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)

Can wood be too dry?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by bryan, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

    Yep, got about 5 cords of it stored in the basement now. And I have about a half cord of well seasoned ash and 3-4 cords of c/s/s combo of cherry, ash, birch, and maple that won't be ready to burn this season. I'm picking up 4 cords of 2 year old c/s/s combo of apple and oak this weekend from a local who is no longer burning for $75 a cord. This year we should be fine, and I've got lots of dead standing oak to get in for 2013/2014 season ;-)
    ScotO likes this.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    If we get a snow weekend this winter, we'll drop and buck those big oaks up.
  3. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    5,804
    Loc:
    Southern IN
    I think the wet-basis MC calculation is what the EPA uses for their woodstove tests. 20% wet-basis wood will read 25% on a moisture meter. I get a lot of hissing when I burn wood that wet, but that may not be a concern, except for possible increased creosote build-up. As far as uncontrolled off-gassing with dry wood, I try to let the coal bed burn way down, then build a top-down load with the big stuff on the bottom and the kindling on top. I think this will keep the top of the stove hotter and allow for sooner reburning of the smoke. JMO, may or may not be fact. Seems to be less smoke coming out of the stack with the top-down build, from what I can see...

    Here is an interesting link I came across:
    http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/workshop2011/WoodCombustion-Curkeet.pdf

    Be careful though, you don't want to heat-stress your chimney pipe. I've got a flue thermo but you may have a harder time monitoring flue temp with an insert. Maybe some type of thermocouple setup at some point...
    Yes, I would grab a bunch of Pine. If you split it on the small side, it will dry faster than just about anything else. It should help you to get through with the less-dry wood you have. I have a bunch of Pine split really small to start top-down loads. A couple of small pieces of newspaper are all I need to get the Pine on top going.
  4. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    9,226
    Loc:
    Lake Wissota
    Doesn't burning pine make you go blind?
  5. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Not me Dave!


    Looks like the guys have answered your questions rather nicely so I'll just write, welcome to the forum Bryan.
  7. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    No, you're confused. PLAYING with your pine, that will make you go blind! :p
  8. allhandsworking

    allhandsworking Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Messages:
    369
    Loc:
    NYC
    It's a shame Ireland and England are loseing so may pubs!
    Billybonfire likes this.
  9. bryan

    bryan Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Messages:
    99
    Loc:
    Wilmington, DE
    Thank you Jags that was the answer the chemist in me was looking for. So it isn't the lack of temp and it isn't simply that they out gas faster, but rather too much out gasing at once overwhelming the ability of it to be consumed by the reburn. So limiting the amount of kiln dried in the stove at any one time would help alleviate that issue.

    As for stack temperature I was monitoring it with an IR thermometer. I'm running the stove without a surround (not a fan of them) so I can aim up about a foot up from the insert and get a temp. The single wall pipe was measuring in the 280 range with the smallish fire I was burning.

    Attached Files:

  10. husky345 vermont resolute

    husky345 vermont resolute Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Messages:
    148
    Loc:
    london, ontario
    anyone here ever use bark to help build ur new fire up. i find it works great. as my white oak is drying the bark falls off and i figure why not burn it. anyone have any concerns? is it to dirty?
  11. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    I use birch bark as fire starter. But that's a whole different bark, lights easy & burns hot .

    Oak bark, if dry, will work good. It' BTUs :)
    Wish I had some to try.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,892
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Yer barking up the wrong tree for Alaska Dave. ;lol Birch bark is great for fire starting.
  13. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,573
    Loc:
    Sound Beach, LINY
    I regularly burn bark with my kindling. Just make sure it's dry. I've found that bark dries faster than the wood it fell off of, but retains rain water for longer periods of time.
  14. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,632
    Loc:
    South Central Indiana
    Last year with my wood with a little too much moisture, i would have a couple wheelbarrows loads stacked a couple feet from the stove and the stove would dry it some.
  15. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,330
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    Ok, now I know we are in big trouble. If a pub cant make money in recession then we are really and truly doomed.

    Back to the main topic Im sure that wood burned nice. When we had to replace a section of insect damaged sill beam here I burned the salvaged chunks. 200 year old oak that measured 7% on the MM - lit up like a firecracker.
    Billybonfire likes this.
  16. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,906
    Loc:
    Chelsea Maine
    Just be careful with the bark. Make sure it is dry when you bring it in. Also only bring in what you are putting in the stove. Bark is often the home of bugs. Lots of bugs. Bugs that will become active when they get warmed up.
    Bark still soundly attached to the wood may be less apt to be home to as many bugs as that of loose bark. Bug like dark moist places to hide and feed in. Another reason why we are now burning pellets.
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,272
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Bingo! You may pass to the next level.:cool:
  18. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,632
    Loc:
    South Central Indiana
    This is from the Wood Heat Website:

    Can Firewood Be Too Dry?

    Yes, although it is not a common problem

    Properly seasoned firewood still has a fair amount of water in it, say 15 to 20 percent of its weight. That water regulates the combustion process along with a few other factors like piece size, load configuration and combustion air supply.
    The higher the fuel moisture, the slower the wood breaks down when heated because of all the heat energy soaked up in boiling the water out of the wood and raising the temperature of the steam.
    Conversely, the dryer the wood, the more quickly it breaks down when heated. By breaking down, I mean the vaporization of the volatile components of the wood; that is to say, it smokes. The dryer the wood, the more dense is the smoke at a given heat input rate.
    Since wood smoke is fuel, we want to burn it as completely as possible and that means mixing with adequate oxygen in the combustion air. The problem is that a firebox load of very dry wood produces far more smoke than the air supplies of stoves are designed to provide. Besides, even if you could supply enough air, you would produce an inferno that would howl in the stove and make everyone in the house nervous. Fires that intense can seriously damage the stove's innards. Wood that is very dry produces a fire that is hard to control without making a lot of smoke.
    Kiln-dried wood is down around 10 percent moisture. Depending on climate and conditions of storage, normal firewood won't dry down to kiln-dried moisture because of normal outdoor humidity. For example, I've never measured wood below about 14 percent in my firewood supply. But I suppose that firewood could get very dry by natural seasoning in desert conditions. Or firewood stored in old barns, which are like kilns in hot summer weather.
    The right band of firewood moisture is between 15 and 20%. When you get much over 20% you start to see symptoms of sluggish ignition and the inability to turn down the air without extinguishing the flames. Towards 30% the wood sizzles and fires are very sluggish and it is hard to get a clean burn until the wood is almost to the charcoal stage. Above 30% water bubbles from the end grain when the wood is heated and it is very hard to burn at all. Species like poplar/aspen, which have very high native moisture content are virtually non-combustible when not adequately seasoned.
    The main difference between EPA low-emission certified stoves and conventional stoves is that you can turn down EPA stoves for a long burn without extinguishing the flames. That is, they are better at producing a clean, controlled fire. But they are designed for wood that has a moisture content of twenty percent plus or minus one or two percent. Once you go far outside this band, their emission rate goes up. So even the best wood stove's performance will suffer if the wood is not in the right moisture range.
    If you have some very dry firewood, like kiln-dried cut offs or old wood stored in a hot place, mix it with regular firewood to raise the moisture content of a full load.
    JG
  19. Billybonfire

    Billybonfire Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    273
    Loc:
    Lancashire NW England.
    Yes its very sad, think with the economic downturn people are having a beer at home instead of going to the pub :(
  20. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,272
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    John Gulland can get a bit wordy.;);lol
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  21. Obadiah

    Obadiah “Extinguishing Mediocrity”

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    88
    Loc:
    The Yaak, Montana
    What I find interesting is the fact that your moisture content of your wood will depend on where you live. For example, friends in Oregon are lucky to get their wood dried to 25% after even after several years, because the humidity levels are so high there, it’s always raining. A few hundred miles to the east in Montana where I live, I can cut down a standing dead lodge pole and have readings in the teens. Most of my stored firewood has single digit readouts. The wood I am burning now test at 3-4% it has been stored for approx. 5 yrs. When I lived in Michigan it would take me a longtime (5yrs) to get wood down to the teens. In Montana there are no hardwoods, when we first moved here I was a little perplexed on what I would use for wood.........yeah I know, I'm a little dense sometimes......after 15 yrs. of burning Lodge Pole, Tamarack and Fir, I do not even miss hardwoods, we still get plenty long burn times too. If the wood is dry and seasoned there is no more creosote than what I remembered back when all I burned was hardwoods. So in my humble opinion, wood can never be too dry. It takes three things to make fire, fuel, spark, and air. Take away anyone of those three parts of the combustion triangle and your fire will go out. Woodstoves and hearth products that burn wood for heat are usually air tight; if you shut the damper all the way down then the stove will go out. On some of the latter EPA stoves they required the manufactures to open them up so you cannot shut them all the way down where they will smolder. With those stoves it’s a different story and I can see where it would make a difference if your wood was really dry, the stove would burn hotter, but fully closed down, I would doubt it would over fire. Really the only way to over fire a woodstove is to leave the door open and go to work or something like that. I have never seen anyone or heard of anyone over firing their stove because their wood was too dry, but that's what I love about this business, just when you think you have things figured out, someone comes along and throws a monkey wrench in......so you rethink what you thought you knew.
    Seanm and Huntindog1 like this.
  22. David Tackett

    David Tackett Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    Messages:
    178
    Loc:
    Waynesburg, Kentucky
    I use the bark that falls off my logs to get my fires started. Now if I only had a sure fire method to get the old lady's fire started.
  23. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,191
    Loc:
    Northern ON
    Jealous. Was there any chance of salvaging 1 of those beautiful old beams, for some worthy project, or did the machine break them up?. Having a "chunk" of the old pub as part of a bar, for example...? A small bit of the pub history, and memories of pints raised there, preserved in the same room where the rest is fueling the fire?
    Billybonfire likes this.
  24. Jclout

    Jclout Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Messages:
    149
    Loc:
    Southbridge, Massachusetts
    Does all the wood in the stove have to burn off the excess moisture (this is so it will combust right?) before you can start shutting the air down while having the secondaries burning or is it just the wood in front near the coals that has to be hot enough to combust? My guess is the whole load right, that's why you burn allot of your wood up heating up the load if it has too much moisture content and are not left with enough wood for a long burn?
  25. SmokeyCity

    SmokeyCity Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    421
    Loc:
    Western Pa
    You can never be too rich, too skinny or have wood that is too dry.
    but if it really is too dry then you have some good kindling/tinder.

    The drier the wood the slower you can burn it ( less air). If you ever get your hands on a BK - it will gladly eat the driest wood you can feed it and it will burn it on a starvation air diet and let the CAT milk the smoke for all its worth.

    Nah.....it cant be too dry.

Share This Page