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Is my wood seasoned?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by chutes, Oct 30, 2008.

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  1. chutes

    chutes Member

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    I wanted to get some feedback from people here just in case I was over excited about the wood that I purchased. Feel free to be brutally honest with me, as I might be more excited than I should be.

    I bought 4-cord of wood from a new guy. I've had the same guy for years for outdoor burning, and even though he always promised me seasoned wood, too often I found lots of bubbling on the ends, etc. Now, outside, in a fire pit when you're drinking many cold beers with friends, you stop caring too much about seasoning once you have a good roaring fire going cause (I have a huge pit, by the way) once you have a few inches of molten lava coals going, everything burns fine. I didn't trust my guy enough to burn his wood inside.

    So, picked a new guy. He told me his wood was season for 18 months. I gave it a shot. Here's what I found:

    bark pulls right off or has already fallen off
    hitting two pieces together give you that nice, hollow sound
    it burns like paper when you throw it into my insert, with the air open. it is on fire on both sides within a minute

    What discourages me a little is the weight of some of it.

    The aspen (my wood guy taught me about what kind of wood I have) is light as air. However, I have a bunch of red oak here too, but this is not light. It still burns just as quickly as the aspen, but a good size split is still a heavy piece of wood.

    Based on everything that I've written, is it safe to assume that I have good, seasoned wood? (is it normal for red oak t be heavy - especially compared to aspen - even when seasoned?).

    Also, the guys cords were a little over by my measurement, so, I'm quite thrilled with my connection.

    Any thoughts? If you need more info on my fuel, let me know, as I'm just sitting here on the Internet enjoying a nice fire...

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  2. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    The Guru's will be along shortly, I am sure.

    That Oak needs to dry some more, me thinks.

    Nice insert !!!!
  3. chutes

    chutes Member

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    Thanks for the reply (that is the longest user name I think I've seen in any forum, by the way).

    I would tend to agree, if weight was the only factor, but that red oak seems to light on fire like it is kindling. I could certainly pick through lighter pieces of different varieties (like aspen) but I wonder if red oak is just heavy in general?

    I certainly don't want to contribute to any creosote buildup by using wood that isn't seasoned, but should I take weight as the determining factor?
  4. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like you might have actually found one wood guy who is selling TRUE seasoned wood. If the bark is falling off, the ends are checked, the pieces 'ping' when hit together, and there is no sizzling out the end, that is seasoned or pretty close to seasoned.

    Check link in sig, but aspen is about 2300 lbs per cord and oak is about 3750 lbs per cord - so I would expect that armload to armload, the oak is going to be about 1.6 times the weight - a considerable difference! I'd use the aspen for quick hot fires during the day, when you want to take the chill off but don't need a full blown fire, or when you have plenty of time to stoke the stove. Save the oak for bitter cold winter, overnight burns, and times when you won't be available to tend the stove every 1/2 hour or so.
  5. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Oak weighs 1.5 to 2 times aspen, and so will have 1.5 to 2 times the BTUs as aspen per cord. So yes, the oak should weigh a lot more even if seasoned, and it sounds like it is (but 18 mos. would be a minimum for oak, longer is better). Did you guy cut to log length 18 mos. ago, or did he cut and split to stove size 18 mos. ago? If the latter, great.

    If your purchase is a mix of 3 parts oak to 1 part aspen, bear in mind that a cord of that ratio will be giving you about 50% more heat than a cord with the opposite ratio, so judge the price accordingly.
  6. chutes

    chutes Member

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    Good point, regarding ratio. Thanks.

    My guess is that it was cut and split 18 months ago, because he did tell me that all of his cords are measured ahead of time, and then he loads them as its sold.

    My supply though is red oak, white oak, aspen, maple, and ash. It is just pretty obvious to me that the red oak seems heavier than the other wood. It still lights up like crazy, so, I can't complain, but I could avoid the red if t sounds like it needs more seasoning.
  7. buzcranne

    buzcranne New Member

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    I'm jealous. I just got a 4 cords delivered from a guy who swore the wood was ready to burn ... it's what he's burning this year he said.

    But ... it's sopping. Looks like it was cut and split today. I wasn't here during the delivery. Going to give him an unhappy call in the AM.

    Hold on to your new guy!
  8. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, you found a good guy. That's a nice mix of wood if not too much aspen. I'd say if the oak lights right up, use it - 'specially on those Feb. nights it drops to zero!
  9. chutes

    chutes Member

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    Thanks to everyone for responses. Regarding the quote above - how hilarious since what you're saying is EXACTLY what my wood guy told me to do. Very funny.
  10. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Been there, done that. Learned I have to ask how it was seasoned, when it was split, where and how it was stored. Don't know about where you live, but here (I'm in Vermont countryside) folks mostly have big old stoves that will burn anything, and "seasoned" to them means something much less dry than what modern stoves require. It took me two different utterly baffled local guys to figure out that they're not scamming me, they really do burn what we would consider inadequately dried wood themselves. One neighbor has never seasoned his wood at all, just goes out and cuts down a tree in his woodlot and cuts it up whenever he's about to run out of firewood. Yikes.

    I'm buying from local people selling a few cords from their woodlots ever year to neighbors, not dealers. If I had to get wood from a dealer, I'd want to go look at it (and heft it) personally first, especially if he was charging me "seasoned" wood prices.

    Lesson number one is to buy your wood green a year or two ahead. Costs less, and you can be in charge of deciding when it's seasoned enough.
  11. woodconvert

    woodconvert Minister of Fire

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    From your description it sounds like you got good wood and yes, oak will be heavier even when dry. Something you should do for next year, though, is get your wood in the spring. That way if it's marginal you can stack it and let it finish drying over the summer...you'll have a better idea of what you have come burning time.
  12. olskool53

    olskool53 Member

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    Where in CT is your guy? I need dry wood! My guy delivered me 2 cords of sopping wet seasoned wood.
  13. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Oak is denser than aspen.
  14. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    There's bad dealers and there's dumb/desperate (?) people. Most people around here don't know the difference between well seasoned and not well seasoned wood or else they don't care. Example; I pulled some poplar logs up from outback the other day. They'd been laying there for two years. I cut and split about two cords figuring to use it next fall. It was plenty punky, wet, and even had some mold inside the splits. A man stops and wants to buy it! I explained it was pretty nasty stuff and for my own use but he hefted a couple of the feather weight pieces and said it was perfect for him if I could help him out. "$150 a cord", I thought that might dissuade him. "Great. Thanks a lot."
    And all the small time dealers are just now cutting, splitting, and selling, their "seasoned logs."
    Chutes- you found a smart, good, man. Make sure you take care of him also.
  15. arcticcatmatt

    arcticcatmatt New Member

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    I just split it and use a 20 dollar moisture meter and make sure its less than 20%
  16. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Now that you've learned that oak and aspen are different, you will soon learn that most types of wood will weigh different. There also will be a big difference between the weight of green and seasoned wood. And you can now also tackle the task of starting to tell the difference in various wood just by looking at it.
  17. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    Many will praise ash cause you can burn it green. I burn it all as long as it is seasoned!
  18. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Yeah - I wouldn't BS ya! This sounds like a good wood guy - knows his stuff and advertises honestly. I guess that means you'd like to to tell others to return the favor and help him sell wood (or save him for yourself so you know you've got a good guy with lots of truly seasoned wood!)
  19. Lanningjw

    Lanningjw Feeling the Heat

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    Great forum!
  20. shieneehead

    shieneehead New Member

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    Seriously. Where is this guy? I just got 2 sopping "seasoned" cords myself. I've got nothing to burn this winter. I now have 4 cords for next year but in the meantime I am SOL. Say...did you get your sopping cords from a guy out of New Hartford?
  21. 80s Burnout

    80s Burnout New Member

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    Sounds like you are ready for some BioBricks or other compressed product to hold you over.
  22. chutes

    chutes Member

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    Sorry that I missed these requests as to who my wood guy is. I'm happy to share his info since I'm hoping that I'll be able to supply my own wood for myself after this season. He is in South Windsor, CT. I'm not sure the protocol as to publishing his name and number here in the thread, so if anyone is interested in his info, just PM me and I'll give you his number. Dave
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