Whole Leaf Tobacco

DGBAMA Redneck Curing Chamber Build

DGBAMA

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To preface, my intent this year as a first time grower was simply to have smokable at minimal cost. Grow, hang, dry, smoke..............Weather in the S.E. has been something of a "B#$%^" this year. Our August weather should be great for air curing......mid-upper 90s w/ good humidity...........not...........low 80s and lots of rain.........not good for tobacco curing.

Started looking for an old freezer this week.....love the "cozy can" but 50 leaves per week capacity would have me harvesting this time next year unless I built MANY of them (remeber the minimum investment part). not happening.

Will build to suit............
Got 4 4x8 sheets of 2" thick styro insulation for free today. A good start and I can build to suit my space available. :D

Can't beat free, and since already raining, nothing better to do than build a Kiln/Curing Chamber.

rough cut. pieces just leaned on eachother
IMG_20130818_140911_275.jpg

IMG_20130818_142155_453.jpg

Inside frame and hanging sticks completed:
IMG_20130818_193137_292.jpg

IMG_20130818_193714_639.jpg

Inside dimensions: 44"w, 24"d, 72" tall.

Next up, details of the test run.
 

Knucklehead

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Well, I'll be Joe Brown. Get 'er done! Looking good DG. You're definately a man of action. No wonder we haven't heard from you for a couple of hours, you've been off kiln building! You could sell those in kit form. Put me down for serial # 00002.
 

DGBAMA

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The operating stuff:

scrap 1x3s - free
water heater thermostat - 8.95 / lowes
crock pot - free
Foil/duct tape to seal seams - 7.95
"weather monitor" - 19.49.
LED nightlight - 3.99
Short BS extension cord - 3.99

crock pot and thermotat installed. Thermostat is midheight on the side.
IMG_20130818_201207_438.jpg

close-up showing the Waterheater thermostat & the remote "weather station" transmitter.
IMG_20130818_201223_809.jpg

Thermostat is mounted through a hole in the side such that temperature adjustments can be made without opening the door.
IMG_20130818_201252_858.jpg

Saved the piece of foam cut out of the side for access as a "plug" to cover the thermostat and insulate.
IMG_20130818_201237_337.jpg

Test data up next........................
 

DGBAMA

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The Temp/Humidity monitor all set up; I have wired in a .5w LED nightlight on the "downstream" side of the thermostat to visually see if the crock pot is on or off.
IMG_20130818_214104_314.jpg
 

DGBAMA

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The down & dirty:

less than 2 hrs to reach set temperature.
When "ON" temp rises and humidity falls.
When "off" temp falls and humidity rises.
15 deg variance between on/off cycles (wish this was more precise) but guess a SD of 7 degrees aint bad.

IMG_20130818_232654_019.jpg

Still need to add a small internal fan for circulation and a means of venting if humidity becomes too high (or a pan of salt slurry)

Also need a little better door seal.

On/Off cycle is about 1.5 hrs currently. with heating and cooling about equal. Better seals and I think it will be on 1 / off 2 to maintain temperature.

Will load it down and start a real "first run" this week.

Any input appreciated........

Damn this is a lot of work just to get a good smoke..........:cool:
 

ne3go

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Good job! Looks like mine, i still have to do the electrics.
I think that humidity over 70% is a risk for mold. In curing, suppose a 60-70% is enough.
 

Chicken

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some may say you shouldnt have used strurofoam. ive read, where it aint good because the bacca will absorb the '' styrofoam'' taste or something.???????

search it on here, you'll find it.

allthough me myself being a resident redneck, i like the way you did that,,, my kiln is mainly made of '' reclaimed'' road signs. for the inside lining,

as you start to bring in your crop. you may find a need to '' expand'' that creation and make it bigger,
 

AmaxB

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Yeah Man I love the way you write keeps it interesting, did good on the free foam board Lowe's wants 40 bucks a sheet for it here. Are you gonna string the tobacco or just use the wood cross members to keep it in place?
 

workhorse_01

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Nice job! Quick thinking. The crock pot should hide the high temperature differential of the water heater thermostat, and you have plenty of space to hang primed leaf.
 

DGBAMA

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some may say you shouldnt have used strurofoam. ive read, where it aint good because the bacca will absorb the '' styrofoam'' taste or something.???????

search it on here, you'll find it.

allthough me myself being a resident redneck, i like the way you did that,,, my kiln is mainly made of '' reclaimed'' road signs. for the inside lining,

as you start to bring in your crop. you may find a need to '' expand'' that creation and make it bigger,
did not think of the styro transferring a smell/odor at our temps. maybe will line the walls with foil before setting up the first big run. Also going to scavenge up a couple pieces of Plexiglass to make a viewing window in the door.

as far as size, I should be able to get the yellowing & drying stages done in week if not running the final kilning. Think I have room for a complete priming, so should be able to rotate leaf through as it is harvested.
 

DGBAMA

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Yeah Man I love the way you write keeps it interesting, did good on the free foam board Lowe's wants 40 bucks a sheet for it here. Are you gonna string the tobacco or just use the wood cross members to keep it in place?
as with my "vertical hanging", the hanging sticks are done with the finish nailer, but only on two sides. spaced 4" apart, staggered front and back. about what I have seen tied/strung leaf spaced like on sticks. More pics as things get going good.
 

deluxestogie

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Nice job.

If you plan to use it to color-cure, then you will definitely need a vent and air flow, since 80% of the weight of leaf you put in will come off as water. For color-curing, keep the temp below 104ºF until the leaf is yellowed. A window made of 2 or 3 layer Lexan (greenhouse sheeting) also provides insulation. For just kilning, a vent is not needed, and a window is not particularly useful.

As you fiddle with the set screw on the thermostat, you will be exerting significant inward pressure with the screwdriver, and that may cause the thermostat to dislodge. You may want to reinforce the mounting of the thermostat. In the same vein, if you include a substantial square of sheet metal on the inside, against which the back of the thermostat is firmly pressed (maybe even with some thermal transfer paste between them--from computer store and elsewhere), it will more readily transfer the chamber's internal air temp to the thermostat, and hopefully reduce the temp swing. Also, the thermostat hole is likely the least insulated area of the kiln, and may serve as a sink for condensation. A flap of some kind of batting over it might reduce that risk.

Bob
 

AmaxB

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A note that might be helpful:
If you can make two view windows one near the top and one near the floor and place a wet / dry bulb set-up at each.
 

DGBAMA

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Thanks for the insights.

I am in a "trial by fire" mode right now. Low temps and high humidity I found my vertical hanging leaf turning mushy on the inner layers / mold starting. So called late to work and rehung the leaf on the kiln sticks and turned the heat up to 125..........think i read this is enough to kill mold. Hoping to save most of it. Sure am glad I started curing "experiments" with the lugs and not my good leaf.

Trial run just turned into "new kiln please save my lugs".

Amax, here shows the hanging/stringing more clearly:
IMG_20130819_070847_012.jpg

IMG_20130819_080656_882.jpg

now off to work.
 

Fisherman

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crock pot - free


Back home if we "pilfered" anything from the kitchen................... we couldnt call it free.......... And usually paid dearly for it. Had a cousin who did that same thing and it cost him a new dishwasher to get the mrs to just hush.
 

DGBAMA

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crock pot - free


Back home if we "pilfered" anything from the kitchen................... we couldnt call it free.......... And usually paid dearly for it. Had a cousin who did that same thing and it cost him a new dishwasher to get the mrs to just hush.
Fortunately did not come from my kitchen. Lol.
 
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