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Knuckleheads Wooden Box Kiln Build

deluxestogie

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I'm caught up on kilning and just waiting on this year's crop.
What? How can you be...? That's only 3 runs. I'm on my third run, but my shed is still 2/3 full from 2014, and my back porch has about 1-1/2 kiln loads yet to process. Although my new kiln is able to process leaf faster than I can consume it, I believe it's going to be a squeaker to get the shed empty in time for harvest.

Sigh!

Bob
 

Knucklehead

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Are you kilning just your own tobacco, or do you also kiln tobacco from Don?

I only kiln my own tobacco. Don's cigar leaf is fermented in the Dominican Republic. His cigarette leaf is usually aged also. The Burley I have purchased from him was four years old. His leaf tastes great right out of the bag.
 

Knucklehead

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What? How can you be...? That's only 3 runs. I'm on my third run, but my shed is still 2/3 full from 2014, and my back porch has about 1-1/2 kiln loads yet to process. Although my new kiln is able to process leaf faster than I can consume it, I believe it's going to be a squeaker to get the shed empty in time for harvest.

Sigh!

Bob

I only made two runs. The first run was my cigar leaf from 2013 and 2014. (sample and taste from the large seed grow outs) That finished up my home grown cigar leaf. The second run was my sun cured Flue varieties from 2014 and some sun cured Orientals. The rest of my cigarette leaf is either Don's aged leaf or my home grown that has naturally aged for a year or more already. I will allow those to continue with the natural aging process.
One thing that I've noticed is that my nice yellowish Orientals turned a burley brown after kilning. My pretty sun cured flue varieties also turned an even colored brown. Is this normal for everyone? Do sun cured Orientals require kilning at all?
 

Knucklehead

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Thanks DonH I'll have a look just got back to reading knucks thread again and found your post here. Might be a while before I get there need to sell this place first I'll be building a new kiln when I get there. The one I have is to big and heavy so it will stay with the shop for the new owner (if they want it). I'll use all I've learned for the new build and will also start growing again up there. Yes it gets to damn hot and muggy here, to many people too.
.
Knuckles your kiln is great - looks so good. It will take time for you to understand it's temperament, I would say the size is a good choice not to small and not so big it is hard to control. I have found a 12v fan to be sufficient for air movement I run mine to keep heat uniform top to bottom and it never stops running while the kiln is in use. Happy puffing!!

I had control for the humidity way back, I stopped using it.......

I learned a lot from your chamber build. What are your plans for the next one? What will you do differently?
 

deluxestogie

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In Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, etc., sun-cured leaf is allowed to undergo mild sweating in bales, within the warehouses, a process that apparently occurs naturally during early summer each year. The bales are regularly rotated in their positions.

Kilning of sun-cured and flue-cured leaf darkens it to varying degrees. I kilned some WLT lemon Virginia, and it turned a reddish brown--more like red Virginia. It loses some of its acidity, which may or may not be what you want.

My understanding of the chemistry of all this is that the higher the humidity during the heating process, the browner the leaf becomes. Perhaps the way to "age" leaf that is already flue-cured is in low case at modest temperatures. I haven't really looked at this issue very thoroughly for Orientals and Virginias.

Bob
 

Gmac

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Based on my limited experience I would say no. I sun cured some VBL last year. It looked, smelled and tasted just like flue cured. I just ran out of it a few weeks ago. It tasted fine last July and it tasted fine this past May.
The frost caught up with me this year-Dec. 23- & I had to stalk cut 50 VG 355 plants from Brazil.
Hung it in my insulated barn & Air cured. It cured a medium reddish brown, but I can't tell the difference in it & my flue cured--Very good. Grandma always said,"Pretty is as Pretty does."

Gmac
 

Youn

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I've been meaning to build a kiln for the past two seasons but have just gotten off my sorry ass and decided to do something about it. (Bob's thread kicked off my thinking seriously about it) First, let me say that the cheapest kiln build is one from a free freezer, as the box itself is the most expensive part of the build. I can't move a freezer around by myself and lining up help is difficult, so I built my own box on site with casters so I can roll it from shop to basement, depending on where I'm going to run it. I hope to do it in the basement as long as the smell isn't too bad since it maintains a stable temperature which should make controlling temps inside the box more consistent.

I'm still waiting on a temperature control unit I ordered from ebay for $15.00 with free shipping. It reads in fahrenheit, runs off 110V, has digital readout, can be set from 1-25F variance in on/off operation, ships from the US with US tech support. Only the probe will be inside the box, the unit itself will mount to the outside. It seemed like the cat's meow for what I plan to do with it. I hope it will be here in about a week so I can do my break in high temp run to burn off any smells or off gassing that may occur with the rigid foam board.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/281294885235?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

I built it with an external 1x4" frame to make door weatherstrip, hinge and latch attachment easier. It is glued with Titebond III water resistant glue and screwed together with pocket screws every where two pieces of wood make contact.

View attachment 14983View attachment 14984


Inside the 1x4" frame I attached 1/8" MDF with 1/2" staples to further sturdy up the frame, hide the ugly pink foam board, and to provide a small measure of safety as a firewall.

View attachment 14985

I then attached the 2" rigid foam board on the inside of the MDF with 2-/12" deck screws with washers. The foam screws into the 1x4" framing. Then I attached the face frame to the door opening side of the box and used 2" Tyvek tape to seal the corners.

View attachment 14986 View attachment 14987

I then attached the door with 4 butt hinges on the hinge side, and 2 spring loaded chest type latches on the handle side, plus one latch on top and one on bottom of the door. I used 3/8" weatherstrip around the door to seal to the face frame. I plan to go back later and add another weatherstrip just inside this one because I have room to do it.

View attachment 14988

Completed box.

View attachment 14989

Inside kiln showing shelves to pile tobacco on, and to hang hands of tobacco from. Crock pot and bathroom exhaust fan sitting inside. The fan speed will be controlled with a ceiling fan speed control switch and the crock pot will be controlled with the temperature control on order.

View attachment 14990 View attachment 14991

Thanks to DGBAMA, Bob, Lakota, and Smokin Harley for the one on one advice and help.

I wonder if you had to trim the piece of foam which is attached to the door, since the rotation movement from the hinges probably don't allow the edge of the foam to pass if it's dimensions are exactly the same as the inside of the kiln.
Sorry, my mastery of English show their limits in that case… I don't know how to tell better.
I'm thinking on building my own kiln/flue-cure chamber now and I'm hesitating between a classical door with hinges like your's or a primitive door, totally removable, without hinge. I was afraid to lose insulation if I need to trim the door's foam to deal with the rotation movement from hinges.
From the pictures of your kiln, I would say it's not trimmed but I can't see it clearly.
 

deluxestogie

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I would not be too concerned about that bit of radius cut that you may or may not need to make for the door to rotate into and out of the opening. Just be sure to place a good gasket seal around the entire perimeter (see image in post #38). The wider the door relative to the thickness of the foam, the less a radius cut is required.

You will be opening the kiln many times over the next many years. I would strongly suggest a hinge, rather than a totally removable door.

Bob
 

Gmac

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I would not be too concerned about that bit of radius cut that you may or may not need to make for the door to rotate into and out of the opening. Just be sure to place a good gasket seal around the entire perimeter (see image in post #38). The wider the door relative to the thickness of the foam, the less a radius cut is required.

You will be opening the kiln many times over the next many years. I would strongly suggest a hinge, rather than a totally removable door.

Bob
I started to get my brother who owns a cabinet & mill works to build me one like this, but then I ran up on this commercial freezer for $75.00. It is stainless steel inside & out, has 6 inch castors, 1 inch of fractured ceramic insulation + I added another 1 & 1/2 to the outside. I can flue cure 300 leaves at a time. He had another one that was huge i wished I had got.Copy of Tobacco Kiln.JPG
 

Pharmguy

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I am a newbie and I don't know much about the ageing process but seems to me that maybe 2 systems will better control heat/humidity a heater on a thermostat and a humitiastat controlling a humidifier maybe even one of those cold humidifier won't affect temp that way you could control heat and humidity independent

I was thinking the same thing. Seems like a humidifier hooked up to a digital hygrometer controller would work well. At least more control over it. Anyone tried this? I work 12 hour shifts and if something needed to be adjusted in the day I wouldn’t be able to fix it. Thanks.
Trevor
 

Knucklehead

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I was thinking the same thing. Seems like a humidifier hooked up to a digital hygrometer controller would work well. At least more control over it. Anyone tried this? I work 12 hour shifts and if something needed to be adjusted in the day I wouldn’t be able to fix it. Thanks.
Trevor
That should work fine but once mine is turned on and the settings verified each season, I basically just add water in the crock every three days and let it run.
 

paintercote

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Bravoooo. And welcome to the club "forced aging tobacco".
I miss window because I have it and I can tell you it is nice to see what is happening inside. You will open the doors frequently from the beginning and loosing much appreciated heat and steam. If you ask me I will edit transparent poly on the front of chamber before you close the main door. So, when you open the front door heat and steam stays behind poly in the chamber and you can see the progress(poly fromWLT). When need the refill just lift the poly so much that you can reach crockpot. That way you can save energy.

BTW, this is device it should work for both temperature and humidity and is cheap but you will need to wait another month from China:

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Fact...ter-hygrometer-wood-moisture/32219306512.html
ink bird temp and humidity controller
 

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