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Signs that kilning is complete

Byronodmon

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Hello everyone, I'm currently something like 5 weeks into kilning a bunch of burley and a little bit of Monte Calme Yellow. This is my first ever kilning.
For the first couple weeks a didn't realize I had cracked the ceramic bowl in my crock pot and it was leaking. This caused the humidity to fluctuate radically. Every day it would go up to 90% down to like 30%
The temperature was held steady.
Once I realized what was going on I fixed the problem by adding another small crockpot and placing a metal bowl with water in the cracked one.

I'm definitely seeing some drastic color changes in some of the leaves while others have only darkened a bit. I've also started getting black stems on some.
It looks like it's leaves from the top of the plant going very dark and less so with the others. I sort of expected this.

All this has got me wondering what should I be looking for in the leaves as a sign that they're done?
I no longer get much of a smell coming off them. They just smell like steamy hot leaves. Nothing really sweet smelling.

Anyways any tips or signs you guys use as a guide to when they're probably done?

I'll put pictures below
 

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deluxestogie

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The leaf is looking nice. I like the color in the upper leaf. I have never been able to define a specific appearance as a sign that I've gotten the most out of my kilning session. That is one reason that just run it for 2 months, and pay little attention to how it looks or smells, until it finally comes out.

[I unplug my Crockpot when it's time to refill, then wait for the temp of the still-closed kiln to drop below 110°F, before opening the kiln. This often takes 3 or more hours. I refill the Crockpot with hot tap water. (I've cracked one before, when I added cool tap water.)]

Perhaps others can be more helpful.

Bob
 

Knucklehead

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My hot water heater thermostat is set at 120 F. (I have not checked the water temp at the tap with a thermometer so I'm just going by the water heater setting) I cut the power to the crock at the surge protector, slowly fill with hot water, then turn the power back on. So far so good.
 
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LeftyRighty

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[I unplug my Crockpot when it's time to refill, then wait for the temp of the still-closed kiln to drop below 110°F, before opening the kiln. This often takes 3 or more hours. I refill the Crockpot with hot tap water. (I've cracked one before, when I added cool tap water.)]
 
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Byronodmon

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The leaf is looking nice. I like the color in the upper leaf. I have never been able to define a specific appearance as a sign that I've gotten the most out of my kilning session. That is one reason that just run it for 2 months, and pay little attention to how it looks or smells, until it finally comes out.

[I unplug my Crockpot when it's time to refill, then wait for the temp of the still-closed kiln to drop below 110°F, before opening the kiln. This often takes 3 or more hours. I refill the Crockpot with hot tap water. (I've cracked one before, when I added cool tap water.)]

Perhaps others can be more helpful.

Bob
Thanks Bob! You're input is always helpful! I'll just try to be patient and let them sit.

I should have known I would have cracked the crockpot bowl! I filled it with water I had left outside in a watering jug. That wasn't a problem until it got cold. So I probably dumped 35 degree water into a 100 and something degree empty bowl! Thoughtless amateur mistake obviously. I've been filling with hot tap water ever since and it's been fine.
 

deluxestogie

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My hot water heater thermostat is set at 120 F.
"Residential" rated water heater thermostats in the US max out at 120°F. "Industrial" rated will go up to 165°F or even 180°F. The latter are available at the big box home improvement stores. While 165°F water can rapidly cook the flesh of a child's arm, and should not be used in a home for that reason, I purchased an industrial thermostat for my Cozy Can flue-curing chamber.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

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If I open a hot kiln, all the leaf in my open bags, as well as all the hanging leaf, will completely dry, before the Crockpot cools. I typically unplug the Crockpot from the controller while making my morning coffee, then open the kiln to refill the water after lunch. There's no magic here. It's just a ritual that reduces errors for me.

Bob
 

skychaser

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"Residential" rated water heater thermostats in the US max out at 120°F. "
Not true. They come preset at 120f now days. One of my heating elements burned out recently so I replaced both of them and both thermostats while I had the water off. Mine are set at around 127-128 right now. They are not commercial thermostats. I decided that I am going to kick them up to 135 like the ones I replaced were set at. They will go to 140 or 145 if I recall correctly. I like HOT water that cuts grease, kills bacteria and sheen's off the dishes better. And there ain't no little kids around here to burn.

There are also two types of residential thermostats. One type passes off the current to the bottom thermostat and element when the top of the tank reaches the desired temp. Then the tank heats from the bottom up. The other type will kick on either or both elements at once when the desired temp falls below its setting. The pass through type lets you use higher wattage elements because only one is ever on at a time. This allows you to use a smaller gauge wire leading to the tank. If both elements are on at once, you need to size your wire leading to the tank accordingly to the wattage they are pulling to avoid a melt down. Either type will work fine for a kiln.
 

deluxestogie

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My memory is clearly not up to code. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends setting residential water thermostats at 120°F, but the physical gadgets often can be set as high as 145°F. Below is the photo from my Cozy Can build, using a commercial water thermostat:

FlueCure20120714_357_wiringDetail_300.jpg


Bob
 
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LeftyRighty

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I unplug my kiln, remove crockpot lid, leave the door open on my upright freezer chest kiln, to re-fill the crockpot. It usually takes less than an hour for the crockpot to cool. My tobacco leaf moisture drops some, but not that much, never less than low-case. Usually, I check the temperature at the bottom of the crockpot with my finger, lukewarm. Re-fill with hot tap water.

Concerning my hot water heater, I set the temperature at near the lowest range at the heater, such that when I shower, I only open the hot-water valve. I never have to adjust hot/cold valves to get the correct water temp. (and saves $$$ on my natural gas bill)
As for dish washing, it's also the perfect temp for hot soapy water washing in the kitchen sink.
And the low-temp water doesn't matter in my dishwasher, as it has an electric heating coil to sanitize & dry.
Of course, I'm a widower now, empty-nester, no kids & grandkids left. So, I don't have to worry about running out of hot-water when everyone had to shower, just me.
 
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