Drying Firewood in a Dry Kiln for Profit: If you are a firewood processor, the advantages to installing a dry kiln are reduced inventory, better dried quality product, and insect control by heat treating.
If you are a lumber producer, a firewood kiln can give you value added to your slab wood and make a market for sawmill residue which usually has low value.
The difference between selling green and kiln dried firewood is around $50-75 per cord. For the consumer, the advantages to having kiln dried firewood is a better burning product, and less creosote buildup in the woodburning appliance.
Why buy “seasoned” wood if you don’t know how dry it is ? Seasoned wood may contain insects, and you do not know how dry it actually is. Worst yet, it may contain mold. Seasoned can mean air-dried anywhere from 3 months to a year, but since there is no standard, you don’t know what your getting.
Kiln Dried wood is a guaranteed product which is dried down to 19% moisture content, and is dried at a temperature above 140 degrees F to kill insects, and drive out moisture. Increase your business by providing kiln dried premium firewood for wood fired pizza oven restaurants and sell your kiln dried wood all year long. Using a firewood kiln, the wood retains a bright color, which is a big advantage with restaurants.
Kiln dried wood has about 1 million BTU’s more than green firewood (per cord) which increases the heat value by 25%. Customers also like kiln dried wood since it is insect free.
Installing a firewood kiln can not only reduce your inventory costs, but can give your operation a significant advantage in providing firewood upon demand. If it is a particularity cold winter, and the price of oil is high, then demand might completely use up your entire supply of “seasoned” wood. A kiln reducing drying time from 10 months to 2-3 days. A kiln will insure that you have the supply to meet the demand.
Most firewood kilns employ the use of wire baskets to hold the product. These can be forklifting in, or put on tracks inside the kiln for easier handing. If you have a firewood processor, such as a MultiTek, then you can have the outfeed conveyor dump directly into baskets, which you put into the kiln.
The desired moisture content of 15-18 percent is reached in about two days.
We have found the most reliable, and best long term solution to drying is a hot water system. In this system, hot water is heated via gas or wood, and then circulated through heating coils in the kiln.
Summary: Adding a firewood dry kiln to your operation can give you value-added profits and give you a great competitive advantage in your market. It may also be a good source to utilize your firewood processor residue to produce heat for the kiln.