CALLING All softwood burners?

flyingcow Posted By flyingcow, Sep 1, 2009 at 7:19 PM

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  1. flyingcow

    Minister of Fire

    Jun 4, 2008
    northern-half of maine
    I've got a bunch of spruce and fir on my property. Price of softwood is in the crapper commercially. this wood needs to be cut soon, getting old. How log would i expect this stuff to dry once cut and split? I have a very open and dry area in which to stack it. Just an old pain in the azz easterner, that is used to burning rock maple. I plan on putting a cord or two up and see how I like it. got a good 15 acrs of plantation growth, easy to get to.

    My signature shows what I have for equipment.
  2. breamer999


    Dec 11, 2007
    Brackley Beach PEI
    I've seasoned softwood in as little as six months once split

    I burn mostly black spruce; three cord and two cord of hardwood

    Brackley Beach
  3. mcote

    New Member

    Feb 6, 2009
    Northern Maine
    I've been burning spruce all this week. It is great to take the chill out and die down before it gets too hot in the house. I cut and split it (fairly small) around April and it is pretty well dry now. It's messy with the pitch, but other than that, I like it in the shoulder season.
  4. TMonter

    Minister of Fire

    Feb 8, 2007
    Hayden, ID
    Most "Softwoods" season in 6-9 months of good dry weather out west once split. In wetter climates I understand it takes about a year or so.

    Here in North Idaho I can season standing dead stuff with no needles in 3-4 months even in cold weather.
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart LLC Mid-Atlantic Division
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    I used to burn pine the same year that I cut it and thought it was doing great. Last season I had a left over half cord that had been top covered for almost two years and it was so much better to burn that I am giving it all well over a year from now on.
  6. flyingcow

    Minister of Fire

    Jun 4, 2008
    northern-half of maine
    Thanks for the input. just checked the rock maple and beech, we cut/split/stacked(no cover) in march/april(about 2 and 1/2 cord). Cracked open a couple of splits...22% with the harbor freight moisture meter. On the outside it was 16/17%. i'm a happy camper, but this was stacked on high,windy,open to the sun area. When I get time I'll drop a few trees of softwood and get it cracked open for a few months of drying.
    Also. I've got about 8ish cord piled in as big heap, when i start handling that, I'll check the moisture compared to the stacked stuff.
  7. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck
    Minister of Fire

    Feb 26, 2009
    Central PA
    I think the softwood is a nice change from hardwood, when you are processing and burning. It won't burn as long, perhaps, but it is usually nice and straight, splits pretty easily, and gets nice and dry in a relatively short time. It burns hot, is light to move around, smells nice and piney. When I lived in Fairbanks, AK firewood meant either White birch or Spruce, and mostly spruce where I was cutting. The softwood kept the house warm. Maybe it didn't burn quite as long as hardwood might have burned, but it worked fine, just the same. Now that I think about it, I recall that we had neighbors from Maine who kept complaining about the lack of hardwood in Alaska. Alaska makes up for the lack of hardwood by providing millions of acres of softwood.
  8. Bigg_Redd

    Minister of Fire

    Oct 19, 2008
    Shelton, WA
    Around here I will not hesitate to burn any conifer in the fall that I cut and split in the early-mid spring.
  9. Steamer


    Jul 15, 2008
    Southern Vt
    I have always burned hardwood but I have a roadway to a back meadow that I am making wider for equipment and there are some white pines that will be coming down.
    Has anyone burned white pine and is it worth cutting and splitting to length?
    Another project as my wife says.
    Thanks in advance
  10. firefighterjake

    Minister of Fire

    Jul 22, 2008
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Oh no, you don't want to burn pine . . . burning pine causes baldness, groin pulls and chimney fires. ;) :)

    Sorry, running joke here . . .

    Around here pine can be burned . . . in fact it can be burned anywhere . . . but here in the Northeast there are usually better wood species to burn as white pine tends to burn relatively quick and hot. That said, I have several pines which will eventually be cut down near my house and they will end up as kindling and/or wood for the shoulder seasons . . . as long as they are seasoned you do not have to worry about the great "burning pine will burn down your house by causing the chimney to gunk up with creosote" myth.

    That said, some folks might consider the time to cut and split the pine to not be worth the trouble . . . me . . . if the wood is coming down anyways and there isn't enough of it to make a load for the pulp/papermills or lumberyard then I figure I might as well use the wood and burn it in my stove.

    Pine can be a bit branchy and knotty . . . if splitting manually some rounds will split like a dream and others will be miserable to split.
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