Prices Skyrocket as Demand for Kiln Dried Lumber Falls Short of Supply During the Pandemic
Kiln dried lumber prices are through-the-roof. The pandemic has doubled or tripled the price of lumber, especially kiln-dried (KD) lumber, poles, timber, and siding. As new home builds and DIY projects skyrocket, there is a huge demand for lumber and wood products. There has never been a better time to get a sawmill, and start kiln drying your lumber for retail sales.
The concept of the Global Container Kiln is to provide an affordable drying chamber to process green lumber, timbers, poles, flooring, pallets, and firewood for value-added profits. I have never seen such a great opportunity since I’ve been in the forest products industry since 1985.
Many small lumber processors sell their wood green, but the real profit is in kiln drying and milling for the DIY customer.
Whether it’s producing kiln dried siding or log cabin home parts, a dry kiln is needed to stabilize the wood before it can be machined and sold. Kiln drying (versus air drying) reduces inventory time, and gets product to your hungry customer faster. A satisfied customer will become a repeat (and loyal) customer quickly. Lumber inventory is hard to find, so take advantage of the niche now.
A container dry kiln reduces inventory time, kills insects, and gives the customer a premium product that is stable and easily machined.
Huge kilns are expensive and require additional personnel to operate. Our concept takes the large kiln and reduces it in size to fit inside a shipping container or insulated van.
You do the installation. A hot water boiler (wall mounted on-demand natural gas/propane, vegetable oil, or wood fired) provides the heat. We recommend Central Boiler for wood fired options. You can even use a Capstone Turbine to use propane or natural gas to produce both your electricity and direct fired hot air into the kiln. Single or three phase motors power the fans to circulate the air, and automated vents dissipate the moisture from inside the kiln to outside. You can also use your existing building or put up a pre-fab metal building as long as it’s insulated to R-14.
Lumber is dried in a series of stages and the rate of drying is monitored and controlled automatically with a simple controller.
To operate the kiln refer to a kiln drying schedule. You can download a .pdf of the USDA Dry Kiln Schedules for Commercial Woods Temperate and Tropical here. The heat is increased incrementally according to that schedule. The schedule will refer to the moisture content in the wood, which is tested periodically by using a hand-held moisture meter (we recommend Lignomat). When the wood reaches a certain moisture content (according to the species being dried), the next set-point (temperature) is entered manually into the controller. This is done anywhere from once to six times depending on the wood species.
You can dry down to any moisture content and even condition the wood if you’re going to be machining the wood for furniture, flooring, or cabinet making.
The kiln is designed for ease-of-installation and operation, and allows your small business to benefit from the value-added profits that kiln drying has to offer.
Tap Into The DIY Demand For Wood Products
The best strategy for a full spectrum wood processing operation to take advantage of skyrocketing lumber prices would include the following dream set-up:
Accept Tree Trimmers Waste: Take in tree trimmers logs and branches to make both dimension lumber and firewood. Use waste trimmings to fire your Central Boiler to heat the lumber and firewood kilns. Develop a good rapport with local tree trimmers and utility tree trimming contractors.
Trailer Mounted Bandsaw Portable Mill: Acquire a portable band mill for processing logs into lumber, which you then kiln dry in your container kiln. Collect sawdust and chips to sell to gardeners. When needed, take the portable mill to the logs. Sometimes you can saw on-site, and get a portion of the sawn lumber as your fee for doing the work. This allows you to acquire sawn lumber for very low cost (your time and machine).
Accept Pallets: Take in hardwood pallets and reman into floor boards. Kiln dry in your container kiln. Use cut-offs to fire your Central Boiler. You’ll need a reman saw, moulding machine, and sander.
Log Firewood Splitter: Process end cuts and smaller diameter logs into firewood. Kiln dry in your container kiln and sell as value-added KD (heat treated) firewood. Sell to high-end consumers and to campgrounds, which require heat treated firewood to kill bugs.
Skid Steer, Electric ForkLift, or other Machine: Any wood processing operation is basically a material handing operation. Save your back, and let machines to the heavy lifting. Build your operation around a strategy of material handling, which will reduce contractors to run the operation, and keep profits in your pocket.
Contract Log Suppliers: Hone in on where your demand is, and find contractors to bring you saw logs. This will save you time and headaches to find supply of good logs.
Metal Water Tote Baskets: Use metal baskets that are used for water totes as containers for split firewood. Simply use your skid-steer or forklift to put into the dry kiln. They also make great containers for wood waste going to the Central Boiler to make hot water for your dry kiln.