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Green wood confirmation

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by op_man1, Aug 25, 2009.

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  1. op_man1

    op_man1 Member

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    So yesterday I finally received the moisture meter I had ordered from amazon last week. The results show that most of the hardwood in the pile that I was planning on using this year is in the 25-30% range, some of it higher. I only really have softwood that is truly dry (in the 18-20% range) and don't have enough of that for the winter. $%*T!

    As a new burner, I had anticipated needing wood and started collecting last year. Unfortunately, not only is it not completely seasoned, I kind of mixed more recent wood with older wood in my first pile, which means this is also going to be a pain to sort. As a contingency, I am considering bringing some wood into the basement (when it gets colder) so that it may continue seasoning in this dry environment. I may also mix leftover pieces of 2 x 4s with the more humid stuff but don't have very much of that, certainly not enough for the winter.

    My question is, does anyone know how much seasoning I can expect to get if I put maybe a couple of weeks worth of wood in the basement when things get cooler? I do have a dehumidifier down there and the air gets quite dry in the fall and winter (15-20%). Would the wood season "significantly" (a few percentage points) in a couple of weeks? I am not crazy with the idea of having wood in the house (insects, etc) but am willing to live with this for one winter if there is a benefit.

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  2. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Obviously, burn your softwood first. Your hardwood will continue to season during the cold months, quite well in fact. Resplitting your wood will accelerate the drying process, so do so asap if that's a possibility. Placing a weeks worth of wood close, but at a safe distance, to the stove will accelerate the drying considerably... so anything that's marginal can often be ready by the time it gets tossed into the stove. My guess is you'll be fine if you do these things.

    I'm not a fan of storing large quantities of wood in the basement for seasoning, but that's just me.
  3. op_man1

    op_man1 Member

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    I am not really a fan of having lots of wood in the house either... The insert is in the living room so I might have an issue with my other half on the wood pile beside the sofa! :) I definitely do plan on burning the softwood first. Thanks for the input.
  4. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I'd leave the wood outside. Get it under cover when the freezing rain/snow starts. But leave it outside. Unless you have it right near your burner I don't think you'll get any "quicker" seasoning inside versus out. Live and learn! Look at the bright side - you're ahead on your wood piles for 2010/2011!
  5. runandjump

    runandjump New Member

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    Hello op_man1, Welcome! I'm also a first year burner and have done a lot of research here on this site! There is a wealth of info here. From what I have learned that you will get some good results by doing what you are suggesting with the dehumidifier.You will get more out of it if you provide air movement also. I would wait for cooler weather due to the low relative humidity during fall. This will bring down the moisture a little for free. Also, how large are your splits? You may want to split them again if they are large. It will be more work but I would consider this when you go to move them to indoors.
    Good luck and happy burning!
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm with Wet1. Resplit if that is an option. Restack so that a squirrel can run through it, but a dog can't, in the sunniest and windiest place you have. Start the season with your seasoned wood, and when the time comes that you gotta use the other stuff, it will at least be in better shape.

    Knowing that your hardwood will not be in prime shape is also when you will want to speed up the frequency that you check your stack for build up.

    It can be done, but you will go through more wood and you will need to keep up with stack maintenance.
  7. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    So, if he is in the 25-30% range with small splits, where will he be in 3 mos? We tend to get dry sunny windy falls here off the east end of Lake Ontario.
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Depending on species...probably in the 21/22 to 25/26 range.
  9. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    So not the end of the world especially if the softwood gets him into January or February. I started stacking next years wood this weekend from my heap. I was pretty amazed at how dry it is already even in the middle of the pile.
  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Right! Thats why I made the comment about being "Doable". Its not optimum but it will keep your butt from freezing.
  11. kbrown

    kbrown Feeling the Heat

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    IMHO, don't worry so much over being 2-3% away from what the optimal MC should be. I have some hardwood that is around 27% but will still burn it this year and will not re-split it because it's going to be my overnight load. The smaller the splits the faster they season, but so too will they burn, therefore the more you have to tend the fire which means opening the door and now you can loose that wonderful secondary burn you try so hard to get. What you are loosing with the higher moisture content is the potential BTU's that are now being directed towards removing the moisture in the wood as it's burned vs being released as heat to the room....yea, yea, there is the creosote issue too, but keeping a hot fire will help that; as well as other factors such as flue size, height, flue temps, type of wood, etc etc.

    I see this as trade off that each person has to make based upon their own burning standards. There are going to be guys who will swear by the 20% or less rule and refuse to burn what they have and maybe even opt to turn the gas furnace on or buy a cord or two of wood. I'm from the other camp; no, I will not burn fresh cut, but I will fudge the number and say that I am happy to see 25-29% mc and will take other factors into consideration such as how many splits did I test from the overall stack? Don't base your burn/not burn decision upon the mc of one split. The round it came from could have been one that had been exposed to more moisture in it's pre-split time. My biggest pet peave is mixing wood; I go crazy trying to keep each find (I scrounge) in it's own distinct stack as well as keeping softwoods and hardwoods in their own area. I don't want to be trying to sort it all out when the winds are blowing in January at -10wcf.
  12. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Op-man, we've all been there.

    My suggestion is a combo of above. Resplit some, but not all, of the wood now. Leave the elm as it is a bear to split anyway, unless your splitter is good with it.

    I think you could go either way on the basement.

    When you fire up, use your softwood and seasoned stuff first. When you run out, use some of your smaller stuff to help catch the larger ones for the overnight burn. If possible, do a sweep 2/3 through the season, especially if you have a 20 ft +, uninsulated flue.

    If you can get your hands on some pallets of lumber scraps, that would help a lot . . . but I would watch two things: 1) No chemically treated wood, no glued wood (plywood), etc. It will really stink up the house and LOTS of exposure could be bad for your lungs. 2) Don't fill the stove with scraps/pallets. Although some pallets are made from wet wood, lots + the lumber scraps are ~6% moisture content, which can cause and overfire if you use too much at once.

    Make a good sweep this summer.

    Leftovers should definitely be ready for next year.

    Good luck.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Your hardwood is 25-30% now, but you should be in fine shape by the time you are ready to burn it. The seasoning does not stop when fall arrives, it only slows. It will actually continue all through the winter months too. So I say you should not be concerned with that wood.

    Also, you are new with the moisture meter and we have to ask if for sure you did use the right method for checking the moisture. Personally I've never used one nor do I intend to but others can chip in on how to best use them. For sure you have to resplit the wood before checking.

    End result, I'd highly advise to leave the wood outdoors and continue the seasoning that way. The heating season (24/7) is quite a ways away yet so you should be fine.
  14. op_man1

    op_man1 Member

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    Thanks for all of the input - certainly, restacking it / additional splitting would likely help the most, from what I gather. I don't have much time to do that these days, unfortunatly (in the middle of some renos). In the future, I will certainly pay more attention to my stacking / inventorying. Need to build a wood shed too to hedge against summers like this one!

    Since this is supplemental heat for us, I will play it by ear during the heating season (as to what I burn). In the short term, I may get around to restacking / splitting some of it.
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    As others have said I think you will be OK by the time winter rolls around . . . use the softwood first . . . I tend to burn slabs and "junk wood" (including softwood which around here is not as desirable) in the shoulder season anyways since I want quick, hot fires vs. long-burning fires that will heat up the house too much.

    If I were me (and I am me) I would leave the pile outside. I have a friend who splits his wood and brings it inside. It burns, but based on the black smudge that coats his glass I would say the wood is less than optimal in terms of seasoning . . . well that and it's an older woodstove so not as likely to have a good airwash system to keep the glass clean anyways. As mentioned, the wood will continue to season outside if exposed to the sun and wind . . . if you're really worried you may opt to cover the top . . . or just wait until the snows start and then cover the top.

    Other tips and tricks (also mentioned, but worth repeating) include splitting smaller and restacking . . . or using pallets or lumber scraps (carefully -- do not stuff the firebox full of this stuff) to help raise the temp in the firebox and "drive" the moisture out of the wood . . . and of course make sure you frequently check and clean your chimney as needed. That said, I honestly suspect that by the time Old Man Winter rolls around your wood should be fair to good in terms of being seasoned.
  16. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    Honestly.... i do my best seasoning in the winter!! around here we have hot humid summers ...... yes the sun will help and the wind... but over here in the NE all the cold days we have the air is bone dry! that air is sucking water right outta the wood ... i believe wood seasons in the summer yes ... but the sun gives it the faded grey look so we can actually see it thats why we feel it seasons so much.... but around this time of the year if you split green wood here more than likely it will be ready by next winter ... in the NE we tend to have dry air in the fall and winter more so than summer....its an equation .. if you have direct sunlight will wood season well/ fast ... yes if you have wind yes... if its cold will it season yes

    sooooo restack loosely about 2 cords and wait the rest will be ready by jan
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Iceman, no matter where you live, if you split green wood this time of the year it won't be ready until 2010. It simply does not have time to season between now and this coming heating season.

    Does MA have more humid weather than some other places? Just look at Michigan for example: with all that water surrounding the state plus all the vegetation, plus the air flow up from the Gulf, we have very humid air also. Our wood will still season during the summer months. Yes, it will still dry some in the winter but you can't beat the warmer weather for drying out the wood.
  18. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    it is only the end of August, so I think you have three months or so before serious burning begins (maybe only two months in Ontario). Usually here in PA the fall is good seasoning weather - it is cooler than summer, but drier and windier too, so I think it makes for good drying. Take a few hours to restack some wood in a sunny, windy spot outdoors, and perhaps resplit a few pieces while you're at it, and you'll be fine. Keep in mind that plenty of burners cut and split their wood in the fall and burn a couple of months later, and most of them don't burn their houses down. You may not be where you want to be, but it doesn't sound like a total disaster either.
  19. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I kind of agree with Iceman here, the super dry air in the fall and winter sure seems to do a nice job of drying wood out. Since My wood is mostly stacked in the shade (no choice), I believe my wood seasons just as fast, if not faster, in the winter than it does in the summer... but again, this is in the shade. A supporting example is the wood on my deck (which is generally in the sun). In the winter the gaps between the planks are more often than not fairly wide (low moisture), but in the summer the wood is often swollen because of the frequent rain and humidity.
  20. op_man1

    op_man1 Member

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    So I went through the pile some more yesterday - most of the stuff that isn't ready is elm (around 30-35%) and silver maple (about the same for the big splits - some smaller splits are actualy ready). My spruce is all ready (20%, about 3/4 cord) and I have about one full cord of ash that is reading at about 25%, which is funny since I only split that in June. I moved some of the high humidity stuff to a more open space and plan on burning first the spruce, then the ash and then whatever's left and lowest. I'm sure I'll survive!

    We do get cold snaps here - this past January we had one week of sustained -30c, whereas the average low in Dec-Feb might hover between -10c and -25c. Heating season for me is just around the corner, really. The furnace usually has to be activated (sporadically) in mid September, otherwise the house gets too cold.

    On another note, when I walked out of the house this morning to walk the dog I heard the beautiful song of a chainsaw. Turns out a giant silver maple is being cut down not two blocks away. I asked one of the guys what they are doing with the wood - they are giving it away. So I give him my address, he says they will unload during the day. Then he asks me if I prefer hard wood or soft wood! You see, they aleady cut some standing dead pine and would like to unload that as well. Of course, I told him I'm not too picky - really, I don't know what I got myself into... or what I will find in the yard when I get home! I already have 7.5 cords on a city lot of 0.25 acres so I figure this will be my 2011/12 wood. The wife is out of town for a couple of weeks, big surprise when she gets back! She was thinking we already had too much...
  21. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    You have to love ash and it's seasoning times! I have 10 cords right now and only a cord of ash, almost a cord of oak and some pine will be really good for this year. I have a lot of oak that was cut/split in March but will be far less then ideal. I have a line on some standing dead ash tree's that I'm planning to cut this weekend in hopes of getting another cord or two of ash that will be good to burn this year so I can save the oak until it's really ready.....
  22. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    op_man1, The de-humidifier will certainly help a lot but you need to couple that with air flow for the best results. Put a window fan on low or something similar and point it so you get maximum air flow through the wood. that means stack the wood so you can get the most airflow across it. That will help a lot. But star now on getting next years wood and can the hassel.
  23. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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    Green Wood Confirmation ... I didn't know wood was Catholic.

    (ducking and running)

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
  24. op_man1

    op_man1 Member

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    Could be Jewish as well, depending on how you split it...

    No offense intended!

    Cheers
  25. Havlat24

    Havlat24 New Member

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    I dry wood for a living..... the reason the rate at which wood looses moisture in the fall and winter slows down is because of the seasonal temperature change. Wood will not drop moisture content in freezing conditions, because the water in the cells of the wood is frozen.. In -30 to -40, we add 4-5 hours on our kiln charges to compensate for the wood thawing out.


    QC.
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