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wet wood?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by micaaronfl, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    hi all,

    i am new to fireplaces and recently had a merrimack installed, i also brought a cord of wood the other day and the day before we had a snowstorm. well the wood when it was dumped came complete with snow. Seems that the wood is a little wet on the surface. It is now racked and covered in a tarp in the back yard. question, how long should this sit to dry again? seems that it is tough to burn and damn smokey.

    Thanks

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  2. RNLA

    RNLA Minister of Fire

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    Welcome, sorry to say it sounds unseasoned.
  3. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    ugh dont tell me that. the guys who installled the merrimack actually had to come back out and fix the power cord. anyway they looked at the wood and said it looked good and light. its a hardwood mix, mostly oak. the snow came a week ago and so alot of it was melted and the outer bark is damp on most of the peices. figure this was just a matter of a few dry days outside - im hoping....
  4. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    You might just have surface dampness or some moisture under the bark. If you have some days of good sun/wind, take the tarp off and let the stack dry a bit. As long as the moisture is surface, you have no need to worry. But...take a good load in the house and let it dry next to the stove for a day or two. If you get bad smoke after that, your wood is likely unseasoned - I hope that is not the case. Cheers!
  5. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    I know it a bother to fiddle with but you may want to consider leaving it uncovered when favorable weather can dry it faster.
  6. krex1010

    krex1010 Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like you have unseasoned wood there. Oak takes at bare minimum, a full year of being split and stacked out in the open to season and two or more years is even better. Finding seasoned wood to buy is almost impossible come fall and winter. That's why the advice to new wood burners is, as soon as you decide to buy a stove, the first thing to do is get your wood, wood first then the stove. You should buy your wood for next winter now.
  7. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    Yep!
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    If the wood is that smokey, it is not because of the snow! The fellow probably cut it just before it was delivered. Let this be a wake-up call for next year. That is, you need to have next year's wood on hand now!

    On covering the wood, make sure you cover the top only. The wood needs to sit out in the wind. Wind and time are the wood burner's friends.
  9. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I had a cord delivered this fall, and it was probably in a pile and delivered in the rain. The first few two weeks were a little smokey. I split and checked with a moisture meter and they were between 20-30%. In a few weeks time it was not a problem, and it actually burns really nice. Check the moisture content if you can, see if you are in a good range.
  10. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    thanks everyone, how do u suggest i check the moisture content?
  11. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    An electronic moisture meter is probably the best. Take a few splits from the rack and split them in two and test from the fresh split sides. The meters are out there on the net and woodworking supply stores. I am sure if you do a search on this forum you will find some good brands at a reasonable price, or someone will chime in here with what they bought. It does take the guess work out of what you have. Just a question, are you starting up with kindling and get a good coal bed going before adding splits?
    Maybe try splitting the splits a few times until they are smaller and see how they go. EPA stoves and inserts like the wood at a particular moisture content. See if you can get some dry pallet wood or something similar. Perhaps a bucket of seasoned wood from a friend or even some wood from a supermarket that is kiln-dried and see if it makes the difference.

    Some will say that if you hold a fresh split half to your hand or face, a piece that is still green will feel cold or wet. Bring a split or two inside for a day so it can warm up to room temperature then try it.
  12. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I've had my Lignomat Mini Ligno E moisture meter since 1994.Its not digital like newer models,reads 6-36% & has 2 sets of pins,long & short.Doesnt have the extra lead probes.Bought it originally when I started milling lumber & random sized blocks with Alaskan mill & Delta heavy duty bandsaw for woodturning/cabinets/furniture.Rarely use it to check firewood,go more by weight,time & appearance for that.

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  13. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    A prime means of reducing some smokiness, on light-off, is to load the wood upside-down:
    "knots" of newspaper on top of
    small kindling on top of
    larger kindling on top of
    smaller wood on top of
    larger wood.

    The concept is: no fire-quenching (cold) object contacted by flames.

    Besides, the hotter the firebox, the more complete the combustion. Firebrick is beautiful.
  14. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Agreed . . . rain and snow should not be a real issue once you bring the wood inside for a few hours . . . the bigger issue is as folks have mentioned -- if the wood is truly seasoned or not.
  15. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    yeah left wood inside for like a week and its still hard to burn if i can at all. i emailed the company asking for them to switch out what i have for a dryer cord.
  16. Joey

    Joey Feeling the Heat

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    Getting a drier cord from them will be virtually impossible. You may want to consider a alternative source of wood, maybe a bunch of pallets or dimentional lumber for this year. Please check your chimney often if you intend on trying to burn that green wood. Pallets can be had a bunch of locations,,just keep your eyes open...good luck to ya.
  17. shawneyboy

    shawneyboy New Member

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    I tried this before but I had an issue with the coals sticking to the ceiling of the stove.
  18. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    I actually think he meant standing on your head! :)

    Gary
  19. basswidow

    basswidow Minister of Fire

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    Don't beat your self up too bad over this wood. It happens to almost everyone the first year.

    As other's have said, buy now and stack it for next year.

    In the mean time, check around and try to find someone selling decent wood, and suppliment with cut up pallets or kiln dry wood. If you are burning kiln dry or pallets - you can over fire so you could probably put a green split in with it to make it go alittle farther. See if anyone is selling Ash fire wood and get some of that.
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    :lol: :lol: :lol:
  21. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    hey guys thanks

    i have been doing some more experimenting with the wood and it does sizzle when you put it in, someone told me that means its wet. well its been under a tarp for about a month now and its still hard to burn.getting alot of smoke in the firebox and when looking outside alot of blackish smoke coming from the stack. i had the insert put in around christmas and the cap is very black on the top of the chimney. at this point im worried about a chimney fire, as i iread somewhere wet or uncured wood whichever i have can cause this. i mean ill put a medium size split on a bed of hot coals and it will barely ignite, if it does at all, usually just smolders.

    The guy who sold me the wood said oak is hard to burn- any truth to that?

    he also droped off about a quarter cord of kindling, basically junk peices, it seems to ignite fine but still doesnt get the main cord to take.

    i was going to home depot dry kiln wood for the rest of the winter until this stuff seasons over the summer. i know its an expensive way to do it, but at this point just the easiest.


    basswidow- u live in north jersey? i am in bucks county pa, can u recomend any wood dealers?
  22. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Nope, no truth to that. The truth is that any unseasoned (wet) wood, of any kind, will be hard to burn.

    P.S. Oak is considered to be premium wood for burning
  23. micaaronfl

    micaaronfl Member

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    thanks for the reply here is another newbie question - moisture meter - i assume it will tell u if the wood is wet, will it also tell if uncured?
  24. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    Wet and "uncured" (usually referred to as "unseasoned") is pretty much the same thing. A high number on your meter means it's unseasoned.

    Ideally, you want to have your wood below 20% moisture content. There is a decent moisture meter sold by Lowes for $30 that many of us have. I'll bet your wood is off the chart. 40% or so. How do they expect you to burn anything that is 40% water? When your wood gets down to around 25% it will sort of burn okay but 20% or lower is the target.

    Your wood seller is an idiot or a crook. (Apparently most are). Oak is one of the finest woods to burn. Properly seasoned wood is a joy, easily lights and burns for a long time giving off great heat. One of the top rated woods for BTUs.

    I suspect you're going to have to write off that wood supply for the rest of this winter. Seek fuel for this year. Pallets, bioblocks or similar. Take your tarp off your stack and keep it totally exposed until next winter then cover ONLY THE TOP. Most likely fresh green oak will be barely burnable next year. It really needs two years.... even three. I would advise you to bite the bullet and buy now for the next two years and think.... and stay ahead. Maybe start scrounging like many of us do. Nothing better, or warmer, than good, and free, firewood.
  25. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Micaaronfl, hopefully you have learned much from this. Lesson 1 is that you can not buy seasoned wood from a wood seller. Lesson 2 is that they will tell you it is seasoned and any other baloney they can think of....like oak being hard to burn. Well, it is hard to burn if it isn't seasoned! Around these parts we will not even attempt to burn oak before it has been split and stacked for 3 years! No doubt your oak was cut this year and probably split just before he delivered the wood.

    Lesson 3 is that you need to get next years wood on hand quickly! Stack it in single rows where it can get lots of wind. Sun is nice too but wind is the most important. Also stack it so it is not touching the ground. Later if you want to put the wood on the porch that is okay but first make sure you've dried the wood as it won't get air circulation on the porch.


    Now what about creosote and possible chimney fires? You are very correct in worrying about this because of your wood. You need to check that chimney at least once every month and clean as necessary. It is quite normal though for some black to show on the cap. What you need to be concerned with is that black on the inside of the chimney. And with that sentence about putting a medium size split on a bed of hot coals and it will barely ignite....that would really worry me and it would worry me to the point of not burning it at all! I highly suggest you get some different wood or else put off burning wood until next year. You have to think of your home and your life and your family.

    Conclusion: buy next years wood now. When that is done, buy the following year's wood. Then stay 2-3 years ahead with your wood supply.

    Good luck.

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