Monday, November 9, 2015

The Progress of a Fruit Dryer

I wasn't expecting such an interest in the outdoor dryer so I didn't take step by step pictures along the way.  Hubby is going to make some more of these soon, so I will be sure to capture each step next time.

This post is more like a progress report on how hubby made the outdoor/solar fruit dryer. He had no instructions just worked it out as he went along. You may need to look closely at the photos as part of the description.

Here we go J

Things you will need:

tape measure 
timber 
fly-screen wire 
tenon saw 
mitre box 
staple gun 
small square mesh
 hammer 
a carpenter square 
wood screws 
small bullet nails 
timber glue 
timber beading
drill
stanley knife
Hinges and latches (optional)


The width of the dryer is the standard width of fly-screen wire. *Size 1000 x 1200mm.

Size of timber 20 x 40mm.

Form a square...

To start with Hubby thought he would make just one big dryer with a top and bottom.  This is about 1000 x 1200mm square.

Measure and cut the timber but before joining together with glue and screws, ensure that the frames are square by measuring across diagonals.



Staple the fly mesh on. He required some help from me with this bit. He pulled the wire tight while I stapled. Then trim the excess.



Then the progress came to a halt!

 Hubby started thinking that this big frame was going to be a bit too flimsy, so he changed his plans. 

It might be better to make it into two smaller dryers instead...

So he got some extra 20x40mm timber, found the centre and braced with the extra pieces each side of the centre. Then glued, nailed and screwed them in place. Next he turned the frame over and cut the fly screen wire with a stanley knife.
  
Then cut the framework into two halves.

It is starting to take shape.

 Once the flyscreen wire was on, for extra strength hubby put some square mesh on the bottoms.

Then added some beading to finish off.

The next step was to add hinges and latches.

The finished product...


Hinges.

Latches.

We had an old frame that was used for a dog bed.  It is the perfect size to put the dryers on.

I have now placed the dryer on top of a table, but it is still sitting on the bed frame.

I put the legs in tin cans with a little water in to stop ants from getting to the fruit. 

But the smart little critters still managed to find a way so now I have spread vaseline around the legs. This has stopped them for now.

Hopefully you can understand this description, feel free to ask questions.

30 comments:

  1. Great idea, I will have a go at this, it should work in my greenhouse.

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    1. Ohhh I would love a greenhouse Pam, it would be very handy in this climate. Not sure whether the dryer will work in a greenhouse or not. Give it a try and see :)

      xTania

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  2. Fantastic - lucky you! I have tried to find mesh wire suitable for drying food on and have only hit snags. What mesh / wire did you use? Is it rated food friendly?

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    1. I cant answer that question Dani as hubby is away until Thursday. Hopefully it is safe, I always stipulate that things be food grade quality. I have made sure that the barrels we have for the garden are food grade. I can tell you that it is wire and not plastic.

      I have a dehydrator that cost a lot of money, but as soon as I saw the cheap looking plastic shelving I was skeptical and haven't used it at all!

      xTania

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    2. I saw someone using shade-cloth in their dryer to place food on, I wonder if that is safe? It is hard to know these days...

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    3. Damn - I do like that Tania - thanks for sharing. Can I copy?

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  3. They look amazing Tania, no wonder you're happily drying away. I re-purposed screens that I used to use for making paper to a solar dehydrator (after washing them thoroughly of course). I'm not sure shade cloth would let enough air circulate? And I'm wondering if the greenhouse might not be too humid for successful drying? Solar dryers need the air to be hot and dry. I've had some success here in Melbourne but it's usually too humid and the fruit tends to go mouldy before it dries. I have heard of people using the back shelf in the car on a hot day with success but I've not tried it myself.

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    1. Plenty of hot and dry air here Cath lol! Its a scorcher this week. High 30's all week. All that rain...gone!

      I am probably not the best person to ask or answer questions re the dryer as it is all new to me ;)

      Thank you for that information Cath. A car window might work as I have seen other solar dryers that use glass on top. I wonder if the windows need to be opened for air circulation?

      A fire during winter dry things okay as I tried this with different things this year. So you definitely need the heat and dryness for success.

      xTania

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  4. Gosh he's a useful bloke to have around and he indulges your whims. Arghhhh true love.

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    1. It wasn't easy Lynda, he took a lot of convincing that I needed this dryer lol!

      But yes he is very useful :)

      xTania

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  5. Ingenious. It is good you have an old fashioned 'bloke' who is practical and handy. A keeper?!

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    1. Yes he is a "jack of all trades" Phil. He will have a go at fixing or making anything :)

      Maybe I should keep him ;)

      xTania

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  6. hi tania,
    what a fantastic idea!!! thanks for sharing!
    have a nice week,
    hugs regina

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    1. Hi there Regina,

      Its so nice to see you back :)

      xTania

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  7. That looks great! We use powered dehydrators because sadly, in our prime fruit season we don't have the heat for air drying. Do let us know how they work? With 30 degree heat I would be thinking "sun dried tomatoes"!

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  8. I cant wait to try sun dried tomatoes!

    Our temperatures can be extreme through summer, so if I manage to get tomatoes this year I will definitely be trying them :)

    xTania

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  9. Tania, this is brilliant. My hubby has lots of fly screen laying around, so I think he's about to be seconded to build one of these for me and one for our sons for Christmas. What an excellent thing to have! Thanks. Mimi xxx

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    1. It sure is a great thing to have Mimi, I wished I had one of these made years ago.

      This would make a great Christmas gift! :)

      xTania

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  10. Your husband is a real genius when it comes to making things that are useful. I have a dehydrator but it's electric and can't handle a fraction of what yours will . I only really use it to make beef jerky.

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    1. Beef Jerky, my hubby loves that. I bet he give that a try too :)

      Have a great weekend Harry :)

      xTania

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  11. Dear Tania, thanks! I am asking for one of these as soon as Andy has time. He will be fine with your description and pictures. I am dying to make sun dried tomatoes too.
    I also think a greenhouse would be too humid, to the lady earlier, as humidity would be bad, maybe things would go mouldy? But dry heat like SA has is good. Speedy too I think when it's full summer. I think also you can do semi sun dried tomatoes and lack them in olive oil. I need to find out how long they keep. Thanks so much! With love, Annabel.xxx

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    1. Yes Annabel I have discovered that humidity is no good for drying with the weather that we have had this past week. I am trying to dry some mushrooms and they just don't wont to cooperate at the moment.

      I am eagerly awaiting the tomato season.

      xTania

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  12. looks great! clever hubby!
    thanx for sharing

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  13. Wow that is fantastic! Your hubby sure has done a wonderful job :-)

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  14. Thank you Sandy, hubby has made more of these and a new stand to put them in :)

    xTania

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  15. We are certainly getting some great drying weather at the moment with all this heat.

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  16. Great idea!
    wish you a Merry Christmas!
    many greetings
    Uwe

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I love reading your comments! Through them, I have learnt that there are some truly lovely people out there. Thank you :)