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Revisit "burning old wood"

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by DavidV, Nov 28, 2005.

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  1. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Not sure if it was on the old board or on the new one. I looked for it but couldn't find it. Someone was asking about burning old wood. Downed and perhaps cut trees that had been there for a year or several years. Today I got a pickup load of wood that has been down since about the time of Hurricane Isabel 2+ years ago. The outer inch to inch and half of most of the oak I got looks to have become almost corky. It's still got bark intact and it seems dry but jus seems drier. could be water and fungus since it's covered with green lichen but the inside of the 8-10 inch logs logs is plenty hard. Some are light having dried quite a bit and some are heavier having been in contact with the ground for a while. When putting the chainsaw to it it's definately got some substance and body to it. I will have no qualms about burning this wood. Now right there near the wood I was getting was another oak tree that had fallen....about twice the thickness of the one I was getting up and it had lost easily half its mass to bugs. I've never seen bugs eat thru a big hardwood that fast. I know a colony of termites can do terrible damage to a home very quickly but I've never seen an oak get taken down this fast.
    The wood I am buring right now is from Isabel also, but I split and stacked it 2 years ago. It's been drying under a tarp and plastic sheet since then. My fires are much hotter than last year's fires, and I have noticed that I seem to use a bit more wood than I did last season. Also my stove glass stays clean which it didn't do last year. Last year it got black almost every day.

    The biggest downside is that it's so frickin warm in here right now. Thermometer says it's 86 degrees in the living room. I turned down the blower and reduced the air intake a bit. It's just too hot. I might go out on the deck in a minute or two to relax and cool off. It's only gotten down to the uper 40's tonight and expected to be in 60's tomorrow. I might wait till I get home ebefore I fire up the stove again. NOthing wrong with burning this old wood except it's just hotter than hell.


    David

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  2. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I helped a neighbor clean up a small woodpile a couple of years ago. Basically told him I would clean it up and burn the wood if he wanted to get rid of it. The wood was really spongy...nothing like snapping a 5 inch thick piece of wood with your bare hands! After burning it up, I would say the wood heat output is almost a "curve". If you start with unseasoned wood, the heat output is relatively low, 1 year out is pretty good, 2-3 years it is really cranking, 4,5 or 6 years it may start to go down hill a bit as the wood starts to rot away, and once the wood gets really spongy the energy drops pretty low.

    I never really noticed anything "bad' about burning the old wood and the price was right...free for hauling it to the house, but I definitely wouldn't have paid for it. Sounds like you still have some pretty good wood.

    Corey
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Age doesn't have much to do with determining the quality of firewood; it's condition that counts. Under the right conditions, dead wood will remain solid (and thus burnable) for years, decades or even centuries. Bottom line, if it's at least partially solid, it's worth processing and drying, IMO. If it's light or rotten or spongy, I wouldn't put a lot of work into it, since it may not be worth burning by the time it's dried out. Of course, it it's sitting in your yard and it will burn, then it's better to burn it than haul it away.
  4. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    I had a Red Oak that was standing dead for about 5 years and a recent wind gust blew it over JUST missing the chicken coop

    After having to go back in and sharpen the saw (the wood was VERY hard) I cut it into pieces and split it
    It split like Maple and burned hotter than a lazer

    I need a stovetop fan :)
  5. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    2 years ago I dropped a dead oak in my front yard. more than 24 inches across at the base. the limbs were ready to burn right then. Igave them to my buddy who helped me take it down. the larger pieces I split and stacked. I need to move whats left and cover it so I'll be able to burn it, but when I was cutting it, it was so hard sparks came ovv the blade. I've torn open walls in 50+ year old houses but never seen wood this hard.

    +
  6. PaulGuy

    PaulGuy New Member

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    I've seen sparks when splitting wood with a maul. But I suspect Frank is right, there most likely was some grit on the ends of the log where the maul made contact. (And I was so impressed with the power I delivered with the maul, another illusion shattered.)
  7. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Richmond VA
    No not a blade. I figured there must have been a nail or something in it but nothing. Grit maybe? but it was halfway up the trunk on the side. I know what I saw.
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