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How does wood season?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Bspring, Mar 20, 2009.

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  1. Bspring

    Bspring Feeling the Heat

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    Does the moisture evaporate from the end or mostly through the bark? If a tree dies and it doesn’t fall for a year or two it is dry when cut. I just started cutting wood for my wood furnace in November of 2007 to save time I stacked the logs in 8’ lengths and covered the top of the stack. Most of them will not need to be split but after reading on this sight I’m now thinking that this might not be a good idea. Will it take my wood another season to dry out like this or would it be a few more months. BTW, it is various types of wood oak, sweet gum, poplar and maple.

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  2. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    It's a simple 3 step process - 1) split 2) stack 3) wait
  3. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Hello there, the moisture will evaporate through any cut or split surface. Most of your wood looks small enough to be OK since it was cut on 07, generally speaking harvested wood doesn't start seasoning until it cut and split.

    With the wood you mention the white oak is the one that will take the longest to dry. You could either check it with a moisture meter or throw a few pieces into an 'established' camp fire and carefully observe how it burns. If you don't see any moisture steam out of the cut end and the logs burn well without spiting sparks the wood is dry.

    Where you live makes a difference too so you might want to let us know what state your from.
  4. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    Bark holds the moisture. If you leave it in round form with bark on, Species such as oak can sit for 5 years and still not be ready.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Bspring.

    Wood seasons by allowing moisture to evaporate from the wood. To do this best it needs to be split so more of the surface of the wood (not the bark) is exposed. However, on the smaller rounds it will still season even with the bark left on; there simply is not as much moisture to evaporate from them, especially if the wood was cut during the dormant time (winter). Still, if the wood is cut to firewood length and not split, it will still season but will take at least twice as long.

    My bet is that if you cut to firewood lengths NOW or real soon that you will be able to burn that wood this fall. For sure everything but the oak and that will depend upon what type of oak you have. Some oak will be okay but if it is red oak then that probably will need longer to season.

    When a tree dies and does not fall, most times you will still find lots of moisture in that tree, especially the closer to the ground you go there will be more. For example, we leave our dead elm stand until all, or most of the bark has fallen. Most times the tops are fine but the butt logs are full of moisture. There are exceptions, but that is how we find most dead standing trees.

    The good part of a dead standing tree is that it is up off the ground. Laying on the ground is what will cause wood to rot fast.

    And here is another experiment for wondering folks. Many say they cover their wood piles as soon as they stack them whereas we leave ours uncovered the first summer and fall. Sometime, following a two or three day rain, go out and cut down one of those standing dead trees and see how much moisture that wood has soaked up! It might surprise you.

    Good luck on the very nice looking stack of wood.
  6. Bspring

    Bspring Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for all the good info. The profile is updated. The oak is mostly Water Oak but I have not gotten to it yet in the stack. As time allows I will start cutting it to length and splitting the larger ones. I started using my Big Jack furnace in February so I have not had a chance to burn much wood and our season is about over now. The guys that installed it still have not adjusted it so I am getting a lot of creosote in the flue but now I am wondering if some of that is due to my wood not being seasoned enough.

    I will clean the flue before Fall and make sure the installers get it set up correctly. So far I have really enjoyed it. There is nothing like sticking it to the man! Most of my guest are envious when they think about how much they are paying on their electric bills.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Bspring, chances are that all the creosote is being caused by the wood and not by adjustments. That is why it is so important to get your wood cut, split and stacked for a year. If you must burn in less than a year, then get it cut, split and stacked no later than April 30. Make sure you stack it where wind will hit the side of the pile. Sunshine is good too but wind is most important. Leave the stack uncovered until late fall or early winter then cover only the top of the pile.

    Good luck.
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