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To cover, or not to cover, THAT is the quesion

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by ansehnlich1, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Haha! Now THAT is funny!!! That's the exact, without argument, bottom line, no lie, intent of this entire thread :)

    I joined up here back in '06 (and ain't been banned......yet ;)) and I've heard bantered about the barn and back the question of covering wood, and it really ain't a big deal what a guy/gal does far as I'm concerned, and most of all, I'm just thrilled to be a part of a great group of wood burners, stickin' it to the oil man!!!

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  2. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    My point was that I think for the most part you have to find out what works for you.
  3. BillLion

    BillLion Minister of Fire

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    Hey all, I'm brand new to these forums and only a couple years into burning wood with our fireplace insert. Man, I've become obsessed quickly!

    In January I began collecting wood instead of (or in addition to I guess) buying dry/split cords. I got apple, black locust, norway maple, pin oak & elm (ugh!) split and stacked on pallets.

    I know this thread is funny/frustrating to you vets, but it's very interesting to me as a I try to figure all of this out. The guy I buy wood from encouraged me to leave the wood uncovered until winter & then to cover to keep the snow out. He's a solid guy, and his wood is always great so I'm taking his advice and I'll see how it goes.

    So short answer: Uncovered for this novice...for now!
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Nothing wrong with that. I used to cover as soon as split, but the wisdom of several on this forum has convinced me to give your plan a try, too.

    Welcome to the Hearth!
  5. captjack

    captjack Member

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    I built a 20x12 lean-to shed this year. The sides and back are pallets so air can flow. I have been curious if this will work better than just leaving out in the open. The shed is in the woods and it only gets a little sun but has good air flow. I am building another one this weekend. I will have about 26 (give or take) under roof. Most of it is red oak. I really dont like the idea of moving wood from stacks to the shed every year. This just seems like a lot of extra work. It will be interesting to see how the wood dries in the sheds verses out in the field.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  6. BillLion

    BillLion Minister of Fire

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    Thanks & good luck!
  7. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    BillLion and Joful like this.
  8. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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  9. BillLion

    BillLion Minister of Fire

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    What a super helpful resource. Very interesting how quickly the uncovered wood dried, but then regained moisture in the elements. Thanks for sharing!
  10. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Unless the wood is wet for a long time the moisture from rain only soaks in a small distance and then is quickly dried out with sun and wind.
    Backwoods Savage and HDRock like this.
  11. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    I disagree with ALL of you!

    :)
    ansehnlich1 likes this.
  12. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Now THAT is funny!

    I noticed some high tech scientific research from other sources being thrown into the mix here, appears we here don't have a monopoly on this craziness eh?......interesting stuff.
  13. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    That has always been my contention, however:

    From the cited study

    Uncovered

    This storage method was studied only for the spring firewood harvest. The moisture content of the
    spring harvest firewood left uncovered fell rapidly over the summer months (Figure 1c). Split firewood
    met the 20% moisture content criteria for a full cure within approximately 6 weeks. The rate of drying
    was similar to the firewood stored in the simulated wood sheds. However, the uncovered firewood
    was highly susceptible to absorption of moisture from rain, snow, and frost. For example, the split
    birch had dried from an initial moisture content of 57% to 19% by early July, then had increased to 35%
    by late August, presumably due to rain immediately prior to the August sampling event. The moisture
    regained by the firewood over the late summer and winter had dissipated by the final sampling event
    in early summer 2011
    Brewmonster likes this.
  14. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    yea I read it and its a good read but I just dont agree with that and can find many sites saying it does not soak in much and I have not covered my wood for over 30 years and have never it had it pick up any moisture to speak of, next time it rains I can go split a piece and see what it reads, I do cover what I think I need for the winter in late fall but other wise it never gets covered.
  15. BillLion

    BillLion Minister of Fire

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    That's what my wood guy says, so I'm going uncovered until winter to see how it goes. Thanks!
  16. BillLion

    BillLion Minister of Fire

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    Is that purely to keep the snow out?
  17. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    yea mainly, at that point in time the seasoning is done so I am just trying to keep the wood dry as it goes in the garage and would take forever to dry the surface moisture. In the winter we dont have the warm temps so once it gets wet after its cold it stays that way for a long time outside.
  18. BillLion

    BillLion Minister of Fire

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    That's very helpful. Thank you.
  19. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    I was out splitting n checking some ash, some under my make shift shed, and some that has been uncovered since March and there was no difference, it has been dry here last couple of weeks.
    If there is bark on the wood it will hold a little more moisture a little longer though.
    I will cover all of mine just before the leafs really start falling cuz when they do, It's like it is snowing out back ,woods on the east side wind comes from the east
  20. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    Not sure what you disagree with, it's just data. I was just surprised that the total moisture content rose that much. Because they weigh a piece of wood, oven dry it and weigh it again, we have no idea how deeply the water penetrated. I suspect that a moisture meter would have measured very high moisture content on the surface and little or no change towards the center. It would have been nice to know how recently it had rained and what the MC was a week later and a month later. My thought was that, if you live in an area of frequent summer rain, it might be beneficial to top cover the coming winter's wood sooner.
    Trilifter7 and HDRock like this.
  21. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Exactly what I was getting at, the moisture only was on the outside and not in the middle, the data is misleading.
  22. BillLion

    BillLion Minister of Fire

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    Interesting too that there was a big difference between the moisture change with different types of trees.
  23. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    I'd like to see data / study of what the actual affects of moister in wood is, in real life. Got a feeling it doesn't make as much difference as everyone thinks.
  24. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    Funny you should ask:

    http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr29.pdf
    "The effect of moisture content on recoverable heat energy is quite significant, and wood or bark fuels may contain considerable amounts of moisture. Evaluation of wood or bark as fuel should consider the effect of moisture on recoverable heat energy."

    http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_rn450.pdf
    "High moisture content in firewood results in less effective burning of the wood and in a loss of energy in evaporating the water during burning. A cord of paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) firewood with 15 percent moisture (dry weight basis) would be expected to use an energy amount equal to 470,000 British thermal units (Btu) during burning to evaporate this moisture. An equivalent cord of paper birch that had a moisture content of 80 percent would be expected to use 2.5 million Btu (Ince 1979). The dry cord will produce more than a 12-percent increase in usable heat."
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
  25. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Are you talking about moisture from when the tree was green, if you are it makes all the difference in the world, water does not burn very well.
    Trilifter7 likes this.

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