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What percent moisture is best

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by smabon, Sep 1, 2009.

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  1. smabon

    smabon New Member

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    I am planning on picking up a moisture reader and I am wondering what percent you want your wood at for the best burn. Is there a range that you want your wood to be in? Does different types of wood have different percents that they are best burned at? What is the max percent that you would burn wood at? Thanks for the info.

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    20 percent or less
  3. kabbott

    kabbott Member

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    I think most would say 20% is good and I believe 15-25% is okay. I just got my meter last week and was shocked when I re-split a
    piece of my white oak and it read 28% in the middle. The same piece read like 17% on the end so the way I see it is average moisture is what counts.

    As a side note the framing in my house(145 year old in the attic) was 14% so humidity in the mid-Atlantic is not good for drying wood.
  4. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    Yep 20%, but to get Red Oak down to that will take a hell-of-alot longer than Ash.

    WoodButcher
  5. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Actually, no. It is not the average. The reading on the end of the split means nothing. The reading from the middle of a freshly split is your reading. So your wood is 28%. That is why oak takes two years to season.

    Not sure what your point is about your house.
  6. kabbott

    kabbott Member

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    wood has been stacked for almost 2 years(cut winter 07) and still not dry. I have to disagree with ya on that, if a couple inches in the center is high
    and the rest is below 20 I say burn it. Of course I don't have a lot of faith in my 19.99 Chinese moister meter either.

    My point about the house framing was just that if 145 years of exposed framing in a house is at 14% there's not much of
    a chance 2 years is gonna get it anywhere near 15% round this part of the country. Again keep in mind my reference is a cheap meter.
  7. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I think if the first 6 inches in from each end is 20% and the middle 4 inches in is 28% it will make a difference. If you're only boiling water out of the middle verses the whole length of the split it has to make some difference??
  8. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    White Oak, nasty, nasty, nasty........The only thing worse to season than White Oak is harvesting a Red Oak between May-July..... sopping, sopping wet.
    I have some White/Red oak split June 2008, I ain't even gonna check it cuz I know it ain't ready yet........saving it for Feb.


    WoodButcher
  9. vwboomer

    vwboomer New Member

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    I've been disappointed with the seasoning of my wood since it was split/stacked since march. Some of the ash is still about 25%. It's still going to go in the furnace since it's my best hardwood. The willow/popple is good n dry.
    Next year I'll be solid tho!
  10. maplewood

    maplewood Minister of Fire

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    Kabbott, I hear you on the Atlantic moisture not drying out of wood easily. But time has to get it down to at least 20%! (Can you store it in your attic?) :)
    The meter may not be as accurate as you would (wood) like, but it's probably consistent, and that says a lot. My meter's manual talks about measuring paper, bamboo and the like, and that it may differ with different cellulose products. But I've found it very consistent. The wood I C/S/S in June is down to 14% on the ends and 34% in the middle of a freshly split face. I can test moving in along the fresh face, from the outside to the middle, and see it climb quickly.
    Happy burning.
  11. PunKid8888

    PunKid8888 New Member

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    An specific value from one of us means nothing (except maybe a starting point). There is so many variables from the type of meter, and the way it is used and the type of wood. I recently bought a meter and plan on experimenting in the beginning of the season. starting with some of my dry stuff and recording the percent and how it burns, then work my way up in percentage until I start getting the dreaded Hiss. Then I can create my own scale of what percents are seasoned and which are not. The only problem I see with this is I will probably need a different scale for different types of wood. Should be fun tho.
  12. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    The only true reading is the actual reading from the center of the split. Sure it's better to have the ends at <20% and the middle at 28% vs. the entire thing at 28%, but neither are fully seasoned and ready to burn if you want to achieve optimal results. Both will still burn, and both have more moisture in them than ideal which will rob btu's and create creosote.

    IMO, normal size oak splits need to season for a MINIMUM of 18 months before even considering throwing them in the stove, anything less than this the they are still really wet. Even at 18 months, the wood will most likely still be excessivly wet and yeild less than optimal results. 18 months for oak is the absolute minimum (IMO), 2 years+ for it to be grade A stuff. I try to let my oak sit for three years to get the best results from it.
  13. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

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    -11%
  14. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Well said.

    But, you also can't use your rule for all wood. You can cut a standing dead elm and the tops will already be below 20% and ready to burn while the trunk will be in the mid 30's. And, of course, softwoods will dry much sooner than in 2 years.
  15. Jake

    Jake Member

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    6-10% (I burn kiln dried lumber)
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