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Can wood be "over" seasoned?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Steve M, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    x2
    that about sums it up for me too!
    so were are both dumb but warm!
    life is good when you are warm in the winter and have one less bill to pay with all those big holidays

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  2. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Damn close, though, damn close.

    According to info from the U.S. Forest Service, wood stored outside under cover in Syracuse, NY will eventually reach an EMC of 12.2% MC... 12.4% in St. Louis, MO... 12.3% in Sioux City, IA... 12.3% in Flint, MI... 12.1% in Portland, NE... 11.4% in Concord, NH... 11.3% In Baltimore, MD... 11.1% in Worcester, MA...... 5.9 % in Burns, OR.....

    ... and 11.4% MC just outside the blue line where I live... just about smack dab in the middle between Springfield, MA and Syracuse, NY.

    Anybody live near any of the cities I just mentioned?
  3. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    80 miles from sioux city, I do have some green ash that is at 12% or so, not getting carried away with that wood, it is nice for start up.
  4. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    I am 45-60 min away from worc
    But their elevation is higher, where I am is considered the valley
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    About 50 miles from Flint but I'm not so sure about that 12.3% figure. I would perhaps buy 15% as being a bit closer but is only a SWAG. I've never checked ours except to see how it burns. Most of it burns quite well, thank you.
  6. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    I should have mentioned that those were the lowest numbers for the season. The RH in most temperate areas goes up and down throughout the year, and it is typically lowest in early spring (but out Fossil's way it's a lot lower in July). Therefore, that is the time your wood will be at its lowest MC. Dennis, for Flint, MI that comes out to be 12.3% MC in April but the wood will rise in moisture until it peaks at 15% MC for the Flint area in December, so you may very well be right on the money during the time you are actually burning it. Seems you are a very good SWAGer. ;-)
  7. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    Is there a way to find out for my specific city?
  8. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Unfortunately, no. I deliberately picked cites from the list that were close to locations of forum members that were debating the issue on this thread, but the list is far from complete. However, I am fairly certain that there will be pretty good regional similarity. To get more accurate, you would need to have the daily relative humidity averages for your exact location for several years running. So go out now and buy that sling psychometer and start collecting data. %-P

    Trust me, you're gonna be pretty close to that Worcester number. And that number isn't as variable as Sav's area. According to the Forest Service table, your wood will dry to about 11% given enough time and then cycle up to about 12% come burn season. In short, once your particular wood is "overseasoned", it will stay that way forever. Bring it inside for a few weeks and it may drop below 10%.

    Seriously, if you really want to know, contact your weather service to get the monthly relative humidity averages for your town. From there you can figure out the MC based on any of the numerous EMC tables used throughout the wood industry. I don't think it matters as long as things are working well enough for you now. If you want to get obsessive and start tweaking things to try to achieve maximum efficiency, this info may help.

    Personally, I could give a shite exactly what MC my wood is at. If it burns clean and throws out good heat, I'm more than satisfied. I've made just about as many mistakes over the years as probably exist, and I think I even may have invented a few new ones just to be original. At this point in my life, I can safely and easily burn wood over a range of moisture contents. Some have tried to tell me my methods wouldn't work with a modern stove, but I'm pretty confident they would. I do find it all very interesting on a theoretical level, however, and it's helpful to understand this stuff when troubleshooting a problem (mine or someone one else), but at the end of the day all I care about is a warm and happy wife and a safe night's sleep. Burning a little more or less wood is of no real concern to me.
  9. glhenry56

    glhenry56 New Member

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    My hat is off to the regular posters here who really know their wood species, and have cutting, splitting, stacking and burning down to a science. Even though I have been burning wood since 1982, I'll never be on par with the moderators and "FHS" members. I really appreciate the shared knowledge and expertise.

    That said, I have to add some commentary about "dry" vs. "wet" wood and how it burns, because from what I've read, it seems no one would ever consider attempting to burn anything greater than, say, 40% moisture content. Well, in the power plant where I work, we convert over 140 tons of biomass per hour into high pressure steam, and the moisture content of that biomass is often no better than 50%. It isn't always easy - we sometimes go through pretty radical swings in heat generation when the weather is wet - but it does burn. We can't be choosy about what we get for fuel. Much of it is softwood, it contains a lot of bark (and gravel), and it certainly isn't seasoned. Of course our combustion controls are more sophisticated than what you would find on a Tarm, because we have strict limits on opacity, SO2, and NOx.

    So, I'll side with those who say "if it's wood, it'll burn". Low moisture seasoned hardwood is nice, but it is not necessary to keep warm. With greener stuff ,you just may have to spend more time cleaning out the flue...
  10. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Thats sad, very sad. You have taken in no consideration for efficiency loss=lower heat output. Pretty much if you are buying hard wood and getting 50 to 60% efficiency out of it you might as well burn oil, gas or whatever. It will be cheaper/safer and you will not be pissing off your neighbor's with a thick cloud of useless unhealthy smoke and steam. Take your new EPA stove and park it under these conditions. You also mentioned 40%mc Cut that in half and you will start standing a chance to keep all woodburners from being banned.
    Dont compare residential to Industrial. Two different worlds.
  11. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    I'm guessing there's some nat gas in his process too.
  12. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I agree with north of 60-sad very sad!
  13. formula_pilot

    formula_pilot Member

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    [​IMG]


    Dennis,

    How do you keep the metal roofing from blowing away? I only see a little bit of weight on them. With the wind we get up here, I would have to put a bunch of splits on top to keep them from flying away. I like the metal idea much better than tarps. I am trying rubber coated fabric this year, so far so good.

    Bill
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Good question Bill. If you look at the picture below you will see some odd pieces. Usually when splitting is done we have enough odd ones that we just throw them on top of the roofing. Most times this is all that is needed but sometimes I'll put some cement blocks on if the stack happens to be out in the open too much.

    The pictured stack did get enough wind this fall that I had to chase down a couple sheets of the stuff. Usually though we are enough in the woods that it doesn't bother much.

    In the stack you had pictured, this one was never a problem and it was stacked from 2003 until this summer. Now there is only about 2/3 of a cord left of that wood.

    [​IMG]
  15. soupy1957

    soupy1957 Minister of Fire

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    That (your response near the beginning of this thread) is one of the most easily understood and carefully thought out, coherent and detailed explanations I have ever read!!! I've even copy/pasted and kept a copy!!!

    Battenkiller, ........I bow down!!

    Thanks!!

    -Soupy1957
  16. glhenry56

    glhenry56 New Member

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    Jeez, hold on there, boys, I'm not saying that I burn wet wood wood at home. And I think I made it clear that operating a 1000 psi industrial boiler is not exactly the same as loading up my Tarm. My point was that the greener wood can certainly keep you warm even if you don't have a deep understanding of the chemistry involved. You thought I was advocating for green wood?

    Since I stirred up "north of 60", "oldspark", and "precaud" so much, let me elaborate a bit on burning 50% wet biomass (at work):
    We convert low grade fuel into process steam and 13.8 kV electricity. It is not at all practical to fabricate equipment to dry out the the quantity of fuel we consume before metering it to our boiler. The final drying occurs in the furnace of course, and the resulting flue gas, after being treated with urea (for low NOx control), then passing through our dust cyclones, electrostatic precipitators, and wet scrubber, is far "cleaner" than the very best EPA home stove burning 98% dry wood. What is "very sad" is that we occasionally must burn some #6 oil (no, we don't have natural gas), and we all know where most of THAT comes from.

    Thanks for the opportunity to clear the the air. : )
  17. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Pickens, I knew you were talking about work, my concern was with the fact the wood was that wet it was a waste of energy!
  18. glhenry56

    glhenry56 New Member

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    10-4 on the waste of energy. Those of us in the boiler house gripe a lot to the Procurement folks about poor quality (wet, stringy, etc.) biomass they get for us. We once did a trial using digester grade chips (i.e. really nice & clean) and loved the result. Alas, there is only so much our folks can do about biomass quality, and it wouldn't make sense for us to spend more on it than we spend on fuel oil.
  19. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

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    Y'all are way over-thinking this.

    Moisture content is about water. Burning wood is about fire. Water is the direct opposite of fire. Therefore, less water is good. The end. I suppose if maybe ALL YOU EVER HAD FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE to burn was stuff that was less than 15% MC then you might have to adjust how you used your stove, but I'd rather be that person than someone trying to burn wood that was more than 25%. Or suffer from first year woodburner's syndrome and be freaking out trying to buy wood in October that was well-seasoned ever again!

    ~Rose
  20. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    No

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