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Moisture Content?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by rdust, Jul 18, 2009.

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  1. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Does anyone have a link or have a list of moisture contents for different species of fresh cut wood? Anyone know roughly what the moisture content of red oak starts at? I have some red oak that I cut/split last year that has around a 33% MC, I'm curious what kind of progress it has made so far.

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  2. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Oak takes two years to dry. Most think I'm nuts, but I stay away from it unless it falls in my lap. I seek out black locust, White ash and hard maple in my area.
    Great link on moisture content at the bottom of this link! http://mb-soft.com/juca/print/firewood.html
  3. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Your oak only needs one more year.
  4. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    I'm with you gzecc. I got a bunch of red oak last year that was cut from a dead tree and down a year, half split . I resplit it in early spring, and a lot of it wasn't truly ready. I was glad to have it when the power went out, but I don't have room in my yard to store wood for 2+ years. I wouldn't turn it away, for sure, but if I'm not storing much more than a year's worth, I can't afford to seek it out.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I agree. Even with oak that is dead or almost there it is still best to give it 2 years to season. It is just so dense that it is difficult to release that moisture.
  6. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    Moisture content on any live wood will differ depending on the time of year it is cut down. Trees that shed their leaves in the fall are going dormant and generally are entering their lowest sap level of the year. Once sap starts to flow in the spring though the moisture levels jump a lot so getting a chart or link for various wood moisture levels will only be the result of some intense research. Trees that have their leaves on when cut will dry faster if the leaves are left on until they wither because they will draw moisture from the trunk but only to a point.
  7. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    Well, I hate to say it, but I am awash in oak. Is it bad to wish for some quick drying softwood? We have long shoulder seasons here, and I could get by with alot of pine/soft maple, but it seems red/white oak keeps falling in my lap! Oh well, I guess it's a good problem to have, and since I have to handsplit it all, it's better to be putting my sweat toward more BTU'S! :coolgrin:
  8. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Well, Pulldown - if you have enough space to store it and get ahead then you will be sitting pretty in a couple years at any rate! Do you happen to have a moisture meter? If so, how about posting the readings off some of those fresh splits?
  9. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    HA Slow1! I wish I had more space, because the quote from the 'ol lady today was "if you get another load of wood, I am moving!". This was all because I got a great score from a guy in the neighborhood dropping a few fresh (no rot) red and white oaks right around the corner! Around here, most tree guys have to pay to take their load to the dump! So, they are happy to save a few bucks, save a trip to the dump, and I am a very happy camper that I am getting 1+ cord of oak dropped off at my front door. The wife has come a long way in understanding the value of having firewood on hand, but I am definitely on the tipping point of having too much firewood on hand. We've got 3/4 acre in a suburban setting, and I think I've done a good job spreading it out, but I've got 5 cord split and laid up, with probably 3 or 4 cord in the wings. My family thinks I'm insane, and I can sort of understand their stance. But, how can you turn down an oak score in your own neighborhood, delivered? Way too good to turn down in my book, but it may cost me my marriage! :-/

    BTW-no moisture meter here. Would be a fun tool tho.....
  10. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Hmm, marriage or cord of oak? Maybe you should make your stacks taller. My wife thinks I am obsessed with wood. She is right.
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Ja, with that many cords on a fraction of an acre, it's time to go more vertical with a woodshed. I've got about 18 cord spread around here but I also have 18 acres. None the less, I will have about 12 cord packed into my woodshed by late Fall. Got 6 cord in it now and the rest laid out. Wife wants me to clean up the outdoor piles and stacks.
  12. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    I've had as much as 9 cords on my whopping 1/6 acre without taking up any real yard space. Of course I do this by stacking on both sides of the house and under the porch and deck in the rear, plus along a terrace retaining wall near the rear property line. Not the recommended setup, but it keeps the wife happy, leaves the kids room to play and most of the neighbors can't even tell it's there. Although the driveway does have a cord of oak waiting for me to split and stack when I get back.
  13. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    PullDown - I love your problem! I have tried talking to tree services here and the couple that actually were willing to talk were kind enough on the phone, even sounded as if they might be willing to work something out (not free), but I never heard back from them. Guess we are just in a tighter market. I have gathered my wood from aggressive CL watching and one very lucky strike when a neighbor around the corner happened to have a few trees taken out (poplar and birch).

    I have about 1/2 acre here - and about 8 cords stacked up :) Yes the neighbors and wife think I'm insane but nobody has filed a complaint yet. I check with my neighbors on a regular basis to be sure they are not annoyed and offer them all the wood they can use for camping (so far no takers, but it would be a good investment I figure).

    I have done this by packing it in very tight and tall. My 'wood borg' (see pictures in other thread) has 4+ cords in it and is something like 6' on the short side and over 7.5" tall on the other (it is on a hill as is my whole lot). Of course I am cheating a bit there since although that looks like it is on my property - next to my driveway etc, it technically is on my neighbors (they know and don't care!). You have to see the layout to understand how the builders did things to realize how this makes sense I guess. That pile is all ready to burn and doesn't need additional seasoning (won't hurt it of course) so I am not concerned about having maximum airflow - just as long as the middle doesn't rot!

    The rest is stacked on pallets. I do all for corners criss cross for stability (3 splits each way that are flat and rectangular) and fill in the centers/edges. I stack these pallets up to about 6-7 feet, basically just as high as I can reach and am being careful to have all stacks leaning to center of the pallet if there is any structural bias - so far nothing seems to be wanting to fall. I plan to leave these at least 2 years so I'm hoping I can get away with the tight stacks. Time will tell. Next year I'll again be scrounging the CL postings for truly seasoned (2+ year old) wood to buy at fair to good prices if the centers of these piles don't test out close to ready for the borg.
  14. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Red oak fresh cut, live tree, runs about 75% MC measured for lumber purposes, meaning that if a split weighs 10 lbs perfectly dry (oven-dry), it would weigh 17.5 pounds green; of if a split weighs 10 lbs green, it would weigh 5.7 pounds perfectly dry. Except for warm, coastal areas and the dry southwest, average relative humidity in much of the US is 40%. For most firewood purposes, MC of about 25%+/- is OK, and if 25% is used, a 10 lb split will have about 2 pounds of water and 8 lbs of perfectly dry wood.

    For MI, approximately, it will take about 60-165 air drying days to dry 1" red oak to 20% MC, and much longer for 2" and larger red oak. June, July and August are considered to have 30 drying days each, May and September 25 drying days, and April and October 20 drying days. with the other months much less.

    Typical splits are much larger that 2", so air drying time can be lengthy, and is very much climate related.
  15. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    My experience with red Oak, fresh cut reads 38% on my meter, and it usually takes two years to reach 20%.
  16. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    Split it smaller Todd. No bigger then a fist and it drys fine...
  17. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    All the red oak I've tested maxed out the cheap HF meter at 37%, but was clearly higher. After a year larger splits, when re-split, have a central region that still reads in the 30%'s. I don't know if red oak is somehow uniquely hard to season, or if it just starts with a higher moisture content than other species of similar density. Splitting finer would work, but for non-cat stoves at least it's hard to get a long burn with small splits. (Too much surface area.)
  18. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Thats ok, i'm 3 years ahead, no worries.
  19. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    You should have seen how fast I was moving to get all that wood out of the street and hidden around the property before the wife got home! Out of sight, out of mind. It is definitely time for me to think about a woodshed/more covert wood storage. I think I'm getting close to being 2 years ahead, so maybe I could start stacking things tighter with multiple rows. I'm getting started on another Holz Hausen with a previous score of oak, I think they look cool and is a nice way to stack tall and have it very stable.

    Jebatty, that's very interesting info on drying times. I continue to split all my oak smaller than I have to (2-3"), thinking it needs all the help it can get, even though I'm ~2 years ahead.
  20. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    A lot of good info here guys, thanks!

    My wood may not be perfect for this year but I have about 10 cords which puts me ahead so 2010/2011 I should be good. This year will be my first year burning(besides fireplace burning) so I doubt I'll be burning 24/7 until I get the hang of things and figure out the best way to move heat around my house. I have a cord of ash, about 2/3 cord of oak and a cord of poplar that will be good. I have some ash tree's on my property that I wasn't planning on knocking down till the cover came down but with most of my good hardwood not being great for this year I might just deal with the brush and knock them down now.
  21. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Just remember that Poplar takes forever to dry. And then it burns like newspaper.
  22. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I was figuring it would be good for quick fires in the fall or spring. I had to knock down 4 dead ones before they fell on the neighbors house so I figured why waste them. I wouldn't be going out of my way for it that's for sure!

    How does silver maple dry? I have a 2-3 cords of it but didn't figure it would be ready for this year, I guess I'll have to wait and see. At least the "pane" is somewhat cheaper this year so if my wood isn't ready yet I won't be spending as much as last year. My ash that I split in May is already at 25% so I think I need to find some more which shouldn't be hard around here since they're dead everywhere. Only problem is convincing the wife I need to bring more wood home and spend more time processing it. :)
  23. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Dries quick around here.
  24. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Silver Maple around here dries quick. If it's split in the Spring it's usually ready to burn by Fall. Same with Poplar/popple.
  25. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Todd, I like that poplar/popple. Is that what they call being politically correct?
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