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Pause button on kiln?

Is lumber adversely affected if drying is suspended late in the kiln schedule? August 1, 2000

I have a small conventional steam kiln. I will be going on vacation for a week very soon. I'm not quite sure how I timed it this way, but the lumber will be in the last week (equalization and conditioning) of the drying cycle when I go on vacation.

My question: Is there a way to "pause" the drying cycle without using excessive energy? Can I just turn the kiln off and resume drying when I get back? Or turn it down to "simmer?" I do have an aquaintance I can hire to run it while I'm gone, but would rather not.

If I had the option to shut the thing down and FORGET about it,
I'd go that route, especially if you're not on a schedule to have it out at at certain time.

You could easily equalize the lumber until the day before you arrive back, having your buddy go to conditioning the morning before you return. But this may be excessive, considering you're gonna be away for a week.

Shutting down during the equalizing cycle is the easiest one to deal with, as the drying job is almost complete anyway.

I would not, however, shoot spray to the lumber without heating it up first when you do resume. I'd ramp the kiln back up (with spray off) to at least 140 degrees F, then proceed.

I may be wrong about the above, as cooler lumber and conditions are more favorable for an effective spray. It's just that I wouldn't know how the lumber may react to a hard spray at say, 90 degrees F.

Good luck, and enjoy your time off. Most of us professional kiln people envy anyone who can manage a vacation and have the option to shut down.

The previous poster is right. If you're not on a timetable, you're out of the staining or check/honeycomb danger zone and you don't need someone to cover you. Shut it down, fans, steam and all. Go enjoy your vacation.

I agree, too!
Gene Wengert, forum moderator