1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Size of splits for ideal/quicker seasoning

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by jj3500, May 27, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. jj3500

    jj3500 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Loc:
    Orange County, N.Y. Southeast corner.
    What is the ideal size for a split? I figure, the skinnier the split, the quicker the seasoning...right? But I see some photos on here with real chunky splits. Or does it matter all that much? When its dry, its dry....i guess.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. cruzer

    cruzer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    Messages:
    27
    Loc:
    CT
    I left my wood to big last year an ended up splitting most of it aain before I brought it inside to burn. Most was probably 6-8in at the bark and 8-10 in to the point(pie shaped pieces). This year I will be spilting it smaller from the get go. It will deffinitly season faster the smaller it is I would think. Also figured out that the same amount of wood split smaller in the englander burned better than if I left the pieces larger.
  3. joshlaugh

    joshlaugh New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Messages:
    330
    Loc:
    Granville, Ohio
    The smaller the size, the quicker it seasons. I split my wood in different sizes based on species of wood and when I plan to burn it. I like some bigger chunks, that barely fit in my stove, for overnight burns(means I don't have to wake up as often at night) but use smaller pieces during the day when I am home as I can easily feed to fire more often.
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,639
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    +1

    Smaller wood = seasons a bit faster than larger splits.

    Smaller splits generally catch on fire easier/faster . . . but burn up a bit faster. Useful for normal burning when you are up and about.

    Having a few larger splits or rounds for overnight burns is useful.
  5. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    836
    Loc:
    Central NY
    I took delivery of my wood in May last year and started burning in October. It wasn't green when I got it, but it wasn't 2 yr seasoned either. Based on the advice here, I split it into 2-3" pieces to help it dry out quicker and in 6 months got close enough to get the secondary burn in the wood stove. This year, I have wood left over (planned), and am putting big pieces (6-10") in a stacked pile outdoors in the sun to start seasoning for 1-1/2 years from now. It's already drying out and cracking on the ends after just 4 weeks.
  6. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,663
    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    Ideal size? I don't know but would like to know. I'm splitting now for 10/11 and figure that they will all shrink a bit between now and when I burn them (not in length, I got that clear on here a while ago, heh). However, I'm thinking more in line with what size I want to have available to burn in the stove rather than seasoning time. IF I were splitting for this fall I would go with as small as I was willing to feed the stove keeping in mind that I don't want to go feeding it handfuls of kindling all day as it would likely not only require too frequent feeding but also result in flash fires that are too hot and short burning (wasted heat up the flue). The answer to the question is almost certain to depend not only on the wood variety but also on the burning characteristics of your stove in the end...

    On a side note - to DBoon: Having stacked my first pile of green oak I was surprised at how fast it started cracking on the ends and looking nice and dark. I think this is perhaps one of the reasons that sellers get away with selling poorly seasoned wood as "fully seasoned ready to burn." Bah humbug to them. I will have to rely on my moisture meter to tell me what is ready to burn rather than appearances and I hope to never have to buy 'seasoned' wood again.
  7. Apprentice_GM

    Apprentice_GM Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Messages:
    237
    Loc:
    Central Coast, NSW, Australia
    I am actually running an experiment - technically a Holz Hausen vs standard woodrows seasoning experiment, see signature - and one of the side outcomes will be determining for a given set of conditions (heat, humidity, wind) how well different sized splits (small @ 1.5kg / 3.3 lbs, medium @ 3kg / 6.6 lbs, large @ 5kg / 11lbs, all weights green) of different species season.

    If you can afford to season for 2+ years then you can season large splits which are useful for overnight and long burns, reducing re-load times. If you need to season it quickly then split them small - I am trying to find out the numbers which will be a general guide as to how big or how small you can split for various seasoning times with different species. My experiment still has some time left to run though . . .
  8. skinnykid

    skinnykid New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    655
    Loc:
    Next to a lake in NH
    What I do (and I ain't nothin) is split it depending on species. I have alot of Maple so I split that stuff smaller as well as the other hardwoods I have. I also have alot of Hemlock that I split it larger because it is less dense so it will season faster and the bigger pieces will burn longer in the stove. The little bit of Pine I have (don't tell my Mom) I split it fairly large with the same idea as the hemlock. Some of the pine a split super small for kindling.
  9. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Messages:
    4,166
    Loc:
    Central PA
    I have never seen actual data proving it, but I can't imagine that smaller wood wouldn't season faster, and I bet a piece half the thickness of another piece would season in less than half the time. The outside of the wood certainly seasons most quickly, with the interior parts seasoning more slowly, depending on how far from the outside of the wood they are. If I was cutting now to burn in the fall, I'd probably try to split everything to be no more than two or three inches thick, and I'd shoot for more two inch thick pieces than three. One inch thick seems excessively small, while anything thicker than three seems pretty large. I would be plsitting into slabs, so that there would be a lot of split surface area on each piece. I think you could probably get softer woods to season by fall if split thinly enough and stacked in a windy, sunny location. The thinly split wood might not season to perfection, but I bet it would be better than a lot of wood sold as seasoned. I wouldn't even try to get oak or hickory to season by fall. If you are splitting wood for the winter after next (fall of 2010), you probably don't have to worry much about how thick it is. It wil have enough time to season as long as it is split and somewhere in the range of normal firewood sizes.
  10. Tedsokol

    Tedsokol New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Messages:
    16
    Loc:
    NE PA
    Kudos to Slow1! I'm glad to hear that someone is using a moisture meter to identify when wood is well seasoned. That truly is the only way to be sure of the moisture content of wood when trying to rush the process. Of course, if you can wait two years...save the money you'd spend on the meter and buy more wood. (The wood should of course be split, stacked and covered properly)

    I hear and read an awful lot about seasoning wood for proper burning and that is commendable. But something that is highly overlooked is style of wood burning. It really is a balancing act that can take a few years to get the hang of...if you pay attention to the flames.

    Many of the comments made here are correct, but I feel that style is being overlooked.

    Yes, Larger pieces burn well overnight, but take longer to dry. Smaller diameter pieces dry out quicker but burn faster and need more maintenance.
    I think your flue temperature should be your guide.
    Larger pieces that burn longer through the night have more of a tendency to smoulder. That's bad. It builds creosote even though the wood may be seasoned. Where there is smoke, there is creosote. Burning smaller pieces makes a hotter flame creating a hotter flue which reduces smoke and thus creosote buildup. Unfortunately it burns fast and does not last through the night.

    For a mid size stove (circa. 70,000 Btu's)Keep your splits to a maximum of about 6" diameter. This size dries relatively quickly (in my region at least) burns well through the night leaving a nice bed of coals for an easy morning start. Most of my pieces are split to about 5" or less. I even split 2" diameter limbs on my Hydraulic splitter for quicker drying because bark slows down the drying process considerably.

    Most of my splits are 3-5 inches in diameter and for an overnight burn I'll fill the stove with mostly 4-5 inch pieces...some 3's and 2's ..... get the flue temp up to 550 Degrees or so and close the air control slowly to about 60%. This creates a healthy sustaining fire that burns through the night.

    If you don't get a good overnight burn with these sizes, you might be getting too much draft, your stove might need replacing to the more efficient EPA rated stoves, your gaskets might be worn or some other unforseen problem. Watch the temperature on your flue. That's a good indicator of what's going on inside.

    One more thought, checking on the end grain of whole logs doesn't mean anything with regards to seasoning wood. I've seen checking on cut logs (12" in Dia.) after a couple of days of being freshly cut. Five years later, that same log unsplit, if it's stored outdoors, will still be too wet for burning! Cut it open and take a moisture meter reading. You'll be surprised at how wet it still is inside.


    Ted

    Burn Responsibly
    www.woodhomeheating.com
  11. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    836
    Loc:
    Central NY
    Hi Slow1 and Woodpassion, thanks for the comments. The wood I was referring to as nicely checked and cracked on the ends after 4 weeks is wood that I have stacked in an open, sunny field for 2010/2011 winter burning, not this coming year. I have what I need nicely seasoned for this coming winter. Just had my flue liner cleaned and had about two cups of fine black powder as a result, so last year's burning was overall successfully efficient and clean.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    One thing you can pick up really fast on threads that mention how to season wood and what size to split, etc. is that people tell how they split their wood, but very few tell what wood it is.

    While it is true that generally smaller splits season quicker, different types of wood season at different rates. So why not sort the wood and go from there. For example, let's say you cut an ash and an elm. Would you split the same? I would not and I'd also keep them separate in the piles. Would you split oak the same as soft maple? Definitely not!

    Just trying to let the new guys know there is more to it than just getting some wood and splitting, then stacking and then burning it. Some say wood is wood but I say there is a huge difference in types of wood and you won't learn all you need to learn in one year either. But do the best you can. Try to get a local that knows his trees to ID the wood you have if possible. Second best is to post here but realize that pictures are more difficult to ID or at least for me they are.
  13. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,071
    Loc:
    Silicon Valley
    All my wood is split to a size where I can grab the end of the split with one hand. If I cannot grab it with one hand, I split it again. And to satisfy Dennis this is all of my wood: Pine, Sweetgum, Oak, Black Locust, Persimmon. Yes, the Pine and Sweetgum season faster than the others.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page