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Green or seasoned wood

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Tritonman, Feb 13, 2008.

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  1. Rick Stanley

    Rick Stanley Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, I would be. But it wouldn't be the first time :bug:

    Now you've got me wondering if I could save some effort by doing the splitting right before it's sawn to length and put in the barn. Those four foot oak bolts would be lighter then. But I'm not convinced they'd be dry enough, just sitting there with the bark on all summer. Hmmmm, I'm still skeptical............

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  2. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    To me the key lesson is that it is better to cut to length early in the spring, rather than waiting all summer and then cutting to length. Moisture in the center of a 4' length has to go two feet to escape, if it's in the center of an 18" stove round, only nine inches... I would only cut to 4' lengths for transport, for seasoning I'd want to get it into stove length as soon as possible, splitting is optional.

    Gooserider
  3. Rick Stanley

    Rick Stanley Feeling the Heat

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    I understand what you're saying. You're saying that a stick of green oak 12 inches in diameter, that is split into 8 pieces, won't dry any faster than a stick of green oak 12 inches in diameter that is not split, as long as the lengths are equal. Right? I won't argue, because I don't really know, when it comes right down to it. It SEEMS like it would dry faster if split. But I've been around long enough to know that things aren't always what they seem. Or, as my 91 year old Grandfather says," you can't tell, by the looks of a frog, how far he can jump". (I just love his old sayings)

    Anyway, splitting isn't optional for me at the moment, because I have small stoves and big trees. I've been doing everything four foot to save handling every piece so many times. The system I have works, the wood is good and dry and burns good. Until I get that big gasifier so I can roll those big rounds into it, I'm kinda stuck with it. But, like I said before, if the only benefit I'm getting from splitting, is small pieces for small stoves, I could do that later in the sequence when the wood will weigh less. I'll have to think on that.
    Maybe starting a new thread in the Gear room on how everyone else processes their wood wouldn't be a bad idea.

    Thanks
  4. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Sort of... Splitting the 12" diameter round into smaller sections won't greatly speed it's total drying time going to a target of ~20% as most of the moisture leaves a peice of wood following it's fiber structure, or out the ends. However cutting a 4' long log into 4 16" sections WILL greatly speed it's drying. However as long as what you are doing works for you, I don't see a big reason to change.

    Splitting DOES help in the initial drying, but essentially what happens is that you change the shape of the curves... At least in theory, if you were to make a graph of time vs MC, an unsplit round would show a more or less constant rate of moisture loss, or a smooth curve from where it started when cut, down to the end point when it's "done" A split round would have more of a "stair step" curve where it would loose much faster initially down to about half way, then slow a great deal on the remainder so that the total time stays the same.

    The theoretical explanation is due to the way that the moisture is stored in the wood, some is "loose" moisture in the capillary tubes of the tree, but most is stored inside the actual plant cells. The capillary moisture evaporates rapidly, mostly out the ends, but somewhat through any open surface, and is what evaporates quickly if you split the log. The in-cell moisture takes a lot longer regardless.

    Thus my advice is that if you have green wood that you need to burn sooner than it really should be, cutting to length and splitting it small will maximize the amount of moisture you get rid of in a short time, but it is mostly making the best of a bad situation, and getting "dryer" wood, it won't get you properly seasoned wood. If you are getting all the way seasoned, it is optional as to when you split.

    Gooserider
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