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How long does it take stacked wood to dry from rain?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by joefrompa, Sep 27, 2010.

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  1. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    To the original poster from South Pa ... if your weather today is anything like it is here in NY you have a pretty good test bed to see how long it will dry out. You wont be getting much more rain than this and its supposed to be nice for a couple days afterwards.

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  2. charly

    charly Guest

    Talk about a down pour!
  3. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    You're not kidding. We are about 6 hours in and its not showing any signs of slowing yet. The heap should be wet enough by the end of this that I'll know the answer to this question with certainty over the next few days.

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  4. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    Anyone getting high winds yet?


    zap

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  5. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Looks like we are going to get good and soggy under relatively light E winds and then it is going to clock to the north and blow later this afternoon.
  6. charly

    charly Guest

    Usually gets windy as a front leaves or comes in, in this case on it's way out.
  7. ChillyGator

    ChillyGator New Member

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    Interesting thread since this past summer was one of the wetter summers we have had in years. It didn't rain every day but at least once or twice a week through the whole summer....I never had to use the lawn sprinklers this year until this past month (very sandy soil that drains fast and in the heat of the summer would dry out crispy in a matter of a week or so).

    I s/s right at 5 cords this year beginning in Jan/Feb (2.5 cords live Water Oak) thru April/May (2.5 cords Pecan). All the stacks are out in an open field fstacked North/South to catch the prevailing westerly winds. My Water Oak is now basically ready to burn with ALL the exterior bark seperated from the wood throughout the stacks, even the 3"-4" limbs that I did not split have lost their bark. Both sides of the stacks are grey and i probably won't have to burn any of this until late December or early January since I have amost a 1/2 cord still in my dry shed at home.

    The Pecan is a little behind since it was split later, it is mostly grey now but the splits that still had bark on the outside are still showing dampness if you pick them up and turn em over (bark side was down). I could probably burn those on top down a little way but I imagine they will all be ready shortly after the first of the new year if I needed them which I won't. I will burn some this year just to see how it burns compared to the oak since i've never burned the Pecan before. I want to confirm how well it performs before i start working on the following years wood as i have a choice of only going with Oak if I want to (the Pecan is laying on the ground already so it is hard not to take that easy wood).

    This was my first drying season stacking wood in the field and it is working evern better than I imagined. I was a little worried about not putting a cover on the top when we started getting regular rain but it looks like it was not needed and may have even made things worse if I had gone that route.

    If we start getting heavy snows this winter then I may cover the stacks then :cheese:
  8. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Holy Cow! My youngest lives in Wilmington, NC. He's right in the purple area classified as "extreme" on the map legend. Better call him and tell him to reel in his line, the bluefish will be back next week. :lol:
  9. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Wait, I just caught that. Sorry, but that's simply not true. The opposite is true, in fact. Whether or not rain significantly affects the total drying time of firewood, the truth is that is can only dry when the outside is drier than the inside.

    From "Dry Kiln Operator's Manual", an in-depth document put out by the U.S. Forest Service:

    You can download the entire document in PDF form from this site:

    http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/products/publications/several_pubs.php?grouping_id=101&header_id=p

    All you really need is "Chapter 01 Properties of Wood Related to Drying". I know nobody believes anything that the government puts out. We can build the world's first atomic bomb and land a man on the moon, but we don't know squat about wood drying. Truth is, almost all of the facts and figures that are quoted ad nauseum by folks here (myself included) from seemingly independent sources all got their data from the Forest Service. Download it and read it, it's only 41 pages. It won't change your life, but at least you'll understand how wood dries. :cheese:
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah I think osmosis is still in control here.
  11. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    We got 6 or 7 inches that finally ended this morning. Was overcast until lunchtime. It is dry already after an afternoon in the sun and wind. The punk is a little damp but far from wet.

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  12. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    To cover or not to cover. How about common sense. If less water gets on it, less has to dry. If good drying time is wasted drying water that didn't need to be there, then the seasoning time is increased. Since you know your wood is not seasoned properly, do whatever you can to help it. Scrap plywood, new plywood, brown tarps, woodshed, whatever. Personaly I use a woodshed.
  13. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    6-8 inches of rain so as of 6am I started the clock..... my guess is by 6pm the outer of my stacks will be dry. And another couple days till the interior will be dries out....



    I think location has more to do with drying wood.. wood sheds are great especially in the winter.. so people say wind some say sun...
    But if wood can be fully exposed to sun its like baking,.... if it can be fully exposed to sun and wind its like those new convection ovens ...cooks faster and more even..... I wish someone would post a pic of the temp in the wood shed when its hot out so we could see if there was a difference.... I used traps and kept my top covered for 2 years with 4sides open and my wood still had some sizzle.. much more than what I would have ever imagined! Now I leave it uncovered till the leaves start falling and get way better results ....
  14. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Iceman, how do you get your wood to get direct sunlight? Almost the entire content of any stack is sitting in the shade from the wood directly above it.

    Temperature is what is important, not sunlight. Much more important is air movement and relative humidity. If the wood is visibly wet, or the RH is up above 90%, very little drying can take place. All that the sun can do to help is to increase the temp of the ends of the wood on the side facing the sun. Clothes hanging on the line on an overcast day dry fast if the air is dry and there is a breeze. Direct sunlight not required. The entire evaporation process has been proven to be driven by lower relative humidity and good air circulation. Temperature merely aids in the water movement inside the wood itself.

    BTW, my new shed with its metal roof gets plenty hot when the sun is on it. Not much air movement in there, though, so I'd never consider drying wood in it. Only good for storage of already dry wood IMO.
  15. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    Yes you are right I said sun meaning getting really hot from direct, strong sunshine, the temp at the wood in the open should usually be higher than under a tree in the shade out of the direct sun...
    The location part meaning here, in my part wind isn't as great as someone else... but someone in Arizona with hotter temps and yes lower humidity will season as fast as someone who may have more air movement but not the same temp, or humidity...
    I agree with you, that wood sheds.. most , are better for storage rather than drying ....for the short term.... and even so I still would like one ...lol

    On another note, I have seen people put wood in the oven for experimentation as well as dehumidifier.... but has anyone tried a fan on wood? To compare how much it would speed up the seasoning process?
  16. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I tried to get around that when I designed the roof with a 9 ft cantilever off the back of the garage. It is open to the south, east and west with prevailing winds out of the SW. I thought I was pretty smart until I was going out to get wood when it was below zero and blowing 30 miles an hour. There is a compromise to everything. I end up moving it from the heap to this shed, then again to the shed on the sheltered side of the house before it gets burned. Still looking for a better way.

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  17. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    !



    Screw a tarp in around that and put some weight on the bottom and wham! you have a temp shelter tba is weather proof
  18. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    lol, a tarp wouldn't last a week on that side of the house.
  19. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    Well I was wrong the outsides of all my wood was dry by 12pm can't answer for stuff inside the stacks but have to think within a couple of days for sure .... it might not even be wet in there... there was an area that was still dry on the outside after all this rain...
  20. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    We had some rain on Tuesday, Wednesday was a dry day so we put enough in for about one weeks worth of fires. Started to burn some tonight, stack temp 400 and stove top temp 500-600.

    zap
  21. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    Logic does not always work. Tarps hold in moisture as well as hold rain out. Metal roofs can even shed condensation on a dry day. I turned some wood into mulch by covering the whole stack with a tarp. It took years, but it sure destroyed the wood. When I say the wood dries from the inside out I mean you are trying to get the moisture out, I am not really worried about the rain getting in. As many have said the surface rain is gone in short order and can even be put in the fire wet. The one poster made a good comment about white oak, I do notice that the white oak does not look like it even gets rained on. Do not get me wrong it is nice to have a dry place to put the wood just before you burn it to avoid snow and ice, but I think during the normal drying process it is a whole lot easier, better looking and at least equally good at drying without being coverd. In my opinion.
  22. charly

    charly Guest

    I put all my wood on racks I built, in an extra older two car garage the over head doors stay open all the time. I also leave the two side windows open. Should be a good drying place, as once the wood's in, it's never wet again. Built each rack 10ft long by 6 ft high. 20-24 inch length's of wood. I figured about almost a cord a rack, if my math is right.
  23. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    OK, now I understand what you are driving at, and I totally agree. I think there are just not enough rainy days in most seasons to set the total drying time back enough to worry about it. If somebody built me a gigantic open pavilion to season my wood in, well I guess that's where I'd put it. But it had better be in the same location I'd chose for my open stacks, exposed to lots of wind.
  24. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    That would be the perfect setup... sun and wind ... I wonder how long it would take to dry oak
  25. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Probably still 2 years. :lol:


    I just went down to my shop to check on the wood that got wet during my flood three days ago. There were some thin (7/16") oak boards that were standing on end in about an inch of water for hours before I woke up and discovered the flooded basement. I moved all of the wood to a dry spot and continued with my pumping. These were sitting on the edge of my table saw with the wet end out. Below are two photos showing what I got when I checked them for MC. I pushed the probes in as hard as I dared to get a true reading for the inside. I chose these particular boards (from a 50-year old dresser) because they were thin enough to not have to re-split to get the inner MC.

    The dry end measured 13% MC and the wet end measured 25% MC. All of my wood showed similar results.

    Until the flood, all of this wood was measuring about 10-12%, but after three days at nearly 100% relative humidity in the soaking wet basement, even the dry parts had picked up a couple percentage points in MC. This demonstrates what I was saying about rain entering oak end grain and raising the MC. When the damage was first discovered, the wood was actually swollen, indicating that it was way up above the fiber saturation point of about 30%MC. I couldn't get a reading on the HF meter at all, it was pegged above the top of the range (42%MC).

    So after three days, there was still a 12% difference in the MC of red oak that had its ends soaked for only a few hours. You can expect wood that has been rained on for several days to throw a hissing fit until it gets dry again.

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