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Should I bust out the moisture meter before my delivery?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Cross Cut Saw, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    There is a kiln dried dealer in my area. Their website states they dry the wood to between 20-25%. A little drier might be nice but that should burn good enough. I don't know if that's an industry standard or a definition but I think we are getting lost in the weeds here.

    The guy is representing kiln dried. I'm sure a quick phone call to the dealer asking what moisture content the wood is dried to will get an answer. Then nothing wrong with a little verification.
    Lumber-Jack and ScotO like this.

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  2. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Yeah, after a search I saw most dealers selling the kiln dried wood are putting it under 25%.....which is burnable, but I wouldn't be paying a premium for it even at that MC. So we DO have a baseline for Cross Cut to check.......

    CCS, let us know what you find out, on a fresh split of that stuff. I'd do like Jatoxico said, give the guy a call and ask him what the MC is BEFORE he brings it to your place......
    Senatormofo and Backwoods Savage like this.
  3. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I agree with you Scotty 25% seems a bit high but if I had started out in my first season with 2 cords of wood that was consistently <25% I would have saved myself some trouble. Like many I had a liitle Good, some Bad and some Ugly but I'm OK now :p.
    Backwoods Savage and ScotO like this.
  4. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Boy, I'm right there with ya.......>>

    OOOPS, you're talking about firewood, I had a brain fart for a second there...;em
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  5. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

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    I agree with Scotty on this one. If the seller is advertising kiln dried and charging a premium he is putting himself out there as having the dry wood worth paying for. If it was me I would tell the guy when ordering that I will be checking mc. If he decides not to bring it out then its too wet for me to burn and I saved a hassle. If its really dry he brings it out and the meter says less than 20 were both happy.
    ScotO likes this.
  6. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    I'd just talk to the guy on the phone first and explain that you need the wood to be below 20% moisture content. Mention that you'll have a moisture meter and will need to test it. If he's concerned that it'll be higher than 20%, tell him you'll need to keep looking. No need to play "gotcha", after he loads and drives to your place, when a two-minute conversation might save you both some stress.
    weatherguy likes this.
  7. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Exactly. Find out what their definition is up front before delivery, and at the same time warn them that you have a moisture meter and will be checking it upon delivery. Perhaps you might find out that their definition of kiln dried is between 30% and 40%, at which time you can politely say no thank you.
    Driving all the way out there to check the wood is useless in my opinion. First of all it kind of defeats the purpose of having it delivered, unless of course you have no vehicle capable of picking it up yourself. Second they might point you to a "showroom" pile of kiln dried wood to test, but end up delivering you some green wood from the back of the yard.

    I don't agree with the thinking that people should just accept that firewood will not be seasoned on delivery, and not use your moisture meters on delivery for fear of a confrontation. Doing so would hurt those dealers who actually do offer truly seasoned wood. It can take a lot of time and effort to properly seasoned wood, and without the means of actually verifying their product their efforts are really in vain, because any two bit firewood seller can "claim" his product is the same as those who sell the premium product. So to not verifying actually hurts those who try to bring you a good product, while at the same time helping those who may be less than honest about their product.

    "Verify before you Buy"
    .
    .
    ScotO, Seanm and amateur cutter like this.
  8. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Ha! Was meant to be one uh dem double en tendries.
  9. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I would burn what you have, mid 20's is fine to burn heck the 20's is perfect. I surely wouldn't be buying wood at a premium if I had wood at 25%.
  10. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I'd just ask him, when calling about ordering, what m/c it's kiln dried to - then take whatever answer he gives you, and assuming it's an acceptable value, tell him you'll be checking it when it gets there.

    Nobody likes being 'ambushed' on a delivery, even if the deliverer is completely on the up & up - might leave a bad taste that would serve to upset what could be good future transactions.
    scooby074 likes this.
  11. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I think this deserves posting every once in a while.

    Anything below 25% on a meter is good to go. The EPA test fuel is measured using wet basis, your meter reads dry basis.

    Here is a good quote from our moisture content guru, too bad he has a pellet stove now. ;lol
    drfera said:
    There are different ways of expressing moisture content, which don't at all have to do with the method of determining them. The EPA test loads are Douglas fir that is between 16 and 20% wet-basis. That is expressed by taking the weight of the water present and dividing it by the weight of the entire split. Your moisture meter is calibrated for Doug fir as well, but the calculations done by the chip inside of it (or the width of the scale divisions if you are using an analog meter) are done using the dry-basis method of expressing moisture content. That is expressed by taking the weight of the water and dividing it by the weight of the dry fiber that would be present in the wood after all the water has been theoretically driven out (as would be done in a 215º oven in a lab).

    Naturally, you get very different numbers, and this effect grows increasing more substantial as MC rises. It's a mathematical thing, and has nothing to do with the actual wood, which always has the same amount of water in it.

    If you want a real easy way to convert dry-basis meter readings to the wet-basis used by the EPA tests, just divide the number on the meter by that same number plus 100, and you will get the correct wet-basis MC every time.

    For example, the meter says the wood is 25% MC. Add 100 to 25, then divide that number (125) by the original reading. 25/125 = 20% MC wet-basis. The high end of the EPA test range... perfect for you stove.
    In another case, the meter says the wood is 19% MC. Add 100 to 19, then divide that number (119) by the original reading. 19/119 = 16% MC wet-basis. The low end of the EPA test range... perfect for your stove.

    As far as a definite cutoff number, I don't believe it exists. The way you load the stove, the type of wood, the way the wood is split, the amount of coals in there, the internal stove temps, the timing and size of wood additions, the strength of your draft.... all things that can and sometimes do have a more profound effect on the burn then just MC and draft opening. For me, the theoretical cutoff is 25% MC wet-basis (33% MC on the meter). That's 5% more water in the wood than the maximum allowable MC in the EPA test loads. Above that, you will likely have a progressively harder time burning your wood without micro-managing the stove.​
    Cross Cut Saw, ScotO and Lumber-Jack like this.
  12. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Why would you say that?
  13. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    I see you are in PA and while the definition of "seasoned" isn't regulated, everything else is. Here is an excerpt from my county's PA consumer protection page:

    Firewood
    Q. What do I need to know about purchasing firewood for my home this season?

    A. This is the time of year when lots of folks call The Bucks County Weights and Measures Office about firewood. If consumers intend to use the wood to burn this season, make sure the purchase is seasoned firewood. It is up to the consumer to confirm the moisture content of the wood prior to delivery and have it documented as a guaranteed value on their invoice. If you plan on using the wood for the following winter you can buy green wood and cut and split it and allow it dry out. *Please note that currently there are restrictions concerning the movement of hardwood firewood. This is under order of quarantine because of an invasive disease named the Thousand Canker’s Disease.* For more information of the 2012 quarantine please visit the PA Department of Agriculture website or contact the Department at 1-866-253-7189. In addition, there are some basic requirements the firewood seller must adhere to. An invoice, with the following information, must accompany all firewood sales; the name, address and phone number of the business, amount and type of wood purchased, and the price. All firewood sales in Pennsylvania must be sold by the cord or fraction of a cord. A cord is the legal description of amount of wood purchased. A cord is measured by stacking the wood 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet in length or a total of 128 cubic feet. If you get a delivery that is not stacked, stack the delivery within 48 hours of delivery, and if there is a discrepancy with the amount call the business immediately. If they do not address the problem call The Bucks County Weights and Measures Department at 215-348-7442. For a free brochure on Weights and Measures please visit our web page and click on “Tips and Hints”.
  14. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    No brainer. Yep get it out and use it. If the MC is not to your liking don't accept the delivery. You maybr should have told the seller that up front but I don't think it is necessary.::P
  15. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    From the companies web site:
    "_________________ has been offering high quality kiln dried firewood in the Mid-Coast Maine region for over 25 years. Recently, the boiler that heats the kiln was upgraded to utilize wood biomass for fuel. Not using fossil fuel means our kiln dried wood is a truly green and environmentally friendly product. Unlike seasoned or green firewood, kiln dried firewood is always insect and mold free, making it safe to store in your home. Since the moisture content is between 15-20%, kiln dried wood burns cleaner than seasoned wood, producing less smoke, ash and creosote. Also less of the heat produced by your wood is spent evaporating the water out of your firewood. You get the most home heating value from your firewood dollar using a kiln dried product."

    He cancelled today...

    I told him that's fine, I asked specifically if all of the wood they delivered would meet the criteria listed above when freshly split after delivery. He assured me it would and I said great, I'll check it when you drop it off.

    I'll update when I get the delivery.
    ScotO and jatoxico like this.
  16. ridemgis

    ridemgis Burning Hunk

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    You will love the way that stuff burns!
  17. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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  18. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    I get 15 - 20% and somewhat better stacking mine for a period of time, from 1 - 3 years depending wood type, so I don't see the need to pay extra for something I can do myself. Although, if you need wood NOW then this guy is most likely your best bet. He is making the claim his wood is dry; you are just verifying his claim. I would bet he is spot on but I believe in C.Y.A.>>
  19. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    scotty is right, THERE is standards for Lumber. BUT firewood is not lumber, so technically the guy can put it in there for 4 hours or so to dry the outside to 10% so it catches right up but then jjust smolders as the outside is burned down. I think that the stuff needs to be low but also I think that seasoned wood needs to be at least split for a year not 30 days to be called seasoned (not that a year should be long enough for large oak splits but would be beter than most firewood dealers seasoned oak)
  20. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    Id do this as well as well as inform him that I was going to check the MC of some fresh splits, BC I have been burned before with "seasoned" wood.
    Yea just put him on notice that you know what DRY is.
  21. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    What happens to "true" kiln dried firewood that about 11-15% now after it sits outside all winter? Does it GAIN moisture from being exposed to the elements?
  22. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Here is what I just posted for another case. I believe it fits for all firewood purchases.
    Hear's the deal as I see it. If a person is going to buy wood then the buyer should tell the seller up front that the buyer will check a few, 3-4, splits pulled at random from the truck. If the reading on the buyer's MM does not read a acceptable level to the buyer; the buyer reserves the right to refuse delivery. If the seller won't play by the buyer's rules then most likely the buyer does not want or need whe the seller is offering. If the seller agrees to the terms and the wood does not pass muster then the load is refused and there should be no hard feelings. It could also open the door for the buyer to get a better price on a product the can be used next season. Just my opinion and we all know the old saying about opinions!==c

  23. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    he is doint this because he said he only has a .2 acre lot!! I cant even park my trucks trailers and stack my wood hardly on that amount of space!
    Cross Cut Saw likes this.
  24. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Oh I'm sure there will be hard feelings if the seller brings something other than what he agreed to, it's just that by verifying with a moisture meter the buyer gets to decide who's going to be parting with those hard feelings.
  25. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Yes and no. PA has laws on the books, but enforcement is very thin. The law says very clearly that firewood can only be sold by the cord or fraction thereof; no face cords, no truckloads, etc. And yet most sellers price by the truckload or face cord, and they do so with impunity. They're required to provide a receipt too, but both of the guys I bought wood from this year (one honest, one not) wanted cash, and neither offered a receipt.

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