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"seasoned" lesson today

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

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  1. CTBurner

    CTBurner Member

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    I have been cutting dead oak on my properrty recently. trees are down but not all on ground cause of branches holding them up.
    the wood is wet on the outside due to a quarter inch of rot, wood is very hard and i regurily see sparks while cfutting. when i split it, it looked very wet inside. 2 weeks out in the sun and it is perfect for burning. dry as can be

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  2. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I've got some standing dead oak (for a while apparently, no branches - no bark) Hard as a rock.
    Wear and tear on my chain makes me wonder if it's worth it. I'd much rather cut up oak green. Smells nicer, too.
  3. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Its nice if you can get at least one injectacarbide cain they are .50 cents a drive link but come in handy often. Cuts a little slower but keeps going and going
  4. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Ya, I cut some standing dead oak- was impressively hard, but much was wet (especially near the base). It dried much faster than "green" oak would. Very hard on chains (running good Stihl chain).
  5. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Interesting but very wordy. Am I right to interpret that it's the fiber saturation point which determines the difference between green wood and wet wood? It doesn't seem to answer the question because it states that the free water is released before the bound water. Can bound water be released without the free water being released? That would help explain it.
    Mayhaps you could help explain?

    Inquiring minds want to know.
  6. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Bound water cannot be released, per se, without unbound/free water being released. Think about it- wood is hygroscopic- as soon as that bound water was evaporated, some of the free water would stick and become bound. Plus- the "unbound" water is just like it sounds- not bound and therefore easier to move or evaporate.

    The free/unbound stuff will evaporate first. It has other chemicals necessary for life dissolved in it- which lowers the vapor pressure, the mobility, etc of the water, slowing the drying time.
  7. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Please, bear with me. I'm having a problem with; "as soon as that bound water was evaporated, some of the free water would stick and become bound." That makes no sense to me. Are you sure?
  8. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Bound water is stuck to the wood (in simple terms). It would be sort of like saying "a stick is sitting in a puddle". The water in the stick is "bound". The puddle is "free/unbound" water. How can the water get out of the stick, if it's sitting in a puddle? As soon as any water molecule leaves the stick- there's more there to take it's place. You need to evaporate the puddle first.

    Free water means it's sloshing around (on a microscopic level). Bound means it's stuck on the surface. As soon as a single molecule on the surface leaves, more water will move in if it can. In fact- that free water really has to leave first before the bound water can go anywhere. Scott needs to measure moisture in wood because it will suck moisture right out of the air and bind it up- the wood swells when this happens and it can warp (or check/warp if it dries too fast).

    Dessicant works by binding/sequestering water molecules, and many materials including wood do the same.
  9. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Thank you. I got all that. So now back to the million dollar question: Why does wet wood, let's say a three year old log laying in the woods, which measures the same moisture reading as a green log, dry faster when it's cut and split?

    I'm really not trying to be anal about this but I do need it spelled out.
    Thanks again for your patience.

    (What happened to Mr. Woodford who very insultingly said it was so easy?)
  10. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    Perhaps the cell walls in the dead wood has ruptured and are no longer capable of holding water as well as living cells from a green tree? The dead wood cells act like a sponge to absorb water, but can't hold on to it since the cell walls no longer have any integrity?

    And, maybe in most cases, dead wood just doesn't have a high moisture content throughout anyway?

    Just guesses.
  11. Dill

    Dill Feeling the Heat

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    I've found that when I get a dead wood that's wet, its usually quite wet, but once I cut it up and let it air out, it'll be ready to go pretty quickly, within a month or so, if the air is dry.
  12. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    I gave up.
  13. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

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    Oops, did I start all this? It's great to know that I may be ready to burn this stuff this year. I'm going to heat a load or 2 in my grill to dry them because this is the only large wood I've got. I burned a big piece last night on my final paint burn off and it did burn all the way, but not in a good way. I had to leave the air completely open. Sorry for starting up a biology lesson. What I was initially saying is that if you were delivered this wood you would think it would be great to burn right off the bat. A lot of the bark is gone and it looks nice and seasoned. And I guess that it technically is. Trying to burn it would result in disappointment though without knowing it's moisture. Once again, without hearth.com's suggestion of a moisture meter, I would be uninformed which would have led to misdirected disappointment at my stove.
  14. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    No need for apologies - a good lesson! And you're right, this sort of wood looks good to go, and it makes an excellent case for keeping your wood covered. Of course it wouldn't be wet to the extreme of a log lying on the ground, but my wood piles in the past were always exposed to the elements. I also kept them barely off the ground, leaving no room for air flow at the bottom. So my "seasoned" wood was always becoming somewhat "re-un-seasoned" in the sense of regaining moisture. So thanks to Woodshed posters for all the tips!
  15. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    In short form, a quick and dirty explanation - In green wood, there are two sorts of water

    Free water - the water that is in the sap, or capilary spaces between the wood cells. It is primarily held in the wood by capillary action.

    Bound water - the water that is actually part of the cell material, protoplasm, cellulose, etc. It is held by actual chemical bonds.

    Free water leaves first by evaporation, mostly through the ends of cut logs, very little through split surfaces, bark, etc. Once the free water is gone, the bound water will also start to be released but slower as in addition to evaporation, it is also necessary to break the chemical bonds holding the water.

    In addition to the bound water breaking down and releasing from evaporation, some will also be released (even if the free water is still present) because of the biological breakdown of the wood at the cellular level.

    Wood is hygroscopic and will pickup or shed moisture to reach an equilibrium w/ the environment. If wood that has dried picks moisture back up, it will be in the form of FREE water, which per the above discussion will dry faster by evaporation.

    Gooserider
  16. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Makes sense. Thanks
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