Food preservation is going to be a top issue at our new farm, because we aren't going to have any electricity at all. I found instructions for building a wood fired dehydrator, using a barrel stove in the bottom to create heat for drying. In the instructions, it tells you to put the pipe out the back. I'm wondering if it would also work to build the structure with a double chamber, with one being a dehydrator and the other a smoker. All I'd have to do is send the pipe over into the smoker half, right? I could probably even use both sides at once, getting double duty out of the same load of wood. Will this work, or will it overheat or something?
Great idea to make your wood "multi-tasking". If it is close to the house, maybe you could also let it heat your water. The more uses you can get out of a log, the less you have to chop and split. The ashes are a good way to raise pH, and peach trees love ash.
It would help if you posted a link to your instructions if possible. But it sounds doable. However, the smoker usually uses flavored woods such as apple, hickory, etc. I don't know how you feel about this smoke and what your dehydrating.....
I have thought putting the burner barrel in a cob green house and pipping out to an attach smoke box/house would be a good way to get two uses from that fire's heat. I plan on using a solar box for dehydrating, so no fire at all. And I'm forming ideas about using the same dehydrator as a clothes dryer (but not at the same time of course)
I'm in the middle of a rocket mass dehydrator ordeal myself today, I had to design mine without cob. The only problem with the smoker dehydrator split is the majority of the time your vent is outputting Co2 and steam and very little smoke.
On another note because it won't be till tomorrow till I find out, but did your instructions mention the specifics of why the vent needs to go outside of the dehydrating room. I'm looking for evidence that what I'm doing is really wrong and very bad for dehydrating foods. But I'm having a hard time being paranoid when we eat meat that has been directly dried in "smoke" intentionally which include all those non combusted gasses that arn't present in a rocket mass heater. The only thing I ever came across was a study that had Co2 added to a crop to prevent transpiration looses from the leaf surface.
If I'm burning wood that's good for smoking (hickory or apple, for example) it'll still provide good heat for the dehydrator. And if I make the barrel stove pretty tight, it should smoke into the smoker side and not into the dehydrator side.
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