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Opinions on seasoning

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by ddahlgren, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    I am still down to crappy wood that is under seasoned and had a thread titled 'Bacon wood' and will let that one lie.. Anyway I have both small rounds and large splits the rounds maple and birch and the splits oak. They measure about 17% on the outside and 23 to 24% on the inside. I have been splitting them down to approximate 2 X 3 size and letting them sit in the heated space for a day. How far am I away from well seasoned? I can get 550 degree stove top temps and around 280 to 300 on the surface on the flue if the thermometers are to be trusted..sigh.. I need to go out in the shop and finish the mount for my flue probe to get that one right. I don't care if the stove top is 50 degrees off but do care that the flue is hot enough. The local wood situation has me thinking coal for next year..

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  2. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Your close, burn away. Those small splits will burn hot & fast, packem tight if you want to get any amount of burn time length out of them.
    When I brought my not so dry wood in a couple years back, I would bring a 1/4 cord or so in and it was plenty dry in a weeks time.
    savageactor7 likes this.
  3. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    If you're at 23 - 24%, you can probably assume two things:

    1. It will burn well enough to get by if you load something dry in below it. Pallet wood is a favorite choice.

    2. If you just quit burning for this year, and let that wood set for next year, you'll be in good shape come next fall.
  4. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    They are split down from approx 8 inches per side splits usually into 3 pieces and have been indoors 6 ft from the furnace that runs every now and then. I know they will be much better next year but I am cold today and fuel oil to the moon cost wise. I put them in fairly loose and have no problem feeding the fire to build a big pile of coals that gets a couple of eco bricks sometimes 4 and go from there to repeat the next day enough to have a very warm night and the house cools to 60's during the day..
  5. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Man, they are small splits. I line the bottom of the firebox with as large as I can 8" and up, then fill in the top with mediums & smalls. You should be good to burn at the moisture contents your describing.
  6. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    Great it has been mentioned 15 to 20% is great. I am thinking of taking a few larger splits that look the same from the same part of the pile and see how how they go. It is a very small stove 3 8 inch splits would have to laid out on the floor before packing in. 1.3 cu ft is not a lot to work with..
  7. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Yeap, that is a small firebox. See what one or two of those larges measure moisture wise in the middle after splitting them, and if they are around the same moisture content, your good to go.
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    15 to 20% is ideal, but many of us are dealing with less than ideal, for one reason or another. If you're really at 23 - 24%, then you can burn fine... just check the flue more frequently, and expect to use a little more wood for the same produced BTU's than if it were dry.
    PapaDave likes this.
  9. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    There is a half dozen of them and split 3 all the same.. My reason to tryp a large one or two to get some burn time. It will never exceed 3 hours of fire and 2 hours of coals with that small fire box so feed it hard heat the place up and put in some large ones before bed. I need tyo split some more down this afternoon and get that probe installed as well. I am going to put it 4 feet from the stove rather than close as i am not worried about melting the stove as much as keeping flue gases well out of creosote range.
  10. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    As a first year burner I'm in the Same Boat, I have about a .75 face cord of Seasoned Oak and Ash ready to go and about a face cord of Cherry at about 28ish percent. If I don't let the fire get below 400 I have no issues getting 300-350 on my flue and 600-700 Stove top temps, a little more air with the Cherry but no Issues, so here is how I'm handling the Situation. Starting from Cold Stove Ask and Oak until stove is up to temp, then when it drops to 400 start in on the Cherry, Air about half closed keep flue at 300 and stove top at 550. Know that Im depositing some creosote on the flue but that just means Ill need to clean more. I have been cleaning every four weeks to keep an eye on how I was doing, now maybe every 2 till the end of the season.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    So ddahlgren, with this lesson you have just learned, what have you done concerning next winter's wood? Even more, what about the following winter too? A good wood burner gets 3 years ahead on his wood pile and that gets rid of 99% of his wood burning problems. In addition to that, you will find that you actually burn less wood doing things this way.

    Have you checked your chimney lately?
  12. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I try and put the cherry and other high ash splits on the bottom, because I do notice here the large accumulation of ash from cherry, black walnut, etc, lays on top of the splits below and insulates them enough that it can leave more coals than desired. Just my experience & experimentation.
    ScotO and Joful like this.
  13. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    Checked the chimney 4 weeks ago and have not been burning that much..When I do I burn the stove hot to make a bed of coals then switch to eco bricks.The wood i do burn is resplit maple or birch down to the size of a 2 X 3 and is 20% moisture content in the center when split. The oak just does not have enough time on it yet.

    Next year looking for a used coal stove as I have to buy wood anyway. I have zoning issues about storing enough wood for 3 years and would need to find a larger stove than what i currently have to get an overnight burn. I will sell the wood stove to offset the price of the coal stove. I will still have a cord or more of wood and will sell that as well if I do not find a coal/wood stove that burns wood fairly well.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  14. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Sounds like you are border line with your flue temps, keep an eye on the chimney.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Bring an extra day or more's worth of splits into the house. Just being in the dry warmth of the house will bring them down another couple percent in a day or so.
  16. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    The small split wood is stacked in the room with the stove and is 2 days ahead or more. It sits in the basement for a month before that.
  17. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    My Condor flue probe instructions say to run the flue between 400 and 550. If your pipe is single wall, you are running between 500 and 600. That is just fine. For every degree that your flue temp rises, you lose BTUs up the chimney. One pound of water takes 1 BTU to raise the temp 1 degreeF. In addition, wood produces about.54 pounds of water as a product of combustion per pound of wood. Adding 4 % moisture content to your wood supply takes you from .17 lbs of water per pound of split to .1824 pounds of water, an extra .0124 pounds of water per pound of split, or .248 pounds of water per 20 pounds of split, which is probably how much wood you can comfortably put in your stove. Formula used to determine how many BTUs are used raising that 1/4 pound of water to 600 degree flue temp is: ,25 (1050 [energy needed to boil 1 pound of water] + 530 [degree difference between ambient room temperature and flue temperature]) = .25 (1580) = 395 BTUs. Solid wood has about 8600 BTU's available per pound. At 24 % moisture content, your wood is .8176 pounds solid wood and .1824 water.
    Available BTUs from wood = .8176(8600) =7033 BTUs per pound x 20 pounds =140660. Total BTUs lost to combustion and vaporization= (.54 + .1824) x (1050 +530) x (20) = 22828 BTUs. You therefore have a total of 117,832 BTUs maximum available as heat for the home x the efficiency of your stove. Had you had wood with 20 % moisture content, you would have had .83 pounds of solid wood, which is.0124 more wood, times 20 pounds = .248 more pounds of wood x 8600 BTUs per pound = 2150 more BTUs available for heat. You would have needed to vaporize .0124 less water x 20 pounds = .25 pounds of water = 395 BTUs (above). So your available BTUs would have been 140066 +2150 = 142216. BTUs lost to combustion and vaporization is now 22828 - 395 = 22433, for a net total of 119,783 available to heat your home x the efficiency of your stove. That's roughly 2000 BTUs.
    If the efficiency of your stove is 70%, then at 20 % moisture content you can get (.7) (119783) = 83,848 BTUs net available to heat your home.
    At 24 % mositure content you can get (.7) (117832) =82,483 BTUs. So you are losing about 1370 BTUs per load of wood.

    No big deal.

    And you are getting your flue plenty hot enough to keep it clean., So just burn the wood and stop worrying about eco bricks or even splitting the wood, as long as it is burning well for you. It's not ideal, you lose a bit of heat, but you aren't in a dangerous situation. If you are having trouble starting the wood, then I would just split one split into kindling size and use a couple of pieces with a super cedar to start hte fire quickly, and with a lot of heat. I'd use a full super cedar if necessary (try 1.4, then if necessay step up to 1/2, etc), before burning bio bricks, in your situation. You don't need them.

    Stop worrying and enjoy your stove. If it appears to burn well at 24 % moisture content, and the flue stays reasonably clean, and you can get wood at this moisture content or better each year, then there is no reason not to burn with it.

    ADDENDUM: You have a small stove. If you can bring a weeks supply inside, and aim a good standing fan at it, you will dry that wood out a good deal in that week. Would not be surprised to see you get it down to 20 %. And here's a new thought: When I garden I keep a fan on me if it is really mosquito-y out to keep from getting bitten. If your wood is stacked near your home, then in the summer for a week or two, try pointing a big fan at it and blowing on it. Bet it gets the mositure content down really fast. Then you could probably just enjoy your heating with wood experience during the winter.:)
  18. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Could not get the edit function to work, and wanted to correct that last sentence to read: pointing a big fan at it, blowing on it

    as opposed to

    pointing a bag fan at it and blowing on it. LOL:rolleyes:
  19. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Use a fan while it's in the basement. It'll be at 20 % before you burn it.
  20. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    As someone who's spent many months trying to burn not quite seasoned wood in a very small firebox, I feel your pain.

    Couple of things. You really need to beg, borrow or pay for some very dry wood, kindling size is fine, in order to get the fire hot enough to light off those less than ideal splits. Or you could probably manage with a half or full Supercedar-- but something. Then you have to build that fire slowly and carefully, one or two *small* splits of unseasoned stuff at a time, not stacked but criss-crossed to the extent your dimensions will permit, and leave the air open until all the pieces are fully involved because unseasoned wood needs more air to burn.

    This has the advantage of sending more heat up your flue, which will minimize creosote formation. For the same reason, don't fill the little firebox too full. You're also going to need to reload -- again, a couple pieces at a time -- sooner than you would with dry wood because the coals really have to be at their peak to light it off.

    I know of no way to get a long fire at a decent temperature in a tiny stove like you and I have with less than seasoned wood. You can get a pretty long smolder with low heat, but that's what causes the creosote big-time, so don't even think about it unless you're going to clean that chimney every couple weeks.

    If you can stack a good supply of your small splits log cabin style just outside the combustible range near the stove, that will give you some dry stuff to start fires with after about a week to 10 days. (People who say it's just a couple of days have bigger stoves that crank out much hotter temperatures than you can with a small stove and bad wood.) You can speed this up with a fan, but you may find, as I did, that with already minimal heating, that moving air makes you feel that much colder.
  21. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    OK so when I finally get the probe in this afternoon shoot for 400 to 500 and if over that cut the air some more to get more heat out of it. Currently I trust my senses more than the Rutland thermometer..LOL.. I lick my finger and give it a top on the flue pipe.if it makes a quick sizzle I know it is over 300 to 350 the same temperature as a 3 liter Cosworth DFX at idle warming up. Lacking a heat gun and before they were available that was the quick check to make sure they are running on all 8..LOL. Yes you have to have tough fingers and be quick, linger and it will sting you a bunch.

    I start with leftover bits of 2 X 4 pine from previous projects around the house as my 2 barrels of kindling saved has all been used. I add a 'fatstick' to it and can get a good kindling fire going then add a few small pieces of maple and when they take off add a few more until it is going well. After 5 to 10 minutes everything going well and no smoke air cut to 50%. I do not fart around with matches to start it and go straight to a propane torch and aim it at the bottom of the kindling and off in 30 seconds to a cracked door for 30 seconds the close the door. My goal to get the flue and fire box hot quick then start taking air away to get the stove hot. I suspect I have been giving away too much heat to the flue. I do have a short chimney so have to throw away a bit more than normal to keep a good draft though after 45 minutes I can hit 600 on the stove top.

    Hope this all makes sense.
  22. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    That is how I do it to a letter. I go through the pile to pull the maple as I have found it much more forgiving than the oak. The other funny thing I noticed is the oak when split down measures about 22% but when sitting for a couple of days goes to 25 to 26% and noticeably dark in places. I am wondering if these spots are where the water inside is getting pulled to the surface.
    ScotO likes this.
  23. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    "At temperatures below 250 degrees F creosote will condense on the surfaces of stove pipes or chimney flues.When the temperature gets below 150 degrees F the creosote deposit will be thick, sticky and similar to tar. This tends to trap carbon from smoke which dries and bakes inside pipes and flues. This flaky substance is very flammable"
    I can find many more statements that back that one up, I have been burning wood for over 30 years and 250 to 280 is border line flue temps, he's burning crappy wood so that should tell you something there, not sure why there seems to be so much confusion on flue temps, my condar surface temp gauge has the good range from 250 to 450. Like I said keep an eye on your chimney.
  24. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    They are talking about internal flue temps, not external flue temps. Magnetic thermometer is NOT reading the flue temp. You can put it on single wall or double wall pipe. It is reading the external pipe temp. On single wall pipe, a reading of 250 on the exterior of the pipe corresponds to about 500 on the interior. Perhaps he has his probe thermometer installed now....ANyway, no creosote problem at that point. The magnetic thermometer is generally used to measure stovetop temperature, or as a guide in flue pipe temp. Its quite reliable as a guide, as long as one comoensates for the fact that it is reading the pipe and not the flue temp. My Condor PROBE thermometer says to keep flue temps between 400 and 550, even though the danger points on the thermometer are both higher and lower.
  25. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    They are talking about SURFACE temps, thats the point of my post.

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