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Do Unsplit Logs Dry?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by DenD, Jul 12, 2006.

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  1. DenD

    DenD New Member

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    I recently put down a deposit on a new insert and am in the process of trying to secure my wood supply for this winter. I have been calling around for prices on seasoned cords. Today I talked with a firewood supplier who told me that his seasoned hardwood (mix of oak, hickory, birch maple) had been cut into log lengths 1-3 years ago but had not been split. He said he would cut it to my desired length, split and deliver. I have been reading the threads on this site about drying times and I was concerned that the wood would not be dry for this season because it will be split in July. I asked the supplier about this and he told me that it will be "good to go" for this season. Most of the threads I have read talk about 6-12 months of drying times once split, but I haven't seen any discussion about how much drying occurs prior to splitting. Do people think that this wood will be dry by the time the burning season starts? Or should I look for another source of wood? I live in CT and will stack the wood as soon as it is delivered in single rows that will be ainly in the sun. (I'm starting my scrounging for the '07/'08 season too)

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    If he is willing to make smaller splits like 4 out of an 8" round and you stack right away exposed to sun, it could be ready for the heating season.
  3. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    2 " peices ? Thats small wood . I cut my wood in December - Feb , had it all stacked and i am just now getting all 8.5 cords split . I already have 3 cords ready from last year. I think if it is split you should be fine . I would burn the OAK last or try to save it for about December . You could always mix up your order a bit . Say order 2-3 cords for this huy and 1-2 from other wood vendor .
  4. RoosterBoy

    RoosterBoy New Member

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    den what part of Connecticut are you from and what stove did you end up buying?

    thanks
    Jason
  5. DenD

    DenD New Member

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    Jason - I'm located in Simsbury. I got the Osburn 1600 insert. Its smaller than I wanted, but I had a lot of clearance issues. Out of the small inserts, the Osburn had the largest firebox, which was a major factor in my decision.
  6. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Here in coastal Va, the humidity is so high that the leftover oak from last year has "deseasoned". There were lots of radial cracks that have closed up. Like its reabsorbing water after a dry winter.

    So, from my experience, most of the drying starts once the humidity drops in the fall, and really dries throughout the winter.

    I would say you would be good to go if you immediately split it, stack it with sun exposure, and cover only the row tops.
  7. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Doesn't the majority of moisture exit the wood through the ends and not the sides?

    If this hardwood has been sitting in log length for 1-3 years and is cut and split and stacked like Sandor says I think you would be fine. A couple years ago I had a tri axle load of logs delivered end of Feb (that had been cut the week prior) and got everything cut and split most of it went into a wood shed within 5 weekends and we started burning in the fall. It burned good. The direct sun, covered tops and elevate of the ground is key.

    I would stick with a standard 16" round. I am somewhat suspicious of a firewood dealer sitting on logs for 3 years? Especially the way demand has been.
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Split wood loses moisture from the ends and from the sides, since there's a great deal of exposed surface area on splits.

    Wood that is blocked and left in the sun will dry out over time. It's easier to split and even if it re-absorbs water, it leaves just as fast.

    I'd be suspicious about log lengths that have been sitting around, however. As Vintage points out, unsplit logs of any length can only lose moisture from the ends, which doesn't give the water in the bulk of the log much chance to exit. I think log lengths that have been sitting around that long without being split stand a greater chance of rotting than they do of drying. But that does depend on how they were stored.

    Bottom line, I wouldn't count on 3-year-old log lengths to yield dry firewood by this winter. They may be better than green wood, but not by much. That's just my opinion.
  9. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I agree with Eric. I was burned this way before. A guy sold me some oak rounds one summer, and said they would be fine to burn that fall because they have been cut the year before. Some burned ok, but the majority wasn't ready. I would look around for firewood that has been split already this spring or sooner. If it's a good deal, buy some for the 07/08 season. Best to be a year ahead of the game.
  10. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    Our wood guy sells this way - has a log pile, cuts to the desired length, splits and delivers (for 100/cord).

    Ash, Beech and maple seem to be fine this way - get them split/stacked in the sun by september and they're in good shape before the hard freeze in december. The oak (esp. red oak) and walnut won;t be ready till the following year.

    Steve
  11. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    For what it is worth...this is on a couple firewood dealers links and Juca insets web site. It says the info comes from a U.S. Forest Products laboratory. Not sure if this means Ding and Dongs Lab or what??? It lists btu values and some other info about wood drying, splitting when frozen and splitting top down versus bottom up. Bunch of info on moisture values.

    http://mb-soft.com/juca/print/firewood.html
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The U.S. Forest Products Lab is the U.S. Forest Service's research lab in Madison, Wisconsin. That's where they do all kinds of interesting research on paper, lumber and other wood products.
  13. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

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    Reading down... it also answers the definition of a "rick" as a "face cord, or approximately 1/3 of a cord.
  14. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Thanks Eric.

    I was not sure...you see alot of different info on these topics even in the state web sites.
  15. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Either way , Thats small peices . Unless you have a super small wood stove . If one has to split peices that small then its way too much effort and a waist .I would normally go 1 slpit to an 8" round. You would need to find a different route . PS My math is fine , thanks tho .
  16. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I'll third Eric's point that the wood will not likely be ready. Here's my reasoning. Early last summer (June-may) I cut an apple tree in my yard and had a bunch of 1-2" peices that were about 6 feet long sitting around all summer next to the splitting station. In direct sun about 6 hours a day. In the mid-summer (July or so) I cut to about 14-16 inch length and put them on the pile along with some oak I had cut in August 05, split and stacked. At the end of last year's heat season, so aprilish, we had a couple cold snaps and the stove needed to be running. The oak burned o.k., but clearly needed more seasoning. I think of the size of the splits as 8" rounds into 4 splits (rough size estimate), so pretty small. The apple which was NOT split just sizzled, spit sap out the end of the logs, and didn't burn in a HOT stove for a good 20 minutes or more. And that's down to peices as small as 1".

    So, in my experience:
    1. All unsplit logs do not dry out very well, no matter how small.
    2. Oak takes a long time to dry, even if it IS split, so unsplit oak with the bark dries slower than the earth making new fossil fuels
    3. If the bark isn't falling off, it's not dry (I believe Pine to be the exception on that, but someone correct me here)
    4. Logs stored on the ground rot quickly.
  17. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    When I lived in a mountain community in WV a couple of years ago, nearly all of us heated with wood.

    All of us cut and split in the spring and early summer. I stacked in rows, in a windy open field, with full Southern exposure. Burnt that wood in the winter.

    Others who stacked their splits in the woods, less windy with little sun exposure had green wood that winter. And the winter after that.

    We were all bucking the same wood supply. Usually Red Oak.
  18. DenD

    DenD New Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone. I decided to play it safe and find a supplier that had more seasoned wood. I made some more calls and found a supplier that can deliver 3 cords this weekend - cut last summer, split over the winter and a better price too.
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