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How long should Oak season for?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by RayBurner, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Ray, from another spot in ,Mi
    Pallet Pete likes this.

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  2. TX-L

    TX-L Burning Hunk

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    That's not always true, but probably is more often than not. The only wood I sell has been cut/split/stacked for a about a year (depending on whether it was felled green or dead), and species. I never sell oak 1 year seasoned (I typically keep all the oak for myself anyway). I split a couple of pieces and check it with a moisture indicator before I sell it. I stack it on pallets. I measure the stacks with a tape measure to ensure that people get the quantity that they pay for. It's a small time operation, just for a little extra cash in the fall, I enjoy being in the woods, and have access to lots of wood. Each year I have more people that want firewood, a reputation for seasoned wood and word of mouth is a good advertiser. I am getting more customers than I can accomodate! Oh, and I split it all by hand, too. Axes are good for the body and soul! I know everyone likes photos, so... enjoy!

    101_0212.JPG 101_0215.JPG
  3. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Welcom Ray! And I just have to say it....... everyone is waiting for me to say it....... I can't let them down.......so here it is: "The best way to check the moisture content of your firewood is with a multi-year calendar and a permanet marker!" There, I said it!;lol
  4. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    and TX-L, thanks for the pictures.........we are enjoying them
  5. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Welcome from another Michigander - Enough said on oak but fortunately here in Michigan we still have a relatively unlimited supply of dead standing or wind blown ash that if cut, split and stacked now will be ready to burn for you next season. Split it relatively small and stack it loosely in the open, exposed to wind in single rows for best results. Once you get 3 or more years ahead you can start stacking wood a little tighter as long as it is not oak - I keep mine separate and in single rows because I just do not have enough to be that far ahead on oak. As long as your wood is off the ground(pallets/saplings/2x4's etc...) it will last for a long, long time. No need to worry about it rotting contrary to what non-believers will tell you. Those that cut in the fall to burn that winter like to throw that one at ya.

    Ash is good stuff and, although not quite oak in reputation, it will keep you warm and burn long.
  6. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    To be on the safe side, just go ahead and put any Oak you get in your will. ==c
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  7. ohlongarm

    ohlongarm Minister of Fire

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    Minimally in NE Ohio is 2 years southern exposure,3 years any exposure is ideal top covered,you will probably never get below 15%mc17% to 20% average but that works well,although I have some 10 year old white oak at 14% that I'm burning,hope that gives you a range you can live with.
  8. Fins59

    Fins59 Member

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    Thanks for info rdust. I'll have to keep an eye on those cracks. But I very seldom have 3 year old wood on hand. Sure would like too though. This spring I plan on cutting up a bunch, maybe get ahead a couple years anyway.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  9. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Good to see someone is honest ! Around here its almost impossible to find I gave up trying years ago. There is only one I know of and they are a long ways away from us about 1.5 hr drive.

    Pete
  10. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    At least 2 yrs on oak. If it was from a vibrant tree, I think it will need 3 yrs to get down below 25%. The return on investment for oak for me is just too small. There is plenty of hard maple, locust, mulberry, elm, hickory ect, for me to wait on oak. I do have some, but it needs to drop in my yard for me to process it.
  11. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    I did not know that! I've learned something today! Thanks.:)
  12. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I don't know about that! Your mileage may vary, I find my cracks to be less prominent with time not sure it translates for everyone. :)
  13. Mackj

    Mackj Member

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    Michigan sure is strong on this site! And I was born and raised in Pa which is also well represented! I am on here every day, and have been busting to get a couple of years ahead. I also used to be a one year ahead guy before I found this site. I have a bunch of one year seasoned oak and have set it aside for further seasoning. When the snow melts off my log pile I'll post a pic.
    Backwoods Savage and Pallet Pete like this.
  14. Locust Post

    Locust Post Minister of Fire

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    Hey Mackj, I see you have an Aussie. I have my first one but he is about 12 now and we just found a mass on him which they think may be malignent, we'll know more tomorrow. Best dog I have ever had, gonna be a tough day if this takes him.
    Mackj likes this.
  15. Bret Chase

    Bret Chase Minister of Fire

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    I've been burning locust exclusively for almost a month... I haven't cleaned my stove out in 2 weeks.... and I've got about an inch of ash in the bottom of my smoke dragon... It's been fairly warm most of the time too.... which means I have been trying to maintain 300F stack temps...and being forced to wear shorts and a tanktop in my 19th century mostly uninsulated farmhouse...
  16. Bret Chase

    Bret Chase Minister of Fire

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    Seasoning time really, REALLY depends on when the tree was cut down.... if it was cut in maine between late November and early February... a couple of years is plenty..... if it was cut in late feb-late march.... add a year or two to the seasoning time.... I cut down half of a twin maple today.... the sap was running out of it like I cut off a garden hose,...
  17. Mackj

    Mackj Member

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    Locust Post hope things work out with your buddy. We lost a great old girl last year , waited almost a year and got Rocket. He is a pup and a handfull!
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Sorry Fins, but when you see cracks on the ends of the logs that only means that the ends are dry. It says nothing about the middle of the log. Wood sellers like to point this out and they are wrong.
    PapaDave and Pallet Pete like this.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Ray.

    Lots of varying advice given by many good fellas. So it is time to give mine. First, you should know that most of our wood is dried up to 7 years in the stack and I'm the guy who started preaching that everyone get 3 years ahead on their wood stacks. Fortunately, many have taken the advice and have reaped the benefits, which are many!

    So here is how we do things. Our cutting starts usually around December 1 and ends usually by March 1. We just pile it up in the winter and do all the splitting in the spring. We cut saplings in the woods and lay those down to stack the wood on. The big thing is to just get the wood off the ground and it helps to get some air circulation because air circulation is the biggest key to drying wood. Even more important than sunshine. This is why it is bad to cut wood then stack it right away in a barn or shed. It needs to be outdoors so the wind can do its thing. Also keep in mind that wood won't dry until it is split so it is important to get the wood splits as soon as you can.

    After stacking the wood at a height of around 4 1/2', we simply leave it alone. The following fall or early winter we will then cover the top of the stack using old galvanized roofing but one can use many things for covering. Tarps are the worst though.

    We then simply forget about the wood and let Mother Nature do her thing to complete the drying. In October we then move enough wood for the winter's needs into the barn. Naturally we normally use our oldest wood. So why do we do things this way?

    1. Cutting wood in winter means sap is down, birds have gone south and we don't have to slap skeeters nor dodge yellow jackets. It also is a better time to do the hard work rather than doing it in the humid summers.

    2. Giving our wood plenty of time to dry means we are never concerned about which wood to burn nor are we wondering if the wood will really burn. Too many go through this annually. In addition, we do not have to continually resplit the wood so we can check it with a moisture meter. There is no need for the meter. We know our wood is dry.

    3. We do burn a small amount of oak and for sure we will not attempt to burn oak until it has been split and stacked for a minimum of 3 years. Any time shorter means the stove needs more draft to burn the wood. This means you are not getting the maximum amount of heat from the wood because lots of that energy is used to just keep the wood burning and goes right up the chimney. Burn it dry and you get the full benefits of the wood and you will also find you burn less wood and get more heat.

    4. I stated it above, but it bears repeating. You will burn less wood and get more heat. This means a lot less work that you have to do.

    5. You won't be fighting the stove or the fire. Put wood in the stove and it will light off right away. Too many times we read or hear of others who can't seem to get their fire to burn or can't get the stove top temperature even up to 500. We have no problem getting our stove up to over 600 and can do that with 3 splits!

    6. What will you do if some year some bad luck falls your way? Will you have wood to burn? If you are 3 years ahead and something bad happens so you can't cut wood that winter, you have some to fall back on and do not have to either buy wood or ask for help. We've seen this scenario with several guys on this forum!

    I could go on and on but do not want to bore anyone. But if you read my signature line you can see we've burned wood for a couple years and have learned much. We are also thankful that we are still able to learn more!

    Good luck.
    Hickorynut, ScotO and Pallet Pete like this.
  20. Locust Post

    Locust Post Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Mackj.....prognosis is not good cancer that is starting to effect the ribs. Could do surgery but I will not put a 12 year old through that. We'll just see what the Good Lord can do and enjoy him as long as he's here. I will likely have another Aussie some day but not sure if it will be a full size or a minature. Sorry to the original poster did not mean to highjack the thread. I
  21. Fins59

    Fins59 Member

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    Got back to this thread kinda late. I have a friend (age about 65) who grew up on a farm, ,and all their heat was from wood, and when he visits me (sometimes helps me cut wood) he says "ends are cracked, that's dry". That's where I got that knowledge from. But he's been wrong before:).
    I can actually tell how clean my wood is burning by the inside of my stove door. If it soots up that means chimney is too. In the last few weeks I've been throwing in a few pieces of last summers maple with my oak and door is sooting up a little.
    Chimney cleaning is another subject, but I got it down so I can clean mine in about 10 minutes.
    Going to stick only with the oak now since season is winding down and I should have enough.
    Like I might have said before, this spring I am going for at least 3 seasons ahead.
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Worry not. Many people believe that crap about the ends cracking means the wood is drying. Well, for what it's worth, I'm a bit older than that fellow and I also grew up on a farm. From the farm I went to the sawmill and logging. I started splitting wood when I was about 5 or 6 years old and shortly it became my chore to keep the stoves going and making certain there was always wood on the back porch (enclosed).
  23. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    I always thought this about the cracks in the wood - you learn something new every day!
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