Whole Leaf Tobacco

DIY flue?

mrthing2000

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There are many threads about building kilns, even a few where people use their bbq smokers to do a fire-cure. Admittedly, the more I read the more confused I get. In some ways I'm not sure why a 'kiln' couldn't also 'flue-cure' if the temps were regulated the right way.

But what would it take to do a flue-cure? Other than building a huge barn, I mean.

Heat, humidity, and the tight ability to control them--I totally see that. Could we not build something a bit larger than these styrofoam box 'kilns' and manipulate the heat to get a bright leaf?

I'm thinking of growing a bunch more Virginia style next year, and I"m still fooling around with different curing methods. Its too bad that flue-curing seems a bit out of reach for most of us, but I'm convinced 'there's got to be a better way'.

I'm thinking it would look something like a constant heat source, with the ability to go up really high as needed, a humidifier that can hold the RH where we need it, and the ability to add charcoal, sawdust, wood, etc., as needed.

Methinks those hillbillies have an advantage over us on this one.

Ideas?
 

Jitterbugdude

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Several people here have built their own flue cure chambers. BT, Leverhead, Bex and AmaxB to name a few. Look up their blogs.
 

Brown Thumb

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DGBAMA, I would say uses his chamber for just about everything.
Check out his grow log for multi purpose.
I did kiln in mine but I have so much Baccy, I just let it rest for a yr. or two now.
 

Bex

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Amusingly, I'm going to comment on this. There is really no difference between a kiln and a flue curing chamber - the difference is how you heat and humidify them. I would suggest that you first look up Deluxestogies Cozy Can thread - this was the first thing I read on the forum, which allowed me to believe that I could actually do this. The chamber itself can be pretty simple - Stogie built his out of a garbage can (and I seem to recall something about a tool box as well). I had a spare chest freezer, and used that - others get old refrigerators from the dump, or build their own. The idea is to have a chamber where it can be sealed to retain heat and humidity. Personally, for my heat source, I use a crockpot, which adds heat and can also be used (if you put water in it) to add humidity. The ONE thing I would really recommend is a digital thermostat - I bought the equivalent of this:
http://www.amazon.com/Lerway-All-Purpose-Temperature-Controller-Thermostat/dp/B008KVCPH2
You set it to the temp you want, and it does all the rest - it is wired into the crockpot so that when your chamber hits the proscribed temp, the thermostat shuts off the crockpot, thus regulating the temp in your chamber. Humidity levels are accomplished through venting - Amax's vent is automatic - using something similar to the above thermostat, but dealing with humidity, which opens and closes the vent at the pre-set relative humidity level. I do mine 'manually', and still find I need to get this better.
As you start reading about this, you'll start reading about wet and dry bulb temperatures - this is a way of registering humidity (before the concept of relative humidity, I think), and I find it somewhat unnecessary, confusing and difficult to accomplish. Of course, humidity and condensation in my chamber is still somewhat problematic. I just deal with the relative humidity (and you'll note that on Stogies Cozy Can thread, he doesn't really deal with it at all). My first year doing this was last year - if you can suffer through my thread, you will see all the incredibly helpful information that you can get hear, as well as a lot of things to avoid. Everyone here is wonderfully helpful (and patient, as well), so you will be able to get a lot of assistance here.
 

mrthing2000

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Thanks. This is really helpful.

Sort of dumb question, but on kilning do you make it near-airtight? Seems like it would bake in its own juices if you didn't.

I was also curious how often to vent the cure chamber. Mine won't be airtight and have a small fan making a light breeze. Maybe only the condensate will be an issue. I'm thinking of just opening it once a day. I'll maintain a steady heat and humidity as best as I can. I'm looking for a cheap crockpot and I got a cheap adjustable hot plate. I'll make a heat shield to jeep the leaves from getting radiant heat.

I primed them today, about halfway for some and almost all the way for others. Figure I got around 4 lbs. Even a few really nice big ones!
 
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