1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Is there such a thing as too dry wood?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by ohlongarm, Nov 29, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. ohlongarm

    ohlongarm Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    723
    Loc:
    Northeastern Ohio
    Finally broke down and got a General instruments moisture meter after reading how many use them here. I checked wood that has been stored in a shed that's open east and west and gets a good breeze yearly but no rain or sun.My readings were of hickory,oak,cherry,locust,hickory shagbark 9%,cherry,12% locust 12%,and oak at 14%, I plan on burning from this stockpile this winter this wood is all solid as a piece of concrete is too dry wood an issue as far as length of burns etc.Shoulder season wood has been ash,at 14%cut in March and small cherry splits at 15%cut the same time. A dead red elm tested 12% cut same time but was standing in the air dead about 4 years. Thanks for any input. Testing of wood was on ends,and in center sides of splits.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,495
    Prediction: several posters will agree that the dryness of this wood is a problem, and offer to dispose of it safely for you.
  3. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    703
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    Did you re-split the wood to test moisture on a fresh surface?
  4. ballibeg

    ballibeg Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    31
    Loc:
    Scotland
    Really really dry wood only causes problems in stoves that dont seal well enough to let you control the air. If it sucks through poor seals it'll take off!

    Dave
  5. ohlongarm

    ohlongarm Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    723
    Loc:
    Northeastern Ohio
    I did re-split some oak and cherry,but nothing else and got similar readings. But I'll try that tomorrow and see what I get,stay tuned.
  6. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    There is a thing on Craiglist in Akron. A guy is selling a truckload of firewood for $100. Seasoned one year. He said its "perfect" because wood that sits for (2,3,4,6 yrs) is too dry!.

    I thought you were gonna post that ad when I read your post.

    That wood you have sounds good.. (Get any "Chucks" this year?)
  7. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,854
    Loc:
    Amanda, OH
    I know people who think you control how long you burn by the moisture in the wood. More moisture longer burn heheheh.
  8. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    6,770
    Loc:
    Syracuse NY
    The King is going to love that stuff.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    "Is there such a thing as too dry wood?"

    If there is, I've not seen any and I've been around for a while now. Check the wood we burned at Woodstock last fall (and some went to Tony and then to BK). That wood was cut, split and stacked about 9 years ago. Burned like a charm.

    About the only ones I hear say wood is too dry is those uninformed folks who think you can burn green wood.
  10. ohlongarm

    ohlongarm Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    723
    Loc:
    Northeastern Ohio
    So should I assume dry wood is GOOD? Forgot to add that this wood was cut in 2004 dried a year outside,then when it was dry stacked in a 10X12 shed. Thanks
  11. Bubbavh

    Bubbavh Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    475
    Loc:
    NJ Piney
    The short answer here is...
    NO!
    You may get a longer burn out of less dry wood but no more heat. Dry wood makes burning easier.
  12. michburner

    michburner Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    21
    Loc:
    the thumb
    Woodstock was last fall? I need to get back to the future.
  13. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,174
    Loc:
    northwest Virginia
    Yes dry wood is very good indeed. The difference between burning dry and green is like night and day. Dry will give you less smoke (almost none), less creosote (almost none) and less headaches when starting a fire AND give you the same heat. With green wood you're basically boiling the water in the wood away so that the wood itself can burn.

    Naturally, wood won't go much below 10% moisture in most areas due to relative humidity, so it will get to that point, or close, and not go much lower. There was a post on this a few weeks ago and Battenkiller is an authority on this topic.

    As for your wood cut in 2004, that sounds ready to go to me! I don't think you'll have any problems. Good luck!
  14. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    Great fire wood.
    Lights well, burns well, burns clean.
    The BK will make lots of heat & burn a long time with that wood. :)
  15. ecocavalier02

    ecocavalier02 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,441
    Loc:
    ct
    +1 i think it'll burn longer cuz you can just throw it and let it take off and crank it right down. no need to burn off much moisture.
  16. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,170
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    Truck is fueled, & trailer is hooked up, if you'll kindly pm me your address I'll be there before noon to take that "dangerous too dry wood" off your hands. :cheese:

    Hey c'mon somebody had to do it.

    Seriously though, enjoy good heat, less smoke & creosote, & a warm home all winter. A C
  17. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    3,732
    Loc:
    Just Outside the Blue Line
    I don't think there is an easy answer to your question. Other variables like wood density, split size, load size, stove temp at loading, intake air, stack temp, load configuration, stove design, and operator skill can trump very dry wood.

    A great example is the new wood on the block, compressed wood fuel. This stuff is extremely dry, but because it is compressed to a very high density so it burns in a well-regulated manner.

    The same thing with large splits. They burn slowly because there is less exposed surface area per unit volume of wood. Rounds are even better because a cylinder of wood has less exposed surface area than a square block of equal cross-sectional area.

    OTOH a stove full of pallet wood that has been brought inside to dry further and is now at the same moisture content as that compressed wood fuel (5-6%MC) is another animal. Get that stuff raging and shut air all the way and you will get a whole lot of smoke all at once. Open up the air to burn more of the smoke and you will have an out of control fire.

    So... it depends. But large splits of wood as dry as you mention burned in a first-rate cat stove like yours will give a sweet burn I'm willing to bet. Definitely not too dry for the circumstances.
  18. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    3,732
    Loc:
    Just Outside the Blue Line
    BTW you are not using the meter correctly. Readings taken from the ends are very inaccurate, as are readings taken from any portion of the sides without first resplitting the wood and reading from a fresh face. Reading both inside and outside surfaces of the wood will allow you to estimate the steepness of the moisture gradient.
  19. ruserious2008

    ruserious2008 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    160
    Loc:
    NH
    I'm only on my 2nd year of burning so what do I know:0 But.... I'm with the crowd that wants to come and help you get rid of that nasty too dry wood:)
    I think the comment that if you have a bad stove that is not airtight it could get away from you is very valid but other than that the idea that you WANT to burn wet (or wetter) wood because its easier to control and burns longer is nuts to me. With wet wood your using BTU's to boil water, water never gets hotter than 212F at sea lvl pressure so you're sending some water vapor up your stack ( and the BTU's it took to get it into vapor) at that temp that is doing nothing but cooling your stack and helping creosote form. I'm thinking the "wood can be too dry crowd" base that on old wives tales and are also the ones that say you can't burn pine because it causes chimney fires (whole other argument:)
    I have an old stove with no cat or such but have learned it pretty well and I know what I can and can't do with it as far as over firing it goes. I know that if I put some of my ash that is very dry in there I need to watch it flare up and then throttle the air flow down real fast to keep it from over firing. But doing that still gives me a nice "clean" burning fire for many hours. "Wetter" stuff maybe into the upper teens like my maple and birch I can leave the air flow open to keep the fire in the nice non smokey safe burn range and also get nice long burns. Somehow I imagine these folks that talk about wood being too dry are the types that just throw it into the stove with the airflow on max and that they have no clue how to manage the burn.
    I'd love to see some arguments with some facts/data/concepts that make some sense about why too dry wood is bad but have not seen them here or on any websites.
    I'd say learn your stove and wood and enjoy the BTU's!
  20. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I want to add that a fresh cut will read the same as a fresh split IMHO. I know what you are saying is correct but it seems like some people are getting the wrong ideas out of some of the posts.
  21. spirilis

    spirilis Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    535
    Loc:
    New Market, MD
    The only reasonable issue with extra dry wood (e.g. pallet wood) assuming you can control the air & burn rate is soot on the glass with a cold or not-fully-warmed stove (due to the fast offgassing). I can never keep the glass clean on my Jotul (pre-EPA) when I use more than 1 slat of pallet wood to assist startup. Once it gets really hot inside and/or coals up the heat should burn off the soot, and if you have airwash (mine does not) this might not be an issue at all.

    Consider the rest of us "green" with envy ;)
  22. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,628
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    http://www.woodstove.com/

    Woodstock Soapstone's Company's Open House, BBQ, Stove Giveaway and Informal Hearth.com Get Together . . . held last Fall. No need to fire up the Delorean . . . well then again I suppose you could get Doc and the Delorean and go back to the future and join us there. :)
  23. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    3,732
    Loc:
    Just Outside the Blue Line
    Yeah, do that, we had a great time. Wear your bellbottoms, love beads, flowers in your hair, and... oh... bring a nice fat joint with you. All we had was Pen's beer to mooch.
  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    BK, you would look great with bell bottoms and love beads.... Not so sure about those flowers though.
  25. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    "Is there such a thing as too dry wood?"


    NO
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page