I immediately got this idea when I brought home the saw a couple days before. I needed a rack to hold our 9 food dehydrator trays. We got the trays from a long dead food dehydrator but had nothing to hold them properly. For now we have been using them in the gas oven with the pilot light but this is very slow.
We have a ton of apples to process and needed a faster food dehydrator. Since we are off the grid we did not want to use electricity to dehydrate our foods although we have two working electric dehydrators. I eventually want to make these passive as well. But that is a future project.
For today I pulled out some 1 x 10 lumber and cut off two 24 inch long pieces. These will be the side walls of the food dehydrator.
I then measured out where the drying racks will be. I gave 1/2 inch space for the slots which will hold the racks and another one inch between them for the food which sits on the trays. This will also allow for optimum air flow between the racks.
I raised the arm of the radial arm saw so that the blade would cut just short of halfway through the wood. I made a test cut to check the depth. Then I made 6 to 8 passes of the saw blade for each slot I cut out of the rack. This worked very well so I kept going and cut two matching sides for the drying rack.
Then I cut some 1 x 3 lumber to hold the two side walls together. Some I screwed onto the outside edges of the boards and some I screwed into the inside between the boards. This will prevent warping and flexing of the wood with time due to the heat and moisture it will encounter in its life as a food dehydrator.
I then tried it out with one of my dryer racks and it slid in and out nicely.
Now I have a passive food dehydrator with 9 racks. I will use this over the wood stove to passively dehydrate food. I need to set up a stand which will hold the dehydrator at the right height over the wood stove to get the right temperature for drying foods.
To use it as a passive solar food dehydrator I will cover it to protect the plastic from the sun's UV rays and then put a passive solar heater under it to dry the food.
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