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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. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Wrong. loose bark traps moisture.

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  2. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Wrong again - been there, done that, still does't burn right after 7 days.
    It must be a climate thing.
  3. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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    I am not "wrong" that is my opinion based on years of doing just so.
  4. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Wrong again.

    I said it's a climate thing - so you are right for your climate, I am right for mine.
    ScotO likes this.
  5. Stegman

    Stegman Feeling the Heat

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    I think I've done a 180 on this. I used to think that it was unnecessary while in seasoning mode, when it's stacked out in the yard to dry long before you're planning to burn it. But my feeling now is simply that covering it can't hurt.

    I have a bunch of old rubber roofing strips I bought from a guy last year, and they're better at staying in place than tarps. So there's not a lot of extra work involved in covering.
    ScotO likes this.
  6. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Cant believe the "climate" in Ma in that much different, I can remember years were we had all sorts of rain and flooding and my wood was fine, the only time I have ever had mushrooms was on some punky wood that held moisture. Sure loose bark traps moisture but it dries out fairly quickly, it is quite windy here most of the time but not so much in the summer but maybe more so than where some of you are at.
  7. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    I have had absolutely horrible results with 2 year old uncovered wood (mostly Beech). I almost gave up on burning wood for heat.

    After top covering, it was like a switch got thrown, no more sizzling, cat lights right off, no more coaling problem, and much more heat. Oh yea, and now I clean the flue less often.
    ScotO and LEES WOOD-CO like this.
  8. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Do you stack in single rows?
  9. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    I don't stack in single rows. It's hard enough for me to keep my wife happy with 20+ cord on the lot. Single rows would result in Alimony Payments, which I hear are more expensive than heating oil.

    But I do try to keep the rows at least 10 inches apart.
    ScotO likes this.
  10. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I'm sure wood seasons just fine without top cover (to a point and I sure wouldn't try it in say Seattle). But, considering only the top row, maybe two,would benefit from the extra sun that leaving the top cover off affords, I don't think I can be convinced that not top covering has any benefit. Yes, surface moisture will dry off but surface moisture won't need to dry off if it never gets there in the first place. It is just completely logical to me that if you take two identicle stacks of wood, top cover one and not the other, the covered one will be drier and last much longer. Will the uncovered one be burnable in a year or two? In most places, I'm sure it would. Would the top covered one be drier? In most places, I'm sure it would. The really isn't a right or wrong here, though. Either way will "work".
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    It indeed is much different out east. It is amazing how wet it can be out there. Here in MI we get more than most of Iowa but get further east and Wow! Even Indiana and Ohio get much more than we do. Get into Pa and east and it is a whole different story. We've been to our son's place in Pa several times and I am always amazed at the difference.
    ScotO likes this.
  12. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    BWS, like I said we have had very wet years here and could not tell any difference from the dry ones and we have went from one extreme to the other several times in the last 35 years that I have burnt wood.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  13. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I do cover my wood that I plan on using in the near future but the rest of the year its topless.
    AJS56, Thistle and Backwoods Savage like this.
  14. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I cover an uncover to keep the varmints out. Makes the stacks less hospitable to them. My set up, takes me a few minutes max, morning and evening. Do it before the dog's first walk, and after his last walk....
  15. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    No doubt. I have stacks that were top covered and the snows came fairly deep.....the sides have snow on the ends...but since the tops are dry the wood burns great. I had a last minute brain storm when I built my garage this summer. I had them add a 4 foot overhang so I can easily fit multiple 9 x 4 pallets under the overhang...so now I just reach out of the garage and grab some splits. I cannot get all of my wood under there but it is good for 5-6 cords.
  16. blacktail

    blacktail Feeling the Heat

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    It rains here October to May. No way I'd leave my wood out without covering it.
    ScotO likes this.
  17. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    You get a pass because you live in Washington state.;lol
  18. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    I intend to improve my wood storage arrangement when the weather warms up. My hope is to just add strips of some sort of roofing over each row. What I'm wondering is, is an overhang a significant benefit? I'd rather avoid having one, since any overhang will make it harder to walk between the rows.
  19. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    There are those who claim they have been burning freshly cut wood for 30+ years and see no problem, so I suppose it makes sense there are also those who claim not covering wood is perfectly acceptable.

    All I can say is that for my particulars of climate, woodstove and draft, it is extremely necessary for me to season my wood while top covered for 2+ years before burning it, unless it's oak and then it's 3 years. Otherwise, like I said earlier, I would be burning expensive heating oil out of frustration.
    westkywood likes this.
  20. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    Old spark and I live in the same area and I'm with him: no cover necessary here. We get plenty of wind year round and less than 30 inches of rain a year.

    I did cover one stack once with tin and a bunch of bricks. Then about two months later a big wind storm took it off and half the stack fell over. I don't cover anymore.

    I do have an old grain bin that I opened the top on and leave the door open and load up with wood that has less than 25 % moisture when cut (dead standing). It does dry in there too, just not as fast. It is nice though to not have to dig through ice and snow though so I will concede that a covered wood shed with open sides is best, I just don't want to pay for it.
    Thistle and Butcher like this.
  21. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Dennis makes a good point. (He has been known to do that on occasion) :)

    Out East we get days, sometimes a full week of rain, and then to make matters worse it can stay sticky, humid and windless (and cloudy) for days. My situation is even worse again since we have hills blocking the wind and lots of tall trees blocking the sun.

    So bottom line: Do whatever works for you.
    AJS56, Thistle, ScotO and 1 other person like this.
  22. Bacffin

    Bacffin Minister of Fire

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    I top cover because I am a rookie burner and don't know what is best yet. :confused:
    Interesting thread. I'll have to try an uncovered stack whenever I fully get ahead!

    Bruce
  23. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    "There are those who claim they have been burning freshly cut wood for 30+ years and see no problem, so I suppose it makes sense there are also those who claim not covering wood is perfectly acceptable."
    I hope you are not comparing us to them, I dont take wet wood into the house (sounds like some here have) and I have never talked to anybody that has burnt freshly cut wood for 30 years, more than likely they have had a few chimney fire and think that part of the wood burning expeirence.
    Thistle and Butcher like this.
  24. Butcher

    Butcher Feeling the Heat

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    When you live in the middle of 1000's of acres of cornfields it's pretty tough to keep a cover on yer woodpiles. The plus is that what with some 40 mph winds it dries out faster. Folks been burnin wood since the begining of time to keep warm with and cook over. It really aint no big mystery I'm thinkin.
    keninmich, AJS56, Thistle and 2 others like this.
  25. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    fire_ man you you are getting wiser by the day
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