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Oak - another newbie moisture question...

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Duramaximos, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. Duramaximos

    Duramaximos Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    27
    Loc:
    Alberta, Canada
    Hi folks,

    I've found a regular supply of dimensional oak that is 3"x4"x8' lengths. It's not a huge supply of wood, but about a half a truck load per month....still I'm happy with the find :)

    Now, I've noticed that the oak is quite smelly. There is no natural growing oak in my area, but I assume the smell is simply the smell of wet (green) oak. There is no sign of any coating on the wood. FYI - the wood was used as racking to transport 2500# rolls of Polyproplene film.

    Today I deiced to buy a MM and split some of the peices to take a reading. 2 of 3 peices measured 21% and one measured 22%. The fresh split faces appear dry and only very slightly damp. When I put my nose to the fresh split, I get more of that fresh wood smell...I think. When I knock the peices together they do make a bright clanking sound, not quite like a bowling alley, but far from a dead sounding thud.

    2 questions:
    Is the smell normal for under seasoned oak?
    Is 22% oak burnable?

    I live in a big city with very little access to wood and a small amount of storage space, so I'm very motivated to burn this wood if it's not too bad.
    Considering moving the wood indoors for a week or two before burning...being that it doesn't have any bark, I assume it will be less problematic in the house...

    Thanks!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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  2. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    Sounds like dunnage used when hauling heavy machinery,various building material like rebar,structural steel,plywood & construction lumber etc.on flatbed trucks/semi trailers.

    Havent done it lately but I used to bring home 3-4 truckloads worth every year from local job sites I worked at.Nice mix really,bit of everything all rough sawn & varying degrees of dryness - some bone dry some green as can be.Some locally sawed,others shipped in with the load.Red/White Oak,Cottonwood,Soft/Hard Maple,Hickory,White Ash,Doug Fir & a couple Pines including Southern Yellow.

    Even the occasional stick of lower grade Black Cherry & Black Walnut.Back in summer 2007 one load contained about 50 lineal feet of super-dry Black Cherry.Few knots & defects,but still ended up with a bunch of blocks for the wood lathe,most of them I still have.
  3. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
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    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    22% is burnable
    From the center of s fresh split?

    Smells like wood, that's ok too.
  4. Duramaximos

    Duramaximos Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    27
    Loc:
    Alberta, Canada
    Correct. Reading from the center of a fresh split with the probes parallel to the grain.

    I threw a couple pieces (3" x 4" x 20") onto the fire today. Seems OK. It was definitely slower starting than my 15% spruce and fir, but it stayed lit and didn't smolder. I couldn't see the ends clearly so not sure if any water was boiling off.
  5. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    22% in the middle should be OK.
  6. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Messages:
    4,084
    Loc:
    Central PA
    That sounds pretty good to me. Drier would be ideal, but that stuff should burn without any problems.

    Oak can be pretty aromatic even when dry. I don't think smell is an indication it isn't burnable.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    It would be ideal to wait another year as you would certainly notice a nice difference. However, if you need the wood, mix it with some of that spruce and you should be okay. That is a great find and if you can get more, get it!

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