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I hate seasoning oak thread!

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by rdust, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. georgepds

    georgepds New Member

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    Y'll got me worried about seasoning Oak. This year, the guy who cut split and delivered it called it Oak and Maple (I can't tell by the bark, but I can tell it's not evergreen). I buy green in early April and let it sit in the sun until November (16" length, North/South single row elevated 6",sandy ground on one side, asphalt on the other, no foliage, no shade, windy, nearest object is 20 feet to either side, ... this row is very sunny and exposed). It has always worked for me, but I thought hey, maybe I was wrong, maybe I just don't know what seasoned wood is.

    I went out an bought a wood moisture meter from Harbor freight, and tested some splits ( ones with 4 months in the sun)... Ends were ~10% , middle was about ~20%. I'm reminded of the guy who,when caught in flagrant dilecto by his wife, defended his fidelity with the comment " who you going to belive, me or your own lying eyes"

    So there are many possibilities

    1) I used the meter wrong and y'all are right
    2) I used the meter right it ,but it reads wrong, and y'all are right
    3) the meter reads correctly, and I have to believe my own lying eyes

    Maybe it's the wind.. I'm on a barrier island and the breezes are great


    Since the meter is in question, I'm thinking of a bake test.. weigh the splits before, and the cook them at 350 for 30 minutes, and weigh again, attribute the difference to moisture. Sounds like good science, but I'm afraid my wife would call for the guys in the white coats. While I was testing last night she asked:"Do you know what the measurement is supposed to be?" I looked cross-eyed at her and she answered her own question; "of course you do, whaddaya call it.. heat.com, heart.com?"
    chvymn99 likes this.

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  2. georgepds

    georgepds New Member

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    can you recommend a brand of black rubber roofing.. How does it hold up to tears?
  3. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    George, did you resplit the splits when you checked?
  4. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Different environment different results, I say it's completely possible. It sounds like you have ideal conditions. We've had a wide range of results posted over the years on wood drying times.
    PapaDave likes this.
  5. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Oven-drying to check MC has to be done at lower temperatures, and takes much longer. At 350F you'll be vaporizing more than water. The right way to do this is to take a thin slice, an inch or so thick across the grain, and bake it at around 250F for 24 hours. You'll need a fairly precise scale, e.g. accurate to the gram.
  6. georgepds

    georgepds New Member

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    No I did not.. that will have to wait for the weekend.

    --G
  7. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Report those results, there is a great likelihood that they will be much different.
    PapaDave likes this.
  8. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    I think Scotty uses stuff that he salvaged from a tear-off/re-roof. That stuff is tough.I need to contact a roofer and get some of that. I've been using some rubber-backed floor mats but I'm running low. Either that or get some scrapped metal roofing....
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Scott does get rubber roofing that is salvaged. Others on the forum also use it. I used it only once so far and it works well. But fortunately I also have old galvanized roofing and I like it much better. In fact, tomorrow I'm getting some more old roofing so that will really put me in good shape. If memory serves me, I'll also get some pictures....
  10. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    DEC just announced they have found EAB locally. Think my 2011 Oak score will be dry by the time the Ash runs out?

    Attached Files:

    NortheastAl likes this.
  11. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I remember when you split those big chunks, how is the one you were weighing doing?
  12. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Would you believe it's now down to 29 lbs? I guess that means the 1000 lb rounds I rolled up onto the splitter had 500 lbs of water in em>>

    Attached Files:

  13. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    That's why he needed the backhoe. Heh-heh.
  14. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I wish there was some way I could have used it...those things were heavy.
  15. Dogbyte

    Dogbyte New Member

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    I would consider the 4th option. That you can't accurately test a hunk of wood with harbor freight quality testers. In fact any economy tester that doesn't measure electrical resistance across probes driven at least a fifth the depth of the thickness isn't giving you anything other than a surface reading.
  16. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Key is does "middle" mean the fresh face of a re-split piece?

    HF moisture meters work just fine. I have used two of them for years. Tested them against the mega-bucks one my woodworking neighbor has.
    HDRock likes this.
  17. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    The Harbor Freight Meter is accurate enough for firewood, to tell U what U need to know, as long as U , split n check ,right then n there, smack in the middle
  18. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

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    That does not bode well for us in the southeastern part of the state. Last year they had the traps out, but haven't seen any this year. Gotta be a way to stop these destructive bugs from wiping out host trees.
  19. Dogbyte

    Dogbyte New Member

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    Well i beg your pardon, a surface reading is also not where you measure impedance. i can dry a piece of osage in my kiln down below 7% and those cheap off the shelf meters are no where close. those moisture meters are meant for powders and other material that you can push the probes down inside. not just the surface of wood. There are various oven-dry methods and distillation methods that produce real results that these hand held meters, and even moe expensive equipment are attempting to estimate. for wood, i just wouldnt trust one down to the levels ive been reading about here. There is a reason kiln operators have really expensive devices meant for this, where they take measurements like i explained earlier. they just dont walk up with a hand held and jab it into the surface, even if it was newly cut ( or split).
  20. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    All I know is, if Red Oak reads 16% on my cheap General meter, it will burn great in my stove and won't hiss when tossed on a bed of coals, whereas 20% will hiss a bit....cheap meter is close enough for me.
    chvymn99, PapaDave and HDRock like this.
  21. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Well pardon me !! there is a reason, you do not need really expensive devices, for firewood ::P
    The inexpensive moisture meters are meant for timber and building materials.:p

    General Tools MMD4E Digital Moisture Meter
    Here is a MMD4E MANUAL for ya
    And One For The Harbor Freight Digital Mini Moisture Meter
    No mention of powder
  22. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    Actually the guy is right, on page two of the MMD4E MANUAL under uses it says Chemical/Pharma "check the dryness conductivity of powders".
  23. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Yeah it's among one of the uses they have listed. The reality of it is I don't think anyone is fooling themselves that these cheap meters are "accurate", for the purpose of using it as a "go no go" for firewood they're sufficient. 20% on a cheap meter on a fresh split and the wood will burn just fine.
    HDRock likes this.
  24. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    HF MM's are fine for firewood, every reading I have taken with mine makes perfect sense, sure it reads the surface moisture, thats why you have a fresh split or cut when you check the moisture.
    Not sure why any one whould say other wise had one for 3 years or so and I would recomend one to any body, no reason to spend more money.
    BK did some testing by comparing the HF MM readings to oven testing and he said they were fine for what most woodburners have in mind.
    HDRock likes this.
  25. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    Mr Rock stated in his above post: "no mention of powder". I was pointing out there is a mention of powder that I found in about 30 seconds skimming the manual posted by Mr. Rock.

    I was not questioning the validity of the consensus of this site that moisture meters are valuable within limits. That has been stated many times during my time here and I see the validity of the reasoning behind it.

    I feel that pointing out a misstatement helps to preserve the validity of the rest of an argument as long as it was made by others.

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