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Neighbor Ripped Off -- Should I Tell Them

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by WarmGuy, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Far Northern Calif. Coast
    My neighbor bought what she thought was 1 cord of "dry" oak ("seasoned for two years."). It came in a single pickup truck, and my moisture meter records it as "OL" (over limit). The stuff is super heavy, and they say that it won't burn, and moisture pours out the ends when they try to burn it.

    I don't want to make her feel bad, or be a know-it-all, but here's the email I'm thinking of sending her; what do you think?

    Hi Guys,

    If you guys decide to call the firewood guy and get some money back, you might also complain about the quantity. I think you may only have about a half a cord of wood there. He may have called it a "face cord," but it's illegal to use any term other than "cord" to sell firewood in California. Hopefully that will help you get some of your money back.

    Here's a page concerning this:

    http://www.lifirewood.com/firewood-facts.php

    From that page:
    An average seasoned cord of hardwood weighs more than 2 tons!! Unstacked it will take up to 200 cubic feet in space. An 8 ft. pick up truck would have to pile the wood uniformly at 5 feet tall to fit an stacked cord. The average pick up truck can only haul 1/2 a cord of firewood at a time.​

    And
    Wood with more than a 30% moisture content should not be burned indoors!! It is very inefficient and produces dangerous acid water vapor (Creosote) in your chimney.​

    Hope that helps,

    Al​

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  2. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    Que one that a cord is not a cord...ripoff....unseasoned depends on her deal she made...we sell "next years wood" of pine all the time, not good now but 10 months from now it will be perfect. I would not and could not keep my mouth shut about a volume shortage
  3. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    Your e-mail seems just right - they should know and you told them in a good way. Cheers!
  4. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    YES, tell her ,if she thought she was buying full cord of dry wood , she got screwed two ways.
    I assume if U measured the MC, you were over at her place, so just go explain it to her in person, U can explain much better that way, but send the link to the facts also.
    Invite her to the forum
    Shane N and fox9988 like this.
  5. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Creosote isn't 'acidic water vapor,' so that part might add unnecessary confusion.

    I'd also add an encouraging phrase conveying that your neighbors aren't stupid or at fault here, e.g. a line like "Unfortunately the firewood business is barely regulated at all, and even wood dealers themselves are often just trying to make a quick buck while getting rid of unwanted trees and don't know much about what they're selling. This kind of problem is very common, but not unavoidable once you know what to look for. I hope it doesn't put you off woodburning."
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  6. Mr A

    Mr A Minister of Fire

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    Try to educate. Let her know what a cord is, and that when buying wood, it's not usually for immediate use, but for next year, when it dries. My neighbor is college instructor. Last time I was bringing home some wood he came by and asked what kind it was. It was oak. He went on to tell me about he went to get some fresh cut oak once, he was told it great firewood, but complained that he never could get it to burn and took it to the dump! At the time I didn't think to mention that it needed to dry out for a year, and only later after thinking about the conversation did I realize he was clueless.
    Jon1270 likes this.
  7. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    What did she pay for the truckload of wood?

    pen
  8. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    I think you may have better results if you talked to them in person.
    Shane N, Nixon, nate379 and 1 other person like this.
  9. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Tell here you can't learn if you don't know ! Arm here with the truth or go back with hear and raise hell with them get the remainder or a refund they lied period. Sometimes 2 people is much better than one. The price does not matter at this point because they said one full cord not one face cord. in my experience I can fit at the most 1.5 face cord ( depending on species ) wet in my truck and that is pushing it It's as bad as stealing firewood ! I wish I lived near by I would go there and.......

    Pete
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  10. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    Talk in person and ask more questions. Was this in fact a Pickup Truck? Could it have been a Mason Dump? They look similar to the layperson. Don't put your own rep on the block based on second hand information.
  11. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Make sure you both have all the facts as others have mentioned. I, for one, would definately be pizzed off. Not so much about the moisture level in the wood (lets face it, we all know when you buy split 'seasoned' wood, that it ain't gonna be ready in 99% of the cases), but a pick-up truck (if it was in fact a pick-up truck) load of wood, unless stacked tightly 4 foot high in that bed, doesn't add up to a cord....

    Tell her to tell the wood seller that you are going to be kind enough to advertise for him on Hearth.com if he doesn't square up the deal......==c
    Backwoods Savage and milleo like this.
  12. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Speak to her in person and get all the details so that you are not accusing someone prior to investigation. Maybe "face" was used by the seller and your uninformed neighbor left it out when describing the purchase to you. I have mentioned it here before but feel this is a good place to say it again - Not all firewood sellers are criminals or out to short people. They are doing their best to provide solid fuel to people who burn it. 99% of the wood burning world burns wood they cut THIS year and that is what the sellers sell(most times) To CSS oak for 3yrs+ to sell would be more costly than gold and just not realistic in any serious volume under most circumstances. The wood in question may very well have been cut for a yr or more - but we know how long oak really takes. Hearth burners are in the minority of truly informed wood burners and to expect better is a bit out of line unless you are willing to pay fuel oil prices for the wood.

    All that said, I am not justifying poor or dishonest practices, just being a realist. Go see your neighbor, tell them you found this site and invite them here. Explain, humbly, that most are not aware of the value of 3yr old wood and many will think it is crazy - including those that sell firewood. Help them get ahead or at least thinking in that direction and get the full details on the purchase prior to convicting the seller.

    Just my opinion. I am of the school of thought that most people are honest and just uninformed - including those that sell firewood.

    Now if they were told they were getting 4x4x8 of firewood they were lied to but I would be surprised by that being the full story.

    Bob
  13. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    That's a lot of good advice. One problem is that it's kind of a slippery slope kind of thing.

    She and her husband are great neighbors, and super nice people. But they are generally not smart about a lot of things. Where do I draw the line on giving advice? Should I tell him that he should wear a helmet when he uses his chainsaw? Should I tell him that it's wasteful to leave his outside lights on 24/7? He was saying how he only has time for 4-5 hours of sleep per night, and always feels tired? Should I tell him that's dangerous and bad for his health?

    My thinking is I'll mention the firewood issue, but draw the line there.
    ScotO likes this.
  14. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Really, really well said. I live in a land full of long-time wood burners, and i've only run into one old-timer who figured out for himself years ago how much better dry wood burns (even in old smoke dragons). He tells me he takes endless ribbing from his friends about his habit of drying his wood before burning it. Similarly, I have had any number of folks shake their heads sadly when they see my stacks and actually tell me I'll get better heat and a longer burn if it's not so dry.

    Around here, "seasoned" means cut down in the spring and then cut and split to order that fall. Nobody's cheating anybody. There aren't any "dealers," just folks who cut extra cords from their woodlots on weekends to sell to their neighbors.
  15. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Emailing the neighbor seemed weird to me as well.

    I know my neighbors pretty well but I wouldn't stick my nose in their business as such... I'd be honestly irritated if someone did it to me.

    A cord of wood can fit in a truck without too much trouble. I have fit 1.5 cords before. That got the old diesel duallie working a bit.
  16. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Absaluty ,stick to the firewood issue, there is no reason for you judge,every thing about what these people do or don;t do.
  17. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    I ran into them today and mentioned it, and I think they appreciated it. I also told them I'd send them the link to that info page (which I did).

    I know that I would appreciate it, but I value feedback more than others do.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  18. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

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    1.5 in a truck? How high are your sideboards?
  19. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    If you know them pretty well, definately stick your nose in and help them out.
    There might be something they can do for you sometime. Great email letter BTW.
  20. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Couple ft taller than the cab.
  21. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

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    Wow nice, mine would be a low rider with that much in it.
  22. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Not for nothing, I work 3rd shift, part-time for a golf-course (usually weekends, but that means I'm up & out the door by 4:30am at the latest.) and wrench on small-engines in my garage. Have a family (wife + 13mo boy) that requires occasional attention too. ;) Still manage to jam in 6 hours+ a "night". I know what the consequences are for less. <>
    Pallet Pete likes this.
  23. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    For sure no need to give "advice" on all those things you listed as you would really come across as a busybody. Stick to the firewood issue and just be a good neighbor.

    I am glad you talked to them rather than the email.
  24. Auzzie Gumtree

    Auzzie Gumtree Feeling the Heat

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    you could always swap some of your dry wood for there's just to get to the end of the season - if you can spare it and if they are really good neighbours......

    You never know when you might need the favour repaying.
    ChadD likes this.
  25. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    There is a difference between being helpful by pointing out that they may have been shorted . . . and how burning unseasoned wood could lead to a fire vs. pointing out every thing that you think they could do better to improve their health, wealth and well being.

    I mean to say . . . pointing out one issue in a kind, neighborly way as someone who has been burning wood for a bit in a manner that is not presented in a Holier Than Thou attitude would work . . . pointing out every issue and flaw would come across as a busy body . . . and who knows . . . they may have a list for you too about not exceeding the speed limit while driving down the road, how you should not wash your car as often, how not switching over to bleach free products is dangerous, how they've noticed you did not recycle that glass bottle the other day, etc.

    I've casually mentioned about the need to season wood longer than three months to one neighbor when we were talking about and admiring his wood . . . but I did not dwell on the fact, make a point to go over to talk about just that and did not bring up any other concerns . . . just mentioned that I have found seasoning wood longer to be better for me . . . and let it go at that point.
    HDRock and chvymn99 like this.

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