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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Preparing for dryness

Another repost while Risa recovers from the flu she picked up in Calif. :)

Last year at this time, the cold rains returned in March, and for a rainy-day project, Risa built a solar food dehydrator from scraps. It did a fair job of the drying that was asked of it, and there was enough work for two dehydrators, so this year, as it's raining again, she's making another as much like the old one as possible, and again from scraps. First, measure your Craigslist window and then construct a box to fit. This box is made from 3/8" plywood and 2X2" leftovers, about 35X47X6", assembled with 3/4" drywall screws. The only tools in use here are a try square, measuring tape, pencil, 40-year-old radial Skilsaw and 50-year-old 3/8" drill with a Phillips bit, a 1/8" twist bit, and a 1.5" wood-boring bit. Oh, and an Arrow hammer tacker and a pair of scissors.

The window should just snap into the top of the box and be screwed down but it appears to have been sawn out of a building with a jigsaw, so, in the absence of the pre-drilled aluminum flange, Risa elects to prop up the window all around and tap each side of the frame through the plywood and put in some drywall screws through the sides. She's making a mistake; last year she remembered to put in the air circulation holes and screens on the ends first.

Oh, duh! The holes! So she changes bits and makes them.

The idea here is to keep flies out while fruit is drying. She can't reach in and do the other end this way without taking out the window so she just tacks the screen on the outside there. Not as pretty but should work ok.

She adds handles and a coat of exterior paint. Even the paint is scrap, leftovers poured together from a variety of green paint jobs (We have a "green" fetish). Handles help a lot when dragging this thing to the sunlight and propping it up to face its great god Ra. S'heavier than it looks.

No claims are made for skill or design efficiency here. Yes, it's only a one-shelf dryer but it works fast and can be reloaded endlessly. And it did, after all, cost practically nothing but an afternoon in the garage, listening mostly to Chopin Preludes.


I learned at an early age that you don't need a large shop full of expensive tools and materials to be productive. If you're imaginative and resourceful, you can make the most of any shop. -- Earl Proulx, Yankee Home Hints

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