Bowl Kiln

 

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A kiln for drying Bowls and other turnings.


The photos below describe some of the steps taken to turn a discarded upright freezer into a bowl drying kiln.  If you are not familiar with electrical codes please contact some one who is to assist in building this project.


To operate the kiln you coat the end grain of the turnings with green wood sealer, check the moisture content of the turnings load the kiln with rough turnings turn on the light close and lock the door and check the moisture content in a week. 

Start with a 40 watt bulb when you first put the blanks in the kiln.  When the moisture content reaches 14% to 16% put in a 60 watt bulb.  At 12% or less put in a 75 watt bulb.  In another week or so the moisture content will be down to 6% to 8%.  At this point you can turn off the kiln and let it cool. 

Drying times will vary depending on the temperature and humidity levels outside your kiln.  If you find the light has burned out go back to the 40 watt bulb for a day, and then up the wattage of the bulb every day until you are at the point where the bulb blew.

You should be able to find a discarded freezer at a appliance repair shop.  The rest of the materials can be purchased from your local home center.

I would like to thank Joe Herrmann from Woodturning Design for referring me to Kelly Dunn and Phil Lapp who provided information to me on building the kiln.

 

Click on the pictures to enlarge.  

You can use any type of enclosure for a bowl drying kiln. I chose a upright freezer. Upright freezers can be obtained from an appliance repair shop at minimal cost.

If you do not have the key to the freezer the next step is to install a hasp for a pad lock. Then drill 1/2" holes on the side along the top.

This is a picture of the holes on the right side. The holes allow air to flow through the kiln and allow the wood to dry.

This is a picture of the holes on the left side.

In side the freezer on the bottom you drill more 1/2" holes. Make sure that you clear the insulation form the holes.

This picture is inside the freezer on the top left.

This picture is inside the freezer on the top right.

I mounted a water tight switch box on the outside of the kiln with water tight connectors. I got a little caried away drilling holes in the case and had to plug some of the holes with corks.

The UF wire then runs through a small section of conduit to prevent it from being cut on the case of the kiln.

The next junction for the UF wire is another water tight box that houses a water heater thermostat. The lowest temperature setting of 120 - 125 degrees is the one you want. I used a stat for the lower area of a water heater as this stat is all that is required to control the light.

The last stop for the UF wire is at the bottom of the kiln, where a hooded light provides heat for the kiln. The hood prevents water from dripping on the light and causing it to burst.

This is a view of the kiln with a small load of rough turnings and blanks.

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