In a previous post, I mentioned that as I built the conveyor for my tobacco kiln scene I also had to make some modifications to the kiln itself. Here’s the story…
When I first posted photos of the kiln, with the open loading doors, I received an email from Mike Livingston. Mike has been a great help with prototype information about the Port Rowan area – and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that for a few years back in the 1960s, he worked as a hanger during the tobacco harvests. Mike was able to give me some great information about the kiln interiors and the loading process – and pointed out an error that I’d made in the framing that’s visible through the loading doors.
I originally put posts in the centre of each door, as shown here:
This was incorrect. Mike pointed out that while the centre post was fine in the centre door, the kiln would not be able to get through the openings on the left or right.
While the arrangement struck me as odd, I have a post-card image that shows the posts in this location, as seen here:
My mistake? I realized after the fact that I’d worked from a photo of a slightly different style of kiln. For starters, the loading doors span the full width of the kiln, whereas my prototype has closed panels to either side of the loading doors. There are other differences too. One that isn’t apparent is that I don’t know the dimensions of this kiln. I can only guess. It might be a few feet longer or shorter than the one I measured, which would throw off the relationship between interior post spacing and the loading door openings.
So, after sleeping on the problem, I started the day yesterday by carefully ungluing the interior and pulling it from the kiln. I then built a new interior, with five posts. Here it is, along with the old interior – still packed with hanging tobacco:
Fortunately, I was able to reuse the hung tobacco I made for the original interior. After transferring it from old to new, the new interior looked like this and was ready to install in the kiln:
Note that I left the tobacco out of one row – row 5, if you count from the left and include the tobacco hung to either side of the end posts on this frame. I did this to accommodate the conveyor after reading Mike’s description of the inside of a kiln, supported by a couple of diagrams he created to help me out. Mike writes:
A kiln has six full length sets of tiers running vertically, and another two sets of shorter tiers under the roof. Going across there will be six rows of hung tobacco.
The bottom tier is usually at the lower edge of the loading window: This allows sufficient space for the burners on the floor to prevent setting the cured tobacco on fire.
Mike also gave me permission to share his diagrams, so here they are. Note that these are not to scale – they are general arrangement drawings only:
(Top view, looking down)
(Side view, looking from one end)
I like that Mike has included a gang plank used by hangers. I will have to model one of these and leave it near one of the other structures in my kiln yard.
From the top-down view, it’s clear that the conveyor would be positioned in row 2, and the hangers could also hang rows 1 and 3 from there. The conveyor would then be repositioned to row 5 to hang rows 4, 5 and 6. On my model, rows 1-4 and 6 have been finished, and the crew is ready to back the conveyor out of row 5, hanging as they go.
I must admit that it was a tough decision to tear out the interior and re-do it. The original interior took me a day of modelling time. Granted, most of that time was spent figuring out how to do the interior in the first place, and the garbage can is full of failed experiments. That said, as soon as Mike pointed out my error I could feel it starting to bother me – and I know that feeling never goes away. So while it was a tough decision, I know it was the right one and I’m grateful that Mike shared his knowledge. Thanks, Mike!
Mike has also shared some great information about the conveyors. I will use this to make some modifications and additions to my model, then share the info and the results. Stay tuned!
Speaking of resources:
I’ll reserve judgement on the poetry – but this web site has some great images of people at work tying sticks and loading a kiln. There’s also a link to a video of tobacco harvesting in Tillsonburg, Ontario in 1998.
Enjoy if you visit…