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Does seasoned wood really need to be stacked for the rest of summer?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by jzinckgra, Jun 15, 2009.

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  1. jzinckgra

    jzinckgra Member

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    I am ordering some "seasoned" wood and will have it delivered this week. I don't know how seasoned it is, but it will be used this winter. My father has ordered wood for 25 yrs and always had the guy just dump it and it sat there all summer out in the sun (and rain), then come Fall, he would put it in the basement. The guy installing our woodstove says it should be staked upon delivery and covered (if outside) to further dry out the wood. My quesiton is whether it really needs to be stacked. Is it really more effective to stack then to leave it as a pile for the rest of the summer?

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Yes, it will season much better in a stack rather than just in a pile. It also is best to stack it so the wind can hit the side of the piles and preferably in the sunshine also.

    I've always been a believer in not covering wood the first summer and then cover in late fall or early winter. This will allow for much better evaporation. Some that live in wet areas do cover right away. If you do cover it, cover only the top of the pile and not the sides or ends.

    And that "seasoned" wood you ordered probably is not seasoned at all. Most is not and that word, "seasoned," is one of the most misused words in the English language.

    Those who don't worry about seasoned wood would really be amazed at how much less wood it takes to heat their homes with good seasoned wood. It takes much less wood and you don't have so much of that creosote problem. If you can get two years ahead on your wood, you will be much better off.
  3. BandSawyer

    BandSawyer Member

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    The drier you keep the wood the better. If you stack it and cover the top of it you keep the rain out and it will give you the best results when you burn.
  4. jzinckgra

    jzinckgra Member

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    Thanks. I wish I knew how seasoned the wood really is, but regardless, I need it for this winter. I will stack it, but what is the preferred way? I see some people stack one row at a time, with one log lengthwise on top of the other. I have also seen others stack in an alternating fashion, like you would do when building a log home. Does it really matter?

    My plan is to stack outside, then come Fall, move as much as I can into the finished garage. I don't have a lean-to to keep outside. Is putting it in the garage a bad idea?
  5. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    If you are very curious, order something like this: http://www.amazon.com/PSI-MMETER2-D...ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1245080230&sr=8-6

    It's a small investment, really, and it will let you know for sure just how seasoned your wood is. Split a piece of wood and then immediately take a reading from the middle of the wood where you just split it. Don't take a reading from the end of the piece or from the side that has been exposed to the elements.
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    [​IMG]

    This wood will not be burned for several years. If it had to be burned this coming winter then I would have stacked like this only in single rows with enough room to walk between them. Don't stack over 4' high and you shouldn't have problems with the piles falling over.

    Notice this wood is not covered nor will it be covered until November or December. Then I'll lay some old steel roofing on the tops.

    The big thing is to get wind going through the piles to get rid of the moisture. Rain won't soak into the wood; we just don't worry about that as when it rains, that moisture is gone within 24 hours.
  7. PunKid8888

    PunKid8888 New Member

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    I would not move the wood into the garage until a couple good frosts. by then hopefully most of the bugs and animials are else where.

    And don't count on that wood beeing seasoned at all. when ever I purchase wood I always stack right away and while stacking I serperate the wood into four piles.

    1. somewhat seasoned (sharpe knock when banged together)
    2. Not seasoned (dull thud)
    3. Too long
    4. too Big

    Then I can recut the longs and re split the too bigs and work it down to just two types of wood. I will then make sure the not seasoned wood has the most sun and wind to help season it throughout the summer. In the winter I will then burn the seasoned stuff first in hopes to give that green wood a couple more months before using it towards the end of the winter.

    Maybe I am bit too anal.
  8. jzinckgra

    jzinckgra Member

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    Thanks guys. I like the idea of waiting till the frost kills off the bugs too.
  9. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Took delivery of treelength(12 cord) hardwood in march. Cut off the stump probably in feb. Bucked all of it up by april 1st. Split it up about the 1st of May. (I have 3 cord still in garage that I bought/leftover from last year.) When I split the wood this spring, I stacked about 3 cord on gravel, in a spot with plenty of wind/sun, did not cover. Then I just tossed the rest of the wood in a long pile. With the 3 cord I have in garage already, plus the 3 cord i stacked outiside, that will get me thru until next summer/fall. I'll stack all of it in garage late fall. I will put the 3 cord I stacked outside, in next to last, then put the 3 cord I have from last year in front of it.

    I agree with Backwoods, no need to cover until late fall/early winter. Also agree with punk about waiting until a couple of good hard frosts.(Of which we just stopped having them up here) Ideally, if you can afford it, buy 2 years worth of wood. I wouldn't hesitate throwing it in a pile, that has good drainage, then stack/pile(in it's final resting place) once after it sits outside for a year. Would it dry better if all of it was stacked? sure, but it might be a happy medium on figuring handling and time constraints.
  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Backwoods - The first stack on the right, sixteen splits back and 6 splits down.....You need to tap that one in about 1.5". It doesn't line up with the rest and makes that stack look a little shabby. ;-P

    To the OP - get that wood stacked with sun in its face and wind to its back. Even if it is "seasoned", that will still improve the quality of the firewood for this year.
  11. maplewood

    maplewood Minister of Fire

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    Stack it and let it air dry. I like to put mine in around September, after a week of sunshine - it feels bone dry to the touch. I don't like to wait until frost - my helpers are too cold and I can pick up a lot of dampness from fall rains. I put 10 cord in my heated basement, and it will dry out a bit more there, too.

    I just got a moisture meter for $21 on E-bay. No charge shipping to North America, all the way from Honga Konga. I'm late cutting up this season's wood this year (not a year ahead like I should be!). It's at 36% moisture right now. I'm still expecting it to get down to 20% by fall. Mostly maple and yellow birch. Splitting it down to 5" and smaller.
  12. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    I pile my wood on gravel. Then move it and stack under the deck for the winter.
  13. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    As mentioned "seasoned" is very subjective . . . "seasoned" to me means the wood has been cut and split for a minimum of 6 months to a year . . . "seasoned" to another wood burner could be wood that has been cut and split for a year to two years . . . "seasoned" to a wood dealer could be wood that was cut in January and then just split two weeks ago . . . all very subjective. No matter what . . . the best wood is the most seasoned wood and the best way to season wood is air flow . . . which means stacking.

    That said, I have a friend that splits his wood (cut to firewood sized pieces last Fall) and brings his wood right into the basement. He says the wood burns fine and honestly by Fall it does appear to be pretty decent (thanks in part to a low moisture, dry basement) . . . but I seriously doubt his wood is as seasoned as mine which is stacked and exposed to both the sun and wind until I tarp it over or (new this year) put it into my woodshed.

    Honestly, I think it's worth the time to stack it and speed up the drying process before bringing the wood to its next to last resting place . . . not sure . . . would that be considered purgatory? ;)

    The garage: I have mixed feelings on this. On the plus side, it would be dry and you could access it in your PJs. On the negative, there would be the added mess and possibility of bug infestation . . . that said, my friend has never reported any problems with bugs and I can't think of any problems that my grandparents ever had with the woodshed attached to their house after umpteen number of years of heating with wood so this may not be as big a deal.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Jags, I keep telling my wife to go straighten that up too. Guess I'll have to do it myself...
  15. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    I took my first delivery of wood last May and it was probably "seasoned" about 4-6 months when I got it. I wish I had left it outside all winter in addition to summer - I think it would have continued to dry out if left outside. Instead, I moved it to the garage in the fall and somewhat struggled to get good burns. I would recommend splitting now into smaller pieces (3-4" on a side) before stacking it - it will help to dry it faster.
  16. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I stack everything both in the garage and under large roof overhangs accessible by man or wife in slippers regardless of weather. As it is burned, we clean up all of the leftovers to keep them from getting wet and attracting bugs. Haven't had a problem with it in four seasons but the wood is dry before it goes under the roof.
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