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  1. got wood?

    got wood? New Member

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    Howdy all,
    I got a deal on some split hardwood a little while ago and it looks like it was the dregs of this guys `seasoned' pile. While most of it is somewhat seasoned, there is a large amount of just junk wood (small splits, bark, odd sizes, etc). The junk wood is punky, smelly and in some cases rotting (did I tell you it was a deal? ;-) ) Anyway, it's all stacked and drying in the lovely new england sunshine today and it STINKS! It's got that funky sweet and tangy smell to it. I can smell it in a slight breeze from 40 feet away even! Does anyone have stinky wood in their pile? Will it eventually dry out and tame it's funky odor?

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  2. paulgp602

    paulgp602 Member

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    its probably mold and/or fungus growing in the wood, which is why it stinks.
  3. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    everytime i have green oak delivered to my house it smells like a big poop. you can smell it all over the property. but when it drys out no problem. it usauly stinks for about a month.
  4. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    middleborough, ma.
    Mmmmmmmmmmmm Piss Oak
    Least thats what my dad calls Red Oak ;)

    I'm trying to dry some out in the basement, not going over well but at least it only stinks when we do laundry
    Smell doesnt get upstairs

    Dead Red Oak when wet smells alot worse than live green stuff
  5. got wood?

    got wood? New Member

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    Loc:
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    Piss oak!!! HAhahaha So glad it will dissapate soon...I've got some nice neighbors who must have caught a breeze now and then but have said nothing so far.

    What's funny is that I had a bed made of oak when I was a young lad that smelled just like that where the wood was not stained/finished!

    Red oak eh?
  6. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Odd, This summer I hacked up a bunch of white oak and it smelled wonderful. I have about 2 cords of the stuff and when next to it splitting, I always thought how nice and "oaky" almost sweet it smelled. I do notice that smaller oaks even up to 12" in diameter do not smell as nice as this really old oak I was splitting. The young ones don't seem to smell much at all, and the wood in it looks like all sap wood. Very white like maple. The old growth stuff has that beautiful oak grain and you can imagine it helpng alone a nice red wine from one of the local vinyards out in Millbrook. Mmmmmmm.

    Woops went off into my own little world there for a minute.

    Good grief I need to be careful. I know I'm a beer snob, possibly on my way to being a wood snob, now a wine snob?...I'm on a path to distruction... :bug:
  7. got wood?

    got wood? New Member

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    Loc:
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    must be the difference between red and white oak then because there is *nothing* sweet smelling about this stuff. Ever see that SNL skit where the one guy sniffs the spoiled milk and coerces his buddy to smelling it too? "You've got to smell this, it's awful". It's kinda like that!

    On the other hand I do know what you mean about sweet smelling wood...and that is a most enjoyable on a warm day. You a bit of a beer snob Warren? You brew your own by chance? :)
  8. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Oh yeah... Past president of BIER. Brewers In the Endicott Region.
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Well, I'd drink Anchor Steam all day long if I could get it out here and didn't have to earn a living.

    Fresh-cut red oak can smell like you've been drinking cheap bourbon and throwing up all over yourself for the past week. (That's what I imagine it would smell like, anyway). I've noticed that any hardwood that has been submerged in water or mud in the absense of oxygen eventually goes anaerobic and stinks like a sewer when you split it. Reallyreallyrank.
  10. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Good grief Eric...Where do you get your wood?
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Fact of life, red oak has a sickening smell when fresh split. But that smell will remind you that you are going to have one hell of a great burning woodpile for next winter.

    Love burning the stuff. Hard, dense and helps ya make it through the cold nights.

    Hmmm.. There has to be a country song in that somewhere.
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Warren,

    When you cut and burn as much wood as I have over the years, you get your wood wherever you can.
  13. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    got wood?

    Seems like you are dealing with actual rot / decomposition of the wood. In that case there are two general types of bacteria at work anaerobic (no oxygen) and aerobic (with oxygen). The anaerobic bugs give off all kinds of fowl smelling gasses...methane, hydrogen sulfide (rotten eggs), "swamp gas" type stuff. Usually caused by the wood being buried in muck, deep piles of leaves, etc - anything that cuts off the oxygen to the wood. The aerobic bugs are much kinder - mostly giving off CO2 and leading to decomposition that will smell like a forrest after a rainfall, but nothing too noxious.

    If you stack the wood so that air can freely get to it, the anaerobic bugs should die off and leave only the aerobic guys. At which time the pile will start to smell like normal decomposing wood.

    WOW - never thought all that HS biology would come in handy!

    Corey
  14. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    if you can just trap some of that methane in the wood you would have double your fire for the money

    hey warren have you got any sam adams recipes you'd like to share?
  15. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think the aerobic (hero) bugs eat the anaerobic (bum) bugs, though that may be an overdramatization of what actually happens. Anyway, like you said, the introduction of sufficient oxygen is all it takes.
  16. got wood?

    got wood? New Member

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    well that's good news...though it's been a couple of weeks and it still reeks. I wonder how much of a smell difference there is between different rotting woods (hard/soft, specific types) and if red oak is the reigning champ of nose-turning timber
  17. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    In my experience, the smell will go away when the wood has had a chance to dry out. I would therefore keep it covered.
  18. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Red Oak that is dead standing but has absorbed water/retained water is the most rank stuff I have been across

    I am wishing I never put that 1/2 cord in the basement to dry out :(
    It is getting better (smell wise) though
    I should be burning it by mid-late February
  19. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Burning it is always the sweetest revenge.
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