To Split Or Not To Split, That Is The Question

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Cutter, Feb 22, 2009.

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  1. Cutter

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    Whether Tis nobler to split small logs or to suffer the slings and arrows of un-seasoned timber. Enought corn. I only cut Osage Orange here in NE Kansas. The material runs from an inch to 30'. How small of a log would you guys not split 4" 6' 8" 10'? This would be for next fall firewood.
    Brad
    Love this site.
     
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  2. Dune

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    I don't split anything under 6-7" and even keep some 8"rounds for "all nighters". Obviously large rounds are not used to start fires but rather to stoke well established fires in a hot stove with a good bed of coals. Even then, I load in some splits first.
     
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  3. savageactor7

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    Cutter it all depends on your stove. We have a QF 4300 and being a max heat guy I'll split every other 6" round into either quarters or halves. That's a lot smaller than I'm used to but with a newer stove without an ash pan it works well for us...seems to me you have a fireplace, if that's correct I'd leave 2/3rd of the splits on the larger side rather than smaller.

    Edit... smaller splits will dry out faster too.
     
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  4. Cutter

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    I am burning in a large New Aire full masonary fireplace. I can ( if I am man enough) burn 36" logs. I do keep some older dead overnighters around. But just fow seasoning purposes what should I be splitting?
     
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  5. savageactor7

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    WOW that's a big fire place/insert...truthfully I dunno. I'm sure someone here has a similar plant and will weigh in.

    The rule of thumb for smaller heating stoves/inserts is that smaller splits can be hotter while the larger splits burn longer...but not quite as hot. Also the weather in Kansas is a lot different than CNY, exactly how...I dunno.
     
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  6. Jamess67

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    I split everything just so I can play with the splitter.. Just Kidding. Anything over 4 inch I split since I have a small stove
     
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  7. LLigetfa

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    I split everything that can be split.
     
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  8. Hogwildz

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    Leave it as big as you can fit in the dorr opening. Unless you don't have any other smaller stuff.
    I keep a mix of both. The larges are for overnight burning and give longer burn times.
    Bo sense making more work than you need to do.
     
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  9. fyrwoodguy

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    I kind like it both ways, oak stays outside the shipping container for a year at least.along with other splitwood. then into the container for burning that winter.snow free wood.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    it took me 40+years to "discover the benefit's of small round wood" :-/
     
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  10. chad3

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    Gotta say that 6" oak will hiss like crazy after 18 months. I've learned to at least split the bark at least once. Not sure what it is, but I'm thinking it is the bark, it keeps the water in instead of letting it out. Split just about all once. Should be good to go.
    Chad

    I have some white oak that was quartered last year. It was just split today (about 12" on wide side) it is still wet and was under cover from this fall. Split your wood.
    Chad
     
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  11. Apprentice_GM

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    I split nearly everything, even 4" diameter logs, as I burn 24" lengths, and if you leave a 4" x 24" log unsplit even for 2 years it will hiss and have too much moisture when burning. If you are going to remove the bark you may as well split it. Splitting is the only way to really season wood properly, expose that dense heartwood to the drying elements. I've had 4 year old 4" x 24" logs without bark hiss and release sap when burning, whereas if I split that log it'll season well enough in 6 months through a summer and shoulder seasons.

    Seasoning involves removing intra and extra cellular moisture, and the intra cellular moisture in particular moves quite slowly through a log. Bark is an excellent "insulator" or protector for this moisture loss as well. So by splitting, you remove that protective bark layer from at least one side, and dramatically reduce the distance the moisture has to travel to escape the log. In a barked 4" x 24" the centre moisture has to travel 12" to escape. In a split 4" x 24" log the moisture now only has to move 2" from immediately next to the bark through to exposed heartwood, hence the dramatic drop in seasoning time. It's even better if the bark falls off or cracks / peels away once split, as many Aussie hardwoods do (whereas they stay well intact if you don't split) because then the moisture drops to a maximum travel distance of 1". In addition to that, all that wonderful heat from the sun, and drying wind, now has much more exposed surface area to work on, accelerating the process even further . . . for me, it's a no brainer - split everything.

    If you have got the ability to store small logs for many years and fully season them and so save yourself the effort of splitting, that I can appreciate and understand. I find splitting (with an electric hydraulic splitter) a fairly quick part of the overall process of firewood preparation, and one with the best return (in seasoning and therefore better burns) for effort.

    I recommend splitting, and then controlling the burn rate (if that's an issue with the smaller splits) with air and stacking methods (eg bunch splits tightly together, "rebuild" the log from 2 splits etc).
     
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  12. crazy_dan

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    I split almost everything all the way down to about 3" I dont keep anything smaller than @3" if I do this the wife will load the stove ;)
    I f I leave too much big stuff she will not load the stove and the house will be cold and it will be my fault.
     
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  13. JBinKC

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    Its good to have a mix of sizes but I find in temperate climates having a larger cache of smaller diameter pieces advantageous since it seems more often than not you are working off a smaller coal base than when I lived up north and you need those pieces to maintain a sufficient base.

    Hedge I really don't like anything much over 3 inches diameter but I run a moderate sized stove.
     
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  14. Corey

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    If it's cut now, a normal log (~20-22" long) will be dry by next season almost regardless of how big of diameter it is. One hot, dry Kansas summer will bake it out real nice.

    As far as splitting it - just depends on what you have. I like to keep a mix of sizes - small splits for fast, hot fires and getting things going in a hurry. Medium sizes for normal burning and some big chunks for long overnight burns. Much of the time, I let the wood 'tell' me how it wants to be split. If I have a nice straight piece (somewhat rare with hedge!) I may break it down into a bunch of small splits - or square it up for one very nice chunk that will burn for 12+ hours. If its twisty, PITA to split, I may just break it down into a couple of chunks just small enough to get into the stove.
     
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  15. Jamess67

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    wish I had a shipping container. Great Idea!! now all you need is a heater and exhaust fan and your set for drying your wood.
     
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