Has anyone used their smoker to dry out their wood?

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by smokeon, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. smokeon

    smokeon Smoke Blower

    Ran the Lang last weekend and everything turned out well (sorry, no pics. Didn't have a camera).

    When it was all done, I still had a fire and a hot smoker, so I figured what the heck. I loaded up the smoking chamber with some firewood and let it sit in the heat till the fire went out. I'm thinking that by using the leftover burn time to help dry out the wood, it'll burn well next time.

  2. kurtsara

    kurtsara Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    The wife and I went to watch the American Royal and we talk with a guy with a Lang 84 W/Warmer Twin, he was smoking in one and drying wood in the other one, good idea I thought
  3. hoser

    hoser Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Makes perfect sense to me....what better way to season green wood? [​IMG]
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I guess you could speed up the drying process but does it mess up the wood? I would think that it would take some of the good smokeyness out of the wood. But I's more of a gasser.
  5. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Yes, I have done it a few time. Took the splits that I had and loaded the main chamber up. Works great.
  6. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've done it with my UDS. Used it to to dry wood to burn in the Horizon.
  7. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    I do it all the time, rather than hurting the wood - I think it helps it!

    For starters, any moisture that might be left way inside there, is steamed out. Therefore, thin blue instead of billowy white.

    I actually don't put it in the smoking chamber, but on a rack in the firebox - above the fire...so it gets good and "preheated" hot.
  8. Mark, we used the warming cabinet on Jerry's Lang to dry out the wood at the gathering. I didn't notice anyone complaining about the grub.[​IMG]
  9. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Won't hurt a thing but it depends on how wet it is and what temp you're drying at as to whether it will help much or not.

    As a former dry kiln operator I can tell you it takes about 5 days at temps ranging from 130° to 165° to dry pine from a frexh cut log to 19% moisture content. Hardwoods take significantly longer.

    But since we're not working with freshly cut wood -- hopefully [​IMG] and if you're just trying to eliminate the surface moisture, it will work fine.

  10. philly single

    philly single Fire Starter

    I do it all the time and IMO...works great...What I've done is put a gas log in the fire box and load up the smoke chamber with wood. With the gas, it's super easy to get the right temp.

    Wood dries right up :)
  11. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I was gonna mention this.Friend has a saw mill and large solar kiln.

    Would be impossible from my experience to dry a fresh cut log in a few hours.....Unless burning it to coals...I guess maybe a split log,since kilns are lower temp to avoid case hardening-excessive warping etc....

    We cut logs for furniture in large cants-and 1 inch per year in this climate is accepted for outdoor drying-max being 18% without a kiln.....
  12. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ahhh . . . your're bringing back some memories . . . [​IMG]

    Out here in the summer, very dry days, maybe 20% humidity, lots of wind . . . we could airdry 4/4 (1") fresh cut pine boards in 2 weeks to 19% moisture content. But again, hardwoods are a very different story. Takes a long time to air dry. and a few hours in your smoker isn't going to do much to the bound moisture that is in the cell walls. It may help with some surface moisture or at least preheat it so that it smokes blue faster.

    But wood is hygroscopic. It will lose and gain moisture to equalize to the humidity of the surrounding air. So if you "dried" a bunch of wood ahead of time and the average humidity of your climate is 50%, you wouldn't gain much.

    Now preheating is a different story though.

  13. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Almost exclusively hardwoods for the money with my friend.Oaks,black walnut,cherry etc.Which are common smoking woods.....

    I would say half is 4/4 for flooring etc. and he leaves the cants- 3 foot by up to 30 foot for timber framing and special orders...

    Dang wood does dry quick in your environment out there...[​IMG]

    We pulled 300 huge pilings for a huge warehouse out of potomac awhile back and he milled and made a pretty penny.It was 150 year old long leaf southern pine...
  14. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It can. [​IMG] We'd kiln dry some of the higher grade 4/4 commons to 19% moisture content. Test the moisture content of a few samples when they came out of the kiln and, sure enough, the average MC would be 19%. Sometimes they'd sit in the yard for a couple weeks before they got to the planer. Most of the time it was no problem. In the summer months the graders would complain because the knots were falling out when they flipped them to grade them. Said we were over drying them. I said no, they were 19% when we pulled them out. But crack open a newspaper and see what the humidity has been for the last several days.

    Sure enough -- humidity was quite a bit lower and they were continuing to dry.

    This was a softwood mill -- before the spotted owl shut it down.

    We cut Ponderosa pine, sugar pine, Douglas fir, and white fir. Nothing you'd want to smoke with, that's for sure. Especially the white fir. When that stuff is green it smells like pee. Our boiler was a stoker-grate system that burned sawdust straight from the sawmill. When they were cutting white fir the whole boiler room stunk and we couldn't hardly keep the fire gong hot enough to keep the pressure up. Doug fir was a different story. That stuff burned great right off the log.

  15. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Man the stink of the pulp mills when i visit family in maine as well as in florida-both on interstate 95 is just something i guess the locals get used too....Nasty [​IMG]

    When we renovate/demo any house around here pre-1970 i grab all the fir joists/rafters...Quick growth Number 2 pine these days.....Won't even get into the green board/pressure treated that is sold...LMAO
  16. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    You could always weigh some pieces first for a baseline and weigh the same pieces again after to see how much water you evaporated out of the wood. The rest should track the same if you make the sizes similar. Look for somewhere around a 25%~30% reduction in the weight of your test pieces. It should at least give you an indication if it's working. The hotter the chamber temp the better [​IMG].
  17. I always start my fire, get everything up to temperature... and then set the next three splits of wood on TOP of the burnbox. After those three start to smoke and/or steam, I'll roll them over & repeat, after the first logs' smoke turns a nice thin bluish color do I start with ribs.

    I'll add a log or two every 30 or 40 minutes depending on size and temp, and dang if it doesn't keep the temp NICE and steady.

    Pre-heating wood, I find, lowers the moisture content, keeps the temp at a more consistent level, because the hot log starts on fire IMMEDIATELY at firebox insertion. (yes you MUST babysit the darn thing as it'll catch on fire if you don't turn the wood!)

    [I've been told by others that it also removes substantial chances of any chemical taste by preburning the creosote away.]

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