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Moisture content question

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by rgsccr, Feb 1, 2009.

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  1. rgsccr

    rgsccr New Member

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    I just bought 1/2 cord of wood that I was told was seasoned - mixed maple and fir. When it was delivered the fellow told me that it had been down for several years but split recently. I checked a number of pieces with a moisture meter and got readings in the low 20s generally. While I know that the wood should have been split for a long time to be seasoned, am I correct that the issue is moisture content, that is, once this wood gets below 20% it will be good to burn? Thanks.

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  2. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Where are you taking your reading? The only accurate way is to split a piece and then measure on the freshly exposed surface. I don't think that 20% is a magical number. It will probably burn fine at 22%. :)
  3. ahlkey

    ahlkey New Member

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    Firewood in general is ready to burn and is considered seasoned when it approachs that 20% moisture content level. A lot depends on the wood species but I generally only burn oak, hard maple, ash, or hickory which is pretty hard stuff. There are people who insist that wood should be dried (seasoned) for at least one or two years. However, for the most part drying that long is unnecessary, as long as the pieces of wood are cut to length, properly stacked, and covered in areas where moisture content (rain & humidity) is high. Let the natural air flows work through the cut cells of the pieces of wood which will dry it sooner than one year. For example if you cut only one-foot long splits they will generally dry to acceptable levels in less than four months. Two-foot long cut pieces take about seven to eight months. Four-foot long cut pieces will require at least one year or longer. In my mind if you do the mositure reading and the wood is split and stacked early in the year you are ready to burn optimally by November. Therefore, if you are measuring correctly there should be no real value in drying firewood in 16 inch splits more than nine months. If wood is stacked in four-foot lengths for nine months, and then cut to shorter burning lengths just before use, it will likely not burn well because it is still wet.

    Many variables exist but if you are measuring correctly you will be fine.
  4. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I've never been able to get fresh cut Oak to dry under 25% with less than 1.5 years. It will fool you on the outside, but once you split and take an inside reading it's still wet. Best to get 2 years ahead on supply if you have the room and you will never have to worry.
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