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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. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    Actually, water burns really good. It just may be our next fuel! Was just on 60 minutes a few months age.

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  2. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Here's another wrench to throw in the works.
    I cut mostly standing dead lodgepole pine trees for my firewood. The particular trees I select are generally less than 20% moisture content (MC) while still standing. If one of these trees was to fall over and lay on the ground for a year or more it will actually gain MC. The moment you lay the tree on the ground it is more exposed to the rain and snow and less exposed to the air. Same goes if it is cut and split and stacked and left uncovered. During the winter or rainy months this stacked wood that is uncovered actually gains more moisture content from when it was in tree form. In fact I have seen uncovered stacks of this wood eventually go rotten sitting exposed like that after not that many years, while it's counterpart wood left in standing tree form would remain dry and free of rot.

    So my solution for this type of wood, which goes against the grain in this forum, is to only cut what wood I need for the year in the fall just before I need it, and keep it sheltered in my woodshed.
    If I was to start stockpiling this particular type of wood, I would have to ensure that it remains sheltered and unexposed to the rain and snow or it will begin to degrade and rot. Since I have limited room and limited woodshed space I find it easier to just cut what I need yearly rather than trying to stockpile years worth and have to worry about keeping it covered.
    Trilifter7, ScotO, Joful and 2 others like this.
  3. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for pointing this out. I also cut a lot of standing dead lodgepole, it comprises about half of my 13 cord, 3-year supply. One of my stacks is about 10' square by 6' tall, mostly lodgepole. I was debating whether to top cover, since I won't be needing it for a year or two. Now I will definitely top cover. I think I might stack it a little higher in the center to improve drainage.


    Interesting aside: The botanical name for lodgepole pine is Pinus contorta. Contorta as in contorted.
    con·tort·ed (k n-tôr t d). adj. 1. Twisted or strained out of shape. 2. Botany Twisted, bent, or partially rolled upon itself; convolute

    Seems an odd name for a tree that is so straight that its common name is lodgepole.;?
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
    Lumber-Jack likes this.
  4. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    Of course, all you have to do is separate the hydrogen from the oxygen. Then it burns like gangbusters!;) Have you ever poured water on a magnesium fire?!!!
    Applesister likes this.
  5. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Yes there seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding this species, it seems to stem from the different sub species classifications. The particular type that I cut, and that covers most of BC, is called Pinus contorta latifolia, as shown in red on the map on this wiki page, which seems to grow similarly to the Pinus contorta murrayana sub species you have in Northern California. These both seem to grow tall and straight, where there is another sub species called Pinus contorta contorta that actually does grow short and contorted as the name implies. Interesting.

    ****Edit**** I know many local people here incorrectly refer to the lodgepole pine we have here as "Jackpine", which is actually a totally different type of pine that grows east of the Rocky mountains.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
  6. Seanm

    Seanm Feeling the Heat

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    I hear people around here calling it jack pine and wondered where that came from. I have some covered Larch and Lodgepole behind my property that is small diameter (around 6") in 5 foot long log form that was stacked green and covered. Following this thread it got me thinking of bucking it up and comparing the mc to the same trees that I bucked up, split and stacked covered in November of last year.
    Lumber-Jack likes this.
  7. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    We'll be interested to hear the results. Now you have to do it.
  8. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Not in a wood burner.
  9. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Is it just me or are these threads getting weird?
    Bluezx636 likes this.
  10. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    ;lol;)
  11. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    Both
    Joful likes this.
  12. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Water burns better if it's stacked in single rows and top covered.....just sayin'

    Actually, the Western/Northern folk have brought some good stuff in here with all that talk about the weird woods they burn out thattaway :)

    Jackpine, Larch, Lodgepole........sheesh!
  13. pyroholic

    pyroholic Member

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    We're all a little on edge with the anticipation of the quickly approaching burning season and all of the fun things we get to do to feed our various addictions and disorders. This random summer scrounging, moving fire wood from here to there, covering and uncovering is barely keeping us sane. It's time to get out there in the woods, gear up, and get at what we love. A few more weeks and it'll be here.

    I'm done. Think I'll go sharpen up some chains... or something, just need another quick fix.
    Trilifter7, Coal Reaper and Joful like this.
  14. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I left my oak rounds uncovered for a year. By the time i split them all the bark had fallen off,was wet underneath and full of bugs. I cover everything since then.
    Trilifter7 likes this.
  15. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Stacked or thrown in a pile, I has elm rounds I stacked in a single row and no bugs and moisture unless it was right after a rain.
  16. BillLion

    BillLion Minister of Fire

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    Quick clarification: Do you cover for the winter just the top or all around the stack? Thanks!
  17. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    After the wood is dry for burning I have to cover the whole stack as wth our winds the snow blows in from the sides and even then it will works its way under the cover, I need to build a small wood shed.
  18. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Probably the humidity is higher here than in Iowa. Speshly in summer.
    Trilifter7 likes this.
  19. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    oldspark replied that he covers the entire stack, and he may have good reason to do so. However, when most here talk about covering their stacks, they're covering the tops only.

    As you've seen, there's as many theories on "best practice," as their are people who burn wood. A lot probably depends on your local weather, and how far ahead (or behind) you are on getting your wood split and stacked.
    Trilifter7 likes this.
  20. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    You have covering the stack while drying (seasoning) and you have covering the stack of your dried wood to protect it from surface moisture in the winter (which takes forever to dry in the low temps), I hope I made that clear in my post.
  21. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    We have high humidity here in the summer also but the winds blow most of the time, eveything I stack is in single rows so I can walk between the rows.
  22. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Philadelphia:

    philadelphia.png

    Sioux City:

    sioux.png

    We see days above 90% relative humidity for 7 months of the year, while northwest Iowa peaks above 90% for less than 3 months each year.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  23. BillLion

    BillLion Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, I appreciate that. I'm leaving mine uncovered but covering in the winter. Your clarification helped; I'll probably need to fully covered my seasoned wood in the winter as well.
  24. Seanm

    Seanm Feeling the Heat

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    So I bucked it up and split a few rounds to compare the two yesterday. Splits from the middle of the green log pile had a mc of 29% compared to the stuff that was bucked, split and stacked last November which was 12%-20%. This doesn't surprise me but I was curious to see the difference. I didn't need to process it yet but now its done. I have a few rounds to put through the splitter and then the wood will be put away for next winter.
  25. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    "We see days above 90% relative humidity for 7 months of the year, while northwest Iowa peaks above 90% for less than 3 months each year"
    Are you trying to split hairs, Des Moines Iowa has an annual average RH of 78 in the morning and 56 in the afternoon, Harrisburg Penn. has an annual average RH of 77 in the morning and 54 in the afternoon.:confused:

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