure of that.

Knucklehead purchased a bathroom fan for his kiln. This is a wonderful approach, since a bath fan is designed for use in damp (not wet) conditions. But they are pricey. They are also powerful enough to damage tobacco, and need to be regulated by a fan speed controller, for use in a kiln.

I stumbled into the cheapest bath fan offered at Lowe's--and it was also on clearance. So, for about $10, I bought a 55 watt, puny bath fan. The least expensive digital fan controller also ran about $10 (Lutron Rotary 1.5-Amp 600-Watt Rotary Ceiling Fan Control-Model #: FS-5FH-DK). For housing the controller, I bought a heavy PVC circuit box and face plate.
.
EndoKiln_1743_fanDetail_400.jpg


The plastic grill that comes with the bath fan can't be used in the kiln. Likewise, a plastic flow director and baffle that clips onto the fan exhaust could not align to my purpose, and was removed.

EndoKiln_1744_fanAirDeflector_400.jpg


The air intake is through the motor armature, and the exhaust is out the side. Since the fan will be hung sideways, as oriented in the top image, I modified an HDPE mushroom box (from the grocery store) to redirect the outflow upward. The deflector was attached using the same Tyvek tape that I used to seal the interior of the kiln.

I will hang it from the lower shelf in the kiln (when the current kiln run ends in 2 weeks) using the homemade wire hooks, shown in the first image inserted into strips of leftover silicone door gasket--to minimize vibrational noise. Since I had to connect a section of extension cord (including a plug) to the fan wire, where it will be exposed to kiln conditions, I wrapped the splice in vapor-proof Tyvek tape.

Endokiln_1747_fanController_400.jpg


The input and output wires were passed from the outside, through the conduit nipple on the circuit box, then the connections were made. The hot wire of the incoming extension cord goes into and out of the digital speed control. The neutral of the incoming extension connects directly to the neutral of the outgoing extension.

Since my kiln already supplies an unswitched (normal) outlet that is brown, I used a brown male end for the fan control input. In order to color code the increasing number of extension wires, plugs and outlets, I selected a black extension for the fan control output (female), and used its male end as the power cord for the fan. I also made up Tyvek tags for each male and female cord on these new items, as well as for the temp-switched and unswitched wiring already on the kiln.

EndoKiln_1745_fanControllerWires_400.jpg


I hope for this to be dummy proof, with color coding and identity tags.

After the controller and fan were connected to power (for a test on my front porch, so I could kick it down the steps if it burst into flames), I verified the rotary positions of OFF, HIGH, MED, LOW--it's actually continuously variable--and the position that seemed to provide a Goldilocks setting for my application, and marked these onto the face plate with a Sharpie. Notice that I also taped the package tag from the fan controller onto the circuit box, so that I will remember what it is.

[Not shown, the rectangular light switch slot on the face plate required a little Dremel work to clear the rotary switch retaining nut. I also bent some of the aluminum tabs of the fan controller mount, at the top and bottom, to clear the 4 face plate screw holes.]

The fan control circuit box will be mounted aft of the temp control box, outside the kiln, using two deck screws. The fan power cord will pass through the existing hole in the XPS foam wall, and a second cord notch added to the XPS foam stopper for the hole.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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Fan Control Mounted

After opening the kiln this morning, to add water to the Crockpot (1-1/2 quarts every 3 days), I was overcome by the temptation to go ahead and install the new fan.

The fan hangs from the lower shelf, near the right kiln wall, with its intake toward that wall, and its exhaust angled upward at the door. (Forgot to get a photo, before closing up the kiln.) Its cord passes out the same stoppered opening as used for the Crockpot.

EndoKiln_1749_fanControllerConnected_400.jpg


The controller is anchored into the 1" x 3" right shelf support, using two 3" deck screws. As you can see, the rat's nest of wiring is color-matched.

Each corner of the kiln drips a tiny amount of condensation. I placed a cottage cheese lid beneath each corner to catch it. The drips are so minimal that the collected water evaporates about as fast as it can accumulate, so they don't require emptying, unless the humidity is extremely high for 5 or 6 consecutive days.

Now my Endo kiln emits a gentle hum, like a refrigerator.

Bob
 

BarG

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Great job on your new homeade kiln Bob. I hope you get many years of use. You'll love the extra capacity.
 

deluxestogie

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Thanks. I haven't completed the first 30 day run, and I'm already delighted with the capacity. It has almost the same capacity as my car trunk.

Bob
 
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