Box Fan Dehydrator – Good Eats style

I’ve wanted to make a box fan dehydrator for a long time. With a long time being, since I saw the episode of Good Eats, where Alton Brown was making beef jerky with his box fan dehydrator. I already had a box fan in the basement, I just needed to find those cotton filters that he used in the episode. After about a month a searching around town and coming up empty. The project got tossed onto the back burner.

Then one day while doing some random surfing on the web, I stumbled on the website and how this person ended up making there own wooden drying frames from cider & vinyl coated chicken wire. Well now this project was back in business! After reviewing how they made their frames, I thought that I could put my own spin on the design. This is how I ended up with pine frames that are glued and pocket screwed together and covered in aluminum screen material. So let’s get building!

The frames are make from two pieces of 1” x 4” x 8’ nominal pine. I started off by cross cutting the 1” x 4” into 18.5” long pieces. From there I ripped strips 1” wide so that each blank would yield three frame pieces. I went with 1” so that the frames would have a little bit more height. I could have just made the pine stock ¾” x ¾”, and gotten four pieces from each blank, but I thought that the extra height would be worth it to me, since each 1” x 4” x 8’ was less then $2.00.

As mentioned above the frames were assembled with wood glue and pocket screws, the finished frame has a final dimension of 19.25” x 19.25”. This way the frames would be slightly smaller then a 20” x 20” furnace filter.

For the screen material, I originally thought of using fiberglass bug screen material. But the more I though about it, the idea of fiberglass being in contact with any foodstuff didn’t sound very appetizing to me. So instead I used plain (bright style) aluminum bug screen material. I stapled the aluminum screen material directly onto the pine frames, using ¼” crown by ½” long pneumatic staples.

The only limitation on the project was the amount of screen material that I purchased at the end of season clearance at Menards. So at this point in time, I’ve only got five drying frames, which should be more them enough. But I’ve got extra wood already cut, in case I need more frames in the future. All I would need to do is just get some aluminum screen material to cover the frames.

With the frames all built, let dry something. First drying project…..basil!

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