Whole Leaf Tobacco

Kiln Air holes, place & size

Libor

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I have an upright old freezer for my kiln, and a crockpot for heat/humidity. Fresh air intake is a 2-inch pipe near the bottom, and a 1/2-inch pipe for exhaust near the top. The lid on the crockpot is offset slightly to increase the RH. I have no problems maintaining proper case of leaf & heat/RH to ferment tobacco or even flue-curing.
Thank you for reply. Crockpot seem as good and easy way for kiln, but I already have heat source and humidifier separately each with sensor and controller. The new (200 W) heat bulb seem to be working well so far. When the first terrarium heat bulb broke, I used fruit drying machine (350 W, there is a little fan in it) and one classic 60 W lightbulb connected with temperature sensor. It was taking twice more electricity but worked while i was waiting for terrarium heat bulb.
 

LeftyRighty

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What is the purpose of the vents for kilning? It would seem like a waste of heat and humidity but yours could be better insulated than mine. Just curious.
When flue-curing, it is green leaf going in the kiln, lots of moisture coming off the leaf in the curing process - needs to be vented while maintaining proper RH, with an off-set lid on the crockpot. With a wet-crockpot adding moisture, and some ventilation, I avoid any leaf from premature green-drying spots.
My experience, not all the leaves loses their green uniformly, so, while checking the kiln a couple times a day, I'll slowly raise heat and cover the crockpot to reduce the RH, and keep the ventilation going, until about 100% all yellow/brown but still in decent case. Then getting to the leaf drying phase (and stem drying), my crockpot is running empty of water, but wide-open ventilation (as much as can be expected with just 1/2-inch exhaust pipe). It usually takes me 2-3 days to go thru the leaf & stem drying phases while constantly increasing the heat. When flue-cured is finished, I am back to a wet crockpot to bring back the tobacco to a good case to handle & store my finished tobacco. This works for me !
When kiln fermenting (air/sun-cured burleys, turkish, cigar-tobac, whatever), the temperate & RH need to be held constant more or less throughout the weeks long process. This works best for my kiln by having a very slightly off-set lid on the wet crockpot, and allowing some ventilation. My 1/2-inch exhaust valve has a ball-valve that I'll partially close as needed. It's a balance between heating & venting to keep it constant. Plus, during this fermenting process, I am off-gassing the ammonia and whatever else - It is that beautiful aroma coming out that tells me it's working.
I have a thermostat control on the crockpot, set for temps between 122 & 128 degrees for fermentation. It is usually a couple hours going thru each on/off cycle. I don't think it's "a waste of heat and humidity", it's what it takes to maintain that temp/RH balance.

I have 3 small 'computer' fans in my kiln, to circulate air throughout, only 'on' when crockpot is on - not sure they're needed, but I feel it helps keep that temp/RH constant top-to-bottom of the kiln.
Remember, it's only a itsy-bitsy 1/2-inch exhaust pipe/valve, fed by thermal currents (hot-air-rising), cannot be that wasteful.
 
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Knucklehead

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When flue-curing, it is green leaf going in the kiln, lots of moisture coming off the leaf in the curing process - needs to be vented while maintaining proper RH, with an off-set lid on the crockpot. With a wet-crockpot adding moisture, and some ventilation, I avoid any leaf from premature green-drying spots.
My experience, not all the leaves loses their green uniformly, so, while checking the kiln a couple times a day, I'll slowly raise heat and cover the crockpot to reduce the RH, and keep the ventilation going, until about 100% all yellow/brown but still in decent case. Then getting to the leaf drying phase (and stem drying), my crockpot is running empty of water, but wide-open ventilation (as much as can be expected with just 1/2-inch exhaust pipe). It usually takes me 2-3 days to go thru the leaf & stem drying phases while constantly increasing the heat. When flue-cured is finished, I am back to a wet crockpot to bring back the tobacco to a good case to handle & store my finished tobacco. This works for me !
When kiln fermenting (air/sun-cured burleys, turkish, cigar-tobac, whatever), the temperate & RH need to be held constant more or less throughout the weeks long process. This works best for my kiln by having a very slightly off-set lid on the wet crockpot, and allowing some ventilation. My 1/2-inch exhaust valve has a ball-valve that I'll partially close as needed. It's a balance between heating & venting to keep it constant. Plus, during this fermenting process, I am off-gassing the ammonia and whatever else - It is that beautiful aroma coming out that tells me it's working.
I have a thermostat control on the crockpot, set for temps between 122 & 128 degrees for fermentation. It is usually a couple hours going thru each on/off cycle. I don't think it's "a waste of heat and humidity", it's what it takes to maintain that temp/RH balance.

I have 3 small 'computer' fans in my kiln, to circulate air throughout, only 'on' when crockpot is on - not sure they're needed, but I feel it helps keep that temp/RH constant top-to-bottom of the kiln.
Remember, it's only a itsy-bitsy 1/2-inch exhaust pipe/valve, fed by thermal currents (hot-air-rising), cannot be that wasteful.
Thank you. I haven’t used mine for flue curing yet so my mind set gets stuck in kilning mode.
 

Libor

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Stupidity update:
You were right about drywall. I buried not only this year's crop, but also most of tobacco left from past seasons that I wanted to improve while testing the chamber - there was some strange dust in the chamber after testing, but leafs were covered with paper and looked clean. I thought that the dust came from construction process, so I cleaned the inside of the kiln and started kilning this year's harvest. Now, one month later everything is covered with that same dust, the leafs were hanging and fully exposed to it. I was always changing water in the humidifier when there was dark inside, that's why I didn't found out earlier. I am afraid that even if the leafs look clean they absorbed it as the particles were small enough to penetrate the paper of the drywall.
I thought about adding one more layer inside that would cover the drywall and protect it from high temperature and humidity and save some more energy in the same time. Does anybody have an idea?
 

Knucklehead

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I used 2” rigid foam board insulation for mine. If you just need to seal inside and add a little bit more insulation you could get by with 1”. I used Tyvek tape to seal the seams. It is used to seal the seams in house wrap weather barrier that is now required by home building codes and is waterproof.


I’ve run it beyond flue cure temps without noticing any outgassing smells during or after.

 

LeftyRighty

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Does anybody have an idea?
If your leaf went into Kiln straight from the air-cure (or green leaf for flue-cuing), recognize that it is not 'clean' leaf. The leaf coming off the plant will always have a significant amount of airborne dust, dander, pollen, mold, dirt-splatter from rain, bird droppings, insect droppings, eggs, spider webs, whatever. Most drops off from the dried leaf during handling after the air-cure, or is the fine crud in your kiln or when you shred the leaf. Get used to it - it smokes fine.
If you find this upsetting, think about just how really clean are your apples, berries, grapes, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, etc. - does a simple rinse or light scrub really clean them.?
 

deluxestogie

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In harvesting, I brush off any conspicuous dirt using my fingers. Once cured in the shed, even more dust and dirt falls off. Tiny, dead gnats, corn anthers, grass seed, and occasional grass clippings often stick to my cured leaf, and have to be brushed before or after kilning.

Bob
 

Knucklehead

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Stupidity update:
You were right about drywall. I buried not only this year's crop, but also most of tobacco left from past seasons that I wanted to improve while testing the chamber - there was some strange dust in the chamber after testing, but leafs were covered with paper and looked clean. I thought that the dust came from construction process, so I cleaned the inside of the kiln and started kilning this year's harvest. Now, one month later everything is covered with that same dust, the leafs were hanging and fully exposed to it. I was always changing water in the humidifier when there was dark inside, that's why I didn't found out earlier. I am afraid that even if the leafs look clean they absorbed it as the particles were small enough to penetrate the paper of the drywall.
I thought about adding one more layer inside that would cover the drywall and protect it from high temperature and humidity and save some more energy in the same time. Does anybody have an idea?
Gypsum doesn’t seem to be especially harmful.
 

LeftyRighty

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In harvesting, I brush off any conspicuous dirt using my fingers. ........
Bob
yep, years ago, I tried laying picked leaf on the lawn, spraying water from a hose to rinse debris off. Ripe leaf bruises easily and I ended up with some ugly cured leaf. I now realize that ripening leaf gets a very sticky residue on it's surface, as they ripen, and everything airborne will stick to it.
Now, I pick off the obvious big stuff too, and don't worry about the remaining junk. Most of this falls off during curing and subsequent handling.
 

Libor

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I used 2” rigid foam board insulation for mine. If you just need to seal inside and add a little bit more insulation you could get by with 1”. I used Tyvek tape to seal the seams. It is used to seal the seams in house wrap weather barrier that is now required by home building codes and is waterproof.


I’ve run it beyond flue cure temps without noticing any outgassing smells during or after.

XPS seem like a good option, thanks. If you tried it with flue curing...
It should be easy to fix it on gypsum wall using low expansion foam.




...The leaf coming off the plant will always have a significant amount of airborne dust...
This was not the problem, the dust was everywhere around. When testing the kiln I left inside an old tobacco covered with baking paper, the dust was on the paper, leafs were clean. I thought that it is some dust left after constructing the kiln, so I cleaned inside kiln and started another cycle with this year's leafs hanging - if my brain wasn't sleeping in that moment, I'd have no problem now.


yep, years ago, I tried laying picked leaf on the lawn, spraying water from a hose to rinse debris off. Ripe leaf bruises easily and I ended up with some ugly cured leaf. I now realize that ripening leaf gets a very sticky residue on it's surface, as they ripen, and everything airborne will stick to it.
Now, I pick off the obvious big stuff too, and don't worry about the remaining junk. Most of this falls off during curing and subsequent handling.
I clean harvested leafs using the lawn as a brush the worst dirt on lower leafs...


Gypsum doesn’t seem to be especially harmful.
If it is only gypsum, I don't care. I hope that they are not adding something else into green gypsum to make it more water-resistant, watching the results I would say they are not.

OK, I will take the leafs out of the kiln, hang them in front of running fan for short time to see if it helps. If it tastes like a dust from construction site, I still have my Armageddon bucket with tobacco dust that I was saving for times of crisis....

To end my post in a positive way, the leafs beautifully changed the colour and the smell was pleasant at the end of the process.
 
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Libor

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I rolled cigaret of Shirey last night. Tastes different than jar-fermented tobacco, more like a cigar, but smokeable.
 
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