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"Super-seasoned"---hah!!!! How isi it not?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by KateC, Oct 25, 2006.

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  1. KateC

    KateC New Member

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    So unfortunately we had to buy wood for this year and made ALOT of phone calls. Amazing how many 'reputable' tree companies tried to sell me stuff that hasn't even been split yet or stuff that was split in the Spring and left in an open pile on the ground. I finally got a local guy that has alot of cherry, maple and oak (oh my!!) that was split a year and a half ago and stored under top-cover only. I'm thinking 'jackptot' but only order a face-cord just in case. He obviously is a nice dude and wants the business so brings it right over-----it's good hardwood but in mostly HUGE splits (another thread?) and we have to re-split it to fit. After re-splitting I grab the shrapnel for kindling, and it prompltly hisses like a snake in the stove--smoky start----after I get good coals finally I toss on a few smaller splits and the fire freakin' GOES OUT-----get it going again but subsequent attempts prove just as frustrating. HOW can this stuff still be damp/wet if split a year and a half ago and stored top-covered out in the open??? I'm ready to give up---burn the damn furnace this year and only trust my own wood from now on. Or is there any stove/chimney malfunction that could cause such crappy combustion?

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    the bigger the splits the longer it takes to dry out If you split up enough cross stack in the sun and wind cover it when it will rain some may dry enough to be usable
    split it bring some inside and let some heat dry it out It might be ok. Maple usually drys quicker than oak
  3. KateC

    KateC New Member

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    Thnaks Elk----know that bit and have done with our own----this is stuff we had to buy and was 'supposedly' treated in exactly that way. If under these 'optimum' conditions I'm wondering why it might possibly be still damp. Thanks
  4. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    I am expert at trying to burn wet wood...... :) ......if it hisses, it's NOT READY TO BURN !!!!!

    Sorry for the rant, but I went through some very wet times last season...........this year I am burning last years "supposedly seasoned" wood......and it's burning perfectly.............this year.

    Such a nice thing to burn dry wood.

    Again, if it hisses at you, it's got water in it, which means it's green/wet or NOT ready to burn........at least like it should.






    Robbie
  5. KateC

    KateC New Member

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    thanks for the reply---have to repeat though that I KNOW if it hisses it isn't dry-----the question IS....WHY ???? if it was split a year and a half ago and stored with the top covered but the sides open and if it's turning gray....?? And if it were seasoned what other reasons might there be to have a hard time burning it?
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    If it is turning grey it wasn't covered. The only stacks I have ever had go grey were exposed to rain and sun all year. My covered stacks never turn grey.

    Da wood ya got be wet.
  7. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    Maybe I'm just being a pessimist...but...it just might be that the load of "super-seasoned" wood you bought was really split much more recently than you were led to believe. :bug:
  8. KateC

    KateC New Member

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    Could have been split recently but the splits themselves look to be alot older than the ones we just made----at any rate it's obviously not as dry as it was assumed to be-- and I'll have to call tomorrow to complain. I realize we had a wet season here but this is ridiculous. Everybody around here burns wet crap and calls it good enough apparently.
  9. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    I guess the size and storage method. Covered on the top means rain water gets in thru the sides and usually soaks in. I know everyone seays cover from the top only but I cover most of the stack with black plastic. It's almost tropical here in Central VA and the wood grows lichen and fuzzy reddish stuff during the summer, but by this time of year, that stuff has dried out and my wood is dry....Dry enough to really get away from you. I have about a cord an half that is under an old thermal pool cover....translucent bubble wrap looking thing . That stuff , nothing has grown on it......dry as a bone.
  10. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    It really does sound like it could be wet even though it was kept in the dry. It could have been rained on very hard a few days before it was delivered (maybe loaded in truck ?). If so, this would cause a problem for several days and several loads of wood until the water has time to evaporate out of the wood.

    I honestly feel for you, and everyone else that has to deal with wet wood and the "seasoning" problems associated with buying wood.

    The original size of the splits could be part of the reason it seems wet too. If they were as big as you said, they may not have dried enough yet.

    If it really is dry wood, you should be able to take a "smaller" piece any where from a split, and it should light and burn easily.

    Robbie
  11. KateC

    KateC New Member

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    I did ask MYSELF if I could trust him----asked HIM all the appropriate questions and got the 'proper' answers-----he delivered 'so quick' because he lives around the corner from us and was booked the rest of the week. He's been 'sitting on' this wood because he's in the business and also, like many here, has been over-stocking so much for himself he ended up with enough overage to sell some.

    I appreciate what you're trying to get at, Dylan, I really do---just because I'm a ''newbie'' here AND a girl doesn't mean I'm stupid. I know from experiences of myself and others---some in this forum---that anyone can be suckered.
  12. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    I see a pattern here. :lol:
  13. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Its a hard one Kate , Looks like your going to have to live through this one this year ( and wood does dry in the winter / tho you'll want to cover from snow ) and dry your own wood at on your own terms. Getting ahead is the key as you well found out.
    Make sure when evaluating wood for the final you have a good hot coal bed when adding larger splits or rounds.
    I have 4 year old wood that dont look like it wants to burn well with a fresh new started fire but after a good coal bed going it always take off like a dream.
    This is the time of year where most fires are new and then burn out and then new again and the long term or 24/7 wood burning is not yet kicked in.
    It will get better.
  14. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Good point and a good test. The acoustic test is something you would have to have the right wood to start with to know what it is.
    I find it interesting of all the different test for dry wood i have seen on the Internet , Why i find it interesting is because the lack of test needing to be done when the wood is sitting in your yard for 9 months to 2 years depending on the kind of wood it is dont need "tested".
    I guess its just a swing of things once you have burned wood for a wile and you know when everything needs to be done.
    Its always harder for the first time wood burner or stocking up for the first time.
  15. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I can tell you that the only way you'll be sure the wood is seasoned is to season it yourself. As said Grey wood was left uncovered, and that may be good for a while especially if left in the sun, but not good at all if not in the sun. To sort of prove my point on grey wood vs not grey wood, I do some woodworking, and (sigh) about 4 years ago I started working on a bed for my son. The posts are roughly 3.5x3.5 cherry, and have been sitting in my garage for the entire time. The wood is beautiful and a dark reddish brown...not grey. By contrast I got hold of some large cherry rounds ..bout 1/2 a cord this summer that I split and stacked in the yard under a cover. I use 6mil plastic. The rounds under the cover are still the same color as the bed post, but are drying nicely, but the peices down low where they get rained on now and then are absolutly grey.

    Another little point of interest is on some apple that I got from my parents neighbor. These rounds were sitting in their yard, stacked for about 2 years. I split it and it still smells like a green peice of wood.

    Another test here is the bark falling off test. The oak and ash I've got seasoned for this year looses it's bark with I remove it from the pile. Now I don't know if all species of wood do this...I'm not a seasoned (pun intended) enough wood burner to know, but I do know that if a peice of wood is loosing it's bark easily and the wood under the bark is dry...it's ready to burn.

    so try this test...with a sharp knife or ax, remove the bark from the wood....see if the wood is moist under the bark. If it is, you've got wet wood and could let your supplier know you did not get what you paid for. It may be seasoned, but it isn't dry.

    What you really paid for was dry wood.

    By the way...in any of this don't blame your stove....You could change to any stove made and be having the same issues.

    Hope this helps.
  16. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Your on a "seasoned wood" roll today Waren .
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    bugette - I burn quite a bit of white and red oak. If these are LARGE splits like you were saying, it really takes 2 years to season correctly. Just for fun, you should take an armload of the splits and set them in a nice dry area, and burn them next year, just for a comparison. You wouldn't believe the difference between 1.5 and 2 years of seasoning.

    Sorry to hear about the wet wood. I hate trying to burn wood before its ready.

    on a side note, if you split those into much smaller pieces they will season and dry faster and possibly could still be used some time this winter.
  18. KateC

    KateC New Member

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    I've been going by a combination of dryness tests----if the ends are cracked but the bark is stuck I assume it's wet. If the bark comes off easy but 'thuds' when I whack it with another piece or the ends aren't checked I assume it's wet. If it weighs alot more than a piece that size should, I assume it's wet. If I toss it onto 3 inches of red glowing coals and it doesn't burst into flames within a minute I assume it's wet. I'm a bit defensive about this because my honey assumes that if it won't burn must be I don't know what I'm doing. Had to employ some ''tough love'' and make him run the stove himself to prove my point---ended up having a smoky room filled with some very bad words and now HE thinks something must be wrong with the stove.

    As for the wet wood we got, we re-split most of it right away and got it inside----some inside the screened-in porch, a few in the living room and most of it on a pallet-rack in the basement---hopefully it'll dry before Spring---and I'm really glad I was at least cautious enough not to buy a whole cord.
  19. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Kate,

    The oak will take longer to dry than the cherry and maple. Maybe you can get by on the cherry/maple and burn the oak last.

    A split can look dry-ish on the outside after one day (I noticed this recently processing some wood in the sun). But split it again later and it can be wet inside.

    I was deceived both times I bought wood. I see "I was ripped off" stories 99:1 compared to tales of sombody knowing a fair wood dealer. Treat all wood dealers as used car salesmen - you have to take a good, long, educated look at the goods before you buy. You're learning.

    Sometimes for fun, when I see someone advertising seasoned wood for sale, I'll ask if I can come by and load my own. 100% of them say no. Some might have legit excuses like they don't own the land, but I'm convinced most do not want you to see all the fresh wood being processed, the lack of seasoned wood waiting to be loaded, etc.
  20. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Kate - You did the right thing by "testing" your new supplier. Just assure your hubby that the reason you bought the small amount was to test the wood quality, and it failed the test. Move on to the next, and when you do get the truly "ready to burn" stuff, watch your handy work in action.
  21. jldunn

    jldunn New Member

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    I'm in upstate myself, and so far I haven't heard of any wood actually being "ready to burn". I'll let you know if I can find any. I've gotten damp wood from Treelanders (not dry, but not too wet). DK Firewood I think pulls it out of a river. My neighbors use AAA Northern Firewood out of West Monroe, I'm going to see if I can sample a few of their freshly delivered splits the next time I see them out.
  22. KateC

    KateC New Member

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    Good analogy with the car salesmen---another similarity being both industries are basically male-dominated, with many of said males viewing females as damsels in distress or 'fresh meat'---which doubles the frustration level.

    When I called about the wood I asked the guy specifically what types of woods were in the mix, when it was split and if it was stored under cover---out of a dozen similar inquiries, he was the only one to answer all questions with the 'right' answers so I took a chance on him (after consulting the MAN of course).

    We process our own wood but this being the first year we need to buy some---2 years ago we hadn't even bought this house so didn't know we'd be trying to burn wood now. Gotta start somewhere.
  23. KateC

    KateC New Member

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    Jeremy----thanks for keeping me in mind. The first calls I made were to tree companies---not one could or would be more specific than ''hardwood---no pine'', 2 advertising super-seasoned hadn't even split the rounds yet, nor did a single one store anything covered. This guy is a local Joe who 'supposedly' burns the same wood in his own stove.
  24. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I just thought of a way to prove the stove is working well. This thread or another mentioned cardboard....Roll up some of that and watch it roar. The equation is simple. Oxygen + small flame + burnable stuff = bigger flame.

    If burnable stuff is cardboard or wood it doesn't matter.

    By the way...does your SO read what all these experienced wood burners are saying? Your head seems to be screwed on just fine, but your having a devil of a time getting him on board.

    By the way...No one round here cares which gender you are...beauty of the internet.

    Heck....from all the wood burning I did last year my kids are now experts.
  25. Metal

    Metal Minister of Fire

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    Maybe now would be a good time to buy a few more cords from the guy for next year and dry it yourself. If you want something done right...
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