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How long till rot starts

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by mattinpa, Apr 13, 2009.

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  1. mattinpa

    mattinpa New Member

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    I'm playing the dumb card here. My father in law is concerned that I have to much firewood. I have most
    of it up on pallets and stacked. Worked all winter on it. I would guess I have close to 10 cord cut. I
    realize this is not alot, but he asked the question and I did not even have a guess. How long before hardwood starts
    rot on pallets? Right now it is uncovered, but will be covered for the winter months.

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  2. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    Matt,
    How many years ahead are you? Lots of people on this forum store wood for three or four years, and a few store it a lot longer than that. I'd gladly store mine that long if I could get tthat far ahead. If your stacks are dry, and if your wood isn't rotting too much when you stack it, I think you'll be fine for a long time. In PA (and plenty of other places) it seems like everyone has a backyard firewood pile, even if they don't have an indoor fireplace. Most of these piles are half rotten because they are stacked on the ground in deep shade and left there for twenty years. I think this is where the misconception that firewood rots easily comes from.

    i don't think covering firewood is necessary to keep it from rotting or to allow it to season, although covering is handy when you need to get to the wood during snowy or rainy weather. I cover only a small portion of my firewood in the winter - enough that I can always start a fire with dry wood, but not much more than that. Covering with a rigid cover (I use old doors i removed from the house) works great because it keeps rain off but doesn't hold in moisture. I see a lot of firewood covered with tarps that hang over most of the stack and it seems like uncovered wood stacks get a lot more chance to season. Yes, uncovered wood gets rain and snow on it, but in a sunny, breezy location the wood dries quickly after a rain and conditions seem more suitable to seasoning most of the time.
  3. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    What kind of Wood? Oak take two years to dry out from what I've experienced. Best to get 1 year ahead so you don't have to worry a bout dry firewood.
  4. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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  5. mattinpa

    mattinpa New Member

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    Most of my wood is maple and cherry. Very little oak. Loggers took most of it!
  6. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    Well, I tend to think of it this way: what are houses framed with? Wood. If you keep this wood dry and insect free, how long does it last? Longer than your lifetime. If you're pretty far ahead on your wood supply, I see no reason why keeping it off the ground and as dry as possible would not greatly extend its "shelf life".
  7. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    matt for awhile now we've bounced between 3-5 years of of wood and have not found any that rotted in our hardwood pile. You're wood stacked on pallets is more rot resistant than ours imo cause ours is just hastily piled up into a huge long pile over that sits a a layer of gravel. Like you we only cover up in the late fall.

    If you have the space and time keep stockpiling cause there will never, ever be a less expensive way to heat your house than wood burning. Any wood you can stage up for the future will earn more interest than the banks will give you.
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Matt, you asked how long before wood starts to rot. Easy answer is as soon as it is cut; that is, it is no longer alive so it begins to rot. The key is to not let that rot get too far along. So it really depends upon how the wood is stored.

    We have enough wood cut split and stacked (most of it is stacked) last us through the year 2016. I am not concerned that any of this wood will rot. It will burn great too!

    Get enough on hand to last 2 years and you will be burning great fuel and won't have the creosote problems that so many have. Cover the top of the piles once winter arrives to keep the snow off and that's all you need to do other than stacking it so the wood does not come in contact with the ground.
  9. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    This thread has inspired me to get more than 2 years ahead. 2 is easy.
  10. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Unless it is Alder??

    2 is easy is right, but I would never ever want 2 years of alder, gets to punky in too much of a hurry.

    Of course Yankee alder could be different than Canadian Alder.

    So I suppose it is possible in your mind it could last forever??

    Highbeam --are you still with us??
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    The only stuff I've seen rot was unsplit Birch left out uncovered in shady areas. Birch you really need to split and get a bit of cover onto. I suppose there are others that would rot in some of the more humid areas of the country in less than ideal conditions.

    Lay it up proper and no wood should rot. I mean, lots of buildings are made of wood and have stood for hundreds of years.
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I didn't know that alder would rot somehow, has that been your experience? Were you storing it properly?. I've had alder that was about 1.5 years old in a shed and it was dry and hard with no punk or rot. Does something strange happen after 2 years. I prefer alder to doug fir now that I've burnt both. The alder has really nice ashing qualities and only a little less density than the fir but if it going to turn to dust then I don't want to waste my time and would rather sell it.

    I am still with you. Why do you ask?
  13. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    Sonny, Highbeam's wood gets sun and wind. It is not under the lush green BC forest canopy. that is the difference.
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