Tumut's Kiln Dried Timber
Mr. Ron. Graham's Enterprise
15 November 1949 The Tumut and Adelong Times
On Friday last a representative of the 'Tumut Times' was privileged to see the first batch of kiln-dried timber opened up in Tumut after treatment in the first kiln to be built here.
Responsible for this enterprise is Mr. Ron. Graham, who after experiments on a smaller scale, has erected the kiln to specifications and plans supplied by the C.S.I.R. and the Forestry Commission adjacent to his joinery works in Fitzroy Street, Tumut.
The nearest other kiln in the district is at Batlow.
The timber selected by Mr. Graham for his first experiment was the local Lombardy poplar, a timber which has not as yet been commercialised in Australia.
It is very light and is suitable for all kinds of mouldings, joinery and shelving. It is used extensively in England and America for match manufacture.
Mr. Graham requested the C.S.I.R. and the Forestry Commission to supply him with a schedule for drying the poplar timber, but as this could not be done he had to more or less experiment to treat the first batch of timber.
After a fortnight's treatment in the kiln it was opened up to his entire satisfaction.
The kiln is of standard size, 21ft. x 10ft., and holds 4,000 super feet of 1-inch base stripped timber. It is valued at £1,500.
The front of the kiln is enclosed by a sealed door on sliding tracks, which is run up and bolted when in position.
Alongside a large steamer produces steam, from which the coils work under a 351b. pressure.
This steam pressure is broken down from approximately 85lb. to 35lb. by means of a reducing value, after which it passes through the coils to a steam trap and condensation drain.
In the control room at the rear of the kiln an automatic recorder controller, which works on air pressure and is controlled by wet and dry bulb thermometers inside the kiln, automatically opens or closes the valve controlling the supply of steam in the coils and the supply of steam spray.
Inside the kiln overhead there are 1,000 feet of steam coils split up into six coils on one side and three, two and one coil on the opposite side for manually controlling the quantity of steam.
The air is drawn through three sets of chimneys located in the roof by three 30-inch propeller-type fans situated in a baffle board in the centre of the kiln room.
The air is drawn through the baffle board and forced down through the steam coils by the con- cave nature of the roof.
The cold air from outside is now heated by the coils and passes down into the main chamber and forced through the timber, which is stripped to allow the complete circulation right through the kiln.
The propeller type fans used in circulating the air are reversible types, so that the air flow may be reversed to give an even drying from both sides of the kiln stack.
The fans are controlled from outside by a reversible switch and are driven by a 5-h.p. electric motor.
When the green timber is brought into the yard for drying it is stacked on to a conveyor truck set in trolley tracks from the yard to the kiln.
The air-drying load is carried out with the aid of a transfer truck to ensure only one handling operation.
After drying the timber can be removed to a reconditioning chamber alongside the kiln, where it regains its lost body and some of its moisture content.
It is then either stacked in an air-drying shed or put back in the kiln for treatment to whatever moisture content is required.
Mr. Graham, who is to be commended for his enterprise, hopes to attain constant production within a short space of time.