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Did I just waste my time?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Flame On, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. Flame On

    Flame On Member

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    I have four maples out back that occasionally drop branches. I cut up a few big ones today and stacked the sticks for kindling. I feel like I've done this before and the stuff never really dried out. The smallest pieces are just sticks and the bigger pieces run to maybe 3 inches.
    Should I split the bigger pieces?
    I like to have small stuff to get restarted and I've had a lot of luck with scrounged sticks in the past. I didn't want to waste the wood, but I feel like maple branches never really dry out.
    Thoughts?

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  2. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

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    Cut them to size, 16" or whatever you use. Split the 3" or larger. They will dry out.
  3. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Not a waste of time at all.
    Very little waste & "It's all BTUs" :)

    +1 for splitting the 3" stuff if it's gonna be kindling.
  4. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    It does seem like it takes forever for 1 or 2 inch rounds to dry so I never get in a hurry to burn them, they will dry but give them an extra year or so.
    Applesister likes this.
  5. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    I split one that was 2-3 in the other nite, it measured in the 28%, while my split and stacked from same tree is at 17%, so I said to myself, I'm not burning this pile this year. So I say yes, split them if you want to burn them, they must hold more water. Although mine are in a shady area so that could be a reason why so high in MC too...
  6. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Forgot to mention that those rounds dry from the ends so shorter is better, big difference in drying times between a 18 inch and a 12 inch round.
  7. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    They'll dry...if given enough time.
    How soon were you trying to burn 'em?
    That small stuff goes on the stack just like everything else, and stays there until that stack is ready to burn, which is between 2-3 years. They may dry before that, but I don't need 'em.
    Applesister and ScotO like this.
  8. Flame On

    Flame On Member

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    I'd like to be able to use the stuff this winter, but I know it won't be ready. It just seems ridiculous that tiny pieces of maple take the same amount of time as oak! I only have a small lot, so I can't get more than 2 years ahead.
    Now that I'm really thinking about it, I had a problem with a small soft maple I took down at my dad's place. After a year the stuff was bubbling out the ends when I put it in the stove.
    We'll have to see what happens. I can always take the kids out on "stick patrol" when I need to refill the kindling bucket. :)
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I doubt then that it was soft maple. I can cut a soft maple and just leave the tree for a year or two and the whole thing will be dry enough to burn. I know of no other tree that will dry like that. Soft maple also can be cut and burned 6 months later and is perhaps the easiest wood there is to split.

    As for the rounds, there is no way I'd split a stick that is only 3". In addition, there is no way I will use rounds for starting a fire. Why make it difficult? Use only splits for building fires and life gets easier.
    amateur cutter, Paulywalnut and ScotO like this.
  10. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    I say if your little rounds are wet,and you need them, then split them....
  11. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    +1

    Solid rounds are for extended burn time, splits light much more easily
  12. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    Agreed - 5-6" is usually my cutoff, sometimes a bit larger if difficult to split. Throw those maple rounds in on a bed of coals and they'll do fine. And a 3" round does not need to be in your stack for years before you burn it. It will sizzle a little, but I've burned maple rounds of that size many times. As for the kindling, that is also a job I let my kids do, gather up a few containers of sticks it's a pretty simple job. Bark works also if it's dried out. I fill a few large bins in August or September and that's my supply for the winter.
    ScotO likes this.
  13. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    When cutting down trees, I save everything 2" and up.....those smaller pieces do good at getting morning start-up fires going. I don't split anything smaller than 5", as was already stated they may sizzle for a couple minutes in the stove (yes, even after 2-3 years if they are a good hardwood), that goes to show that non-split wood does not readily give up it's moisture as split wood does.....
    That small amount of moisture coming out of a 2-3 year old 3" round of wood isn't going to cause you any problems.....
  14. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Scotty thats those multiple rows doing that do ya, my single row rounds dont sizzle.:)
  15. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    if you say so Sparky. Funny thing is, the rounds are mostly stacked on the ousted perimeter of my stack! They get the most air!
  16. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    I do split small oak rounds only. They can stay moist for years.
    Definately not a waste of time getting kindling and starter wood ready.;)
    Applesister likes this.
  17. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    I'll amend my previous reply here......Depending on how much kindling I have, my mood, how much small stuff there is, and a host of other factors, I may split and I may not split the small stuff.
    I don't however, sweat the small stuff.:cool:
    This year, I have a few boxes of kindling made from slab wood and strips from the shop. There's a ton more to be made in the same manner.
    There are also so many little branches in the woods, it's not really an issue if I don't split the small stuff. Pine, and Maple make up the majority of that. It's everywhere.
    If it weren't for the ticks............
  18. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    When I am cutting birch on my brothers property I have to try to cut as small as possible so he thinks I am getting full use of the wood. I usually run the chain saw along the length of the trunk and the major branches after I have trimmed off the small stuff. It dries a lot quicker and unlike most birch doesnt start rotting immediately if uncut or split.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    OMG!!!! Burning that pine might make hair start to grow in the palms of your hands.....or worse. ;)
    amateur cutter and PapaDave like this.
  20. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Evil Pine.
    My brother still won't burn it.
    But, he won't dry it either, so there's that.>>
  21. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Just having a little fun with yu, but the inside end wont get much, not sure how long I leave some of my rounds but green cut Mulberry and White Ash 4 or 5 inch rounds stay heavy forever it seems like.
    ScotO likes this.
  22. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I know you're busting me, brother...;)
    The small oak rounds seem to be the worst for me.......no matter how long you let them season, they always have a little sizzle to them.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  23. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    A 3" round of Ironwood could be 70 years old whereas a 3" round of poplar could be 4-5 years old. Beech hickory and Ironwood living in the understory is dense heavy stuff. I have some saplings that may push the 3 year drying time.
    I never actually thought about all this.
    If I come to stuff that doesnt burn I just restack it in another drying pile. Theres always next year, God willing. And I save everything. I cut sticks right down to 1/2" rounds.
    It might be a waste of time....
    But apple prunings and pear and plum and peach gets treated like gold.
  24. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Right. Split them if you can, cut short if you can't.
  25. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Well I like rounds for the dead of winter but I hate sizzlers so the rounds get extra time in the stack.
    ScotO and PapaDave like this.

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