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Bark

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by scroungerjeff, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. scroungerjeff

    scroungerjeff Burning Hunk

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    Hey guys. Just a question or observation that I'd like to share and hopefully get some feedback. I have about a cord of red oak that I cut split and stacked over a year ago and just recently pulled to see how some splits are doing. The larger splits are not under 20 percent yet as expected and the smaller split are just under 20. The thing I noticed was the splits with bark still on them had wet sap wood and almost a slimy muddy layer between them. This must be an impediment to seasoning. I have been splitting another cord of red oak in the past few days and have taken the extra step and knocked the bark off. I have new Fiskars X27 and they do the job easily, but do you experienced guys think it is worth it? I should note that my wood seasons in the open with no covers nor sheds. Thanks as always for the sage advice.
    ScotO likes this.

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  2. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    If you need it seasoned as fast as possible I guess. I never pull it off unless it's hanging loose.
  3. JOHN BOY

    JOHN BOY Minister of Fire

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    Personally for me if i can get the bark off, or if its falling off i will go the extra and take de-bark the splits. I think it helps speed up seasoning. But as to what percentage who knows. I do feel that the bark does retain some moisture under it. Buy again i could be off my rocker. Now if your bakwoods savage,you'd be off your milkcrate ;lol
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  4. scroungerjeff

    scroungerjeff Burning Hunk

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    The thing is I grew up thinking that the bark helped keep the splits dry so I always stacked the splits bark side up like a roof. Now that I have a mm I am thinking otherwise.
  5. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    If the bark comes off easy, I'd knock it off. It will let air to the woood surface.
    Like you mentioned, it's holding water in the sap wood & a layer of bacteria is living there. The bark & sap wood are rotting. Also, it's keeping the air from drying the wood surface. I think most bark rots & hold water after it's dead.
    With no rain on it, it would probably be fine. With rain, bark & sap wood rot.

    Old dead trees in the woods, the bark falls off yet the wood is still good. (down or standing)
    Mother nature is telling us someting, maybe ;)

    Some one here posted a "how to stack wood for the best drying" study ,
    that was wood side up, bark down.

    Birch has an oily water tight bark, the wood inside rots & the bark looks fine. I have
    to split even small rounds or it will get punky in a year or 2. The bark never rots.

    I think with any wood, if the bark is off, the wood will dry faster & rot less. Especially
    if it's getting rained on.

    I think with oak , it's typical for the sap wood to get punky but the core wood is fine.
  6. Gark

    Gark Minister of Fire

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    Your climate may differ from ours, but the oak (both red and white) splits stacked here for 3 years have the bark separating from the wood naturally, on their own. When moving it into the burn staging area, a quick knock against something solid often takes the bark off completely. Stripping off bark is time-consuming, maybe time better spent gathering other additional fuel to get further ahead (if you have the space for it). JMHO.
  7. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    The sapwood in oak has a tendency to go punky, especially if the tree dies out in the woods. For some reason, the bark on oak does exactly what you are describing, which is one reason I cover the wood I plan on using in a given season up, and I do that late in the summer to give some time for the wood to dry out. It's kinda hard and inconceivable to take all the bark off of your wood, but if it comes off easily it doesn't hurt to pitch it in away. How many years has your oak been seasoning?
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  8. scroungerjeff

    scroungerjeff Burning Hunk

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    The oldest oak I have in stacks is almost two years old. This is my second year with an EPA stove and I have been avoiding the oak to let it season as long as possible. I have been burning maple, cherry, and some locust on those cold nights. I will need some of that older oak within a month. I plan to re split the larger pieces and stack them on my covered porch soon. Maybe the bark will fall off then. The newest oak was huge rounds nice and straight. It has been real easy to split so I have made the extra effort to split smaller and knock the bark off. The Fiskars are so sharp it literally shaves that bark off. Those trees were green and were blowdowns. Thanks again for the tips.
    ScotO likes this.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I would never go to the trouble to remove bark from wood. When splitting the past several years we have lots of bark falling off the wood right then or when I am stacking some falls off. That is great! However, not great enough to go to the work of removing it with an axe.

    Scott also nailed it that oak naturally will end up with some punk all around the log. Just the nature of the beast but it does not harm. However, for sure it should be covered because wood is not a sponge.....unless it get punky. That punk will soak up a lot of moisture, so top covering is a must for us.
    woodchip likes this.
  10. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I'd like to remove all of the bark from my firewood, but a lot of it is tightly stuck to the wood when I split and stack the logs, so it takes too lang to remove. If the bark is loose I'll take it off, but I can only spend so much time per split. I have checked on the firewood many times to find that under the bark is a layer of moisture while all of the barkless wood is dry on the outside. That layer of moisture must slow the seasoning process. I have also found slimy or punky wood under the bark, especially with oak.
  11. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    If the bark is falling off after a year outside while moving it to the woodshed I'll chuck it on to the ground for mulch/weed control . . . otherwise the bark gets burned with the rest of the wood.
  12. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    If the bark falls off I use it for kindling. If it doesn't it gets burned with the piece it's on. Either way its fate is the same.
  13. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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  14. albert1029

    albert1029 Feeling the Heat

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    Locust bark is a pain in the butt when it's a pretty green tree...a lot of the older fallen trees are naturally debarked, if they're not too big and if they're suspended off the ground a little or a leaner you can work with a lot of them are ready to burn....

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