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Seasoning logic ?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Brian VT, Apr 20, 2009.

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  1. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    My 1st year cutting firewood. I've been cutting standing dead ash, sugar maple, and cherry.
    I've got a moisture meter and have been checking the center of a few fresh-cut rounds or splits from each tree.
    Anything that reads 30% or less I've been stacking for this coming winter. Anything over 30% I've been stacking for the following year.
    Is this sound logic or do you think think that in the fall I'll find that none of my efforts mattered to Mother Nature ?

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I think if you get the <30% stuff split and stacked now it is going to be fine. Most will chime in that you need to leave it uncovered in the sun all summer but I just happen to be somebody that thinks it ought to be top covered now. With sufficient space between the rows for air circulation. I only dry my wood once.
  3. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    I've got the 3+ cord I need split and stacked with a foot or so between rows. I started in December.
    It's just that my buddies have been suggesting that I'm being anal about separating the >30% stuff
    and are busting my balls. LOL. They say "It'll all burn. It's friggin' wood."
  4. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like a good plan to me. The Sugar Maple will probably take longer to dry out than the ash and cherry.
  5. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    Funny you say that. A lot of the maple tested 15%. Very hard and pretty heavy for being dry.
    I split most of those into "yule log" size for, hopefully, long burns and good coals.
    I left quite a few ash and cherry in the woods because it was as light as balsa and punky. No BTUs, right ?
    The maple seems to season better on the stump. The ash and cherry have thick bark that, if it didn't come off when splitting, seems like it would hold moisture for a long time.
    Most of what I've split/stacked for the coming winter was close to 20% or even below so I think I'm fine there. I'm just wondering if my 30% rule makes any sense or maybe it should be more like 25% ?
  6. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Season it as long as you can, but if you have to burn it, burn it.

    Matt
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    IMO 25% is good to go in the stove. I found with my meter anything over that sizzles. If they read 30% now I'd bet they will be under 25% by fall.
  8. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    Well that goes without saying. I just want to have 2 stockpiles. One for this season and one for the next.
    I'm just wondering where should I draw the line regarding moisture content (based on a mix of dead ash, sugar maple, and cherry).
  9. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    OK. That gives me some reference. It should get @ 5% dryer over 6 months. Thanks.
  10. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    Brian VT,
    My EKO recommends not burning wood above 25% to achieve best output and recommends 20% as ideal and will even blow the fire out if you get too moist of wood. My old wood furnace burned what I put in it but would creosote up if the wood was too moist. Your rule makes complete sense if you do not want to spend a lot of time cleaning your chimney or worrying about chimney fires. If you had meters and data you could show your buddies the different output that drier wood has compared to the higher moisture content wood. Without the meters you can watch your wood pile go down but have a warmer house because the higher MC wood doesn't contribute the same btu's as dry wood.
  11. rphurley

    rphurley Feeling the Heat

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    I think we have the same friends!
  12. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    If you think that you will have enough wood, go with under 25%. If you are off by 1/4-1/2 cord, you can always dip into the next year's pile in March/April. That wood would have seasoned slightly more over that winter. Just make sure that the top is covered late fall through the winter if you think that you might have to tap it later. I ended up going over myself and had to do that. I'm doing 4-5 fires/week in the morning now. Good luck.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    That standing dead ash could probably be burned right now. I agree with stacking the wood separately but rather than doing much checking, I'd just stack the ash in one place, the maple in another, etc. You'll probably find that all of it will be ready by fall.
  14. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    Yah, I did, and I'm sure my buddies will have a field day busting my balls about that too when they see it. lol
  15. bambam

    bambam Member

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    Most ball busting friends become jealous friends when they see how many new toys you have with all the money you saved buy not giving it to the oil companies.
  16. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

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    They've been burning wood all their lives. I just started. They don't see any reason to "complicate" things, as I have been.
    They say I read too much. I suppose they're right, to some extent, but there's a lot of good info here that has made my learning much easier than if I hadn't come here.
  17. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I see nothing wrong with burning the driest stuff first and giving the rest more time to be next in line.

    By keeping diferent species of wood seperate you'll learn which ones burn a little (or no) better thanothers and which ones to keep seperate in the future should you decide to continue to do so.

    I have four pile stacks .
    1.Oak
    2.everything else
    3.pine (cedar and hemlock)
    4. kindling (mostly pine branches)(and this is a literal pile)
  18. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    If you don't mind the effort of checking to see which wood is driest, then separating the dry wood for burning first certainly makes sense. What is the disadvantage of burning the dry wood first and letting the rest have a little more time to dry? If you were a couple of years ahead in your wood collecting, I'd say it wouldn't matter because it will all have time to dry, but you aren't.
  19. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    If it's all standing dead I wouldn't bother with all of that. Standing dead is "seasoned," it's just wet and will dry very quickly once split.
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Bigg_Redd, some standing dead wood is seasoned but by far not all. In fact we cut very few dead trees that are ready to burn right away. Naturally elm is the worst. We wait until all the bark is off and then sometimes wait another year before cutting it. Then we have to wait at least through the summer before we'd dare burn it because there is still so much sap in the dead tree! However, some of the tree might be ready but usually only the very top of the tree.
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