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Seasoning small trees for kindling

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by chutes, Mar 17, 2009.

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  1. chutes

    chutes Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    CT
    Beautiful day in CT, so was out getting the yard cleaned up a bit. I have a ton of Maple saplings that I'm cutting down for kindling (they're too close together and too close to some mature trees, so I'm leaving a few that are positioned properly, and taking down the rest). Their branches and trunks will make great kindling at some point. Should I leave these trees in a pile intact and let them season a bit until I can snap the branches and trunks, or should I use the shears now and cut them into kindling size? My plan is to just fill garbage cans with the stuff. I assume it will season that way, right?

    Also, will stuff like that be good enough for next season? I presume that this stuff - which is 2" to 3" in diameter at the trunk - will dry out in the next 7 months or so. Course, I could be wrong.

    Thanks

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  2. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,227
    Loc:
    Central MA
    I would recommend drying them out in a stack. If you put them in a large can, i don't think they will dry that fast. Here's what I did with a bunch of scrounged small rounds. These range from large to small and perfect for starting or packing a stove tight.

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  3. Apprentice_GM

    Apprentice_GM Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Central Coast, NSW, Australia
    We don't burn 24 x 7 in winter, just late afternoons and evenings, so we are always building and lighting fires. We collect huge amounts of kindling and branches from our place and pile it in preparation for winter. I am always amazed at the moisture contained in finger-diameter and up to 2" sticks which are dead before collecting! We now place various piles up against trees to "season" and then bring them into garbage cans and wicker baskets under cover, but are careful to rotate stacks in a FIFO basis. Every now and then our toddler or well meaning guest places a stick in the wicker basket, thinking it's our kindling storage, and it's difficult to burn it, especially as it's used in the starting stages, when it's got too much moisture.

    So I strongly recommend seasoning even your kindling out in the elements! And that means cutting or shearing it to length as soon as possible to maximise the seasoning. The other trick you might benefit from is throwing all those branches and thin trunks in a sawbuck, allows you to cut through 20, 30, 50 lengths quickly with the chainsaw. I'm planning on building one soon to do just that.
  4. fyrwoodguy

    fyrwoodguy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    344
    Loc:
    eastern central NH
    i like small tree's too....and go to great lengths to get'em. and worth it too!
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    just whack'em to length,and stack'em...no splittin'.....little wood for a little fire or fill'er up
    load the wagon by hand.and off load by hydraulic grapple.....unless too heavy to load to begin with ;-)
  5. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    583
    Loc:
    Southern Calif.
    Depending on the species, I cut green "sticks" (1 to 2 inches) to length w/ my ax. Usually one or two good wacks will do it. Since I don't have a chain saw, I (carefully) use my old B&D;10" miter saw to cut larger branches to length. I stack 'em with the rest of my firewood. Not having a stove (yet) but just a FP, we LIKE small wood. Helps a lot in buidling up a fire to the point where it'll take larger splits nicely.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
  6. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,026
    Loc:
    Western CT
    I would cut them up while they are relatively fresh - it is much easier on your loppers or whatever you are using. I tried using the loppers on some one year old branches and it was tough...
  7. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
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    4,076
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    I have a stack of small Red (soft) Maple branches that have been cut to length for about two years. I recently split a few sticks from the stack and found some seemed very dry the whole way through, some didn't seem dry inside when I split them, and some were rotting. All were stacked on concrete in a sunny spot and covered on top, and were from the same live tree cut two years ago. Since finding the rotten ones, I have been trying to split all my smaller wood. Once cut to length, most are easy to split, but the ones with tough knots don't split nicely. I try to keep my small wood. It is a pain compared to larger diameters, but I hate to waste it then end up splitting larger pieces to small sizes for starting fires.
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