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Some swear their wood is dry....

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Hogwildz, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Wood related, but geared towards folks that think & swear their wood is dry, and it really is not.

    Note the photos of oak wood with a punky outer shell. This stuff has been dead standing for god knows how long. Needless to say, many folks assume since stuff is dead and lying or standing, that it must be dry. My point is unless split & stacked for 2 years minimum, preferably 3 years for most oak and other similar hard woods, it ain't dry. Some of this stuff may be ready in a couple years, but most will need 3 to achieve the desired dryness I want.
    I don't care if it is dead standing, or dead and cut into rounds. Around this house, it ain't started drying till split & stacked.
    Those that have burned truly dry oak and other nice hard woods, know the real heat potential of these woods. Those that just cannot get the stove to temp, and the heat from the load.... don't have as dry as wood as they think. It is a shame to waste heat and energy drying out a load of wood that is not ready. Makes for a lot of unhappy burners. Before you blame the stove, check the wood.

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    tfdchief, Bub381, Brutus and 14 others like this.

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  2. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    I can see the tears of pride welling up in Dennis' eyes all the way from NH. :)
  3. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

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    Excellent post, Hogwildz. Having dry wood cannot be stressed enough.
    ScotO, chvymn99, Kevin Dolan and 2 others like this.
  4. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Perfect example there HW.THe end of that round should be cracked like a road map.(if it were dry) My oak is about 4 Yrs old split &stacked and its just now gettin prime. I know the pine i burn is dry cuz its been inside the walls and under the floors of the old houses it came from for about 100 years.
    Oldhippie and Backwoods Savage like this.
  5. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I Watched a friend of mine from danville try to burn wet unseasoned wood in his open fireplace (of all places) spent all afternoon tryin to get that chit going,it wouldnt even burn hot enough to dry itself out. Since i was drinkin his beer i tried to tell em in a nice tone of course, it wont work but, this guys a farmer from beavertown so hard headed some of em.
    gyrfalcon and loon like this.
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Yuppers! Great post Hogwildz.
    tfdchief and ScotO like this.
  7. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

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    Hogs, I agree with you! I will say though that I have found some oak that was dead standing dried within a year after being split and stacked but that isn't the norm and shouldn't be counted on.
    ScotO likes this.
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah but with wet wood I don't have to worry about that overfiring BS. >>
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Ya, or firing at all! ;lol
  10. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Wait until you're surrounded by dead white ash trees. I have trees I can cut and burn, but I give them the summer to fine tune.
    ScotO and loon like this.
  11. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

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    Totally agree, just drove by a house a few minutes ago with smoke rolling out the chimney and red oak in 4' logs stacked beside the driveway. Tis a shame
    ScotO, gyrfalcon and loon like this.
  12. WoodpileOCD

    WoodpileOCD Minister of Fire

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    Those pics also show the potential of trees on the ground that look like a piece of chit and you would think they were rotted through and through. Lots of good btu's in those rotten 'looking' logs. Good post.
    ScotO and gyrfalcon like this.
  13. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    But that wet wood will burn longer!


    ==c



    Matt
  14. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    We have so much dead ash around us it's insane one of my fields is loaded with the stuff. I dropped one a few weeks ago split it open and for the heck of it tested the moister it was 12% all the way through ! Ash isn't oak though I agree with hogs split and dry even the ash I found gets stacked for next year.

    Pete
  15. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    However, as I have learned well, cracks in the ends don't guarantee dry. Seems to me that no cracks = not dry, but cracks are just the first step.

    Am I wrong on that?
    ScotO and Backwoods Savage like this.
  16. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    No usually when the wood is truly dry the cracks will re close though you can see sliver traces of where they where.

    Pete
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  17. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    People who've never had really dry wood to burn, which I'd guess is the vast majority of burners, have no idea what it's like and how different it is. Had a neighbor the other day tell me he'd gotten half a cord of super-dry wood from somebody who was moving, and he was wide-eyed with astonishment as he described to me how the wood started to burn the instant he put it on the coal bed in the stove. These are people with a pre-EPA smoke dragon who are in the habit of not cutting until they run out mid-winter, then run up to their woodlot and take something down and process it for immediate use.

    Problem for most people, like my neighbor, is that the work and time involved in that first year of making the switch -- cutting and stacking 3 years worth of firewood -- is just beyond the possible. Where I am in a very rural area where most people heat with wood and have for generations back, I only know one guy who learned this and decided it was worth the effort. Everybody else burns wood cut and split at best in the spring before they use it. That's their definition of "seasoned" wood.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  18. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Hey, Pete, don't know what you mean by "see silver traces of where they were." Can you say more?
  19. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Sorry the spell checker got me again I fixed that lol !

    Pete
  20. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Wood will dry from the ends first. It's easier to think of wood as a collection of straws. As it dries, it will shrink. It shrinks at the ends first which forms the cracks since the middle is still at the original size. Once the middle shrinks down to the same size as the outside the cracks will become smaller, but will still be there.


    I've never used a moisture meter, but usually tell if the wood is dry by banging 2 splits together. If the wood is wet it will thud. If it is dry, it will ring. Drop a baseball bat or kiln dried 2x4 on the concrete garage floor. It will ring. Next drop a split from a tree that was just cut. It will thud.

    Matt
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  21. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Heh. Well, that makes slightly more sense, but I still don't know what you mean. "Traces of where they were"-- where what were? Are you saying that good cracks close up again after a while?

    This is of considerable interest to me at the moment because I've got a mixed lot of dry and not quite dry mixed harwoods, and I'm having my problems sorting out the pieces that are ready to burn from the ones that just aren't.
    Pallet Pete likes this.
  22. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Yes the pieces will turn darker in color and the cracks will close up again when it's truly dry. The cracks are how the moister gases get out of the wood when that's over the close up again. You will also notice after that happens the wood gets much darker very fast.

    Pete
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  23. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    If you know the species, you can tell by heft fairly easily. Wet wood has a lot of water weight. Having grayed ends is also a clue as fresh wood is much lighter colored. If the bark has fallen off can also be an indication. I've heard of some people taking a maul to a split and then holding the fresh wood to their cheek to see if it feels cool. Banging the splits together is faster.

    Matt
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  24. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Ah! Now I've got what both you and Pete are saying. The banging tactic, I've also learned this year, is only a rough approximation. For a whole buncha reasons not worth going into, I've got a new supplier this year who's just started doing kiln-dried firewood on a shoestring. I'm not sure what his problem is, maybe overstuffing his kiln, but some of the wood, maybe a third, is just great. Another third is burnable but not ideal, and a third just isn't there. MM readings on this stuff range from 20 to high 20s.

    So here I've got a whole range of hardwoods, each with a range of dryness. I can separate the 20 from the high 20, but the stuff in the middle is giving me fits because it's hard to separate, and with my tiny stove, one good-sized piece that isn't dry screws up the whole fire dynamic. The not quite dry gives off that nice ring just as the truly dry does, dammit, so that isn't helping me.

    I have noticed those pieces that have only faint traces of cracks. I'll experiment tomorrow with those. Tough when the wood is so many different species, and many having dropped their bark, so it's impossible to gauge relative dryness by weight.
  25. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Seasoned color:

    [​IMG]

    Fresh color:

    [​IMG]

    Matt

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