1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

[BLANK] seasons faster than [BLANK]. (Eastern hardwoods edition)

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Jon1270, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,378
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I live in the city and have severely limited storage space for firewood, so the rate at which it seasons is especially important to me. I know oak takes 2-3 years to meet most standards, while ash has a reputation for practically catching fire from friction with the splitter. That's too easy a comparison.

    How would you rank other eastern hardwoods in terms of typical seasoning time? If cherry and hard maple race from green to 20%, which one wins? Locust and hop hornbeam? Walnut and mulberry? Elm and Osage?

    If these distinctions are too fine to make, maybe you can comment on what woods reliably season in one year, which are much better after 2, etc.?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I never really "timed" my wood seasoning, I just make sure it ALL has at least three years C/S/S before I use it.
    Soft maple, ash, and cherry, when split, probably season the fastest.
    Hard maple, norway maple, and locust take a little longer.
    Applewood and hickory take longer yet......
    But I can tell you one thing, every wood on that list of yours will season faster than oak.....;)
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I'm with Scott here. We don't time it either; just keep on cutting, splitting and stacking.

    The fastest wood I know of to dry is soft maple. You can cut and split that in March and burn it in October. Some give soft maple a bad rap but it is good wood. It just won't hold a fire as long as oak or ash but it is still good wood. Cherry will dry fairly fast too but still want to give it a year. Generally you can consider the density and weight of the wood. The denser wood will be heavy and the really heavy stuff just takes a long time to dry.

    That is pure baloney about ash too. You can cut it and burn it if you want but we won't be doing it. I've told on here before about the winter we were forced to buy wood. Thought we could get some good stuff but when it was delivered we found that not only was it just split that day, but it was also cut that day! Well, we got through that winter somehow but never again! I think we cleaned our chimney about 8 times that winter and we were never warm. Fought the fire all winter that year. No, ash needs at least a year; don't accept anything less. Want some really good ash? Let it dry for 3 years or longer! Now you'll have some really good firewood.

    All wood will be better if left for 2-4 years.
    Nixon, Thistle, ScotO and 2 others like this.
  4. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    5,505
    Loc:
    Southern IN
    I'm now aiming for two years' minimum for non-Oak, three for Oak. Then it burns great!
    If you can't get that much wood stacked at home, maybe you can find someplace nearby to stack and dry your wood. Yes it will be more work, but you might find that it's worth the effort.
    Backwoods Savage and ScotO like this.
  5. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,810
    Loc:
    NNJ
    Ash, locust, and cherry are probably the fastest driers (one year). I've been told beech dries fast but have no experience.
    Ash and locust start out with low moisture to begin with, so they don't need to loose as much.
    Avoid oak at all costs if you have no room for 2 yr storage. I know I try to stay away and I have 2+acres.
  6. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    5,505
    Loc:
    Southern IN
    I don't have a lot of drying experience under my belt but over the past couple years, I've found Red (soft) Maple to beat those you mentioned. If you cut dead, and I mean really dead with the bark starting to fall off, you can probably cut a year off of the denser woods. I have some Black/Red Oak that's been stacked for two summers and is burning great. When splitting that stuff the highest readings I got were in the upper 20s.
    Applesister and ScotO like this.
  7. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,208
    Loc:
    NE Maryland
    Irene knocked down a few Black Locusts on my property in 2011- I stacked them pretty quick and they are burning like a ***** ape right now.
    Thistle and ScotO like this.
  8. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    What I've discovered over the years around here - (All wood being cut green,whether in summer or winter)

    Silver Maple - 9 months to 1 year.Had some good to go in 6-7,but that's a rare exception.
    Siberian Elm 9 months to 1 year
    Norway Maple - 12 to 18 months
    Eastern Cottonwood 12 months
    White,Black or Green Ash - 1 year
    Black Cherry - 1 year
    Black Walnut - 1 year
    Mulberry 12 to 18 months
    Eastern Red Cedar,any Pine,Spruce etc - 12 months,rarely 15-18
    American Elm 12-18 months
    Hickory 12-18 months
    Honey Locust 18 months to 24 months
    Red,Black,Bur,White,Pin etc Oak 2 years minimum,normally 3
    BrianK, Backwoods Savage and Nixon like this.
  9. Bret Chase

    Bret Chase Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Messages:
    648
    Loc:
    Maine
    Although I'm a newb on this forum, my experience mirrors Thistle... though I cannot imagine actually burning black walnut... and IMHO.... Red oak NEVER dries....
  10. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    The only walnut I burn is tops,branches,scraps/edgings/offcuts from milling either from a CL scrounge or a paid job.Any decent logs over 12" diameter are saved for woodworking/turning blanks.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  11. Bret Chase

    Bret Chase Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Messages:
    648
    Loc:
    Maine
    I accept that answer :D On the lot where my house is, I've got 3 walnuts... they will never be cut down....
  12. scroungerjeff

    scroungerjeff Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Messages:
    145
    Loc:
    S Jersey
    My red oak is burning just fine and it was cut split and stacked about 20 months ago. Same for the black locust and Norway maple. Long hot burns and good secondaries. I do split my stuff small and finish it on a covered porch. Only have a half acre so I cannot leave 3 to 4 years of wood all over the yard.
  13. Bret Chase

    Bret Chase Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Messages:
    648
    Loc:
    Maine
    My lot is 2 acres.... but the family trust as about 800... that I have complete access to... I try to cut locust, because it is awesome and grows back relatively quickly... after that white oak and ash, then the maples, then birch... I avoid red oak... and covet hickory... though it's hard to find on the land I have access to... but is common along the roadside... on my neighbor's land...
  14. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    2,790
    Loc:
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    Though I burn every wood but willow, red oak is likely 60% of my pile or better. Allow 3 years to dry, stacked off the ground. I have a couple cord of hickory curing, never burned any, but red oak is my go to wood in the dead of winter. I get get maybe one white oak for every twenty red oak (if that many).
    Red oak splits better than any other wood IMHO.
    I can't imagine purposely avoiding red oak, unless I had unlimited locust.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  15. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    5,505
    Loc:
    Southern IN
    Do you stack single row, or what?
  16. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,378
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    So if I put Thistle's list in order from fastest to slowest, it looks like this:

    Silver Maple
    Siberian Elm
    Eastern Cottonwood
    White,Black or Green Ash
    Black Cherry
    Black Walnut
    Softwoods: Eastern Red Cedar,any Pine,Spruce etc.
    Norway Maple
    Mulberry
    American Elm
    Hickory
    Honey Locust
    Oaks

    For those willing to continue this exercise, where should we put these?

    Hard Maple
    Beech
    Norway Maple
    Red Maple
    Black Locust
    Apple
    Hickory
    Black Walnut
    Others?
  17. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    1,010
    Loc:
    Nothern Lower Michigan
    Reliably in one year would include ash, beech, the softer hardwoods (soft maple, cottonwood, etc.), and soft woods. I've also heard black locust is good in a year but I have no experience.

    Reliably in two years would include everything else except oak.

    Really, pretty much anything except oak will be burnable in one year as long as in not stacked more than two rows deep and gets some decent sun and wind. Some of it won't be great, but it should all be burnable.
  18. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,989
    Loc:
    Near Williamsport, PA
    I can agree with just about all that has been said. The one wood not mentioned(unless I missed it) is sycamore. I don;t go looking for it but I have had a couple of trees given to me and have been burning up until Christmas or so. It will burn fast(think pine) but it does dry fast too. I think it dries a bit quicker than the soft maple we have on hand. I try to keep both these available for the shoulder seasons.
  19. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,378
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Okay, here's the list again, v0.2b:

    Red Maple
    Silver Maple
    Siberian Elm
    Eastern Cottonwood
    White,Black or Green Ash
    Sycamore
    Black Cherry
    Black Walnut
    Beech
    Softwoods: Eastern Red Cedar,any Pine,Spruce etc.
    Mulberry
    Norway Maple
    American Elm
    Hard Maple
    Black Locust
    Apple
    Hickory
    Honey Locust
    Oak

    ...

    Discuss.
  20. BEConklin

    BEConklin Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    335
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    doesn't anyone burn black birch? I love the stuff.
    Lakeside likes this.
  21. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,378
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    How fast does it dry?
  22. BEConklin

    BEConklin Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    335
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    I've cut split and stacked it barkside up with no cover outside in November and burned it in the campfire in May - no problems - no hissing wood (though I didn't check it with the meter), it lights easily burns a decent amount of time. It checked it at 14% the following November and I burned it inside then. It's nice stuff, burns easily, cranks out lots of heat, smells nice doing it and leaves little in the way of ash and coals behind. I like it especially cause there's plenty of it growing on my wood lot. Every once in a while you'll get a twisted grain tree that's wicked hard to split but otherwise it's easy to work with.

    The BTU lists I've seen rate it at 26.8 MBTU per cord ..the same as ironwood and black locust and compared to shagbark hickory at 27.7
  23. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    Pretty much yeah.Although 90% of the wood I cut is standing snags or deadfall,I sometimes double stack that.No problems since it sits for 2 years minimum after split/stack.70% of the dead is Red/Black Oak,remainder is White/Bur Oak,a little Shagbark Hickory,plus a handful of Mulberry,Slippery/Red Elm,American/White Elm & Ironwood.

    The small amount (no more than 10-15% of the total amount) of the wood I get from live trees each year is from a few small CL scores or the rare paid job when someone calls me wanting trees removed. I havent bought wood in over 20 years,I either get it for my labor & sometimes even get paid to take it.That's even better. >>
  24. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,229
    Loc:
    Southeast Indiana
    If you have limited space, try and stay with the dead standing or downed wood as opposed to live cut trees or green wood. Your better off
  25. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    I sure would if it grew around here,same with Beech.

    Some big old Sycamores in older neighborhoods,quite a bit of it in the wild along stream/river bottoms,other damp areas.Not much Hard Maple or Black Locust in my area unfortunately,just a small amount that was planted years ago.HM is fairly plentiful in counties to my northeast up into WI,MN & other states to my east though.BL is more native to areas to my east,both north & south.

Share This Page