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First time burner...off track already?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by TooColdHere, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. TooColdHere

    TooColdHere New Member

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    Hey all,
    This is such a great site, especially for a newbie like me! I am wondering if the cord of slab wood I got is a bad move. Most is the first cut off hardwood logs that I will split further. I put several in my outdoor fire pit, charred and burned quickly making a nice ember bed and went to complete ashes.
    Do you think I should get more, or just go for a load of splits and mix them? New stove coming next week so I want to get next year's "batch" ready. I really appreciate any advice.
    Thank you!

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  2. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Slabwood isn't necessarily bad but split cordwood is better. Slabs burn faster so you're likely to have to reload the stove more often. With some species they can be mostly bark, which is likely to have lower BTU values. It's also often got a lot of sawdust clinging to it, making it messier to bring into the house.
  3. TooColdHere

    TooColdHere New Member

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    Very little bark on this load, but great points. I'll get a couple loads of cordwood to mix. Next...I learn to search for wood! I have to get use out of the splitter I bought. Already looking forward to next winter! haha
    Thank you!
  4. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum
    Slab wood is good for getting a quick fire started or a few pieces on a reload coal bed.
    They will be helpful to have if the splits you're getting are less than seasoned, mixing them in will help dry out bigger wood.
    Adding your location will help direct you towards the species of wood that season faster in your area
    PapaDave likes this.
  5. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Where are you located (approx. is good)? Get some Ash to start, and you'll be better off for the effort. If you can't process it yourself fast enough, get it c/s/d for next winter, then get more for the following winter.
    Just whatever you do, get it split and stacked ASAP.
    The slabwood should dry pretty well, if s/s. What is it? Slabwood comes in many flavors around here.
  6. TooColdHere

    TooColdHere New Member

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    I'll add my details after this post. I am on Kent Island, just over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Annapolis, MD. I'm not sure of the species in this load, but no hissing or steam at all. It seems very dry, but I will do as suggested and get more "real" wood delivered to mix! :)
  7. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Slab wood may not be the best for long burns, but it dries very quickly if stacked right. Since you are just starting out it is a very good option for you.
    If the price is good I'd get more. Waaaay better than cord wood that isn't properly dried. It is often impossible to buy firewood that is ready to burn (despite what the sellers claim) and many types take more than a year to dry.
    If you bought a cord of freshly split wood tomorrow and stacked it loosely in a windy spot SOME species should be ready to burn next year, like:
    Ash
    Silver Maple
    Cherry
    Birch
    Most others would not be burnable until the second winter: Hard Maple, locust, elm...
    Oak would likely not be very good until the winter after that.

    Come back & ask before you buy wood for next season & you'll get an idea if it will dry by then
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum TooColdHere.

    In your case, I would definitely get more slab wood. Get it cut to length and stacked and that will no doubt be your prime wood for next winter. That stuff, even if oak, can dry quite fast and this is your biggest problem being a new wood burner. Just know that what you cut now and this summer has a very poor chance of being good firewood for next year. Now back up and re-read that last sentence!

    Also you need to know what kind of wood you are going to cut. The reason is that different types of wood takes different amounts of time to dry properly. It also matters a lot how you stack the wood.

    Two types of wood I'd recommend is like Dave said, white ash. The other would be soft maple. Ash normally needs a year but you very well may find lots of dead ash still standing. (Emeral Ash borer)

    When it comes time to burn that slab wood, do not fill the stove with it! The reason is that it is small and should be very dry. Being small means a lot of surface that is open to fire and it can be easy to overheat the stove. On the other hand, I know of folks who have burned nothing but slab wood and get along just fine.
  9. TooColdHere

    TooColdHere New Member

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    Thank you all! I got a little over a cord of slab for $130 delivered. I split and stacked about 1/3 of it today (as was told it could overfire) and will finish tomorrow/this week. I was told it was cut a year ago and based on the silver color of most, and the way it burned in my pit, I would tend to believe. Maybe I'll get another cord of slab and a cord of mixed hardwood? Are the large slabs best split to be used in a stove? I can mix slab with the hardwood and let it sit another year, of needed?
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Most of the time there is no reason to split slabwood unless you need to in order to fit it through the firebox door.
  11. TooColdHere

    TooColdHere New Member

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    Backwoods...I just wasted a day!! Haha...kidding. Great weather and I haven't had a workout like this in a long time. So I can just stack the rest and order more? THAT would be great! (I'm getting ready for our new/first stove that will be delivered next week. May be a few weeks before install, though.)
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Hey TooCold, here's another little top. When you stack it, try to stack so that not too many have the flat face against each other because that will cut the air circulation.

    That will be a happy time when you get that stove. Hope you get some pictures.
    tfdchief likes this.
  13. TooColdHere

    TooColdHere New Member

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    Thank you! (I'm glad you responded, Ray said to look you up!) I will take that tip and stack appropriately. Maybe I'll order a couple more cords and let a cord of hardwood just sit for another year. I will certainly post pics...starting with the li'l baby's delivery!
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Hey, Ray is a good guy! I think you are on the right track for sure. And make sure if you get any oak, that needs 3 years to dry!!!!

    Also, you are no doubt aware that I've always recommended everyone be 3 years ahead on their wood supply. There are many, many benefits to doing this. Some can't because of space requirements so if that is a problem, for sure get 2 years ahead.
  15. TooColdHere

    TooColdHere New Member

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    He IS a great guy! This place is FULL of them! (And great ladies, too!) I have a fallen leyland cypress that I will cut tomorrow to free up about 20' along my back property line. I abut a farm so that looks like a perfect place for several cords! I need to get a few rows of pallets to start my collection. :) I'm just trying to get an idea of "a years worth" here in MD. I guess I'll figure that out this coming winter. haha
  16. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Don't forget there are options rather than pallets. But then, I really hate most pallets. I just cut some saplings in the woods to lay down. I've even been known to sacrifice some of the firewood and lay it down to stack on. Just lay them so they look like poles. Then next spring when you have the other wood gone, throw those logs you sacrificed onto next year's wood and they will be fine. That way you don't have to mess with pallets and if you are in town, for sure you don't want a lot of empty pallets setting around when the wood is gone. Landscape timbers work well too.
  17. TooColdHere

    TooColdHere New Member

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    Good idea! The only issue I have is, I need my trailer to get landscape timbers/pallets/whatever wood I use. Trailer is filled with slab wood. :) I have a rack that I am loading and maybe I can just throw the rest on the ground until I can stack it.
    Thanks!
  18. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    While your at the store getting landscape timbers you might want to pick up some materials for a sawbuck.
    If you plan on cutting a bunch of slabs a it'll make it a bit safer(chain tends to grab those squared edges - as you've probably realized)

    It'll make processing faster and safer in the long run.

    You may want to ask the slabwood supplier if they have butt end cuts and cull logs that they can deliver
  19. TooColdHere

    TooColdHere New Member

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    I'm really picking up some tips here! I had planned to get rounds and had picked up a 6hp splitter. I haven't even fired up my saw, but am seeing your points. A good plan will save hours! Thank you. (I think this will be really good. On a beautiful day like we had today, I spent all afternoon splitting wood...instead of a 30 pack with neighbors!) :)
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  20. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    My rule of thumb is work hard(way harder than when I'm getting paid) and the beer tastes better in the afternoon. Cuts down on mass consumption rates as well

    I c/s/s ~2/3cord of red oak from 11-4 after replacing 2 squirrel chewed spark plug wires and freeing up a stuck carb float on the old truck today.

    It's a good sized straight ~28"DBH red oak except the middle is laying in a swamp after this mornings storms
  21. TooColdHere

    TooColdHere New Member

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    My morning will be more productive too! That is...if I can move my legs and back. haha
    Sounds like you had a darn good day. The end of the week is supposed to be real nice here. I may take my first real "me day" off of work ever.
  22. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you already got your questions answered and some good advise. Happy burnin;)
  23. Boa69

    Boa69 New Member

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    That's exactly right basod
  24. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    Welcome - just follow the advice of Backwoods Savage and you'll be in good shape. You may even have to change your user name!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  25. TooColdHere

    TooColdHere New Member

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    Thanks! I was able to secure a few trailers of oak, maple and gum rounds that were cut 1-2 years ago. I'll get them this week. I also found 2-1/2 cords of split oak literally under a mile away. Waiting on commitment there. Gonna get busy here!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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