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The value of covering wood piles

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by richg, Jan 16, 2013.

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  1. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    NJ is a whole different ball game than Indiana. Think about quads up in MN (haven't heard from him lately). He burns all oak and never covers his wood.

    It had been a long, long time since I've left any wood uncovered until burned. I have some now that has never been covered. Probably won't get to it for a couple years yet but might try some next year just for kicks. Normally we split and stack in the spring and then top cover before the snow flies in November or December.



    Top covered with galvanized roofing.
    Christmas-2008a.JPG

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    It is a pretty well accepted fact that the eastern states do need to cover right after splitting. As you move west, we do not get nearly as much rain as the eastern states. We have a son living in PA and it is amazing to us just how much rain falls out there. Most of the time when it rains here, it rains for that day or at most, 2 days. That is usually followed by some strong NW wind that is really dry and indeed, less than 24 hours after a big rain, our wood will be dry. Wood is not a sponge unless it is punky. So it takes a lot of water to soak into stacked wood....but it can happen. So it is not costly and does not take much time to top cover the wood. However, I shudder every time I hear of someone covering wood when it rains then uncovering. Then covering again. That would get tiring very fast! Just top cover it and leave it. Let the wind do the drying.
  3. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    We might be building some racks, if we do, we'll might put a roof on them. Not sure though. It needs to be pretty secure, we get a lot of wind up here. This morning it was between 20-25 mph steady and 50 mph gusts aren't all that uncommon. Beat the snot out of my hanging plants over the summer, took down my buntings more than a few times. Blew windows out in the screen room a few times. In other words, whatever we use, it can't just be tarps bungied down or roofing with a few splits on top.
  4. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    Got home today and the sun was out......... 40 degrees and kinda nice. Rain and gloom the previous days. All my uncovered wood was practically bone dry.
    f3cbboy likes this.
  5. Brewmonster

    Brewmonster Burning Hunk

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    We might be building some racks, if we do, we'll might put a roof on them. Not sure though. It needs to be pretty secure, we get a lot of wind up here. This morning it was between 20-25 mph steady and 50 mph gusts aren't all that uncommon. Beat the snot out of my hanging plants over the summer, took down my buntings more than a few times. Blew windows out in the screen room a few times. In other words, whatever we use, it can't just be tarps bungied down or roofing with a few splits on top.

    I hear you. That's why I use the occasional nylon cord stretched over my stacks with the ends tied to the pallets on the bottom. Really helps to solidify everything and prevent stacks from flopping over. Hurricane Sandy huffed and puffed but did not blow my stacks down!
    Elusive likes this.
  6. cptoneleg

    cptoneleg Minister of Fire

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    Every yr we discuss same thing, you can cover all you want not me not going to cover 20 + cords of wood css all over my place, sometime before Sept I put about 5 to 6 cords of dry wood in shed ( I burn about 4 a season) Don't give a hoot how many times it rains or snows on the outside stuff. So my wood mostly Oak sits outside in single rows 3 yrs. and some of it 1 yr in shed.

    Now before I had a woodshed I would cover what I was going to burn, what a pain.

    Been reading this thread a couple of days wasn't going to say squat, same old thing some cover some don't .
  7. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    Wish I had taken the camera up to the oak stack yesterday.
    Covered 16' of stuff I thought I might use this year and the other 16' is saturated
    3yr seasoned&saturated oak doesn't burn
  8. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Yawn, amazing how these new wood burners know every thing and some of us who have burned for over 30 years dont.
    Thistle and LEES WOOD-CO like this.
  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I am the master of my own domain . . . we are still talking about covering or not covering wood . . . right? :)
  10. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    I sometimes cover the tops of my stacks with clear plastic. But one way or the other the wood goes in under the porch only after a period of time has gone by with no rain for at least a week. If it rains, I wait until at least that long has gone by before bringing it in under cover in the fall.
  11. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I can't imagine who you are refering too, nor do I care. What's amazing is that you think because someone doesn't have 5000 posts on this website, they are new wood burners that don't know anything about burning wood.
    keninmich and brokenknee like this.
  12. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I cant believe that you think that I think just because someone does not have 5000 posts they are new wood burners, I go by the nature of the questions.
  13. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Well, there were only two questions is this entire thread. As to Jakes question... I think so.

    The rest were fellow wood burners' observations. Stick around tough, by post 10,000 you might've learned something.
  14. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    I think one of the big pros of top covering comes when you have a lot of wood on hand. I'm at about 25 cord or so, and I'm not a fan of leaving that much wood in the rain for so long - especially since I stack in 'cubes' on pallets. The centers get wet and stay wet long enough to start to punk. I top cover with squares of rubber roofing - and the wood is as good as it gets. Sometimes though, I'll have a few spots where rain will run down the stacks - in a few spots, there will be rot and punk under the bark (especially on oak). It's so easy to toss a square of the roofing on the pallet and then a few heavy splits to hold in down - and the benefits seem great. Cheers!
  15. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Read the thread once more and no need to get smart about it, the thread sounds like some people are trying to burn wood that is setting out side and has been rained or snowed on. Do you want me to pick out those statements or can you figure it out your self?
  16. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I have burnt wood for over 30 years and have no back up just wood and live in NW iowa, what is your story dude?
  17. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    Maybe that explains my weight gain. Been out in the rain too much lately. It must have soaked in and not had time to evaporate.

    I really find it hard to believe that wood can actually soak up moisture so quick that the wind and rain cannot dry it out. Wonder why trees even need roots in that case. Ah, maybe for nutrients from the soil.

    There has been all of one case where I threw a wet log into the fire right after it stopped raining, and there I could hear the hissing. Not with any of he other wood that had a day or two to dry out. Went out this morning to bring wood into the house to burn over the next week, and even though it had just stopped raining the night before I could already see that some of the wood in the stacks was dry. Am I to believe that the wood was dry on the exterior because the water was absorbed by the wood, or that gravity pulled the water down and off the wood. For the most part, water follows the path of least resistance, and I just find it hard to believe the burrowing into a log to any significant depth whatsoever is the path of least resistance, unless the wood actually acts like a sponge.

    Does wood actually act like a sponge?

    Maybe somebody should be a scientific test. Put a covered piece of wood out and an uncovered one. Let both season for a year. Then, 5days after a rain split both of them and see what the moisture content is. For a better control, maybe use 10 pieces of wood from the same tree.
  18. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I guess that's why there was a discussion about it. Different people do different things. There is not likely to be a whole lot of earth shattering news here. After all, we're talking about burning wood. I know this topic has been discussed before, but if all you have to say is

    why say anything at all? Kind of an odd way to "join" a discussion.

    Edit: I suppose it's entirely possible I just took your statement the wrong way. I have had a rough day. If so, my bad. Really.
  19. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    No problem, my fault, to me it sounded like some of the people in the thread were saying us old timers who did not cover our wood did not know what we were doing. Maybe its time for a beer, sorry it was an odd way to join a discussion. I'll keep working on those 10,000 posts.;)
  20. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I have a small stack of red oak that the cover blew off a long time ago and I never got back to it. It looks fine but it has absolutely NO round wood in it. If I leave round wood out in the rain it rots and grows huge fungi, especially cherry. If I don't keep a cover on birch there's no sense even saving it. Just a roof, nothing on the sides.
  21. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    You've got me beat on the way to 10,000, but I might just be ahead of you on the beer! :)
  22. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    Alright, after it having rained for 5 days and having stopped about 16 hours before I had to start a burn, I went outside and made kindling out of a log and then brought the kindling and some logs inside to sit for about 3 hours. It was tough sledding getting the fire started with that kindling, but it was not impossible. Once I got it lit, it was cooking pretty good. The large logs that I threw in took a little longer to ignite right away. Now, 7 hours after bringing the stuff inside, and 4 hours of the furnace running with a nice bed of hot coals from the first load, the rain exposed logs light right up.

    I am really going to have to think about doing a scientific experiment with this to see if it makes a difference.
  23. Brewmonster

    Brewmonster Burning Hunk

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    Maybe somebody should be a scientific test. Put a covered piece of wood out and an uncovered one. Let both season for a year. Then, 5days after a rain split both of them and see what the moisture content is. For a better control, maybe use 10 pieces of wood from the same tree.

    That sounds like a great idea, though, if I read his post correctly, basod may be describing something very similar, above.

    My point was not so much about wood soaking up rain water and getting saturated all the way through. I don't know how much that happens. My concern is that the drying process depends on water vapor moving from an area of greater to lesser concentration. If your fresh cut wood is at 35% MC, say, there's no way that internal water vapor is going to be moving outwards towards that soaking wet outermost millimeter. You'll have to wait a couple of days for the surface to dry and then you've lost precious drying time. In my climate that could effectively double the time it takes to get to my desired MC.

    Sorry if I've offended any "old-timers." I've heated with four stoves in three houses over nine winters. My current stove is EPA-certified and the first thing I learned about it is that it doesn't heat for squat unless I feed it dry wood. I put a lot of work into gathering, splitting, and stacking quality firewood and I'm not going to skip what I consider to be the final, equally important step. I've got 12 cords under cover now and, yes, that takes some doing, but no way am I going back to what I experienced that first winter with the EPA stove, standing in front of it and yelling, "Where's the damned heat?"
    Woody Stover likes this.
  24. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    This has been discussed at length many times and people have done it both ways for years, now we reinvent the wheel.
    If you stack in cubes or multiple rows I can see where you should cover the top because wood does as well and the wood will stay wet longer, single rows dry out much sooner so no need for top cover unless you need to burn it right away.
    Used to have a wood burner in the basement in my old house and I would bring in sopping wet wood (snow, rain) and in three days it was dry as a bone and lit right up.
  25. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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    I think the only value in top covering is if you need that particular wood in the next 7 days.
    keninmich, AJS56 and Stegman like this.
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