Kiln Dried Firewood
When it comes to furniture and construction, it is wood that is right at the heart. Sure, there are tons of other materials now available to replace wood, but it just seems like wood is timelessly popular and backed with more benefits. For instance, people now have the option of building their homes with metal beams as opposed to wooden ones.
However, it seems that most people still prefer wood over the metal for obvious reasons. That aside, there are still a large number of individuals utilizing wood as a primary source of heat.
However, it should be noted that whether it comes it comes to the heating industry, the furniture industry, or the construction industry, freshly felled wood cannot be used. It is just simply too wet and will need some time to dry. While there are a number of methods for drying wood currently available, it seems that more and more people are opting for a process known as kiln-drying.
In the furniture industry, kiln-dried wood is without a doubt a good option because it’ll contain only small amounts of moisture after going through the drying process. This means that the wood will not only be relatively high in strength, but it’ll likely last longer.
The same benefit could be taken advantage of in the construction industry as well, but how does this wood fair for firewood?
What Exactly Is Kiln-Dried Firewood
Before you delve into the advantages and disadvantages of kiln-dried firewood, it will be pertinent to take a look at what this wood is. You probably assume you have a pretty good idea given the name. And, that is pretty much what it is. It is wood that is dried in a kiln. A kiln is a furnace or oven that was specifically designed for drying and backing materials like clay and wood.
When you cut the wood down with the intent to burn it, you have two main options when it comes to trying. This would be the kiln drying option and the natural drying, which is commonly referred to as seasoning. If you’ve ever bought firewood or talked to someone about firewood, you’ve likely seen or heard the term seasoned firewood.
This simply means wood that has been left sitting out to naturally dry. Sometimes this is a process that can take anywhere from 6 months to a year, depending on the type of wood, the time of year, and how wet the wood is. That being said, when you opt for the kiln method, you actually have the benefit of controlling the temperature, airflow, and humidity levels because you are putting the wood in a huge oven.
It would be like thawing a turkey out on the counter as opposed to sticking it in the oven on 450 heat. The biggest and most obvious advantage of drying wood in an oven like this is that it’ll greatly speed up the drying process. This is something that’ll come in extremely handy in the construction and furniture industries.
You could say the same for firewood as well if you were in a hurry to heat your home. As mentioned, sometimes natural seasoning or air drying can take as long as 1 year or longer.
Know The Kiln-Drying Process
Kiln-drying is much different because it is something that takes place in a closed chamber. As was already mentioned, you can control the airflow, temperature, and humidity levels inside the closed chamber, all in an effort to bring down the moisture content. Similar to that of thawing a turkey out in the oven.
The primary goal of kiln-drying is to remove the moisture from the surface of the wood and place it in the atmosphere. This is all down through airflow, temperature, and humidity. The airflow and humidity in the kiln will help with the evaporation of the moisture in the wood while increasing the temperature inside the kiln will speed up what is known as diffusion.
This is a process that’ll help drive the moisture to the very top of the surface of the wood.
When kiln-drying if you maintain the same temperatures, airflow, and humidity, the process will take longer. And, this is why a lot of mills will prefer to change these factors during the process until they reach the desired results. However, in order to do this efficiently and effectively, you won’t be able to use just one kiln session.
In fact, you’ll need anywhere from five to eight cycles, depending on the type of wood, the moisture content, and the size of the wood.
A typical kiln will usually consist of several different components that all work in conjunction. This would be the kiln chamber, the heat supply, the humidifiers, and the fans.
There are also three different types of kilns currently available for drying firewood and each come along with their own advantages and disadvantages. These kilns would be the conventional, the humidification, and the solar.
The Pros And Cons Of Kiln-Dried Logs
As of right now, it probably sounds like kiln-dried wood is the way to go when it comes to firewood as well. There is indeed a wide range of advantages when using this type of wood for burning, but there is a major disadvantage to contend with. And, that disadvantage is that you’ll pay more for this type of wood. However, it does burn more efficiently and cleaner so this could more than justify the extra expense. In addition to this, the wood will be ready to go immediately.
[Related Article: How To Season Firewood]
Whether you are thinking about kiln-dried wood or seasoned firewood, you can clearly see that there are both advantages and disadvantages to both. One of the major disadvantages of naturally drying wood is that it’ll take nearly a year or longer, depending on the species. Not only this, but you are going to need the space and know-how to do.
Seasoned wood needs to be stored and stacked in a certain way in certain conditions to help it season more effectively. However, this method will save you an abundance of money because the only way to procure kiln-dried wood is by purchasing it. You likely won’t have access to one of these ovens to dry the wood or couldn’t justify making the huge splurge that it would take to purchase one.
At the end of the day, when properly dried each method offers wood with a much lower moisture content that will produce more heat as well as a cleaner burn. So, in these terms, you cannot go wrong.