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Does wood "season" over the winter?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by kubes14060, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. kubes14060

    kubes14060 New Member

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    Just curious...I have wood that I think is close and want to burn it in the colder spring months at my cabin. We are not there in the winter. What do you think. Right now it is covered with a tarp.

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  2. donmattingly

    donmattingly Member

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    In my opinion, no. Seasoned wood needs "Seasons." The rain of spring, the sun of summer and the wind of late summer and fall. Let it sit there for the year and you will be glad you did.
  3. guy01

    guy01 Member

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    I have always assumed the freeze thaw cycles in winter and the dry air would speed drying. I however have no proof
    Guy
  4. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    yes it does
  5. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    yes freeze dries.
  6. loon

    loon Minister of Fire

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    here i am last year trying to show my youngest boy how to drive a loader at the sewage plant where i work...

    [​IMG]

    and ya thats human waste that came out of the centrifuge which is around 22% solids but over the winter that other 78% "water" turns into about 70% so yes i am thinking wood would freeze dry for sure ;-P

    sorry about the crap i just put up :cheese: but figured it was a pretty close example of moisture loss from freezing

    loon
  7. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    now there is a load o chit
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    You won't get any crap from me, just years of experience. The wide temperature swings in Winter "dehumidify" the air and everything else.
  9. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

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    Since you live in western NY, you will find that during an average winter that wood drying will slow very drastically in the winter.
  10. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    Wood can definitely dry in the winter, but how much depends on where you live. In winter you can get very low relative humidity during the day, especially if cold arctic air moves south and warms up. Low relative humidity and wind can lead to good rates of evaporation and good wood drying. The problems with this include wood covered in snow and places where the relative humidity is high. I think western NY has both. I am not too far south of you in central PA, and we have lots of cold, dry, windy winter weather that quickly evaporates the snow from my wood stacks and I am sure dries out the wood. Not far north of here you enter lake effect snow belt, and I think they probably get a lot less drying of firewood in the winter. You results will depend on where you are. PLus, wood covered in a tarp isn't going to evaporate much water. Snow cover would be just as bad, or worse.
  11. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    Depends on what you mean by "season." Lots of fuzzy thinking there.

    To me it means some combination of three processes: decomposition of plant nutrients in the wood, evaporation of inter-cellular water, evaporation of "bound" intra-cellular water. With emphasis on the former.

    Answer: possibly. Temperature is important, as is protection from rain and soil moisture. (Tarp should divert moisture away from wood, not down through it.)
    Rate is unknowable from here; size of splits is your control input here.
  12. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    There was a long, long debate about the relative importance of temperature vs. humidity on this site a year ago. The evidence says that wood will continue to dry in the winter, but not as fast as when temps are warmer. The lower the humidity, the better, but higher temps contribute more to wood drying.
  13. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Ahhhhh Yes, the Rain of spring is needed. This is exactly why wood never drys in Arizona. %-P
    Ok I am gone now.
    Cheers.
  14. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    In winter the relative humidity can be rather high, it's the absolute moisture content that is low. For much of the country (including NY and PA), wood reaches a lower EMC in the spring than in any other season. That is because the RH is lowest then. This is true, in spite of our famous "April Showers".

    Oh... firewood will definitely dry during the winter. This hickory was cut from living trees last December. The photo was taken after it had been stacked outside for about a month. There is some oak in there, too. As you can see, it didn't fare as well as the hickory.

    Attached Files:

  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    My opinion: Yes.
  16. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Yes. Wood is always 'seasoning' as time marches on. And time is the single most important thing splits of firewood need before they are ready to burn. But wood 'dries' less in the Winter than it does in Spring and Fall during the sunny, windy, warm, dry days.
  17. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    If you don't want the wood to dry out put chapstick on it.
    Maybe some moisturizer, too.
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I agree. It will dry some during winter but the best drying is during the summer months.
  19. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Temp swings, freeze thaw- those are not driving the drying. Freezing cold slows drying- so it's drying slower when cold. That is a fact. The dryer air helps a bit.

    The real answer- it does dry. It dries faster in warmer months.
  20. formula_pilot

    formula_pilot Member

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    In my limited experience, if the wood is frozen, it dries very, very slowly. Last year I was given a load of punky maple that that was rather wet, and I just wanted to burn it to get rid of it. Even when split and tops covered, it did not dry much in the dead of winter, with all the water inside frozen. But as soon as daytime temps started to get above freezing, that stuff dried right out and it burned well (we get alot of wind here). Water will go from a frozen state to vapor, a process called sublimation, but it occurs at a much slower rate than evaporation from liquid state.
  21. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Move it into a dry basement...the parched air will suck the moisture right outta there.

    I keep about 3.5 cords in the basement.
  22. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

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    Don't think my wife would let me stack 3.5 cords in the basement family room!
  23. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

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    Would she be cool with storing it in my basement?
  24. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    If you remember George in Seinfeld, he had significant shrinkage in the cold water. I believe it drys year round, it probably won't dry if you get ice on it. But the wind is still doing a number on the wood.
  25. Stump_Branch

    Stump_Branch Minister of Fire

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    Agree. Think about Bourbon, if any of you are fans. they say Kentucky is the best due the drastic changes in 'seasons' ie as the temp and humidty change the whiskey is forced in and out of the wood barrels. (out in cold and in when warm) while i dont kow about cold months and water traveling in, it certainly would slow the whole process down a bit. I read a post earlier in which people discussed putting wood by a fire to dry. if winter time was better for drying then why wouldnt that discussion have been about putting spilts in the fridge?

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