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Intheswamp's wood "getting"....it's getting too hot to get wood!!!

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Intheswamp, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I got a face cord of some oak from a local fellow today. His two sons delivered it. Before they started unloading I asked them what kind of oak it was. The older boy said "white oak". :) So, anybody want to take a shot at id'ing this wood?

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  2. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    I'm pretty sure that's Water oak. I love that wood. Thin bark looks like faded white paint. Straight grain. Easily split. I use my water oak for large quarter round splits, then I further split it up to also give me a bunch of fast lighting two inch thick splits. If you can find it standing dead it will probably be ready to burn after one year. A buddy gave me a huge trunk last February that he had taken down a month earlier. Standing dead for a few years. Not a bit of punkiness. This winter that wood is showing about 18% MC on my $30 Lowes meter, which someone on this board said shows 5% high. Great wood. Call em back and Get all you can.
    I have a standing dead back in my woods that I just discovered last week. It's starting to drop some of its larger limbs. The trunk goes straight up about 45 feet and is about 20 inches diameter. Going to be easy to buck and split it. First chore for me right after the holidays and I hope to be burning it next winter.
  3. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    Ditto on the Water Oak......one of the few trees I can recognize.

    I don't see as much of it up here in north Alabama, but I'm originally from the central Alabama. It is very common down there.

    I actually have several Willow Oaks in my yard. For the longest time, I thought they were Water Oaks. The bark is about the same, but the leaf is very narrow and not lobed.
  4. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I agree the leaves look like water oak. Most woodburners are in the north, and Water Oaks are in the south, so I don't think you'll get a whole lot of responses to your question.
  5. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Thanks for the confirmation, ya'll.

    Yelp, it's very common in my area (got several within seeing distance from the house). I see that it's stated BTU content is in the average oak range...basically running in the middle of the pack. That sounds good. Mostly what I've heard of that wood is good, no really bad comments.

    The load was $75, c/s/s, from a local guy that I think is a pretty good person. I was expecting a long wheel base pick-up being as the guy said a regular p/u truck load. We've always used LWB pickups at work so that's "regular" to me. Anyhow, they got there with the load on a standard, step-side pickup truck. I'm figuring that the load is about 10-15% short. Anyhow, I didn't complain to the boys but they watched me measuring the stack and I commented on it being a short face cord and went on to talk about the different ways folks measure out wood...cords, face cords, dimensions, etc.,. I paid'em and they left. Well, I paid them and they left. I was happy to get some wood stacked out back but wasn't overly thrilled at the deal I got. A few hours later the phone rang at work and it was the wood guy checking to see if I was ok with the wood. I told him how the wood measured out and he quickly told me he would get me some more to make up for the shortage. His boys had mentioned that they had some "old" wood sitting around....he said he'd get me some of that (I'll be glad to get that "old", dingy wood out of there way!). Anyhow, the guy is all about doing me right (which felt like he would do from the beginning). He also said that he thought he told me $65 so I'll either be getting $10 back or extra wood....I might just give it to the boys (11 and 16 year olds) that delivered for Christmas.

    Now I've got to figure out if I want to process some wood myself. I've got a saw and a Fiskars SS, and in delirious states have toyed with the idea of guying a splitter. But, right now I'm having some health issues that are kinda keeping me from being very active.

    Another thing is that I don't know have any idea of how much wood I need to be putting back. Living in south Alabama we don't have the extreme cold like in other parts of the country. Plus, we're not depending entirely on wood for our heat and the wood will be going through the F3CB which I don't think will gobble up tons of wood anyhow. I would like to plan ahead and be several years ahead with my wood storage/drying. I'm thinking that maybe a cord per year would be sufficient for me but until I start burning I won't really be able to tell and will have to guesstimate.

    I'm facing pretty much the same thing that most new wood burners face...lack of seasoned wood. My saving grace might be that I've got some standing dead pine (beetle kill) that I can process. These are plantation pines that are probably 12+" DBH and have been dead for a little over a year with most of the bark falling off. It will be a while before I get the stove install done so I have a little time to check the pines out, I may go cut up one or two to see how the wood is.

    Ed
  6. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I definitely agree about the most woodburners being in the north, same goes for stove shops....I had to drive (northeast) 250 miles one way to pick up my little Jotul!

    Ed
  7. bigtall

    bigtall New Member

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    Another oak specimen that I have a lot of on my property. Makes great firewood and is very easy to split when wet. The super splitter will make quick work of it.
  8. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Well, I got the wood up off the ground. Measuring it out it looks like a little over 1/4 cord. The guy said he would bring me some more, but haven't seen him yet. Hopefully I can start scrounging some and get more sweat equity involved.

    There's some knarly stuff in there that I'll have to bust up if I'm going to use it in the F3, but we'll see...

    Anyhow, I got the wood up off of the ground....it's a start! :)

    Ed

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  9. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Ok, got a little more water oak from a different guy today. He mentioned that he had some dry wood so he brought me half green and half "dry". He was going to stack it, but I want to get it up off the ground and wasn't ready for that, plus I kinda wanted to do it myself. Anyhow, he was on a lwb dualie with a toolbox in the back and the wood heaped up in the middle about a foot above the sides.

    We threw the piles in two stacks..."dry" wood in one, green in the other. He also brought a big piece of lighter'd with the load. There was a definite difference between the sound of the green splits hitting each other and the "dry" splits hitting each other. He said the "dry" wood was cut (not split) in October 2009.

    The only problem is that he apparently cut the wood short...I told him 16" and there's a lot of 13" and 14" in there. I figure the short wood should season quicker and will be ready next winter, but if I order more (which I probably will) I'll explain that my stove can handle 18" but that cutting 16" gives me some elbow room....I think he probably thought my stove could only handle 16" and smaller and was trying to be sure he didn't cut too long. I'll try to get him to tighten up his measuring a bit next time.

    Total for the load was $70. Here's some pics of the wood with a couple of remarks...

    This is the two piles. Green wood on the left, "Dry" wood on the right. Combined length of both piles is a good 15', width at widest point is 5' and the peak height is a good 2'....the pile narrows in the middle where the piles meet each other. I have no idea how much I'll end up with when I get it stacked, though I feel like I'll be pushing a 1/2 cord.
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    Close up shot of the "dry" wood. Looks pretty dry considering we had heavy rain yesterday.
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    And for what it's worth here's a shot from the other side (green on right this time) showing the chunk of lightered.
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    Ed
  10. jlove1974

    jlove1974 Member

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    just an observation, but with all that wood surrounding the field, why are you buying??
  11. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Right now time is in short supply and I'm trying to get ahead a year or two to begin with...which I'm roughly figuring on a little over a cord per year for me.

    I'm going to be cutting my own wood soon...to begin with probably some beetle killed pine at another piece of property. Down the backside of the pasture there is a thick stand of volunteer pines, probably an acre, that I'm thinking of starting to thin some.

    I really want to get a stock of oak in, though, as the F3CB has a small firebox and the oak will give me the longest burn times....I'm thinking that filling up the F3CB with pine might get it running maybe too hot???...but for "shoulder season" and quick morning fires some smaller loads of pine should work well. As for any oaks around the pasture...I'd rather leave them for the turkeys and deer to enjoy...there's oak and pecan elsewhere. ;-)

    You mentioned in another thread that you burn some sweetgum. I saw where you suggested splitting slabs off the round rather than trying to quarter it...got any other tips for it? Thanks.

    Ed
  12. jlove1974

    jlove1974 Member

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    Ed,

    I understand where you are coming from. I only cut in winter and usually try to split in spring, and I have considered buying quite a few times.
    But with having friends with property that I can cut on (and hunt on) I really try not to chase bad money w/ good. Everybody and their brother-in-law
    sells green wood around here, and the prices have went up dramatically. There is only one guy I would buy wood again from, and he is HIGH priced...

    Yes I have burned sweetgum for quite a few years, since the scumbag developer who moved in on our neighborhood decided to plow down 50% of the standing timber.
    Most of it was Gum, with some ash, sycamore, and oak thrown in. This is the source of about half of my wood in the past two seasons.

    Gum is so heavy when green, I cut it into rounds and let it sit for a while if I can. It really helps to have a splitter, because by hand, when green, is almost impossible.

    But if you work around a round, hitting to either side of the heartwood, there is some straighter grain there. but in the heart wood, forget it. Splitting solid concrete is easier.
  13. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I figured if I wanted a chance at getting a bit ahead anytime soon I'd have to bite the bullet and buy. It's bitter sweet. I've got a friend who cleared some timber north of me and I can have all the wood I want. I actually went up there a few months ago and started to saw some rounds when I suddenly had some kind of "medical event"...ended up with a stress test, etc., but didn't find out anything but ended up with #2 bp pill.<groan> I haven't been back up there since but after today I think I would be ok...we'll see. ;) ...and I've got my own land if I wanted to cut some off of it, mostly pine, though.

    I've got plenty of sweetgum, though. A few years ago I put in a road down to the swamp...dodged what oaks and big pines were down there but I'd nail the sweetgums! I wasn't burning then but I did buck up the logs for burning in a fireplace in a little cabin that we've been working on...they burned fairly good...never tried splitting them, though a friend did...he seemed very tired at times.<grin> As for not splitting the heart, is it just that the grain is so twisted up in the center or is it a denser wood there? I don't have a splitter so I might hold off on it for a while.

    Ed
  14. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    WARNING!!!! - There is a picture displaying my firewood stacking ability at the bottom of the post...remember to not have coffee, coca-cola, tea, whiskey or any other liquid in your mouth when you view it. Also, it's advised not to be using any sharp instruments when you first view my stack. One last thing, someone in your house or your neighbor's house might be sleeping so try to keep your laughter to somewhat of a restrained level. Now, back to the post...

    Well, except for a lot of short log lengths...13"-14" stuff, I'm very pleased with the last load of wood that I bought. I got out there today and decided to reduce the side of the splits a bit and to bust up some most of the rounds for the small firebox of the F3CB. I figured it'd help the green oak dry faster to (maybe be ready for the 11/12 season). The dry stuff I just busted up as most of it was in rounds.

    Now I'm no Paul Bunyan or quads, but I enjoyed reducing the size of those splits and rounds. I've never split wood to amount to anything and this was thoroughly enjoyable...and a lot of exercise. Having a bad back (surgery back in '93) I was ok as long as I kept going...if I ever stopped for a break I could tell I needed to get back to work...sitting here typing this I'm trying to decide between Tylenol and Ibuprophen...probably will opt for the last. Anyhow, most of the larger rounds were dry ones and only 7"-8" at the largest. There were only a few green rounds that size and most were smaller than that so I busted most of the ones 3" and larger. Are bigger green rounds of the equivalent wood harder or easier to split than the 5-6 inch ones that I split?

    I think I probably made a lot of "stove wood" size splits out of this load and some kindlin' sized pieces that I scattered through the stack. I did leave some pretty good size splits in the mix, though. I attacked some knotty stuff and had success there...though there was a few pieces that I didn't even try. I was using the Fiskars SS which I am well pleased with. Anyhow, here are a couple of pics...

    Here is the "before" picture. As you can see, the dry stuff was mostly rounds...some of them were a little punky but most were good wood that sounded like a bat if you knocked'em together...
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    Here is the "after" picture. The 2x4's supporting the stack are 12' long...there is a 4' level propped up against the side of the stack. I stacked the green wood on the left and the dry stuff on the left. The green wood side measures 5' tall while the dry side measures around 4.5' tall. There is a small stack of crotches, knotty stuff, etc., at the far end of dry wood side that I stacked on some bricks and short 2x4s. I'm happy. Looking back at the first load that I bought elsewhere for $75 (picture earlier in the thread) I'm tickled pink with the last supplier. This last load was a $70 load...called the guy tonight and though he said he was about out of the dry stuff I went ahead ordered four more loads. Now, I need to figure out how big is the biggest wood I'd want to burn in the F3CB. :) Gee, getting excited about splitting wood and still don't have the stove set up....got the mason coming this week, though, and I located some micore!!
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  15. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Stacks are looking good!
  16. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Thaks rdust! I got some pointers from a good guy on stacking it this way. ;-)
    Thanks!

    I guess I couldn't leave well enough alone...got some more stackin' and a little more splittin' to do. The pile right beside the stack has a lot of small rounds in it, I'm figuring on splitting those at least in half and maybe reducing some of the splits.

    The pile nearest to the camera has some large squared-off splits in it and looks like it doesn't have any rounds in it. I'm thinking of getting the pie-shaped pieces (quarters) and knocking the points off to square them up a bit and lace the small pieces in the stack for kindlin'. I'm thinking these larger splits will be some good overnight/back logs.

    Before ordering these last loads I thought about the short pieces that I got on my first load from this guy. I got to thinking that when I told him to cut it 16" he might have thought that was as long as my stove could handle. I mentioned it and sure enough, he was cutting to try to give me wiggle room. These last two loads are very nice lengths. :)

    I've got two more loads to go...I've got an option of getting a load of pecan... is pecan better or worse than oak (for heating, not cooking)?

    Anyhow here's a pic of the last two loads delivered as the "winter storm" was nearing yesterday...

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  17. jlove1974

    jlove1974 Member

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    RE: sweetgum grain :

    It's so twisted up that many times the center just mushes into kindling, or your splitter binds (or BENDS the beam on a speeco...read my Northern Tool review in gear section...) or dies.
    I tell people it's like a twisted dishrag that petrifies, that's the best way to describe it.

    And if you google sweetgum, you'll see that some people use that wood for flooring and cabinets LOL. I think I'll stick to Ash, Maple, Hickory, Oak or Walnut for all my cabinetry needs.

    Anyhow, sweetgum, like pecan, is one of those woods you hate so bad that you want to see it burn just for vengeance :)
  18. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Ok, I'll remember this in case I decide to try some sweetgum...don't want to go into trying to split it with misconceptions!

    You mentioned pecan as being similar in it's splitting...but, what about it's burn characteristics? In comparison to water oak (or your average oak in general) how does pecan measure up?

    Thanks,
    Ed
  19. jlove1974

    jlove1974 Member

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    Pecan and I have a love-hate relationship. The pecan is like the southern US favorite nut, pecan pie etc. I love that aspect. The tree itself is a major litterbug besides the nuts, always dropping limbs (NEVER top out a pecan tree!!!) and then the pollen pods are long tassles that stain concrete. And massive amounts of hard to rake leaves in the fall.

    So the wood is heavy, burns very similar to it's cousin shagbark hickory which means outstanding BTUs. Also hard to split wet or dry, but twisted crotches and some trunk grain are nigh-impossible task.

    Sweetgum is medium-heat, kinda like maple but burns fast like pine when seasoned fully. Note it is full of water when green. Twisted grain throughout means TOUGH manual splitting.
  20. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I hear you on pecan dropping junk everywhere...but those pecan pies sure are good..just roasted pecans by themselves are pretty hard to stop eatin'! So, for btu's would you rank pecan over water oak? I've got an option of getting some pecan rather than water oak in some wood that I'm buying. Just trying to figure out whether to get some pecan or not... ??

    Ed
  21. jlove1974

    jlove1974 Member

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    Any type of Hickory/Pecan outranks Oak in every firewood performance category except maybe White Oak, esp in the area of seasoning time.
    So yes I would take the option of getting Pecan vs Water Oak (which is a red oak and a PITA to season fully) anytime
  22. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I'm getting conflicting info on oak vs pecan.

    Seems that the pecan is definitely good wood, but I've seen mention of wood borers getting into it after a year or two and recommendations to burn it within that time span. A couple of places have also made a differentiation made between the natural pecans and domesticated(?) pecans...basically implying that the trees normally planted for pecan production aren't quiet up to snuff with the "natural" pecans. ??

    I think what I'm going to do is let pecan be a scrounge wood for me...lots of pecan trees in the area and they do tend to shed big limbs occasionally...if we get a big storm, there's always some blow downs or limbs on the ground.

    I'm hoping to get a cord of the water oak stacked and off the ground tomorrow. The first stack is already looking "different"...getting a darker, graying color on the ends but no checking going on...it's only been cut and split a little under 2 weeks. The other two piles were split a week later than the wood in the first stack. 1/4 cord of the first stack is dry wood...the guy said that it was cut October 2009...so it is 14-15 months old and as far as I can tell is good and dry...I think a lot of the dry stuff was limbs. I'll put a moisture meter to a couple of fresh splits this weekend and see what the meter shows. The green stuff will just peg the meter out.

    Sounds like a good experiment to do....running water oak up against some pecan.

    Ed
  23. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I've got all the wood delivered now and just needing to get it stacked and re-split if needed. I got a 1/2 cord stacked this afternoon. I took a picture of the block and 2x4 foundation for the stack but didn't take anymore of stacking progresses...it got dark on me before I got through so tomorrow I might get a picture of it.

    I started this stack basically a block's depth further north than the first stack. Most of my prevailing wind comes from the southwest and I figured this might give the stacks to the east a little extra area to catch/direct some wind in between the stacks...probably won't make any difference but...

    I started the second stack 68" from the first stack. Why 68"?...because that will give my lawn mower 5" of clearance on either side of it when I mow between the stacks. Plus, if a stack falls it shouldn't fall into it's neighboring stack.

    It will also be interesting to see how the sun hits each side of the stacks...I finished stacking by moonlight and I noticed that the shadow cast by the first (east)stack was a little over a foot away from the second (west)stack so I'm guessing the moon had begun to completely shine on the westward stack when it was about in the 9-10 o'clock position in the sky. I'll see what it looks like in the morning.

    Each stack is 12' long which figures 1/2 cord each @ 4' high. I'm going to add another 12' stack on the north end of the existing stacks. I'm thinking of leaving the same 68" spacing between the ends of the existing stacks and the added stacks...first for ventilation/wind and the 68" width to get the lawn mower through. The gap between the stack ends will be angled so I may have to leave more than 68". Do you think leaving this gap will increase ventilation enough to benefit the wood? I'm mostly working with water oak.

    Ed

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  24. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Well, I'm slowly getting the oak up off of the ground. Here you can see the spacing between the stacks....68". I also left around six feet between the ends of the stacks. I figure this should give good air movement around and through the stacks and give me room to mow the grass. Each stack is 12' long and will be four feet tall for 1/2 cord per stack. The closest stack to the camera is a measured 1/2 cord...4' tall x 12' long. The first stack has a bit more than 1/2 cord in it.

    Anyhow, I'm getting there...

    [​IMG]
  25. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    Hey Ed,

    I see it's coming along quite well. I will say just one thing though. A good strong wind might cause you some problems down the road.

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