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My stupid wood is still too high in water content after 2 years !

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by davey, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    I've gotten readings that low here, some on dead standing wood that I had just bucked. Not a lot, but some. I got some BL that was lying on the ground with no bark that read in the 14s. I have the same meter but I think it's reading accurately; Stuff that reads 20-22% hisses a little from the end when thrown on a hot coal bed.

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  2. BillLion

    BillLion Minister of Fire

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    I used to until I broke it that way and had to replace it! ;)
  3. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Well, my usual source for equilibrium moisture content of species by location is down, oddly due to the gub'ment shutdown. Not sure why they'd go to the effort to pull a site, but that's a topic for the Ash Can. In any case, here's a similar table, showing that in most northeast states, EMC is 11 - 13%. That assumes you're storing it in a dry location, exposed to atmosphere but out of the rain and snow, typically taking several years to reach EMC in a firewood stack.

    EMC_wood.jpg
    Soundchasm likes this.
  4. USMC80

    USMC80 Minister of Fire

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    Classic?
  5. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    A few weeks ago, I checked some red oak that was split and stacked in the wide open, in the spring of '11. A medium sized (4"x6"?) split from the top of the cross stack on the end checked in the low 30s. The same HF meter consistently shows 16-18% on fresh split cherry, that was bucked for a few months. The only thing that really makes sense is standing dead ash and elm, that checks on the low-mid 20s, and dripping wet Siberian elm that shows OL.

    I don't put much faith in it. It measures electrical resistance, and that varies between different wood types as much as moisture content. You don't get much for $11.
  6. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I just check about the same size red oak split a few days ago, cut/split in Nov of 2010 and stack in the spring of 2011. It was 30% on the button, when I touched it to my check it was still damp so I know it's still holding some moisture. Have I said before how I hate red oak?? ;lol
  7. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    davey, first off, welcome to the Hearth.
    Have you made an attempt to burn any of this yet?
    Here in the north of Mi., Oak I have stacked in a field for approx. 2 full years burns w/o issue. I don't know what the MC is, and it doesn't matter, since I don't get any hissing except for an oddball piece.
    Plenty of wind and sun whenever it happens to decide to show up seems to work well.
    When I had wood stacked in the shade and little wind, the wood didn't do so well.
    How big are these splits? Wind is more important, but the combo of wind and sun can't be beat. The proof is in my Oak stacks.:cool:
    Oh, and since I have room, the first wood I get is Oak for at least 2 years down the road, since it takes that long to dry.
  8. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Add this to the irony that those who live way up north and need a lot of heat, only have lower-btu woods readily available. ;hm
    Here, we see that the best drying locations are inhabited by folks who only burn maybe ten or twenty pieces of wood per year....those living in Phoenix and Las Vegas. ;lol


    The only thing that seems off with jeff_t's readings is the Cherry; Fresh-split reading sub-20%....unless it was dead standing.
    The Oak readings both of you guys got were on bigger splits. I've had Red Oak dry in two years but the splits were smaller than 4x6. I'm concerned because some of my Oak is split pretty big, like 8x6. I don't need it this year, but I'm hoping I can use it before too long. It's got two summers so far. Now, I'm splitting Oak smaller since with a cat stove I can cut the air way down.....I don't have to rely on big splits to slow down the burn.
    Macpolski likes this.
  9. davey

    davey New Member

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    I have been checking the moisture on fresh splits. I took a reading from some of that kiln dried wood you buy in a store and it measured 20%
  10. davey

    davey New Member

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  11. davey

    davey New Member

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    sorry the pictures are sidways
  12. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Not sure exactly what you mean by "some of that kiln dried wood you buy in a store," but KD lumber should read 8% - 10%, in most cases.
  13. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, it's possible that your meter is reading high, and the wood is drier than the meter is telling you. I can't tell what species you have there, but do some of the splits feel like they are getting pretty light, compared to when they were first stacked? You might be OK to burn some of that this winter. All you can do is toss a piece on a hot coal bed and see what happens....
    That said, it looks like the wood is jammed in there pretty tight, with some rows perpendicular to others. Hard to tell but there might be many rows stacked parallel to each other, as well. I may be wrong but it looks from those pics that the air circulation might not be too good through the stacks.
  14. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Once again a MM seems to give some one problems 35% unless stored in a root cellar is too high for 2 years as Clyde showed.
  15. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I dont have to do that al all, just firmly stick it in the wood, I can not get my cheap HF MM to do any thing weird at all and believe me I have read all sorts of wood in different stages of drying.
    Guys not sure where the fable of Oak taking forever to dry came from, if stacked correctly 2 flull summers should get it dry unless you live in the rain forrest.
    dafattkidd and PapaDave like this.
  16. Dad the Handyman

    Dad the Handyman New Member

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    I have had a few years where I didn't do a great job in the previous year and had to use wood cut last fall this year. I cut off all the bark, cut the wood (almost all oak in my woods) into small pieces, stack it cross-sectioned with plenty of air, and only cover the top with few inches over hanging tarp. Uncover when rain isn't coming for a while, but that is a risk of course. This has definitely gotten the wood bone dry by winter. In extreme cases, where I didn't want to buy another cord I would stack it like that in my basement, where I have a de-humidifier running. It's work, but it sure beat paying for more wood those years. At least to me.
    Woody Stover likes this.
  17. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Welcome to the forum, sounds like you have it figured out, many ways to speed up the process, much better to put in a little more time and effort in drying the wood instead of fighting wet wood all winter.
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  18. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    If there are ways to speed it up, there are also ways to slow it down. Hence no uniform amount of drying time is applicable - and it is quite possible that after two years it could still be at 35%, or at least some of it, especially if it's oak & piled like what it appears to be in the pics above (tight, no sun exposure, and sheltered from the wind).
  19. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Exactly, good drying times are when you do things right, the pictures were not there before, sure it could be 35% or more or he could be not using the
    MM correctly which happens all the time on this forum.
    Have been stating for the last several years you can not put a time frame on drying wood do to the varibles.
    Dont think I ever said it could not be 35% after 2 years unless poor drying practices were used.
  20. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    That fable didn't come from NW IA, where you have some of the highest average wind speeds in the US. >>


    us_windmap_80meters_820w.jpg
  21. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    My wood is blocked from some of the wind due to a new building I put up so not sure how much wind I get on my wood now, just a few years ago many on this forum talked about how long it took to dry wood but no one said much about how they stacked it or where it was stacked, a few who said it took at least 3 years to dry Oak had their wood stacked in cubes.
    Wind is good but so is single rows stacked in the sun, no need to shoot your self in the foot when it comes to drying wood.
  22. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I think the assumed authority on this is Backwoods Savage, who has been splitting and burning oak longer than I have been alive. For the record, I have seen him state, "2 - 3 years for oak," more times than I can count. Your statement of 2 full summers sort of fits within his recommendation, and I believe this is the advice I have seen others repeat.
  23. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    With all due respect to BWS, I have probably burnt way more Oak them him, for a little over 30 years it was 90% of what I burnt, he has stated he only burns a small amount, 2 full summers can only be 18 months, he stacks his wood in cubes and Scotty who stated the same thing actually stacked is wood in multiple rows more so then BWS.
    Some areas may take 2 to 3 years but if not stacked in single rows in an open area your information is skewed.
    basod and Joful like this.
  24. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I stack in double rows ("dubbel", for you Belgian beer nuts), due to space and layout constraints. I have also had more trouble with stability in single row stacks. I have budgeted 2 years in the stack for most of my oak, and my stacks are not covered until August of the year I plan to burn them. It will be interesting to see how it does.
  25. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I don't burn any oak, and stack in double rows.

    But I do burn hard maple, and stack off the ground on a windy exposed hilltop. I have been able to get my wood dry enough with one full year of seasoning. I did some dripping wet white birch this spring that has been sitting stacked like that for about 4 months, it's ready to burn.

    Lots of variables in this process, and no blanket statements are applicable. :)


    EDIT: Kinda funny what the board comes up with when you mis-spell a word & turn it into a 'bad' one, oops....

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