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)

Splitting Green VS Dry?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Mr A, Mar 29, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mr A

    Mr A Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Messages:
    597
    Loc:
    N. California
    Are some species easier to split green vs dry? I'm looking at some splitter reviews and the question is always "will it split a knotty green log?" Before I have recently got myself into burning I had helped out with some eucalyptus and doug fir trees. Both split well wet, but a dry eucalyptus was indestructible. I would think a dry hardwood will be harder to split dry?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. onetracker

    onetracker Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    592
    Loc:
    rondout valley ny
    yeah there have been some insightful posts on this already if you search around a bit. personal experience is always prefrered to hear-say. and its an important thing to know so we're not working against mama nature. plus i see you're in CA so we're gonna have different options. sure love burning that madrone when i was out there.

    all bets are off when the wood is knotty or stringy

    sugar maple/cherry/hickory - brutal when green and a snap when dry
    red oak - easy when fresh cut then a bear after a few days/weeks...then easy as pie after it dries a bit
    red maple - easy/easy
    ash - had fresh-cut white ash that i simply could not split and other trees that split green just fine. easy when dry.

    etc....

    onetracker
  3. seeyal8r

    seeyal8r Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    272
    Loc:
    North Central Oklahoma
    Oak splits, IMHO, easier green. When its dry it builds up a bunch of pressure and then pops all at once. It is easier to wrestle the logs around once they are dry though just because they can weigh 20% or more less. But of course they dry faster already split. I like to get stuff css as soon as I cut it so its not laying around. So if I cut some standing dead or some green they get split as soon as I get em.
  4. jackatc1

    jackatc1 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
    Messages:
    197
    Loc:
    Port Crane ny
    If forced to choose,I vote for green fresh cut. Including shagbark hickory.

    Iam talking maul and wedge,hydraulic splitter is not an issue.
  5. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,053
    Split first, ask questions later... Only a few, like Elm or Poplar are left to firm up. However if I miss the sweet spot I'm no above stacking 'em off on the side and spitting them when I have time.

    Most split best when they come down for me.
  6. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,235
    Loc:
    Croton-on-Hudson, suburbs of NYC
    I split by hand, and I believe that most wood splits easiest when green. With a machine, it may not matter that much.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Mister A, you sound like you are about where we was before we purchased a hydraulic splitter. I had split wood by hand (green) for many years and enjoyed it but an injury forced us to look for help. My biggest fear was that I'd buy a splitter and then come the knotty stuff or elm, which we cut a good deal of, that it would not work. Those fears are all behind us.

    Most of the elm we cut and split is already dead and the bark mostly off. This makes it split easy. However, I've also split a couple of elm that were cut when the tree was alive and well. Then it really turns out stringy, sort of like that picture that Jags has posted before. The wood just does not want to separate so it gets twisted out of shape and leaves it stringy. That tends to make the wood burn super fast and is the reason some folks give elm a bad rap.

    But getting back tot he splitter, we bought a 20 ton splitter and have smiled ever since. However, I have no experience with eucalyptus or doug fir so can not say on those trees.
  8. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    2,842
    Loc:
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    I like to dry pine rounds on their side, and off the ground for a year before splitting by hand. By machine, doesn't matter.
  9. pdxdave

    pdxdave Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Messages:
    71
    Loc:
    Kirkland, WA
    All of my (limited) experiences have pointed towards dry wood being easier to split than when green. I've never ran into a dry split that didn't pop apart with a good solid hit, whereas I've struggled with countless green rounds. So I've never quite understood why so many people believe green is easier to split, other than to assume that every species, and probably each tree/grain to some degree will have differing characteristics.
  10. timusp40

    timusp40 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    266
    Loc:
    Lake Orion, Michigan
    Mr. A,
    From everything that I have read here, I would say go green! Main reason is to get it drying faster, sooner etc.
    Tim
    ScotO likes this.
  11. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I split almost all my wood when its green with relative ease, be it with the maul or the hydraulic. That said, the green black walnut I'm splitting right now is some of the hardest stuff I've ever split. Stringy as all get-out!
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,358
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    With the exception of some really stringy stuff, green and fresh cut splits easier. Anyone that says otherwise is probably a procrastinator that is lying to themself. It doesn't much matter when using a splitter unless it is underpowered or real stringy.

    The sooner it is split, the faster it will dry. Also the bark tends to stay on green wood better. Splitting dry or standing dead wood tends to shed more bark.
    ScotO likes this.
  13. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    955
    Loc:
    Central Ohio
    That might explain my situation too. I know most say green is easier to split. I've only tried splitting green a few times but in every case it was much more difficult. Mainly cherry though. Some maple and locust, although all the locust I cut has been dead for a while. Green I was struggling with normal sized rounds to even split them at all so I have given up splitting green. Let em sit just a little until it starts getting crack marks through it and hit it on the crack and its been much easier. I'll have to give green another shot though, especially if I come across some other species like oak.
  14. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    2,842
    Loc:
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    Cherry is another exception like pine. I don't even try to spilt much cherry by hand anymore, but it definitely splits easier after drying for a year.
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Ask Tony (fire_man) if dry cherry splits easy and you'll get another story! As for me, the wood will be split when green unless some unforeseen problem crops up.
  16. Locust Post

    Locust Post Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,063
    Loc:
    Northeast Ohio
    I probably burn more cherry and maple than anything else. I have never thought either one was that difficult to split when green unless it had some knots. Until last year I split everthing by hand with a monster maul and I have not used a wedge in many years.
  17. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    2,842
    Loc:
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    I wonder if cherry grows different in the midwest than here on the beach. I have other friends who also wait a year to hand split cherry.
    Arround here, cherry does not grow straight, but instead bends every which way, often making a 90 degree turn for no apparent reason.
    Tha's another reason I don't hand split much of it, seldon are the two end cuts even nearly in the same plane.
  18. Jimxj2000

    Jimxj2000 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    52
    Loc:
    SE NH
    Green - and frozen solid when using Fiskars!!! Pops right open. The only type I have really noticed is green pine is harder than dry. But frozen anythings splits much better.
  19. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    955
    Loc:
    Central Ohio
    We didnt have hardly any frozen days this year lol!

    And when I was talking green being harder to split for me, I usually only let it sit for a month or two to start getting cracks then its usually good to go. Its not like its realy much drier, just that it starts those cracks.

    I split everything by hand mainly with the Fiskars X27, and I do have an 8# maul too. Never owned a splitting wedge, so the really nasty pieces either get noodled or turn into compost in the woods.
  20. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,358
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    My experience with hand splitting is contrary to that. I always found that a fresh cut face split easier than one that had been exposed and started to form cracks.

    Anyway, I think the OP was talking about using a splitter. With a splitter, stringy stuff may hang on better when green but pop apart better when dry.
  21. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Not sure if this is true or not but I've always noticed that cherry is one of the trees that does really tend to grow crooked. Trees will tend to grow to where they get the most sunshine and that is why on field edges, or any edge of the woods, the trees will always lean out. Inside the woods the trees will grow taller and more straight up. Cherry seems to have the ability to grow in different directions during its growing time. Yet, have a cherry in the open and it will generally grow straight.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page