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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. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Some of us do not need one. ;)
    swagler85 likes this.

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  2. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    If you are buying wood and paying a lot of money for it you need one, period.
  3. cptoneleg

    cptoneleg Minister of Fire

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    Kiln Dried= The firewood wrapped inplastic at convenence stores that is a $6.99 for five pieces.
  4. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Kiln dried or seasoned=no sizzle when you burn it, its not rocket science.
  5. RichVT

    RichVT Member

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    I bought a couple of cords from this local outfit when i first started burning: http://www.vermontlumber.com/firewood.php

    An added bonus was that they debark all of their logs so I got more BTU's per cord (all wood vs. wood + bark) plus the wood was much cleaner without the bark.
  6. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Yep. I found when burning 25% wood that it would hiss a bit and take off slower. It burned but <20% wood ignites quickly with almost any kind of flame or coal bed under it.
    Probably wouldn't gain too much moisture; The EMC (equilibrium) is 11-15% in most locations around the country. If constantly wet by rain, I would think MC would rise, but top-covered should stay good to go.

    www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplrn/fplrn268.pdf
  7. renewablejohn

    renewablejohn Member

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    Here in uk I produce solar kiln dried logs guaranteed to be less than 20 percent moisture content. For which I charge a premium price and take a moisture meter to prove the point allowing the customer to select half a dozen logs at random for testing. Logs are split in two for testing and to date have never had a reading above 20 percent. As part of our quality control log split date is recorded allowing proper stock rotation
  8. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    So I take it you wouldn't be offended if someone surprised you by pulling out their own moisture meter when you showed up to deliver your wood?

    Edit: Also, how do you feel about your competitors who might advertise kiln dried firewood at a much lower cost than you, but then actually deliver wood that is still full of moisture? Do you think that customers should use a moisture meter to check the wood before accepting delivery?
  9. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    Oh boy, so the verdict is.....

    I had to refuse the delivery.

    I tested 8 splits, I remember there was a 33%, 29%, 26%, 24% etc.

    The most surprising thing was that there was a lot of Ash and it was VERY wet, I figured it would be the driest but the birch was the driest around 24%.

    It was some young guy driving the truck who made it seem like it was no sweat off his back, "it all pays the same" kind of attitude.
    You could actually see the moisture in the splits, very light around the edges but noticeably darker a couple of inches in.

    I did contact the owner who said they don't split the wood but he was kind of shocked that it read that high. According to him it spends 3 days in the kiln at 160 degrees. Everything was very cordial and no one seemed to be all that put out.

    I had given him a heads up that I would be splitting the wood and testing it when he called yesterday.

    It was advertised as 15-20%, not even close.
    Lumber-Jack likes this.
  10. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    That sucks! there is no way it was in a kiln for 3 days and still be that wet! Here's my verdict..my kiln dried wood came today and it really is kiln dried. I split a few pieces, all under 15, one was even 7! It's like pallet wood but in splits instead of slats. Granted, this stuff sells for $350/cord here, I paid $150 delivered and stacked because the owner is moving, new owners don't want the stove, he sold the stove but needed to get rid of the wood, my lucky score!

    If you can find real kiln dried stuff, get it, it's expensive but still cheaper than a tank if oil for me :) IMHO I am burning less wood than I usually do in just one day and the BTUs are blowing us out of the living room. I have a lot of ash css about 7 months but blended with this - amazing burn times and heat. Love it!
  11. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, I was going to fork over some serious dough.

    Going to go through the wood I have on hand and see what the readings are before deciding to get more elsewhere...
    ScotO likes this.
  12. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    That's sad. Whats even more disheartening is you already have a lot of wood that tests at 25% MC, if I remember correctly!

    That's false advertisement, hands down, and I'd have turned him away right then and there as well. Good on you for having the knoweledge and the gumption to check that wood. Imagine how many people have been BONED by that wood. Smoldering fires all around...
  13. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Wow, I'm surprised but good move checking it out. You woulda been PO'd if that pricey stuff started sizzling like bacon.
  14. Freakingstang

    Freakingstang Feeling the Heat

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    I stopped in at my local stove shop today to get my 6" chimney liner, insulation and wire wrap for my insert install... there sat on the counter Napolean Brand Hydrometers for 19.99... I thought what the heck, I was already spending 600 bucks, whats a couple more..

    Got home and check the slab wood I have stacked and ready to burn (had been burning it in the fireplace up until about two weeks ago). Anyone that has ever had slab wood knows how inconsistent the thickness are... I check the thinner oak, birch, maple and it was all cut last spring in feb or march at the latest. thin pieces all read around 7-8% from the ends, split them them in two and got 10-11%.. thought that was pretty dry...

    The thicker stuff read 12-14% on the ends, split them open and most were still under 15, although one or two was at 16. So now I'm curious and head back to the wood pile... I cut down a dead ash almost a month ago at my mom's house, now this stuff had been snow covered, so I don't know how much of a difference that makes.... it read 36% when I cracked it open... While at moms i took out a couple bunches of black cherry trees. They read 22-25% depending on the thickness of the split...Both cut, split and stacked at the same time... I thought Ash was supposed to be ready to burn as soon as it was cut (alive)just like dead standing elm? My oak still reads high 20's from late spring as well..
  15. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Way to go Cross Cut!
    I think I'll bookmark this thread for those future reference when forum member start saying what a waste of money moisture meters are.
    I think you may be the first person in this forum that I know of who has actually used a moisture meter in this way to refuse delivery, I hope you're not the last.
    Maybe you'll start a new trend. Maybe one day firewood dealers will start using them and taking reading on their own wood before selling it. Maybe one day they'll stop BS-ing people about their wood being seasoned, when it's not. Maybe one day politicians will start fulfilling their campaign promises............ nah, that's never gona happen.
    At least you didn't pay top dollar for wood that is wetter then what you already got. :cool:
  16. Senatormofo

    Senatormofo Member

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    My boys got me one for Christmas but they said they ordered it from Amazon. It's a damn nice gadget to have for us wood freaks!
  17. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Moisture meter to the rescue, saved you some money and headaches.:cool:
  18. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    I got the mm in the early summer but vowed not to let it drive me nuts by constantly splitting pieces of wood and over analyzing what is essentially the wood I have to burn regardless of it's moisture content, so I haven't even really used it much at all. I had actually just assumed that the moisture content of the wood I have stacked was much higher than it is just because of the time it's been css...

    I haven't had a single dealer reply back when I open the conversation with an email about moisture content of freshly split pieces of wood, anyone who is buying wood that they plan on using within 6 months of buying should have a moisture meter.
  19. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    This wasn't some big "gotcha" moment either, I told the guy what I expected and that I'd be checking for it and he agreed. The surface of these pieces of wood was BONE DRY. Some wouldn't even register on the meter, most were around 5%.

    Honestly I don't really think they're trying to pull a fast one on people, I think there is a broad misconception that if the wood is dry on the outside that it will burn fine. I'll be needing green wood in the future and I'd still contact this person for that, he was a little surprised but not the least bit confrontational. Hell, maybe now he'll start splitting some of those pieces and improve his process...:)
    ScotO likes this.
  20. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    I have a company up the road from me. I drive by them every day so I know what they have and how long it's been sitting in a pile on their blacktop. The stuff that was there from mid summer is long gone and now there is nothing but red oak sitting in piles that is less than 3 months. I assume a portion of it was pre sandy with the rest being less than two months (and piled none the less). If you have any clue about things, there is no way it could be sold as seasoned based on color alone. So I call their number and ask how much for a cord of their green wood. They tell me they only sell seasoned wood. I'm considering filing a consumer complaint form with the attorney generals office. Blatant lying should not be tolerated and it will only remain the same if more people don't file complaints. Flat out, it can be dangerous. I got rooked last Dec from a big farm claiming only two years seasoned. Paid more than the CL adds because I actually believed it since it was a legit operation.
  21. renewablejohn

    renewablejohn Member

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    I have no problem with owners using there own meters so long as they realise it needs to be calibrated to be accurate. In UK we have weights and measure who calibrate and certify my meter as accurate on a regular basis. As regards kiln dried from competitors its an education process. A quick flash in an oven is never going to compete with a minimum of 3 months in a solar kiln. As a reputable producer I welcome the use of moisture meters the only caveat being the accuracy of the meter which is why I always carry my calibrated meter to compare with the customers.
  22. renewablejohn

    renewablejohn Member

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    Cross cut saw

    To be honest I am not surprised. I have a lot of customers who have paid premium prices for kiln dried only to be disappointed when it smoulders instead of burning, I get asked to sort out there stove as it cannot be there timber which is at fault as it is "kiln" dried. I normally go armed with a bag full of my solar kiln logs and the trusty moisture meter and after splitting both the kiln and solar kiln the difference can be anywhere between 15-20%. Just to confirm the problem I then get the customer to light there stove on my solar kiln dried logs and there normally staggered at the difference in heat generated and ease of lighting.
  23. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    Maine actually has laws on the books regarding the terms "cord", "thrown cord", "seasoned", and "dry" from actual dealers. They aren't allowed to use vague terms when describing the measurement of wood either:

    http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/attach.php?id=27939&an=1

    They will actually help you with a complaint if you feel you've been shorted or sold wood that is not as dry as they claimed it should be, there's a section for heating oil, liquid propane, and firewood.
    ScotO likes this.
  24. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    I know MA has laws for quantity. Not sure about terms. Might look into it.
  25. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Before refusing the load and sending him on his way, I would have made an offer on the wood as is. You might have gotten a good deal if it would have saved them from hauling their load back - and it'll burn just great next year.

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