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Craigslist$@^#! Any way to dry wood fast?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by tkuhe, Feb 19, 2009.

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  1. tkuhe

    tkuhe New Member

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    First year with a stove caught me off guard this year and I ended up buying wood off of craigslist that the seller said was seasoned. Well, the wood is awful! I am not sure if it is wet or green but either way it doesn't burn at all, it hisses and I can see moisture come out of the ends when I try. I am so pissed!
    A friend at work said I could try and put a tarp over it with a dehumidifier but after 24hrs of trying that I have very little moisture accumulating so I am not sure that is going to work at all.
    Does any one have any rec'ds or am I just plain out of luck?
    The guy I bought the wood from is not taking any calls and I will probably post something on craigslist telling people to stay away from him, but other than that I am not sure what to do.
    Did I mention how pissed I am at myself!

    Edit: believe it or not, the guy just called me back and said he would come drop off more wood that he is sure is dry. still doesn't solve my problem but at least he is making an effort.

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  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Not much you can do this year. The wood will be ready for next though.

    Matt
  3. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Adage of buyer beware comes to mind. Sorry this didn't work out for you, but "seasoned" has no universal meaning, and what is "seasoned" for one purpose may not be "seasoned" for another purpose. Although others may disagree, I'm not aware of any quick, inexpensive way to dry wood. Outdoor, open air stacking is best, IMO, as it costs nothing and the sun and wind do all the work, but it can take 1-2 summers, sometimes even longer, to get well dried wood for best burning in a wood stove.

    I suggest looking again for wood that actually is dry and leaving what you bought this time to burn next season.
  4. tkuhe

    tkuhe New Member

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    Ugh..That is what I figured...Seasoned wood in my area is so expensive I may just call it quits for this year and start getting ready for next. The local guy is asking $375/cord.
    I am pretty bummed.
  5. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Good for you. I hate it when people always blame the dealer for there own ignorance.
  6. tkuhe

    tkuhe New Member

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    No need to kick me when I'm down.
  7. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Git 'er stacked and started dryin' for next year, it ain't all that bad, heck, it should be ready for ya next winter.

    Only peeps that know what wood needs to look like to burn in an EPA stove are those that have one :)

    I split 5 cord last weekend and won't burn that stuff til winter '10/'11

    You should be gettin' as much wood as you can any way you look at it IMO.
  8. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I'm choking on my size eleven. Sorry.
    But you get my point.
    You da man.
  9. bluefrier

    bluefrier Feeling the Heat

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    Split everything down to toothpick size and it should be ready in about a day ;-)
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    If you have a warm, dry place to stack it, you should have wood that's dry enough to burn in about a month. I've stacked wood around the furnace in the basement and was surprised at how quickly it dried. You won't dry it all, but you might get enough to save you some fossil fuels before the heating season is over. Also, remember that the environment inside during the winter is very dry, so that will help a lot, and it will keep some humidity in your air to boot. So my advice is: get it inside and warm if you can and hope for the best. Stack it around the stove if your wife will let you.

    And don't screw around next spring. Get your wood cut, split and stacked asap so that it can dry out over the summer. Cover it around October 1 and it should be pretty dry by November. Of course, the best approach is to cut a year's worth of wood in advance. Once you're a year ahead, you never have to worry about wet wood.
  11. lexybird

    lexybird Minister of Fire

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    thats excellent advise seems first year burners always have this problem .sadly people throw around the word "seasoned " way too often ,its never as good as youd want ,goes back to the old saying :"if you want something done right ,you gotta do it yourself"
  12. cgeiger

    cgeiger New Member

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    Along with Eric's post, I have had to take some of my craigslist wood, split it smaller and place it near (safely near) my stove. In a few hours it has dried to the point that I can burn it. It's marginal at best but allows adequate burn temps so I can achieve a clean burn. If I don't do this, I see water bubbling out the ends and hear the hissing you describe. But I know that I'm still wasting valuable BTUs. So I've been hitting the woods each weekend to try to find good dry standing dead wood to help make up the difference.

    If you have access to any seasoned wood (any at all) use it to "mix" your seasoned to marginal wood. In my case, I try to use 1 well seasoned split with 2 artificially seasoned splits. This helps me burn cleaner longer without just consuming my wood.

    Measured with a hygrometer, my inside humidity runs around 20%. That plus heat plus circulating air can help dry your wood faster. I definitely agree with getting it inside.
  13. tkuhe

    tkuhe New Member

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    Thanks Eric. I think I will bring the wood into the basement this weekend. My wife, who is 31 wks pregnant with our first, will not be a huge fan but she likes having a warm house versus not.
    My neighbor and I are planning on buying some grapple cords this april and splitting enough to at least get through next winter with hopefully some to spare.
  14. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Pallets got me through my first winter burning. They are generally free from business that get in so many they don't know what to do with them. I found a pool/spa place that had nice oak ones.

    Watch when first loading them because they burn quick and hot. Oh, and watch for nails. I went through a few chains. I've seen people mention using a sawzall. I wish I had thought of it because I had one. *sigh*

    Matt
  15. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    Split it into 2" splits (yes, a lot of work, admittedly) and bring it inside near the stove. Within a week or two, you should be good to do. My father-in-law is notorious for not cutting and splitting his wood early enough, but I help him get 2-3 weeks worth of 5-6" splits into his basement (where his woodstove blazes away 24-7) and they really do dry pretty fast - fast enough to rescue your wood burning season.

    Then, also get the rest split into half the size it is right now and stacked in the sun and started for next year.
  16. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Split it smaller, bring it inside and spread it around so you expose the maximum surface area.

    Pallets are a great idea, as noted watch for nails.

    You could also check with your local lumberyard. Many sell scraps, you might find some dry stuff there.

    Good luck and stick to it, it gets better. This happens to just about every first year burner.
  17. sparke

    sparke Minister of Fire

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    Just be careful if you score pallets or dried lumber. You can overheat your stove very easy. Just try very small loads until you figure it out. Mix it with some of your wet wood.
  18. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    As noted, get it inside the garage or basement - split it SMALLER - and pit a fan in front of it. If you have a dehumdifier, great. The fan did a nice job on some marginal oak i used for a bit.
  19. Bubbavh

    Bubbavh Feeling the Heat

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    Split it up smaller and stack it up with the ends against a concrete wall (dry concrete wall) the concrete will actually suck the moisture out of the wood.
  20. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    $375 a cord in MA?!?!?! You should be able to get kiln dried cord wood at that price!
  21. tkuhe

    tkuhe New Member

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    That is how I ended up on CL. It's absurd.
  22. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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    I can season wood outdoors in 2 to 3 months .. IF

    - The wood is ash or another straight-grain, easily split species. Some soft-pine species will work too.
    - I split the wood into 3 to 4 inch splits
    - I "cross-stack" or "crib-stack" (i.e. 1st layer goes north-south, 2nd layer goes east-west, etc.) the splits, with 1" (+/-) horizontally between splits for air circulation, in the middle of my driveway, in the best sun & wind exposure on my whole lot. (BTW, that's my DW's parking space, she'd wouldn't appreciate it being taken over)
    - the 2 to 3 months in question include September and October, with the annual Santa Ana winds (aka Brush Fire Season). Those &*^%ing winds will dry the flesh off a dragon.

    Of course, I don't have the space or the time to split and stack like that, so my wood takes 6 months to a year to season.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
  23. tkuhe

    tkuhe New Member

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    So I have had a high powered fan on the stack for a few days after trying to cover it with a tarp and dehumidifier for a few days and I have finally come to the conclusion that this wood still is not ready to be burned.
    Anyone have any leads on where I could buy a cord of wood that will not break the bank and still be seasoned in the Acton,Ma area?
  24. Ducati996

    Ducati996 Member

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    Part of the mistakes many people make is buying wood during or right after severe weather (snow or heavy Rain).
    It maybe seasoned but now its wet, so it needs to dry out for a week or so. You need to buy your wood when there is a good stretch of sunny weather or no heavy snow or rain. This year the snow has been on the ground, with more amounts adding on top of whats there. A bout of warm weather will melt the snow and saturate the wood. I stop selling wood at this point and wait for the dry periods. I do a mositure reading again prior to re-selling whats left....it sounds like many suppliers arent clearly explaining this to their customers and getting a bad rap....
  25. Bubbavh

    Bubbavh Feeling the Heat

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    Lay a Sham-Wow on top of your wood pile and it will suck all the water out in seconds. If that don't work pick through it for smaller splits.
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