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Standing dead trees, how long to season?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Bigcube, Jan 23, 2009.

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  1. Bigcube

    Bigcube Member

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    Like some others I have been having trouble with wet wood. The last couple of face cord I bought have been wet. It doesn't seem to dry since it's been below freezing all the time. I found some wood from a local guy that is from standing dead trees, would it be ready now? I'm told it's been split and stacked and kept under a tarp for about 1 month. He claims all the trees were dead when cut.

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  2. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    Part of it will depend on the species and on how long it was standing dead. We took down a standing dead white oak in October and bucked it up. I split it in December, and the interior of a split tested out at 35% moisture. It's stacked and waiting for next year. There's another thread on here right now about the same thing, so you might wanna peruse through it.
  3. Jeff S

    Jeff S Feeling the Heat

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    Yes and No,I cut a lot off dead standing Elm and while the upper portion of the tree is very dry ,the bottom section is usually either wet or sometimes even punky.I cut a lot of this stuff in early September and even the wet stuff is very burnable now.Like a lot of people on this Forum suggest I have been doing my best to accumulate 2+ years of wood so there will be no guess work in the future.
  4. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    Ditto Jeff S on the elm and species. I'm burning some elm in my EKO gasifier right now that I cut yesterday and it's burning real well. It's been dead standing for over two years and is quite dry but none of it is very large in diameter. About 8" max and splits very dry to touch. How about going to the guy and buy enough to load your stove and do a test burn? Or buy a moisture meter and split and test a piece on site before you buy the wood? If you can't do either of those things check how tight the bark is to the wood. Take a screw driver or wood chisel with you and pry the bark off a couple random pieces. If the bark is brittle and breaks in small chunks and is still bonded to the wood it would likely hinder drying on the stem and moisture could still be high. If the bark pops off easy in larger pieces and there is evidence of bug burrowing between the bark and wood you'll have some drier wood even so a test burn or moisture meter would really tell the tale. A red neck but proven non moisture meter approach is to take a piece and wrap it in a plastic garbage bag and place it somewhere to warm up for about 24 hours and then split it and feel for moisture (hey a red neck wouldn't need a moisture meter at this point). Of course a red neck might not have a garbage bag either or wouldn't want to risk a perfectly good rain coat for something you're going to burn any way). LOL at your own discretion.
  5. Bigcube

    Bigcube Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I guess worst case is I'll have more wood for next year. I'm planning a wood shed this spring. I will be stocking up on a 2 year supply as soon as the shed is done. This wet wood is killing me, the new stove HATES is :(
  6. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    ^have you ever considered any lean-to additions instead of a wood shed Bigcube? They can be sweet, more bang for the buck. They may not be the answer if you live in a development but out in the country they work out very well.

    Also they're more multi-purpose than an enclosed shed...not that I'm anti shed but I have both and the 2 lean-to's have worked out so well...I don't even store wood in 'em any more. LOL. And the enclosed unheated woodshed now only holds a few face cords in case of a snow emergency situation.

    Seriously you should take a second look at lean-to's on the web.
  7. Bigcube

    Bigcube Member

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    I have a 24'x24' detached garage. I plan on a deck like structure with a roof, off the back of the garage. Not sure yet if the sides will be enclosed, definitely open on the back. It will be 8'x24'. I am considering a lean-too or shed type roof. The peak of the roof runs front to back, I'm concerned with a shed type roof it may be too low at the open end and as an option I'm considering extending the peak back so I can take advantage of full height stacks. With 4-5 rows at approx 6' high I should easily hold 6+ cords. For now I have been stacking in my screened porch and some in the garage. Buying wood a face cord at a time it's a crapshoot if what I get is ready to burn.
  8. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Well it would probably be simpler to forget about the peak. From the back of the garage start as high as you can prob 8' then slope down so you can walk under it at the low side. That will give you a 20" or so drop at 20feet. Just beef it up to handle snow load. My advice is to keep it simple, you can always put sides on down the road plus you have better circulation.
  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Like others have said the answer is "Depends" . . . depends on the wood species and how dead the dead tree was . . . in other words exactly how long it was standing dead. I cut down some elm this past summer and while some that were standing dead for two years or more have burned well, trees 1-2 years old have not burned all that well and have gone to Firefighterjake's "Will Burn Next Year" pile.
  10. Bigcube

    Bigcube Member

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    Thanks all for the advice. He said it's ash, cherry and oak. The price is right, so worst case I'll have more wood for next year.
  11. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Yikes Bigcube sorry thought I answered you OP? yes buy that dead wood, the tops will burn right away and the lower trunk stuff if split small and sitting on the hearth for a day will also burn if added to an established bed of coals...whewww!

    I should change my name to king of the run on sentences.
    [​IMG]
    Anyway here a rough idea what your garage lean-to could look like. Pretty sure that one comes out only 12'. I dunno for sure. No sides on it, right now I use it for an equipment staging area to free up my garage space. Lean-tos' are the way to go brother...and they don't count to the tax man. Great way to store wood undercover but still exposed to our friend ..Mother Nature.
  12. NitroDave

    NitroDave Member

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    If you park that Blue Dart of yours outside under a tarp....then you could fill the garage with firewood to dry. :red:
  13. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Forget trying to find dry wood for this winter. Get next years wood in while you muddle your way through this year.
  14. Bigcube

    Bigcube Member

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    It's bad enough I have wood stacked in front of it in the garage now :gulp:

    Thanks for the pics of your shed. Still in the planning stages but with a deck 1' off the ground then the back will be low. I could stack in the other direction and have lot's more rows.

    I wish my wood burned like price chopper wood, that's what I'm burning tonight :)
  15. Bigcube

    Bigcube Member

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    Well it seems I didn't get the standing dead wood, I got ash and maple that was split last spring for $55 a face cord :coolsmile: So far so good, it seems to burn well.
  16. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

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    If it isn't too wet you can put it close to the wood burner a few days and it dries out the wood fairly well. A few chunks at a time anyway.
  17. leaf4952

    leaf4952 Member

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    I find that IT’S ALL UNLESS TO QUESTION ! Because wood sellers are often liars, misinformers or people with a different set of standards & vocabulary about wood than you have(designed to remain vague). They will only tell you what they absolutely have to to make the sale - just short of lying to you. I beleive there is only one remedy for this : BUY or HARVEST YOURSELF green wood in the spring and age it yourself under your watchful eye. And lots of it. I’m starting to think...prep a cord more than you used the year before. Because as one gets better at burning you do it more 24/7. Sorry to sound like such a pessimist. But I have just learned that much goes unsaid with these wood guys while they take your cash. There are so many variables its mind boggling and too time consuming to ponder. It’s more cost & time effective to take control by buying or harvesting yourself: GREEN in the spring !  I don’t think I’ve EVER gotten a stitch of truely dry-ready2burn-that day wood after the month of December, even from the few guys I ever buy from ! They mean well, but it’s like the pink elephant in the middle of the living room that no one admits is there. THIS FU**IN WOOD IS NOT SE’ASONED ENOUGH/DRY ! And apparently I gotta get someone who can give me 4 cords in Sept. I sound like an idiot. It’s all just so obvious whats gotta be done and it’s hurts sometimes to admit when we haven’t done what we should have done: GOTTEN OUR WOOD WAY AHEAD & KNOWN WHAT WE GOT & WHAT IS LESSER & WHAT TO DO W/ IT IN THE MEAN TIME !
  18. Bigcube

    Bigcube Member

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    I agree with what everybody is saying about the seller's "opinion" of what is seasoned. I had spoke too soon on the "so far so good" for burning. Some pieces burn OK, none of it burns great, yes it's wet and I have my doubts it was cut last spring like he said. Live and learn. I will be stock piling it this spring.

    I wish this new stove wasn't so damn finicky about what it will burn. My old stove would chew up about everything once it got going.
  19. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    I don't buy my wood, but if I did I would ask the seller what the moisture content of the wood was that he is planning to sell to me. If he/she quoted a moisture content that was low enough for my tastes I would say fine deliver it, but make sure the moisture level is really what you say it is because I have a moisture meter and will be checking it. When they bring it to the door if it isn't what he/she says it is I would simple refuse to accept it.
    Moisture readers are pretty cheap, will last for years and would eliminate any need to "trust" the firewood supplier.
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