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Wood-fired food dehydrator  RSS feed

 
                  
Posts: 59
Location: NW Ontario
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I've been looking for good ideas on a wood-fired food dehydrator. One of the best descriptions I've seen so far was at Backwoods home magazine:
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/hooker41.html

Is anyone operating something like this? Does anyone have plans to share or advice on mistakes to avoid?
Reading the backwoods article, I'm not exactly sure how to best ventilate the dehydrator. Sounds like it's basically sealed up around the bottom and then ventilated only with eave and ridge (cupola) vents...
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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for many years we dried food on stacking racks put on top of our woodstoves..frames with wire grids for the food
 
                  
Posts: 59
Location: NW Ontario
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And how did that work out for you Brenda? Why aren't you doing it still? A wood-fired dehydrator looks like it could preserve alot of food relatively easily.
I built a solar dehydrator using plans out of Mother Earth News but, despite lots of sun, it didn't work very well. I think you need a really dry climate in addition to lots of sun for a solar dehydrator to work really well.
 
Posts: 190
Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
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We have used our wood-fired sauna a handful of times over the past 2 and a half decades as a backup to our solar food dryer when I had crops (mostly sweet corn) that wouldn't wait for a long rain spell to end.  The solar food dryer we designed works 99.9% of the time, even in the humid upper Midwest.  Other designs we've tried don't work as well in a humid climate.  You can see the info on it at http://www.geopathfinder.com/9473.html
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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it worked out really well for us..we had a lightening strike and lost the home that we used the racks over the woodstove..we still have the racks and we have the woodstove in the garage shed now..(fireplace in the house and wood boiler outside that really doesn't put off that much external heat).

my husband swore that the food dried on the woodstove was the best we ever had..however..it also made the best jerky i have ever eaten..might be prejudiced as it was my recipe.

we would still be doing it if we still had that stove INSIDE..but we don't right now..and it is difficult to access where it is right now..my husband's head injury has prevente him from doing it..you gotta keep a fire going for at least one overnight to dry a batch of food on a woodstove rack..we would stack 3 or 4 racks up over ours..

just so happens right now i don't have anyhthing i need to dry..bit if i did i might fire up the old woodstove and do it again.
..ourhouse fire was 8 years ago last week
 
Posts: 81
Location: Toronto Canada
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i did come across a food dehydrator about a month back while researching rocket stoves, looked pretty good but i don't have a link
 
                            
Posts: 271
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Just found a really interesting site with information on hanging meat to dry in strips:

http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/ai407e/AI407E18.htm

Great photos.

Don't think I could ever do this  I have a bit of a problem with ravens.

 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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for 25 years we dried all of our dried food on racks over a wood burning stove..it worked out really well..
 
                            
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Brenda,
  Can you describe how you set things up to give me some ideas? Sigh... I'm not very creative sometimes.
    I would really appreciate it!

Feral
 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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it worked out fantastically for us..we made the racks of wood and put hardware cloth on them and had them the same size so that they were stackable several high..we would sit them on whatever wood stove we were using..some got hotter than others so those ones we protected the wooden frames with spacers..but most stoves weren't hot enough on the top to burn the racks..but you could make the racks from other materials..even use old oven racks with spacers.

really wonderful for jerky too !!

the reason we don't do it any more is cause we had a housefire and no longer have those stove in the house..however..we did salvage one and it is in the garage and we may be able to hook it up to use in the future, we saved the racks too.

the best woodstove for this is the kind with the recirculating jackets as they don't burn the racks..and they are quite level on the top so you can stack quite a few racks on top of them..we also would rotate the racks from time to time..we had a woodburning coookstove and we had used metal racks on that and we also hung things over it from strings..and wires..to dry..we had a wood burning parlor stove in another room for a long time and we could set small racks on top of that as well.

i would suggest making just a 1x1 frame with legs and staple hardware cloth to the top of the rack bendng the sharp edges under..if you have too much heat protect the bottoms of the feet or cupports of the rack with something that won't burn,  and make them with some cross supports between the bottoms of the feet if you want to stack them..that gives more stability..
 
                            
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It sounds like a really nice set up.

I only have my thermal mass stove right now. Sigh........ but there's always next year!

Feral
 
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Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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I'm dying does anyone have a picture of a wood stove food dehydrator, I'm searching and searching the net. All I can find is references to it from the days of old, or compartmentalized pencil drawings of how it might be put together.

What I'm not really grasping is, is the food simply above the stove? is the food being dried by the heat coming off the wood stove and the actual stove output is vented elsewhere? I'm not getting how I dont end up with smoked food unless it's an ambient heat situation. It the key to enclose the wood stove thermally so heat it only rising vertically. How hot should the stove be getting. I have 3 wood stove's sitting in a shed where I live and I didn't have any use for them till this thread. I was trying to get motivated to build a solar dehydrator but since I can't even get a tan in british columbia what are my hope of dehydrating other than 6 weeks of the year.

I couldn't figure out why I wouldn't just enclose a booth with a chimney and put a 1g TLUT at the bottom, it would seem to me to be a more economical use of wood. But the TLuD can really cook so I couldn't grasp how i wouldn't just be torching most of my herbaceous crops.

Anything on the net or a searching term that may lead me to better results. Wood fired dryer, wood stove dehydrator everything lead's back to this forum or references of the pre refrigeration era.  I'm not getting why theres no pictures, when I find plenty of video's of people overflowing there methane digester onto their pants.

I'm so ready to build one on a rainy day, as now is the season to be drying my leaf material as it's the end of the rainy season and things are going to go to flower.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Posts: 582
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Never mind nobody replied in 20 minutes, so this is what my day has become. I built it drafty so moisture could excape from the seams, it turns out  a half gallon of wood pellets will last an hour and the repurposed baker's rack and reflective insulation chamber deliver the exact 35c/95f needed for drying herbs. I checked the temp differential with that laser thingy i bought cause Paul had one in his Tlud video and only only varies by 5 degrees, 10 when thing's are just warming up. That's it for solar, I didn't want to move that fridge from the backyard anyways, save it for the tropics. I stuck to 6 rack's, it's 6 feet tall and could really jam 10, but for 2x2 ft per shelf i'm happy and will build 2 more. 50bux for the reflectostuff 20 dollar's for the bakers rack.
half_G_tlud_herb_dehydration.jpg
[Thumbnail for half_G_tlud_herb_dehydration.jpg]
 
Posts: 686
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Old hammy wrote:
I've been looking for good ideas on a wood-fired food dehydrator. One of the best descriptions I've seen so far was at Backwoods home magazine:
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/hooker41.html

Is anyone operating something like this? Does anyone have plans to share or advice on mistakes to avoid?
Reading the backwoods article, I'm not exactly sure how to best ventilate the dehydrator. Sounds like it's basically sealed up around the bottom and then ventilated only with eave and ridge (cupola) vents...


Thanks for posting the link.  That looks like an excellent dehydrator.  I think that stove pipe pictured coming out the back help carry away the moisture too Hammy.
 
pollinator
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Location: zone 7
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SaybianTv what is that heat source? looks like a giant flame.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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Nah it's a reflection of a tiny flame.
I made another top lit up draft stove, but this time even smaller using a tall can. I want to reduce the fuel use as much as possible and in this case the heat source to ambient air ratio. it's 600f coming out the can it's 90-100f by the time it hits the leaves, and then the radiant heat is just bounced around till it comes out the side of the door.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF8VTl4lqvA
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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before our housefire (lightening) we had screened trays and racks stacked over top of our wood stove to dehydrate foods on..we still have that same stove in our garage addition and the trays..but haven't used it recently..
 
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bee food preservation fungi
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We're using an old smoker on top of th the cookstove - this is still new and we haven't worked out the kinks yet. Screens would be better, but we don't have them on hand yet, so we're experimenting.
20180928_113107.jpg
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