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Screwed by firewood seller

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Nate Finch, Oct 4, 2011.

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  1. Nate Finch

    Nate Finch New Member

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    So I talk to a guy on craigslist from central Mass that has a pretty good price on firewood. He says it's been seasoning for a couple years, and is mostly oak, so it sounds great, right? He drops it off, and it's raining at the time, so I didn't look too carefully except to make sure it was the right amount, and it was. I go out to stack it yesterday, and notice that it looks really fresh. Not grayed, no checks in the end of the boards... so I whip out my moisture meter and split a piece.... off the charts (my moisture meter goes to 45%). Split a couple more to make sure I'm not crazy... same thing.

    So I call the guy up and ask what the deal is... turns out, the wood has been *cut down* for 2 years, but stored log-length and was only split 3-4 months ago.

    I was flabbergasted. I tried to tell the guy that wood seasons incredibly slowly at log length, and that what he sold me is basically green wood. There's no way I burn something at 45% moisture rating this year. I'm not sure I could even get it to light.

    He said everyone does it that way, and that if I just stack it, it'll be fine in a couple months... which is obviously BS. He offered to have the boss call me back, so I said ok. We'll see what comes of it. Probably nothing. $600 worth of wood I can't burn this year. Fantastic.

    If you're looking for firewood in Mass, avoid the guy with the phone number ending in 0596.

    -Nate

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  2. dannynelson77

    dannynelson77 Feeling the Heat

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    Yup......seasoned to these firewood sellers means its been cut for a season............split just yesterday! ;)
  3. spacecowboyIV

    spacecowboyIV New Member

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    Its said on this site over and over again that this is how firewood sellers advertise their wood. I'm not suprised at all at your results especially given that you admit you got a great price.

    If a seller had to season split wood for 2 years before selling he would have to keep 600 cords c/s/s in single rows all the time (assuming yearly sales of 200 cords). Imagine the land that would require not to mention all the extra work; given that scenario I would expect to pay double the going rate.

    I agree that advertising it as seasoned isn't right, but unfortunately that's the name of the game.
  4. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Never...ever...take seasoned for what it should mean.
    I always used to ask when it was split, thankfully I don't need to buy it anymore.
    My first year I had a referral from a friend at work....wood was OK but it was short in amount. I did call and was told they would come by to look at it. Nothing ever happened and I didn;t want to rock a friendship so I had to let it go.
  5. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    That's typical of firewood sellers.
    Your situation is repeated here many times.
    It would be difficult for sellers to store wood for 2 or more years to season it properly to be able to burn it on delivery day.
    They'd need acres of space with wood stacked in single or loose double rows. Making it cost even more.
    It's one of the things wood-burners have learned, if you want well seasoned wood, season it yourself.
    I learned to buy in the off season, spring & summer, I got better prices on "log length" loads then CSS it myself.
    It is a bit misleading & we all understand your frustration, "seasoned wood" does not mean it dry enough to burn.

    Hopefully you'll find some other supplier with some dry or faster drying wood to get you thru this year.
    In 2 years you're going to have some premium fire wood.
    Someone may chime in with a source of dry wood, but it's firewood season, the demand this time of the year is high.

    Good luck
  6. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Wouldn't take that much room - an acre with piles of wood 6 ft high with as much air space between the rows as the width of the rows themselves would amount to 1000 cords. Might be more work, but they should be able to get a premium for it if it is truly seasoned, and they advertise it like that.

    Agree wholeheartedly that advertising this as seasoned isn't right - but if it's the way everyone sells you're kinda stuck, especially if you were there when it was delivered and didn't raise any flags. The 'right' thing to do is to be buying wood you won't burn until two years from now - then you can take advantage of cheaper green wood. But that's not always possible for everyone though.
  7. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    It is well known in these forums...many a wood dealer splits wood from log length to order. Good for fireplaces but not for wood stoves.
  8. Nate Finch

    Nate Finch New Member

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    I got plenty of reasonably seasoned wood last year (not perfect, but not 45%), and most of it cheaper than what I was paying for this stuff. Most of it was from smaller places, but not all. Calling stuff split 3-4 months ago "seasoned for 2 years" is an outright lie.

    And I don't care how hard it is to actually sell seasoned wood. Does that mean I can sell a car that I say gets 100 miles to the gallon, and it's ok, because that's too hard to actually achieve?

    If it's split to order, it's not seasoned, not even a little. Calling it anything but green is ridiculous. I'm surprised you guys are condoning the practice.
  9. spacecowboyIV

    spacecowboyIV New Member

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    The "domino" effect would keep me up at night. Sure it stinks if your 1 cord pile falls over, but I imagine 1000 cords spaced 16" apart falling over would stop your heart.

    No one is condoning this practice just recognizing that it is the way things are........how much do you want for that car?
  10. Nate Finch

    Nate Finch New Member

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    Sorry, I don't mean to get quite so worked up... it's just $600 I can't really afford to throw away.
  11. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    I looked at the add, and it is misleading....I'd either ask for a reduction on the price, or have him come pick it up and request your money back.
    I ran into the same issue many moons ago....so, I now get my wood in the spring @ $175/cord c/s/d and stack it 18 months for the following year.
    I think the best bet is to find a supplier that you can trust, and stick with him/her...not worth the hassle trying to save $15-$20/cord on using multiple suppliers.

    Here is the add....left out the phone number

    Call or email
    (xxx)xxx-xxxx
    all good, dry, hardwood.
    Will do special orders
  12. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Nate,

    No one is 'condoning' the practice. They are just stating a fact. What you were wanting was wood that was cut to length, split and seasoned (a year at least). The best thing to do, as others have said, is season the wood yourself - then you know what you have.
  13. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I'm not condoning it - I think it is wrong (I think that's what I said above). But I'm not sure at this point what can be done about it. I hope you get somewhere with your phone call - keep us posted on that - but unless he's registered with the BBB (I doubt that?) and a BBB complaint can be filed, or something like that, it looks like it's going to be up to him whether to come clean or not. I don't think it's something you can get the law involved with to get made right - but I hope you get somewhere with it. Maybe it'll wake others up to what they're buying but not getting.
  14. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    OK - pile it 3 ft high & call it 500 cord. ;)

    I guess my point was it wouldn't take a huge area of land to do it right - just some thought & planning.
  15. mecreature

    mecreature Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't expect any wood from a firewood seller to be seasoned. Everyone says it is, but it though.

    you should have your MM in hand when the truck pulls up. test it. if it is not up to spec then tell him to hit the road.

    Hell, you dont even need a MM, just split a piece or two.

    I have considered buying some now for next year.. just a cord or two. Of cherry and ash. 100 bucks a cord.
  16. basswidow

    basswidow Minister of Fire

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    Like others have said,

    This has repeated itself in many areas. Sounds just like my first year. I understand your anger. I bought 2 cords and the guy delivered one pick up load. I laughed and said I would stack and measure it. He was way short and 1/3 of it was pulp and wrot. I set it aside and made him bring me another load. He brought me a pick up of ash and took away the pulp. He was still way short of 2 cords, but he was done with me and I was done with him.

    These are the reasons most of us process and gather our own wood.

    How many cords for $ 600?
  17. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    Okay now, think about it for a bit. What would be a legal, enforceable definition of "seasoned"? (Clue: there is none.) So, you might drop it.

    Were you to specify, say, <20% MC dry-basis, you could act on that, at point-of-sale and afterwards. Otherwise it's all he said/she said: BS.

    Strictly speaking, it wouldn't be "green"- it'd be "wet." It's all about water-weight.
  18. fireview2788

    fireview2788 Minister of Fire

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    I got the same deal last year. He said it was seasoned but when he dropped it off he said it was tree tops from a clear cut that had been down for the year and he just cut it. I didn't know a thing about it so I thought it would be OK......it's wasn't but it is now. I've got a cord of nicely seasoned hickory waiting to be tossed into my stove. You said you can't wait so I would see what they offer.'



    f v
  19. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Tar and Feather Season! :cheese:
  20. pen

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

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    Unfortunately, the only solution is to keep at least 2 years of wood on hand (one ready for this year and one seasoning for the next) and do the seasoning yourself. 3 or more years if you are buying Oak.

    It sucks the first year you do this as you have to pony up 2x the money. But every subsequent year you have a quality product, will burn less since you are getting more of the btu's you paid for in heat rather than having them wasted by boiling the water in the wood off, your chimney will stay cleaner, and your stove will be more manageable.

    pen
  21. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    I see it time and time again- people buying wood for this season in August/September- a solution is to buy wood in March/April and get it stacked then. Usually it is the end of the burning season and you can get a decent price. If you get ahead a bit, then you have a rotation of piles to choose from.
  22. krex1010

    krex1010 Minister of Fire

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    Nobody is condoning the practice, people are just telling you what the realities of buying firewood are. the term "seasoned" means different things to different people. It sucks that your wood isn't burnable this year. Take it as a learning experience and just accept the reality of buying firewood. You have next years wood now, that's good, next spring buy another years worth and you will be ahead of the game.
  23. krex1010

    krex1010 Minister of Fire

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    Oh and when buying firewood at this time of year I would actually recommend you avoiding the guys selling mostly oak, you probably have a better chance finding unicorns in your backyard than buying seasoned oak at this time of the year.
  24. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    At least you got your measure! :) So you are batting 50%

    Gary
  25. GatorDL55

    GatorDL55 Member

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    Ohio has a law that dictates volume of measure and what seasoned means. Problem is their definition of seasoned is way off base - http://www.news-herald.com/articles/2009/11/27/news/nh1739401.txt?viewmode=fullstory
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