How to move a solar kiln

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scsmith42

New User
Scott Smith
You've gotta just love NCWW!

About a month ago Salem (Eyekode) sent me a PM asking me if I had seen the posting on the Raleigh Craigslist for a free solar kiln. Nope, I hadn't seen it (it was about 2 hours old when I received Salem's PM), so I checked out the listing and was intrigued. The solar kiln pictured was the standard Virginia Tech design (one of the best and most popular designs), and the posting didn't say much about it other than that it was free, tall (14' tall), and that it would be suitable as a solar kiln or perhaps a greenhouse, but that it may need to be cut down for transportation. The posting also stated that insurance would be required from whomever moved it.

I have been thinking about building some solar kilns to augment my dehumidification kiln, and dedicate at least one of them for drying 8/4 quartersawn oak (it takes almost 4 months to kiln dry 8/4 oak). So the opportunity to get a jump start on this project was of real interest.

No phone number was listed in the posting, just the standard response via Craigslist, so I fired off a short response indicating my interest. A couple of days go by with no response, so I sent another e-mail response but from a different e-mail address, thinking that maybe my first mail was blocked by a spam filter or something. In my second mail, I kept it simple and stated my interest, the fact that I had the equipment necessary to move it, and that I could provide the required certificates of insurance.

The next day I receive a phone call from one of the asset managers at SAS in Cary. Turns out that they built a new building a year or so ago, and wanted it to be LEEDS certified. So they recycled a lot of the timber from the building site into wood for interior use, and built the solar kiln to dry it. Since the project was complete, they no longer needed the kiln and wanted it to go to a good home (they had previously offered it to a museum, NC state University, and another sawmill but to no avail. Hence the craigslist posting before they sent it to the dump.

Their contact told me that they had received over 100 responses to their posting! Fortunately, nobody else could move it.... so he told me that it was mine if I wanted it.

I went down to look at it, and this is what I found:

O_Kiln_at_SAS.JPG


Of the two VA Tech designs, this was the larger model (about 18' long), and originally designed for about 1,600 - 2000 bd ft of 4/4 oak. SAS had tacked on an addition to one end in order to accommodate the lengths of their lumber.

During the next few weeks I provided the requested insurance certificates, and waited for their Risk Management folks to draft up a legal agreement between us. I also spent some time figuring out how best to move the kiln. Last week we signed all of the agreements, this past Tuesday I stopped by DMV to pick up an oversize load permit and yesterday we arrived on site bright and early to prep the kiln for moving and to load it.

Because of the height (turned out that it was 12' 6" overall), I could not load it upright onto my trailer, as it would be too tall to fit underneath the highway overpasses (the peak would have been 15' above grade). So my plan was to brace it internally, bolt some skids to one side, and then pivot it onto my trailer by hinging the skids to one side of the trailer.

We took the backhoe from the farm with us in order to handle the loading.

Here we are arriving at the SAS campus, preparing to unload the backhoe:

O_kiln_and_backhoe.JPG


After unloading, we removed the extension scabbed onto the end, and installed the temporary internal bracing:

O_kiln_bracing.JPG



The next step was to install the 6 x 6 skids on the door side, and to install some plates across the top of the skids so that the backhoe forks could support the side of the building:

O_kiln_skids.JPG


Next step was to measure and determine our hinge location, so that the kiln would be properly centered on the trailer after we pivoted it over. Because the weight was not concentric, I opted to stagger the kiln about a foot to one side of the trailer so that we did not have too much weight hanging off one side. After measuring and installing the hinges, we jacked up the side of the kiln so that we could place the trailer right up against it, and then lower the hinge pins into the rub rail of the trailer:

O_Kiln_ready_to_load1.JPG



O_kiln_on_lag_bolts.JPG



After I got the front of the trailer right up against the skids, I took the backhoe and picked up / skidded the back end of the trailer up against the kiln, and we lowered the hinges into position.

The next step was to attach a safety chain to the backhoe fork carriage, along with a come-a-long, and raise the forks up to the top of the building. The plan was to start pivoting the kiln onto the trailer by using the come-a-long, until we had the top plate where it would intersect the first foot of the forks. This would give us ample clearance for the fork carriage not to damage the roof as we pivoted the kiln over. It worked perfectly (and I'm still surprised!).

Starting the pivot with the come-a-long:

O_kiln_pivoting1.JPG



Continuing the pivot by using the forks:

O_kiln_pivoting2.JPG



Attached to the trailer and ready to depart:

O_Kiln_on_trailer.JPG



Instead of strapping the kiln to the trailer and risking damaging it, we lag bolted timbers directly to the trailer deck and then lag bolted the timbers to the skids. Worked like a champ!

After an uneventful trip back to the farm, this morning I borrowed a 25 ton crane from my neighbor and unloaded the kiln, basically reversing the pivot and hinging it back over the side and onto the ground. We had placed steel chokers on the ground before pivoting it off the trailer, so all we had to do was hook them up and get everything balanced:

Ocrane_pick.jpg



Next step was to pick it and swing it over to the foundation that we built earlier this week. This is an interesting photo that I took through the cab on the crane as I was swinging the building over:

O_Kiln_through_crane_cab.jpg



At the end of the day today, it looked like this:

O_Kiln_in_place.jpg



O_kiln_in_its_new_home.JPG


We still need to rebuild the far end where we removed the addition, rework the internal baffles and fan system, as well as re-seal the entire unit and install another layer of translucent panels. We also need to run a buried electric circuit from the barn over to it to power the fans. However the hard part is over.

Many, many thanks to Salem for taking the time and being kind enough to inform me about this great opportunity, to the great team at SAS (who could not have been nicer to work with) for their commitment to recycling the unit instead of simply discarding it, and to Steve Coles for creating this great NCWW community!

Scott



O_kiln_on_trailer2.JPG
 

TracyP

Administrator , Forum Moderator
Tracy
Great Score. But I gotta ask.... Did you trade the backhoe?:dontknow::help:. It ain't on the trailer on the way home:swoon::swoon:
 

scsmith42

New User
Scott Smith
Great Score. But I gotta ask.... Did you trade the backhoe?:dontknow::help:. It ain't on the trailer on the way home:swoon::swoon:

Trade the backhoe???? Yeah, right......:gar-La;

I couldn't fit them both on the trailer, so after unloading the kiln today I hot-footed back over to SAS to reclaim the CAT! It too is now safe and sound back on the farm.
 
Last edited:

TracyP

Administrator , Forum Moderator
Tracy
Trade the backhoe???? Yeah, right......:gar-La;

I couldn't fit them both on the trailer, so after unloading the kiln I hot-footed back over to SAS to reclaim the CAT! It too is safe and sound back on the farm.

:rotflm::rotflm:
 

Canuck

Wayne
Corporate Member
WOW!!!!

This is awesome, Scott! Looks like plenty of hard work in this blazing sun this week!

Hat's off to you and your crew for a job well done. Looks to me like a terrific addition to your operation down there.


Did you haul it down from the Cary SAS campus?

Kinda reminded me of the airline shuttle from NY to Charlotte this week as well!!:wsmile::wsmile:

You and your guys never seise to amaze!

Great addition to the New Hill mini-city.

Wayne
 

JackLeg

New User
Reggie
Now that's cool right there, I don't care who you are!! :eusa_clap Nice job, Pard! :icon_thum
 

scsmith42

New User
Scott Smith
WOW!!!!

This is awesome, Scott! Looks like plenty of hard work in this blazing sun this week!

Hat's off to you and your crew for a job well done. Looks to me like a terrific addition to your operation down there.


Did you haul it down from the Cary SAS campus?

Kinda reminded me of the airline shuttle from NY to Charlotte this week as well!!:wsmile::wsmile:

You and your guys never seise to amaze!

Great addition to the New Hill mini-city.

Wayne


Wayne, thanks for the kind words. Yup, it came from the SAS campus in Cary.

I was really impressed by everybody that I met there, and especially their legal and risk management team who drafted a very reasonable and fair contract. Most of the time large companies go overboard on the legalese... the SAS team was a refreshing change.

It's encouraging to see a large company acting in a responsible and giving manner with respect to supporting their local community.
 

eyekode

New User
Salem
Thanks for posting! And I think SAS got one heck of a deal too. Not many people could do such a clean job of removing a building :).
Awesome!
Salem
 

kooshball

David
Corporate Member
Just plain awesome!

I flew over your farm a few weeks ago and was thinking to myself "i wish there was some way to make this place easier to find from the air"... well now all I have to do is look for the solar kiln!

Great find.
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
Wow, congrats on scoring a kiln! I've said it before and I'll say it again: You don't do anything small, do you? Great story and great pics as usual too.
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, Events Director
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Scott, Great post. You are the only one I know that would be able to successfully move that. It should make a great addition to your operation
 

ashley_phil

Phil Ashley
Corporate Member
Great story and post!

2things struck me thoug the first I kept waiting on Larry the cable guy to pop up saying giterdone and the other is that only Scott would have a neighbor with an idle 25 ton crane sitting around for borrowing!!!
 

CaptnA

Andy
Corporate Member
Good stuff Scott! Congratulations and job well done.
You are indeed right, this is a great community, and with the community spirit that lives here anything can be done.
 

RandyJ

Randy
Corporate Member
Are you SURE you're not from Texas???:icon_scra

Nice job on the move and haul (two different things ya know)!

Congrats
 

Glennbear

Moderator
Glenn
Randy already made comment about your TX roots so I will not make my Texas comment. :gar-La; As usual, like all your other undertakings, a class operation. Congratulations :wsmile:
 
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