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Dead Wood

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Jacktheknife, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. Jacktheknife

    Jacktheknife Minister of Fire

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    Hi everyone, this is my first post. I just got my used Lopi Answer installed, thanks in part to the help of my brother-- a roofing contractor and fellow burner. The old lady and I had been planning to install a wood stove next summer when we could afford the installation, but we got a really good deal on the stove and jumped the gun a bit.

    Anyway, the problem is that we didn't get a chance to stockpile and now have to come up with some quick firewood. My brother and I are going out this weekend and I hope to score some fallen, drought-dried logs. Any tips on identifying the better dried logs?

    Also, I don't have a truck of my own yet, would it be in my best interest to cut the logs into, say, 4 foot lengths and save the extra cuts for when they are already on my property-- or does will the time I'm saving be eaten up with the increased difficulty of loading these longer lengths?

    Any input is appreciated!

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  2. albert1029

    albert1029 Feeling the Heat

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    When I started processing my own firewood I was advised to purchase a moisture meter...it takes the guesswork out of knowing if wood is properly seasoned or dry from moisture. I know a lot of guys have the General moisture meter available at Lowe's at a reasonable price. There are many other models out there, check out Ebay. I know in my area Craigslist can be a good source for firewood either in the form of cut and split or downed trees or offers to cut dead standing trees. Welcome and good luck...
    Jacktheknife likes this.
  3. Jacktheknife

    Jacktheknife Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Albert, I will add one to my next Amazon order but that won't help me on Saturday.
  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Cut and split would be best. Just use a couple trees and stack between them until you can get a truck in there.
  5. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    I'll assume you have the means to transport this wknd (truck/trailer) and not other times. This means you will want to process and move as much as you can home while you can. I would make as few cuts as possible then, the width of the log determining the size you can realistically move. In looking for dead fall wood to use this year I suggest tree tops. The trunks tend to hold more water. As for the moisture meter, I got one when I started, used it a couple times and it would take me a while to even find it now. I would save the money.
    Thistle and Jacktheknife like this.
  6. Jacktheknife

    Jacktheknife Minister of Fire

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    Minister-- that is exactly the case, I have access to a truck and trailer this weekend and need to get as much firewood onto my property as possible where I will eventually bust it down to about foot long pieces for the Lopi. Btw, wasn't Lopi the Norse god of fire wood?
  7. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Doesn't really matter how good the stove is with out seasoned wood its no better than a 50.00 smoke dragon. ;) Handling log length is a quick way to get it home and I darn sure would want a winch set-up. ==c
    Thistle and Backwoods Savage like this.
  8. Jacktheknife

    Jacktheknife Minister of Fire

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    Smokinj-- Yeah, that's why I am hoping to find some aged wood. I have about 3/4 of a cord of the wet stuff that I acquired over the summer, but it will not be usable this year.
  9. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    If you plan on cutting and splitting your wood and letting is sit and dry for a couple years before you use it, a moisture meter certainly isn't something you really NEED right away, although it would be interesting to compare the moisture of your wood now and in two years. But it sounds like you want to burn the wood you are collecting right away, right?
    If so, then a moisture meter is going to be your best way of determining what the moisture content of your wood, there is really no other way of accurately determining moisture content just by looking at it. Certainly you can guess, or even bang two pieces together and then guess again, but you'll still be left not knowing for sure. Only a moisture meter will tell you how accurate your guesses are. After you have used a moisture meter for a while and you've got use to what a certain wood's moisture content looks and feels like, then the accuracy of your guesses will substantially improve.
    It's not unusual for trees and logs that have been dead for many years to have moisture contents higher than 30% or 40% which is way higher than recommended < 20% moisture content you should be aiming for.
    Jacktheknife likes this.
  10. burnt03

    burnt03 Burning Hunk

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    I second (or third?) the moisture meter recommendation. It's nice to know what you're getting.

    On that note, I took down a couple of dead standing firs this year, both about the same size. The one in the spring ranged from 20 - 30%. The one I took down last week, every split was below 20%. Can sure tell when splitting it, but still nice to have that moisture meter if you don't have anything else to compare to.
    Jacktheknife likes this.
  11. Jacktheknife

    Jacktheknife Minister of Fire

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    I will try to secure one before the weekend, hopefully a local shop will carry one.
  12. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Its a crap shot cutting at this point. I would first look for dead standing no bark, but even then your stove going to be picky!
  13. schlot

    schlot Minister of Fire

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    I agree with the moisture meter and would also agree to look for trees without bark. Focus on the tops or limbs if possible smaller diameter the better
  14. Jacktheknife

    Jacktheknife Minister of Fire

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    Don't worry, it will be smaller stuff as I do not have a way to split yet either. I'm expecting a maul for xmas, so I might bring back a few bigger pieces to try that out, but not many.
  15. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    +1
    It's your best bet & dead standing won't be totally dry, but better .
    Good luck.
    Get some wood for 13/14 & 14/15 winter now too ;)
  16. Jacktheknife

    Jacktheknife Minister of Fire

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    And how does every one feel about fallen trees that didn't make it all the way to the ground?
  17. Jacktheknife

    Jacktheknife Minister of Fire

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    We have a bunch of these around my area. They seem to be dead, entirely barkless, and most of them are standing. I expect they will burn well. Even got one in my own yard!
    Image238.jpg
  18. schlot

    schlot Minister of Fire

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    Looks good - not sure what species but I bet they are a charge to take down
  19. JBinKC

    JBinKC Feeling the Heat

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    Tops usually have a lower MC than trunks if you are looking to find something dry if it has fallen I would look for barkless dead standing and/or tops in slash piles if you can find them
  20. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    You would be suprised what is laying on the floor of the woods. Many branches fall off during the year and are dead and dry. Don't look for the barkless dead trees to fell........look at all the bigger type branches that have fallen on the floor. I bet you could scrounge more than a cord in quick order.
    BIGDADDY likes this.
  21. BIGDADDY

    BIGDADDY Feeling the Heat

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    I like cutting blown down trees not totally on the ground. Easy cutting if its dead its dead standing or down. Off the ground would be better as the tree will absorb moisture from the ground. You can however dry wood that is wet from water quicker then drying unseasoned wood. Depends what you find when you go looking. Sometimes falling dead trees pose the most danger. A rotten spot in the tree could make the tree fall a different way then you want or could pinch your bar or both. Dead limbs could fall on you. Dead blown down trees would be ideal for quick safe cutting.
    Good luck on your search.
    Thistle likes this.
  22. Jacktheknife

    Jacktheknife Minister of Fire

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    Ok, sounds good guys. I think the ball and chain will be going past a menards, I will get the old bat to pick up a moisture meter.

    Schlot-- im not sure of the species either, but someone said it was the state tree of north dakota.
    Thistle, schlot and swagler85 like this.
  23. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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    Creosote soaked utility pole is just like fatwood....bet your neighbors will love the smoke it outs out!!!!
    schlot likes this.
  24. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Tops/branches up to 5"-7" diameter of standing snags,some small stuff lying on the ground are good possibilities.

    Look for silver grey wood,little or no bark,long deep vertical cracks on standing dead trees that have been gone for several years.Lots of that is ready to burn same day its cut.Not always though.
    BIGDADDY, smokinj and Jacktheknife like this.
  25. geoff1969

    geoff1969 Member

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    hi jacktheknife , if i was in your postion of only having a collection vehical for the week end i wouldnt be getting fussy and over processing the wood at place of collection = time wasted , just cut to managable lengths , and then process to final lengths at home , = could benifit you instead of 2 complete procesed loads you could get 4 full have processed loads then finishish it off at home and hour or 2 a night it will double your wood volume , moisture meters are good = if in doubt about moisture check a fresh split very simple also in jacktheknifes current situation would be good in case he finds him self buying wood he can check it to make sure hes getting what hes paying for { good dry firewood keep the supliers honest } but i wouldnt go over board on the dollars for one just basic easy to use thats all .. cheers
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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