Do you stack, dry, and burn branches? How small

Oww My Back Hurts Posted By Oww My Back Hurts, Mar 3, 2013 at 11:09 PM

  1. Oww My Back Hurts

    Feb 26, 2013
    Do (unsplit) branches take a lot longer to dry compared to split trunk sections? When you cut wood, how small a diameter do the branches get before you write them off as brush?

    I've been keeping everything 3-inch diameter or more but I'm wondering how well the branches will dry since they have bark on them
    Jon1270 likes this.
  2. Applesister

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 5, 2012
    Upstate NY
    My firewood is mostly culled orchard wood which is limbs and sticks. Ive read a couple threads on how small you go with splits and rounds. Personal preference. I have friends who split their wood in huge chunks and others who prefer only small rounds. I need to handle the wood with one hand for economy(on the large end). Smaller stuff loses economy as well at the other end. It just becomes annoying.
    I really think its personal handling preference. What dries better? There are lots of threads here with the bark on bark off...rounds or splits....covered uncovered...exhausting theories.
    Your personal situation will dictate its own logic. I think.
    What you do is for your own pleasure.
    Ralphie Boy likes this.
  3. ArsenalDon

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 16, 2012
    Meadow Valley, CA
    Smaller stuff works fine. I keep em down to 2"-3". Stuff em tight together when you load them. I use them to load on top of larger splits and to fill in the gaps in a full load. I do not use them alone.
    firefighterjake likes this.
  4. billb3

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 14, 2007
    SE Mass
    Even birch bark dries out after a while
    round wood dries out fine - at least oak, cherry and swamp maple does
    I've saved 2 inches and up
    the small stuff is just time consuming relative to volume
    everyone has to manage the time they have - it's all relative

    I use pine branches for kindling and they seem to dry out the same as splits - maybe even faster ( comparing green to green )
  5. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover
    Minister of Fire

    Dec 25, 2010
    Southern IN
    I used to save real small stuff, but recently just 3" and up. They take a long time to dry, especially Oak, so I will crack the ends sometimes with a hatchet to let more air in. Seems like it's more trouble than it's worth, for me. I guess if I didn't crack 'em apart, I could just dedicate a stacking row or two to the small stuff...
  6. Mr A

    Mr A
    Minister of Fire

    Nov 18, 2011
    N. California
    I scrounged a few cords of mulberry,. haven't burned it yet, but found the small branches good for cribbing and helping to level out in the stack
    Thistle likes this.
  7. Thistle

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 16, 2010
    Central IA
    When cutting on my usual place when they are sound & not rotten I save all branches down to 1 1/2" or so. Oaks,Hickory & Cherry saved for the smoker & weber kettle also.Smaller stuff and/or anything rotten is piled up for wildlife cover.When working a scrounge or the rare paid job I wont take anything under 2" & I wont take any of the brush either.
  8. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw
    Minister of Fire

    Dec 22, 2008
    Schoharie County, N Y
    About 2inch.
  9. ScotO


    Everything down to 2" diameter gets put in the stacks. I use those "sticks" for morningto re-starts on the hot bed of coals.....
  10. BobUrban

    Minister of Fire

    Jul 24, 2010
    Central Michigan
    Stacking and burning rounds can be a good thing for long burn times and overnights but they do take longer to season/dry. I keeps some up to 6-8" in the stacks but for my first year I split everything that fit into the hydro to speed things up. Now that I am 3-4yrs ahead larger splits and rounds go in the stacks. All depends on species, splitter access and timeline in years ahead as to the size of rounds I put in the stacks.

    I do notice the size of my splits and rounds I choose to split get larger by the end of a day of splitting.
    ScotO and PapaDave like this.
  11. TradEddie

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 24, 2012
    SE PA
    I threw a 2-year old oak round, maybe 5-6" diameter in the back of the insert last night, in front was a bone dry cherry split, on a good bed of hot coals. I struggled for nearly an hour to get the insert back over 400, and even then it would die as soon as I cut back the air. When I went to bed, the cherry was gone but the oak round still had uncharred sections. I'm sure whole rounds do dry eventually but from now on they'll go on the bottom of the stack. Splits from the same tree are burning fine.

  12. firefighterjake

    Minister of Fire

    Jul 22, 2008
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    I keep just about everything 2-3 inches or larger . . . unless it is wicked branchy, misshapen, rotten, etc.

    At one time I was more of a snob . . . but I figure the wood burns fine, works well to fill up the woodbox on top of larger splits and it just seems a bit wasteful on my part to not take it . . . even if it means more processing time.

    As for seasoning . . . the wood I burn usually is seasoned for three years so it's all pretty much good to go by Year 3 whether it be a split or round.
    Jack Straw likes this.
  13. Oww My Back Hurts

    Feb 26, 2013
    Thanks for all the responses. I split by hand so the smaller pieces would let me skip a step. I was worried they wouldn't dry with the bark on but it sounds like maybe I'll just let 'em sit a little longer than the rest & all should be good.
  14. Waulie

    Minister of Fire

    Aug 31, 2011
    Nothern Lower Michigan
    Yeah, I like to keep the small stuff. It's real fast to cut, doesn't need to be split, and is nice for filling in gaps in the loads. Plus, it burns. ::-)

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