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Happiness is: Home malting

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COLObrewer

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OK fellows, I'm in day 6 of my home malting project and finally I've started the drying process. Here is a pic of the fully modified barley, I started on March 1, this pic was taken at appx. 04:00 this morning (3-7-09). I started with 50lbs of raw seed barley from the local elevator (verified no treatment added, just cleaned raw barley) unknown yet if it is 2 row or 6 row, the elevator dude didn't know either. I neglected to get all the pictures transferred to a disk and I'm at work now so I'll be posting alot more pics of equipment and descriptions of the process later, maybe tomorrow, if anyone is interested.

Here is a pic of the malting/couching floor: 2x4 frame sandwiched by concrete tile board (3'x5').


And the oasting hoards that go in the dryer: Aluminum screen.

This is a long way from success as the malt is not dried yet and I have not tested it yet of course.
I plan to do test batches with this malt and 2row rahr with back to back runs with no other ingredients (except same water and hops) and as close to identical circumstances as I can get (mash temp, sparge temp, etc) to see what SG the new malt makes as compared to the 2row rahr.
Vern.
 

BBBF

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I just finished malting 4 lbs of quinoa and 4 lbs of amaranth to be used with a gluten free beer. I like your floor set up. Obviously I was using a lot less grain, and was able to get away with cookie sheets and drying in dehydrators, but if I'm able to get this stuff to self convert, I'll be looking for ways to step up production. I'd like to limit the amount of times I have to get up at 3AM to attend to grain.
 
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COLObrewer

COLObrewer

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I just finished malting 4 lbs of quinoa and 4 lbs of amaranth to be used with a gluten free beer. I like your floor set up. Obviously I was using a lot less grain, and was able to get away with cookie sheets and drying in dehydrators, but if I'm able to get this stuff to self convert, I'll be looking for ways to step up production. I'd like to limit the amount of times I have to get up at 3AM to attend to grain.
I know what you mean, the seeds have their own timeline, I had to get up at 4 this morning because of work today. Luckily I was off the past 8 days and the weather was almost perfect for the steeping/couching phase (appx. 40F-50F at night). It's snowing here now however, hopefully my kiln is working.:rockin:
Vern.
 
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COLObrewer

COLObrewer

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that is some serious DIY.
I don't typically like to do things real small to test them, I think the process is more consistent the bigger you go and conditions are easier to repeat. With all the work that goes into malting I decided to go big enough to make it worth while and make everything so that I can re-use it. Right now I am having problems with the kiln heater "going out" (reported by the helpers as I am at work)it is this:

A Mr. heater type space heater ducted to the bottom of the "kiln", I'm not sure what the problem is yet, might be overheat protection, might be a thermocouple problem but the heater is new, I'll look at it after work.
Vern.:mad:
 
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COLObrewer

COLObrewer

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OK fellows, here are some more pics & info, I wanted to add it to the beginning post but it didn't let me.
The equipment I started with are shown here.

Two large plastic feed buckets, one with 1/16" holes (for draining) nested in the other for soaking. Next time I will add a drain valve in the outer bucket as this gets very heavy and cumbersome. I don't know what size but I could probably double the batch and soak 100lbs at a time. I have 4 more 50lb sacks of the barley @8$ each.

Here is a pic of the first soak, which actually turned out to be an hour long rinse/soak since it took that long to clean out the dirt, bits of chaff, weed seeds, unviable barley and other foreign seeds, i.e. oats etc.

I simply left the hose in and ran the chaff etc out the top of the bucket (actually the crack in the side), all the good barley sinks. Not too bad, I probably ended up with about a pound of trash coming out of the barley.
Here's a pic after 1hr, all clean and ready to soak.

The water temperature was around 40F. The schedule I used was 2hr soak then drained for 8 hrs, next time I will use a longer soak to see if it expedites the sprouting any. I've seen schedules for soaking the seeds as long as 16 hrs before draining. I don't think it matters much as long as the seeds get oxygen, they will drown if left in un-aerated water too long, you could also use a aquarium type air pump. You also do not want the seeds to dry out, you're trying to sprout them.

Here's a picture of the grain in the draining bucket after drained the first time (just for comparison later)

The grain itself brought the temp up to 52F, also that is about what the ambient temperature was, perfect for malting barley, if it's too hot it will bolt (Grow too fast).
More on next reply, Vern.
 
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COLObrewer

COLObrewer

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OK fast forward to 03-03, 2days later we have chits(rootlets) starting to peak out the rear end of the barley seeds.

I stopped the soak/drain cycle after two cycles and simply filled with water and drained imediately, also you need to keep the grain moving from beginning to end of the modification process to aerate and keep the temperature even throughout while keeping it evenly moist. The better you do this the more even the modification will turn out.

Here is a pic of the chits the next day 03-04.

Growing right along, it's time to transfer to the "malting floor" to make things a bit easier and more consistent temps etc.

So in the meantime I built the floor out of 2x4 frame and cement board screwed to the bottom. Then dumped the barley in.

And here is a pic of the 1st "couching" of the barley/malt. Compare this to the almost full floor after modification is complete (At beginning of post). Schedule now is to sprinkle with water, turn the seeds, make sure to move the seeds from the outside to the middle etc, every 4 hrs, or so, again the better you do this the more evenly the barley will grow, making the modification more consistent throughout.

I also placed another cement board (These are 3'x5' from any home outlet store) on the top to keep out dust, rodents/critters, bugs, etc, especially since the other end of the shop is completely open (No funds for big door) and the wind was howling at the time.
More on next reply, Vern
 
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COLObrewer

COLObrewer

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Here's a picture of the malt at the end of the day 03-04.

This is where I start fighting the patience battle as the roots are growing right along, so to ease my pain I go and re-read about the process of modification, I remember seeing a cutaway picture somewhere of a fully modified malt showing where the acrospire(leaf inside the grain) needs to be for it to be FULLY modified. . . where was that picture . . . OH YEAH, OF COURSE, in palmers book.

Here is a pic of the next day 03-05 while turning, the acrospire inside at this point is only a little less than half way the length of the seed. I disected some and took a picture but I haven't figured out the macro (or lack thereof) of my bloody digital camera.


And the next day 03-06, the acrospire is a little more than half way.

At this point I estimated there were 20% of seeds with 3/4 length acrospire which is considered fully modified, but 20% is not enough.

And finally here's the pic of the malt when fully modified. It seems the rootlets really slowed down at this point and the acrospires took over as some of the roots were still only about 2 times the length of the seed but the acrospire in 98% of the malts I tested were 100%+ the length of the seed.



Time for the next phase, drying /kilning in the next reply.
 
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COLObrewer

COLObrewer

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So this barley they sell to farmers to grow more barley? Or barley used for animal feed?

Interesting project BTW.
Yes and I presume, YES, however the animal feed may not be as clean? They run this through a series of sieves and fans to be "seed" quality.:rockin:
 

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Barley is definitely used for animal feed. I know there is big difference between feed-quality barley and malt-quality barley, has something to do with protein and carbohydrate levels.

Very interesting project, I am looking forward to pics from the process, and your results.
 
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OK, so, in the meantime I was working on converting the "smokehouse" to a dryer/kiln. The smokehouse is an old upright freezer (Amana I believe) with some guts removed and a 3" "smoke" inlet in the bottom and a 3" outlet at the top. Like so:


I added some ductwork to the top and connected it to a looong 6" flexible metal exhaust tube I had laying around (I think this tube was here when I bought the place, no idea what it was for, I used to use it to direct car exhaust out from the shop). This will be the vacuum line to pull heated air through the kiln.

Then to the other end I added a furnace type squirrel cage fan I found in the dumpster at work, can you say FREEEBIE.


To the inlet end of the smokehouse/kiln I added the heater (Previously posted)

I initially tried a small electric heater but it had no where near the output needed, so here's my 1st expense, Mr. heater = 50 bucks, ductwork = 25 bucks, look on my wifes face every time I go check my "malting" . . . priceless.
More to come.
 
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COLObrewer

COLObrewer

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Barley is definitely used for animal feed. I know there is big difference between feed-quality barley and malt-quality barley, has something to do with protein and carbohydrate levels.

Very interesting project, I am looking forward to pics from the process, and your results.
The only difference I've learned of are between 6 row and 2 row, I presume this is 6 row, but I have some planted on the window sill in the kitchen to see for sure. It will make fine beer either way!:ban:

EDIT: I just learned there is also 4 row barley, the chinese site I saw it on says it is useless for malting.
 

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This is the coolest brewing thing I've seen in a while. I've always heard it dismissed as too much work and requiring a lot of skill. Look forward to how this goes.
 
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So, the morning of 03-07 I carted half the malt to the kiln, (The hoards I made will only hold half of it since it has "grown".

The other half will have to wait, then I went off to work a 12hr shift. Later I called the kids to check on my malting, they reported the fan was on but the burner was off and it was pumping 40F air through the kiln, so throughout the day they re-lit the burner a few times and I commenced to troubleshoot when I got home. It turned out the fan was pulling too much vacuum putting out the fire, maybe the temperature difference from now (40F) and when I tested it (70F) has something to do with it. So to fix it I simply made an incision in the flexible aluminum duct between the heater and the kiln to let it draw ambient air from the outside and not pull so much vacuum.

I placed another remote temperature sending unit in the kiln and went in the house, (since it 's snowing now) The heater ran all night, but the temp only got up to 87F, this will work fine but it will take longer, the initial drying of the malt needs to be below 112F. Then it should be stepped up to at least 176F to "cure" (for pale malt), I will have to find another way to introduce heat, maybe a bigger inlet tube.

In the meantime this morning (06:00 03-08) on my way to work again I checked all the temperatures, the kiln is at 87F, the couched half is at 39F(Which is good, this will slow down the modification(no more sprinkling, just turning trying to dry it out also)), ambient temp. is a crappy 27F. The malt in the kiln is drying nicely with growth stopped and the rootlets are drying up, it seems to be working, You are now up to date 03-08.
More to come in the future, P.S. my pictures seem to be getting smaller, probably something I'm doing/not doing?
Vern.:tank:
 
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COLObrewer

COLObrewer

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This is the coolest brewing thing I've seen in a while. I've always heard it dismissed as too much work and requiring a lot of skill. Look forward to how this goes.
It does take some patience and the time off from work helps, but I found that if the ambient temperature is right, not much equipment is needed. If it were cold you could probably get a plant heater or water bed heater or other device to place under the malting floor and/or steeping bucket(s) or simply have someplace heated to do it in, if it were hot, you'd want to cool the process down as well, around 50F is ideal for growing the seeds.

I am currently optimistic as everything seems to be working so far, I may just have to do some "adjusting" to finish the process, but I will keep this updated through the final beer stages.:mug:
 

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Very cool Vern, looks like you have been worken your butt off. Are you going to kiln all of this into base malt? By the way, I may have an idea on a heater to try next time.
 
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COLObrewer

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Very cool Vern, looks like you have been worken your butt off. Are you going to kiln all of this into base malt? By the way, I may have an idea on a heater to try next time.
Yes, it will all be base malt as I'm not set up to do any crystal yet (Need more heat, could do small amounts in an oven outside), most other specialty malts are made from base malt (except perhaps Rauchmalt which I'd like to try on the next batch along with Crystal, still studying the process on both these because there is conflicting information)

Here's an update, The burner ran good all day yesterday and the temp was perfect when I got home at 111F, perfect for drying that is. The first half of the batch is dried enough (growing is halted, roots dried up and falling off) to start on the second half, so the first half transferred to a bucket and the second half transferred to the kiln. Here's a pic of the first half, almost malt.

And a closer pic:

Looks almost like what I started with except some of the grains look darker than others like almost green, all are dry. It is tasting malty but I still need to perform a higher temperature curing kiln run, hopefully it will be fine until the second half is dry.

Observations to date:
1. Need more hoards for the dryer/kiln.
2. Hoards must be stiffer, they sag where not supported, maybe a frame of some sort.
3. Need capability for more heat and possibly more air flow through the kiln for better efficiency and ability to do crystal and other specialty malts/grains.
4. Need a valve to drain the steeping bucket easily.
5. Capacity at this point is possibly limited by Kiln size, may be able to do 100lbs. max.
6. Would need another (or larger) malting floor if doing more than 50lbs.
7. Rauchmalt should be easy enough, just re-connect the original smoker firebox. (Would have tried this but ran out of time).
8. Eventually it would be nice to have one or more rotating cages in the Kiln to slowly and automatically turn the malts as they dry, etc. Shouldn't be too hard to rig and would save alot of labor.
That's all for now, Vern.
Edited: PS Chad, what is your idea for a kiln heater, Thanx!
 

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On the heater, what might help is getting a passive heater and putting it at the bottom of your kiln and putting a fan at the top. That ducting you are using is probably just too constricting for the fan on that heater. It can't handle the pressure drop you are putting on it. You could also shorten the ducting as much as possible. That would help as well.
 
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COLObrewer

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On the heater, what might help is getting a passive heater and putting it at the bottom of your kiln and putting a fan at the top. That ducting you are using is probably just too constricting for the fan on that heater. It can't handle the pressure drop you are putting on it. You could also shorten the ducting as much as possible. That would help as well.
There is no fan on the heater at all, the fan on the outlet duct is pulling vacuum on the whole system. The vacuum is what is putting out the flame, I think you are right about the duct size though, maybe bigger ducting between the heater and kiln for less vacuum, maybe holes in the back of the Mr. heater shroud? I need something to allow more heat to go in without drawing in outside (unheated) air. When I first tested the system it was 70F ambient, that allowed me to pull in 150F through the kiln , but heater wouldn't stay on for over 15 min's appx.
Thanx! Vern.
 

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The only difference I've learned of are between 6 row and 2 row, I presume this is 6 row, but I have some planted on the window sill in the kitchen to see for sure. It will make fine beer either way!:ban:
A bit of information on grading below. 6-row= kernels all the way around the barley head (comes out to 6 rows) 2-row= only two rows (opposite from each other) around the head.

Feed grade barley is lower in weight per bushel, less quality all around. Could be caused by not enough rain, rain at the wrong time, poor weed/soil management, poor quality seed. No farmer wants to hear that any wheat, durum or barley crop has been judged "feed quality"=low $$; unless you planted barley for that purpose. When you have a contract with, say A-B, you do not want to hear that your 400-800 bushel truckload has been rejected as malting barley, either!!

Feeding Barley to Swine & Poultry.
 
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COLObrewer

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A bit of information on grading below. 6-row= kernels all the way around the barley head (comes out to 6 rows) 2-row= only two rows (opposite from each other) around the head.

Feed grade barley is lower in weight per bushel, less quality all around. Could be caused by not enough rain, rain at the wrong time, poor weed/soil management, poor quality seed. No farmer wants to hear that any wheat, durum or barley crop has been judged "feed quality"=low $$; unless you planted barley for that purpose. When you have a contract with, say A-B, you do not want to hear that your 400-800 bushel truckload has been rejected as malting barley, either!!

Feeding Barley to Swine & Poultry.

Ok? I'm not sure what you are saying but from reading the posted link it appears that "feed" barley and "malt" barley are interchangeable, the difference is that feed barley is possibly rejected malt barley due to some tested deficiency. The barley I am using, I'm almost certain, has had no testing whatsoever.
I.E. Farmer Joe brings in a bunch of last years "feed" barley to the elevator and says "Horace, can you have yer son clean up a few hunderd pounds a this barley so's I can plant some more?", Horace says "Sure, you want to pay me fer it or just hold some back to sell as payment?" Joe: "Ah just hold some back again" . . . Months later along comes Vern, "Hey Horace, you have any malting barley?" Horace: "Well, I have some barley left over from Joe's seed barley", Vern: "Do you know if it's two row or six row?" Horace: "No, no idea, it's just what he let me keep for payment" Vern: "Has it been treated in any way?", Horace: "Nope, just cleaned", etc, etc, etc, . . now we all know the true story (to date) of "Vern and the barley stalk" or "How to become a master maltster in 4 easy steps" Hehe:ban:
Edit: After reading further, what is more interesting to me is: If winter barley has more or less diastatic power than summer barley, both are grown here.
 

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There is no fan on the heater at all, the fan on the outlet duct is pulling vacuum on the whole system. The vacuum is what is putting out the flame, I think you are right about the duct size though, maybe bigger ducting between the heater and kiln for less vacuum, maybe holes in the back of the Mr. heater shroud? I need something to allow more heat to go in without drawing in outside (unheated) air. When I first tested the system it was 70F ambient, that allowed me to pull in 150F through the kiln , but heater wouldn't stay on for over 15 min's appx.
Thanx! Vern.
Ok, then you are going to want to open up the inlet that is allowing air to flow into the heater and through the duct. Shortening and widening your ducting will also help. What is probably happening is that the pressure drop in your current system builds up a vacuum and then starves your flame of oxygen and puts it out.
 

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This thread really needs to be in the brew science forum.... *subscribed*

Great info....
 

Seabee John

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3. Need capability for more heat and possibly more air flow through the kiln for better efficiency and ability to do crystal and other specialty malts/grains.
any way to fix a screen lined drum from a home clothes dryer inside your kiln? I'm seeing reduced gearing to provide slow turning on the drum... I cant imagine being able to dry more than 30 lbs a drum.... maybe two drums installed in the same kiln....
 
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COLObrewer

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Ok, then you are going to want to open up the inlet that is allowing air to flow into the heater and through the duct. Shortening and widening your ducting will also help. What is probably happening is that the pressure drop in your current system builds up a vacuum and then starves your flame of oxygen and puts it out.
I'll try moving the head away from the heater further, and/or trying a bigger duct, maybe larger than the heater head to let air flow past it., Thanx!:rockin:
 
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COLObrewer

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any way to fix a screen lined drum from a home clothes dryer inside your kiln? I'm seeing reduced gearing to provide slow turning on the drum... I cant imagine being able to dry more than 30 lbs a drum.... maybe two drums installed in the same kiln....
Was thinking along the same lines, a dryer drum may be too big, but. . . wait . . . maybe one from those small over/under washer dryer units? I was thinking of building some from round plywood disks on each end, with screen wrapped around, the dried roots would fall right out the screen holes. Even a manually operated one would be a step up from hand turning the malt on trays, wouldn't even have to open the door.:ban: Sweet!!!
 
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Some interesting reading: http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publications.htm?seq_no_115=175232 It talks about a specific winter barley cultivar, but it has some interesting general info as well- namely that pretty much all malted barley is from spring barley.
That IS very interesting, looks like it's cultivar 'Charles' for me, but then I would need one of these.
:p
Edited, 03-10: It's amazing how many different cultivars of barley there are, but I guess what would one expect from a grain that's been manipulated by all manner of drunkards for 5000 years or so.
By the way, this helped me figure out why a bunch of my pics were smaller, they should all be regular size now, thanx for all your help guys SHEEESH!
 

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Was thinking along the same lines, a dryer drum may be too big, but. . . wait . . . maybe one from those small over/under washer dryer units? I was thinking of building some from round plywood disks on each end, with screen wrapped around, the dried roots would fall right out the screen holes. Even a manually operated one would be a step up from hand turning the malt on trays, wouldn't even have to open the door.:ban: Sweet!!!
you really wouldn't even need a washer/dryer unit... you described it pretty well... two plywood discs with wire screen around them, on a through and through shaft with a sprocket or pulley and driven by a small electric motor. To get the most out of your fridge-kiln, make em about 12 to 14 inches in diameter and stack em two wide and 3 high.... run em off of one chain. figure about 15 to 20 lbs a cylinder that will get you 90-120 lbs a load...
 

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definitely cool Man!

I'm not even doing all grain yet and I would love to malt now!
 
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03-10 update,
Well I modified the heater last night, and picked up some more propane since I ran out sometime during the day yesterday. The temperature in the kiln this morning was 98F, not bad since ambient temp says 32F.
Inside Kiln temp pic.

If you look closely you can see the rootlets sticking through the bottom of the hoard above the temp unit.

The malt has actually grown in the kiln since I ran out of propane (Didn't have a full tank to start with) I estimate appx. 5% is over modified in this second half, I may have to keep them seperated for testing, but we'll see tomorrow as it's darker than the inside of a cow right now and I have to go to work. Here's a pic of the malts inside the kiln.

If you look closely here you can see some of the acrospires that are sticking out from the seeds (or maybe not?), over modified, should still be workable malt.

The modification to the heater was simply cutting slots in the duct at the heater end and flaring them out so they are outside the heater rim and kindof closed up the hole I made in the aluminum duct, seems to be working.

I will still need to modify it probably with a larger duct before I can do 176F for curing. That's right we have 3" of new heavy wet snow this morning, . . . Last night the weather man says "What little snow, if any, will be melting as it hits the ground because of the high temperature of the ground" WAY TO GO WEATHERMAN!!!:rockin:

More in next post.
 
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Here's another snowy pic.


And another.


And another.

That handle looks cold, I don't want to touch it.
Thats all for today folks have a goodun!
Vern.
 

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Great thread. As to increasing the heat in the system block the discharge of the squirrel cage fan to reduce the amount of air moving through the system. Close the holes you made on the draw line from the heater as this is allowing cold air in. By blocking the discharge of the fan you will see a drop in amps used by the fan, less air moving through the kiln which should lead to a higher temp in the kiln. By adjusting the amount of air you allow in you can optimize the temp in the kiln. You may want to insulate the draw line from the heater as well. Or move your heater closer to the kiln to reduce heat loss in transit. You should be able to throttle down the airflow to the point where you are no longer blowing the flame out.

Hope this helps.
 
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Great thread. As to increasing the heat in the system block the discharge of the squirrel cage fan to reduce the amount of air moving through the system. Close the holes you made on the draw line from the heater as this is allowing cold air in. By blocking the discharge of the fan you will see a drop in amps used by the fan, less air moving through the kiln which should lead to a higher temp in the kiln. By adjusting the amount of air you allow in you can optimize the temp in the kiln. You may want to insulate the draw line from the heater as well. Or move your heater closer to the kiln to reduce heat loss in transit. You should be able to throttle down the airflow to the point where you are no longer blowing the flame out.

Hope this helps.
I will try this first, it is still 29F here so it's gonna be refreshing tonight. THANX!
 
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