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wet wood goes on top!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Joful, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    So, I've been burning some of my 9-months seasoned oak :( in with some dryer maple, sycamore, and other unidentified but dry white woods. I've been doing pretty well, loading a few of these big dry pieces on bottom, and then one or two medium splits of oak on top of the load.

    Tonight, I decided to throw my two splits of oak in back on bottom, after raking my coals forward for the overnight reload. In they went, with some bigger dry stuff in front and on top. That was two hours ago, and I'm still not able to get the cat to light.

    Lesson learned: put the wet wood on top! It'll dry quicker there.

    Now... if anyone could tell me what to do with this mess I've made for myself, I'd really like to go to bed!
    Cross Cut Saw likes this.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The real lesson here is to be sure you have seasoned wood before the heating season begins. If you don't it becomes a real challenge. Bring as much wood as you dare into the house and set it out to dry. A week or two will make a real difference, but even a few days will help.
    milleo and Backwoods Savage like this.
  3. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    Open the bypass, get it rocking... temps up....close the bypass.
    Repeat if no light off. Been there many times.....
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I'm a slow learner, begreen! If I had known what a PiTA oak is to dry... I'd have spent more time last year splitting ash! I hear what you're saying, but I'm not ready to chance stocking any wood in the house, just yet. I've been getting along (mostly) okay, tonight being the exception.

    Finally got the cat to light off at 11pm. Roughly 2 hours after the reload. Like Diabel said... lots of, "let's try it now" moments. Had air control as low as 20% by the end, trying to keep stove top temps at or below 600F for 2 hours in bypass mode.

    Off to bed!
  5. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    I could have split a few cords of red oak in March. I waited till august. I haven't thrown any in the fire and don't plan to, but based on reading these forums, wish I had done it pre summer so it would be ready next year.
  6. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    I simply stay away from oak! It is like waiting for wine to age! Or even worse! A car to brake in! Some one to say YES I will!!!!
    Simple wood.....instant gratification that is where i am at! My attention span is 12 to 12.5 months!
    Cross Cut Saw likes this.
  7. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    It's all over half my property and I've got at least 3-4 more large ones that need to come down. I'm not going to give it away. Fortunately enough maple and ash as well.
  8. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    Do you have a moisture meter? I'm sure that oak does take a lot of time to get down to 15%, but none of the 7 month old oak I'm stuck burning has been over 21%, and that ain't too shabby if you ask me. My start-ups are longer than they are with the maple, birch and ash, but they don't take more than 20 minutes on a nice bed of coals.
    I figured I'd help the situation by splitting the bigger pieces, I'm not loading massive chunks in and I am loading them at the top of what I put in, by the time I engage the cat everything is engulfed in flames and the secondaries usually rain down on them and finish the drying process.

    I purchased two cords of green wood "mix" in June and it's probably 80% oak, oh well.

    This year I found a guy that will sell me full cords of unmixed wood so I'm getting one ash and one maple the first week of February, and I plan on getting another 2 in March. Hell, I'd rather have dry ash and maple than damp oak, I'm sure it's a wash BTU wise after you account for the loss due to drying it out in the stove. I don't have the room on my property for multiple years worth of wood. The same guy will sell oak for the same price so I think I will get one cord and let it season until '15/'16 and see what all the drama is about...
  9. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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  10. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    26% is tough.... If you find any splits over 30% I'd recommend not even trying and just put them aside for next year, or even the year after. Also check your chimney. Running so much time on bypass burning off water can gunk up the pipe in a shockingly short time (read BeGreen's thread).

    I suffered through the same exact pain 3 years ago. Had to buy my wood first season, first load of mixed hardwoods in Aug that averaged between 24-28. It wasn't great but I could burn it. Running low I bought more from a different dealer in Nov. It was all Oak and most of it well over 30%. That stuff wouldn't even light on a roaring coal bed so I just left it and turned on the gas.

    2 years later I am going though what I think are some remnants of that load mixed with other stuff I split myself. Moisture content is now 15-18% on a resplit. They burn like roman candles and I can get a full load charred in under 15 minutes. Night and day difference, worth the - painful - waiting.
  11. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I was fortunate to have lots of dead, dry, ready to burn ash my first winter.

    Oak that I split last fall ('11) is still well over 30%, and that's from the top of the stack. Oak that I split four summers ago is around 15%, and soooo worth the wait. Most of my four year old stuff is gone, maybe a cord left. I suppose we'll get by on ash, elm and cherry for a while.
    ScotO likes this.
  12. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    I'm surprised you're all getting that high of a reading, maybe my dealer sent me something that had at least been down for a while, I'm splitting nice big pieces and only getting 21% max and this was a green purchase that I got and stacked in June (after 9" of rain fell on it)...

    It burns very nicely too, it doesn't light up like some of the dryer maple and birch I have but it doesn't take all that long either. I usually have a good amount of coals left which is a sign of it's moisture though...
  13. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    7 month oak at 21% is rare, I think. Perhaps you live in an area that was unusually warm last year, and you got rounds left over from the year before? Wood doesn't get down to 20% too quick in the round, but it does dry some. Perhaps you were starting from a lower point?

    Also keep in mind that the accuracy of all these quoted moisture meters is somewhat questionable.
    jeff_t likes this.
  14. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    These weren't rounds, they were splits that I split again and tested the moisture. I don't have any oak rounds, mostly maple and ash.
  15. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    After no rain for months and plenty of 90-100° days, I thought it would be drier.

    And yes, my moisture meter was $11 at Harbor Freight. I really don't rely in it.
  16. Cross Cut Saw

    Cross Cut Saw Feeling the Heat

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    I'm not sure if you saw my post a couple of weeks ago about refusing a deliver of kiln dried wood that read over 25% on a fresh split using my MM, they let me keep the stuff I split and it burned terribly, I think it actually clogged up my cat, it took forever to light and even then if I lowered the air at all it went out. Then I was having a really hard time getting the cat to light for about 4 or 5 days until it was warm enough outside to allow me to stop burning long enough to clean out the cat and stove. There was WAY more ash all over the cat, had to be that wood.

    The oak I'm burning now lights 10 X better and most of my fires are mostly that oak...

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