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Mediocre Wood and Getting a Good Burn

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by loridonovan, Jan 24, 2006.

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  1. loridonovan

    loridonovan New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Messages:
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    Hi Everyone,

    This is our first year with our wood stove and we estimated light on our early cord ordering this year. We had two cords delivered two weeks ago and (of course) they are no where near as dry as the earlier logs. We're having trouble buring it with good efficiency. With the help of a lot of kindling and small bits and pieces, the logs just get hot, smolder and don't do much of anything. We use our stove as our primary heat source and it's getting frustrating.

    Although we plan to order more wood and store the rest for future use, we think that we're going to keep running into this "wet" wood no matter what.

    Are there any good tips on getting this "slightly wet" mediocre wood to burn for us this late in the season?

    We'd definitely appreciate any feedback.

    Thanks.

    Lori & Jeff

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  2. Hokerer

    Hokerer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    Loc:
    Manassas, VA
    Trade it to someone who's got extra seasoned wood that they won't need this year?
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
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    It's happened to all of us, Lori & Jeff.

    First, if you have a calalytic stove you don't want to burn green wood because it will ruin the cat elements.

    The only suggestion I would have, short of what Hokerer suggests, is to stack the wet wood in a warm, dry place, perhaps with a fan blowing on it. If you're lucky, the wood has been dried once already and just contains moisture that will quickly migrate back out. Most likely, however, the wood is green and will take months to dry out properly, even in a warm dry environment. In either case, you would be ahead to do what I suggest.

    You can heat by burning wet wood in non-cat appliances but it takes some practice and uses a lot more wood. It's not much fun but you can do it. The good news is that having burned green wood once, you'll probably never do it again i.e., you'll stock up in the spring and let your wood dry over the summer. Also, green wood creates a lot of creosote, so you want to be intimately familiar with your chimney and clean it on a regular basis.

    Other than that, welcome to the club.
  4. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Milford, CT
    I re-split my semi green stuff and then stacked it criss-cross for maximum air flow. I figure the skinnier logs will dry out faster. I put a tarp just on the top when rain or snow is expected. I use the most seasoned stuff to get the fire going with the logic that the green stuff will dry out way quicker on very hot coals than if I tried to put it into a cool stove. I only put in one or two green logs at a time. rather than pack the firebox full. This way the stove doesn't have to use up as much energy to dry out the wood and start the combustion process. I always burn with the airflow wide open to ensure as much combustion as possible. Seems to be working very well, but I'll be really glad next year when I know it's good. Good luck.
  5. Rick

    Rick Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
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    Loc:
    Connecticut
    That happened to me the first year I burned. I brought about a weeks worth of wood in at a time and stacked it in the room with the stove (a safe distance away, of course). I split the smallest pieces even smaller, and "borrowed" some seasoned (and dry) wood from a sister. That was a terrible year, my chimney was a mess. In hindsight, I probably would have been better off just waiting a year to use it. Good luck to you.

    Rick
  6. Geoff

    Geoff New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Messages:
    46
    Loc:
    NH
    I'm in the same situation, I just moved in at the end of November and had to go buy some "seasoned" wood. I lay the wood out in front of the stove so that it gets pre-warmed so it won't cool the stove off too much when I put it in. I also split it as thin as I can. Sometimes I warm it by putting a piece or two on top of the stove for a few minutes to get it good and hot before it goes in. Of course I only do this when I'm right by the stove and never leave it un-attended. I have poor draft (due to a crappy chimney design) so that adds to the joy! I've been checking the chimney regularly and I've swept it twice so far just to be safe.
  7. PaulGuy

    PaulGuy New Member

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    Nov 20, 2005
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    Lori & Jeff,

    Where are you located?
  8. loridonovan

    loridonovan New Member

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    Pennsylvania.
  9. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Deltaville,VA
    Stack the wood, single file, facing South or West - so it gets wintertime sun exposure.

    Cover ONLY the top of the row, no the sides.

    As you burn, bring in the next couple of pieces and place them around the stove to keep them "on-deck" for the next load.

    Use the "on-deck" pieces when you need to reload, then replace that with more "on-deck" wood for the next load"
  10. Chuck Pearson

    Chuck Pearson Member

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    Loc:
    Adrian, MI
    If you have a garage, you can move the car outside and stack the wood in the garage for the winter. It will be a little warmer and won't get any precipitation on it. It also makes it easier to use a fan if you plan to do that.
  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That's a good idea. I wonder if there are recycled paper-based pellets in our future. Maybe some mix of paper and wood residue.
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