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Are Woodstock stoves highly sensitive to moisture?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Hardrockmaple, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. Hardrockmaple

    Hardrockmaple Feeling the Heat

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    I ask because of another ongoing thread and because I am(was?) considering getting one.

    My fire wood when tested by moisture meter reads 18-22%. I burn yellow birch and sugar maple only. The wood is c/s/s in the sun and wind from May 'til Nov. and has burned just fine in my Dutchwest for a lotta years. A neighbor has an older Blaze King and we cut, split and stack our wood together, it(the wood) burns just fine in his Blaze King as well.

    If, as I read in the other thread, the Woodstock stoves are so sensitive to moisture content they are are out for me.

    Thanks in advance.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It shouldn't be any more sensitive than your Dutchwest assuming you have good draft currently. 18-22% moisture on a freshly split face is fine.
  3. Hardrockmaple

    Hardrockmaple Feeling the Heat

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    I probably have too much draft, rear vent into interior SS liner (masonry chimney) straight up 32 ft. Perhaps I'm being overly cautious but when I consistently see "dry wood, c/s/s for a minimum of two-three years" when owners are referring to their WS stoves I cannot help but think that's not for me. Though the WS manuals all say use wood c/s/s for one year. I find it quite confusing actually. So much so that I'm probably going to cross the WS stoves off the potential replacement list.
  4. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    It depends on the species, oak and hickory Id wait a minimum of 2 maybe 3 years, cherry, ash and maple usually one year is fine providing its stored in a good area. If it burns in the BK it should burn fine in a Woodstock, they're both catalyctic stoves.
    ddddddden likes this.
  5. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Would advise looking at the video on the Woodstock site of the test burn they did comparing the performance of the PH with normally dry wood (moisture content 20% or so) to the PH with wet wood (high 30s%). Miniscule difference in performance. Not that they are recommending using wet wood. Just that the stove can handle it and still put out a ton of het and long burn time.

    I burned a Fireview for many years prior to getting the PH. It burns just fine on one year c/s/s sugar maple.

    You'd be doing yourself a disfavor excluding Woodstock's based on one person's frustration with burning.

    The advice members are giving about dry wood pertains to all epa stoves. Their definition of dry wood is roughly 20-22 % moisture content. I know some claim the non-cats handle slightly wetter wood better than the cats, but I think that is a highly debatable issue.

    Plus, you can always burn a cat stove as hot as a non-cat, and get a secondary burn because of the high temp...you just lose some of the efficiency and slow burn rate of a cat.

    I don't think you'll find a better stove on the market than a Woodstock. If you prefer them, you should feel perfectly comfortable getting one. You won't have any trouble heating with it, as many, many members can attest. As with any stove, be certain you get the right size for your home. Woodstsock is conservative in their heating estimates, so if you follow their guidelines in stove selection, you should be golden.

    There are lots of good and even great stoves out there. If you prefer another to a Woodstock, go for it. But, if the Woodstock is your first choice, you do yourself a disservice avoiding it.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Most of us allow more time than you (6 months) for wood of any species to season. Most of us also burn well before the 2-3 years you read somewhere else. This may, cut two year's worth of wood so that you can be one year ahead and so next year you will be burning wood that has had a good 1.5 years cut split and stacked under cover.

    That guy in that other thread is burning wet wood and expecting or wanting dry wood performance. I don't blame the Woodstock for his issues.
    Backwoods Savage and raybonz like this.
  7. fox9988

    fox9988 Minister of Fire

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    I started burning a new Keystone in October with Red Oak that was c/s/s in February. I haven't had any problems other than dirty glass if I shut the stove down too much (below .75) during the first couple of hours after a reload. In Oct. the MC was about ~23%. I resplit a few large pieces yesterday and they were 28-31%_g. Not sure what's up with that other than they were very large pieces. Anyway, I made the winter no problem but I'm looking forward to 2 then 3 year c/s/s.
  8. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    I believe the "Three Year Rule" originates with Master Dennis(BackwoodsSavage.)
    AFAIK, he applies the rule specifically to oak, but if you don't want to worry about the species of wood, or a moisture meter, etc, just get it done 3 years in advance, and you will have no fuel-related problems. If you want to go just 1 year, forget about oak. You can split it smaller & play with it, but it's best to just move on to something else, even pine, and just let the oak dry.

    Dennis has a Woodstock, and he frequently shares this wisdom on the forum, so this might give the appearance that it's a Woodstock thing, but it isn't. Excess moisture(steam) in the firebox inhibits secondary combustion, cat or non-cat. Everyone who heeds this advice confirms superior performance. Plenty of anecdotes like,"I thought this stove was great last season, but this season, with another year on my wood. . .man oh man!" Someday, I hope to have perfect wood, like Dennis, but "you burn what you have. . ."
    FWIW, I burned mostly hickory this season in my Woodstock. ~1.5 years on the wood. No complaints. :)
    Backwoods Savage and Trilifter7 like this.
  9. Hardrockmaple

    Hardrockmaple Feeling the Heat

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    I didn't mean to put the focus on the other guy and his thread. I've been reading this forum for a few years now and I've seen, consistently, many quote the two-three year mantra. Many (most) out there just do not have the room to keep 6-12 cords of wood stacked neatly on and around their property. I've been on my program for 20 odd years now and it has been working fine for me and every other wood burning friend (and there are many) in this area. I don't want to turn this into a "my" way or "your" way.

    The question was, "are the WS stoves really that sensitive to moisture content"? The other thread I referred to only tweaked my interest to this as I have perceived this to be fact on reading the plethora of threads on the WS stoves. As I stated earlier my little Dutchwest has worked well with the wood I've loaded it with for 17 years now, I'm considering replacing it and so do not want to get into dealing with a stove that will not perform as well with all things being equal. Basically if I do replace the DW I'd like to think I'm trading up, not down.
  10. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    No more than any other modern stove. My first year with my first EPA stove I burned wood c/s/s in the spring and burned in the fall. I managed to get through the winter "fine" but in the years since I've noticed it's easier to heat this joint with wood 2-3 years old. Most species are good with one year, oak is obviously the worst.

    This site is like any other site/forum that is for an enthusiast. When you go out of your way to find a forum that shares a common interest you tend to take things more serious than the "normal Joe". Does everyone have space for 3+ years of wood, surely not but those of us who do can all agree we see better performance with better seasoned wood.
    Backwoods Savage and Kevin Dolan like this.
  11. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Nothing about a Woodstock that is any different than any other EPA stove, or any stove for that matter. People say cat stoves are more sensitive to moisture but I think that really only applies if you trying to cut them way back early and go for a really slow burn. You can issues with cat stalls if you do that with wet wood.

    Six months is iffy. The reality is that six month sugar maple (I know little about birch) will burn "fine" after 6 months split and stacked in the sun and wind. It's also a reality that sugar maple will burn much better after a year of the same. If you're happy with what you're doing now in your DW, you'll likely be happier with your WS. Just know that you're not going to get the best performance out of any stove with sub par wood. You will stay warm, though.

    Just because it's true, I'll also mention that most wood split to a reasonable size and single-stacked in the sun and wind will be just great after a year. Oak, not so much. The two to three year recommendation is basically a blanket, cover-all recommendation since species, split size, environment, stacking location, etc. can vary so much. One year of anything split small and stacked in a single row in the sun and wind may well be better than the same wood stacked in a triple row in the shade after two years.
    Backwoods Savage, ddddddden and rdust like this.
  12. charly

    charly Guest

    I burned 1 year old silver maple, 18% moisture content and it burned fine in my Fireview, no cat problems at all...Like mentioned,, the Woodstock stoves are superbly built stoves... plus you have 6 months to return the stove if things didn't work out.. I'm not returning mine;)
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  13. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I agree with this, I tried the triple row route and it didn't work well for me. Now I'll stack no more than two rows wide with a handful of inches between rows. I'm slowly transitioning into single rows with enough to get the tractor between for easy mowing.
  14. Havendalefarm

    Havendalefarm Member

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    We are going from a Dutchwest stove to a Woodstock and I definitely view it as a trade up.From all my research it seems like it equates to going from a Chevy to a Cadillac.I never seem to be more than about a year and a half ahead on wood and we sell between 50 and 200 cord of wood off our farm every year. Typically I will be burning from one stack, have the next years wood stacked up and plan on leaving enough of the for sale wood to be further ahead but it never happens. FWIW, we stop cutting for that years sales around May first and the folks who buy our wood usually say it is the best wood they have bought and most are taking it off the truck and into the stove, so to speak. The wood we burn ourselves is a year older than the sold wood but I just can't justify sitting on the sold wood for that long for the little increase in price.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Been a weird weekend. So we have another poster with a wood supply that is moworse than it could be and not interested in changing. Any stove will burn the wood. When burning wood that is not yet ready, certain concessions need to be made. Those concessions include oversizing the stove to get more heat, splitting smaller to allow better combustion, and of course reduced burn times since you'll need to run with the intake opened wider.

    Cat stoves have another level of sensitivity to moisture with the cat element that is sensitive to damage from moisture. So with the cat stove you are not just worried about getting the wet wood to burn but also with damage to that element. The owner's manual tells you this but some posters seem to think it is no big deal?

    So the WS stoves are no more sensitive to water than any other cat stove. Cat stoves are more sensitive to water than non-cats due to this risk of cat damage that the manufacturer seems to think is a real thing.
  16. Hardrockmaple

    Hardrockmaple Feeling the Heat

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    Would you say that 18-22% moisture content is acceptable? If so, please read the first sentence, second paragraph of the original post. Your hung up on how/when the wood gets seasoned and not the final product........and the DW 2460 is a catalytic stove, which is now on it's 3rd catalyst after 17 years of service.

    I was merely curious on how sensitive the WS stoves are to moisture content. begreen answered the question satisfactorily with one sentence.
  17. Havendalefarm

    Havendalefarm Member

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    I don't know what local conditions are in other places but as our wood is almost exclusively ash, soft maple and some cherry I just don't see enough of a difference to justify having another thousand dollars worth of wood laying around. For us other species have more value elsewhere or have been thinned out of our woods(beach, no log value, hate deer) and we don't have hardly any cherry for firewood since we got our bandmill. I have never moisture tested our wood but , for sale wood gets split into piles inside our big freestall barn( 12' sidewalls with open sides and mostly open ends) and the into a covered stack in spring(daughters and I finished stacking that wood yesterday) and then in burning season it goes in the house one big skid steer bucket load at a time. Seems pretty dry and we have never changed the cat in six years of running the Dutchwest and it still fires off just fine.
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Greetings Hardrockmaple!

    Yes, I'm the culprit who consistently advises folks to be 3 years ahead on firewood because there are so many benefits to doing this. Does this mean you have to? Absolutely not because we consistently see many who don't or won't.

    We also consistently see many who have numerous problems and most of the time it simply boils down to wood that is not ready to burn. Cut in the fall, burn in the winter just does not cut it. Sure, that is the way many did it 50 or more years ago and that is also why so many had chimney fires and why so many homes burned down. Some even stopped burning when they went to bed! Imagine poorly insulated homes with no heat all night long. Would you want to wake up to that?

    I am simply saying that if you get yourself 3 years ahead on your wood supply you will cut out well over 90% of all wood burning problems. In addition, you will also find that you burn less wood! Great benefit there for starters. There are many, many more benefits and to find them, come on over to The Wood Shed and read through many posts. If you wish, I will also list some of those benefits for you in the Wood Shed.

    Getting back to the stove issue, if you have burned that DW for 17 years with no problem you probably will find that you will burn a WS for much longer without a problem. And don't forget that Woodstock stoves are so good that they will give you a six month guarantee.
    Bub381 likes this.
  19. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    No problems here going from the 2460 to the Keystone/Fireview. I can get higher stove temps with the 2+ year wood, though. Do it if you can.
    I think that rule will also allow for wood that isn't stacked single-row (like Dennis' wood) to be plenty dry.
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    And if I had to burn it sooner I would stack it in single rows but as you know, many times we burn 6 or 7 year old wood. It gives a sweet burn!

    In addition, we've never had a problem with black glass. Well there is one exception and that is when we did the initial burn-in. As soon as that was done the glass cleared all on its own.
  21. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    This is called ignorance. You don't know what you're missing. You may think that you are at 18-22% after 6 months but after a year or two you will be burning a much better product. The only way you will ever know is by letting your wood fully season.
  22. Hardrockmaple

    Hardrockmaple Feeling the Heat

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    So now I'm ignorant.....:rolleyes:

    I "know" (on average) what my moisture content is when it goes into the stove. I've taken several pieces/several times over to my furniture building neighbor who has a kiln. We've measured it with his moisture meter and compared his reading with with my el cheapo meter, mine reads consistently 5-8% higher than his. To be fair to you and others here I bring the 3 cords of wood into my basement in Nov. where it then sits near a wood stove that burns 24/7 during the shoulder seasons, along with a large dehumidifier which runs on auto year round. The wood is tested before it goes up stairs to the DW. I assure you, I have you I have tried 2 and 3 year old wood left to dry outside, I prefer my method to yours.

    What you need to remember is that my focus is not on keeping you happy, it is on keeping me happy.
  23. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I dont think that holds true for everyone everywhere and all the conversations we have had about that in the last few years will confirm that. Here in Iowa the wind blows most of the time and we have good drying conditions, I can get wood dry enough in one summer to burn well and not going to gain much with some types of wood waiting longer even though most of mine is at least 2 years old. The biggest amount of moisture is lost in a fairly short perion of time and the last few %'s come much slower.
  24. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Hardrockmaple is in Nova Scotia where the air is so heavy with water you can drink it:)

    His method (first we've read of it) almost surely works way better there than stacking outside two years.
  25. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    The next part is bliss. You'll never know what you're missing if you don't try. You're probably perfectly happy burning 6 month wood since you just don't know any better so if you ever do try it, even by accident, come back and tell us how it is burning fully seasoned wood. I will admit, that storing so much wood in a dehumidified basement is certain to improve the quality of your fuel vs. storing it outside under a shed roof.

    Ignorance isn't a bad thing. We are all ignorant about many things. Being afraid to learn or even think outside your box is a bad thing.

    The thread has drifted but you appear to have gotten your answer about the woodstock. It'll be fine if you feed it the specified fuel.

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