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"seasoned" lesson today

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by drdoct, Nov 7, 2008.

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  1. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

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    Today I found out a guy who I do business with has lots of trees that have been down for 2 or so years. He said I could have all I wanted. So I loaded up my little Poulan 18" and splitting maul and went to see. What I found was a whole ton of trees from hickory to oak with pine too but in the south pine isn't considered firewood. I cut up a whole lot of rounds, mostly 12" or so. Then I went to splitting. Most split really good, but it was still green. You could smell it. When I got home I took the moisture meter to it and it was 39%. This wood was even starting to decay but not too punky. I'm talking about logs that wernt sitting on the ground but over other logs. Just because the tree has been felled definitely doesn't mean it's seasoned. I'll probably get 4-5 pickup loads out of it and maybe 10 if I can get a little bigger saw to get through the 40" diameter logs. It's nice splitting wood that's been felled that long though.

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  2. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Anything that's been down for two years and is starting to rot is seasoned. Wood can be both seasoned and wet.
  3. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

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    I think the picture above is proof of the exact opposite.
  4. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    I agree with Redd. Green and wet can be two different things. The substances in wood that make it "green" are pretty much gone after two years.
  5. deadon

    deadon New Member

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    If it is free and local, cut it. there is always next season to burn it. I never pass up wood, as Dolly the blue fish on Finding Nemo would put it just keep cutting ,just keep cutting just ,keep cutting. it will be just right next season or toward the end of this season.
  6. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

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    Maybe it's just wet. We havn't gotten rain for over 2 weeks though and like I said b4, most of the pieces were not on the ground. Maybe they will dry out quickly and I'll be able to use them this year. I'm going to try to burn a few just to see. I'm way behind on my good wood and now that I got a good stove I'm trying to find dry wood. I'm going to put a few splits in the gas bbq for an hour or so to dry them out more if I have to. Some of this was really dense and hard to cut but did split fairly easy because it's straight grained. I was hoping that the moisture would be around 25%or so but was shocked (disappointed?) when it popped so high.
  7. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

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    That tree never dried. It stayed wet and rotted becuase of it.
  8. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    How do you figure?
  9. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    There are lots of explanations for the wood being wet.
  10. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    I went out the other day to find some really dead stuff I can burn this winter. Some was standing, some was leaning, some was down. It was all wet to some degree, but it does not need to "season" or cure, it just needs to dry out. As long as it's not rotten and punky, a little sun and wind will "re-season" it pretty quickly. Given the same amount of time and exposure to air and heat, green wood that is just felled won't be as ready to burn as dead-many-years-wood with the same moisture content. I'm sure I can grab a 200-year old board from my floor and get it wet enough to read 40% on a meter, and I'm just as sure it'll dry out a lot quicker than a white pine split fresh from the back yard. Short of tearing up my house, that's been my general experience.

    If you get a chance, use your meter to track the old stuff you just got versus some fresh green splits over the next few weeks or months and let us know. (sorry, I'd do it myself but haven't got around to getting a meter yet!)
  11. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    I bet that it is indeed both seasoned and wet. Seems to me that wood with just a little punk on the outside can indicate high moisture, yet you split it and you get readings more like 20-30 percent. Well, did you (split it)? I think the photo shows your meter displaying the moisture content of punk wood. Or soggy wood near the layer of punk. Is that a photo of a split, or a barkless round? I can't see for sure. Why didn't you put the meter probes in the middle of the piece? You have them near the edge(?)

    I recently began to harvest some downed trees on a friend's property. I passed over some logs that had been in contact with the ground and were almost totally punky. There, right above them, were some lovely Red Oak Logs. You can tell they were well on the way to being seasoned. I cut and loaded a bunch of rounds. Will split them this fall, probably for next year. The ones that were off the ground were in real nice shape with little or no punk, and had shed some of their bark. My friend says they are just right, and to just split 'em and use 'em. Well, I can afford to wait for late winter to try them, I think I have enough for this season, but he swears they are good right now. I'll repost to this thread when I get around to doing some splitting on that batch.
  12. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    I'm in a similar situation with two free large Red Oaks I have been cutting on. Most of the limbs I have cut have been off the ground. The bark is very easy to remove and just a small portion of the outer layer is a little punky. I have only started cutting these trees a month or two ago. The wood "looked" very dry when I split it. The only true seasoned wood I know I have now is Cottonwood, and I wanted to test some Oak. Out of curiosity, I have used some pieces in the few fires that I have had. I have observed the oak pieces burning closely and they looked just fine.

    I bet yours if OK too.
  13. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    grab a split a split it again then measure do a few more random pieces..
    to my knowledge even wood has to dry out to less than 20% to be seasoned.. when left in a round, or long length it slows the process down dramatically.. thats why you see firewood guys leave wood log length until a couple of months before they sell it because they don't want wood cut split in a pile for 2yrs because it will rot in those conditions,, (unless they have it on something that can breathe)
    that wood you split is prolly still "green" i got wood last year ,oak and it was down 2yrs supposedly.. well it sucked burning ..it was hissing and everything else.. its been sitting since and it still isn't ready and its been a year
  14. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

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    Wood rots because it is in contact with moisture.

    Do you really believe that a tree fell in the woods and in two years time it had seasoned without being cut and split and then came in contact with moisture long enough to rot????

    Usually the simplest explanation is the correct one. The tree fell it never dried, therefor it rotted.

    You guys on one thing. It will be easy to dry now that it is rotten. It has lost a lot of its BTU potential. It will dry quick because it is rotten not because it is seasoned. It will burn like paper and dry like paper now that it has rotten
  15. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Do you really believe that rotting wood is still green????????????

    Evidently we have different ideas on what the words "green" and "seasoned" mean.
  16. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

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    Absolutely, green wood will rot. I've seen it with maple, hackberry, and oak albeit oak takes much longer.

    We do have different views on the word seasoned.
  17. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

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    What your looking at is a split (yep I split it all) with the probe next to the heart part of the split. The wood is nice and hard with a little punk near the edge but a large part is dense and hard.
  18. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Yep. If you have sharp ears, you can hear some hiss if the wood isn't ready. But I rarely ever hear that. I'm lucky that I started all my wood burning with a big Red Oak that was standing deadwood right on my own property. It split up nicely and started out pretty dry to begin with. Now it's seasoned for various times up to about a year. Most all of it is good and dry. Great fuel, that Oak. Love the stuff.
  19. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    Wow. That's surprising, I guess. My Red Oak lay on the ground for a couple years after I had it taken down. Then I got a wood stove. So I started splitting the stuff at 2 years. It had gotten a little punky, but only up to an inch or so on the outermost rings. So it did need to season for up to a year or so, some of it. Other parts seasoned way faster. It was kind of hit or miss. Now, a year later, nearly all of it is good to go. I took my time with it, did it in batches. It was a huge tree, over 100ft tall. Probably about 4+ cords came out of that one tree.

    One thing I've learned from my own Oak is that the punk keeps it wet until you have both split it and removed the punky wood. I was going to try to let it dry as is and burn the punk wood too. But the darned stuff sponges up water like crazy and never lets the wood dry. Take a hatchet to it and remove the punk, and it dries surprisingly fast. So I ended up doing a heck of a lot of extra work due to the layer of punk. (In addition, the punk harbors all sorts of pests I don't want in my house)

    Thinking about it some more, I guess your wood moisture proves the old adage that these hardwoods aren't going to start to season much at all until you split 'em. OTOH maybe they will season way faster than green wood. I bet they will.
  20. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

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    That's a good idea on removing the punky parts. A lot of it fell off when I was splitting. There are pests in it though. I wont be storing it in the house long or else the wife will kill me. Heck I wont even store the wood close to the house because we've got big ole wood roaches here in Georgia that love the stuff. Boy does the wife LOVE it when one finds it's way inside too! ;-O
  21. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Green=new, recent cut, has moisture from sap still. Seasoned= older, has lost some of that sap moisture, but may still be wet from rain and ground moisture.

    A standing dead tree after a year is most definitely not "green", but may be wet.
  22. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I posted this question on a scientist sight: What is the difference between non-seasoned wood and wet wood?

    They gave me a chance to expound some so I says; "A log lying on the ground for three years will dry faster, when cut and split, than a fresh, or 'green' log."

    I got an e-mail just now stating that it was accepted and will be passed on to a scientist and an answer may be up to two weeks in coming.

    I have a feeling it has something to do with molecular break-down (dying) and the inability to reconstitute dead cells and molecules with any amount of water... or something.

    If I get anything worth passing on, I will.
  23. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    It's pretty easy to understand what is going on in the process of wood decomposition. It ain't rocket science.
    Maybe someone needs to draw some illustrated pictures here...with crayons.
  24. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    No, it's not easy for all of us to understand. And no, it's not rocket science. I believe it's biology.
    Please then, explain the difference between non-seasoned wood and wet wood.
    Thank-you
    (crayons? that wasn't necesary was it?)
  25. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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