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What seasoned wood looks like to me.

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by quads, Nov 25, 2006.

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  1. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    In this first picture, the wood to the left of the tree has just been cut. Notice how the ends are nice and bright (I only cut dead trees, so this wood is not green). The wood to the right of the tree had been cut about a year ago. See how the ends are starting to darken and age.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v604/quads/seaswood01.jpg

    In the second picture is the same freshly cut wood on the right. To the left is wood that was cut about 2 years ago. Notice how the ends are all really dark and uniform in color. Now that's good stuff! Lots of heat and you need to use very little, provided you have a stove in good enough shape to be able to control it.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v604/quads/seaswood02.jpg

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  2. johnnywarm

    johnnywarm Minister of Fire

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    Quads

    Do you ever cover your wood?

    Thanks John
  3. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Nice post Quads,
    Other signs of dry wood is loose bark, radial cracking, and a nice crisp crack sound not a dull thud when you strike two pieces together.
  4. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    Nice stacks Quad.......I have to throw my two cents here and a different view of dry wood.........
    This is what dry wood looks like to the WoodButcher after loading....lol.......

    Attached Files:

  5. johnnywarm

    johnnywarm Minister of Fire

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    Nothing????
  6. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    No, never.
  7. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Looking at the first post in this thread, the first picture, the wood to the right of the tree that had been seasoning for one year at the time the picture was taken nearly 3 years ago. This picture is of that same wood, now seasoned for almost 4 years. It's perfect! Will be going into the stove sometime this coming winter:
    [​IMG]
  8. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Old/"seasoned" doesn't make it dry. I have had wood that color, bark falling off etc- and it was sopping wet. This is especially true when it has been slushed on for a while.

    I have also had wood that had a warm color, no cracking, well intact bark- and it was as dry as it gets. In fact- I don't like for my wood to get that dark, or for the bark to fall off- usually I find (at least here) that there will be decay somewhere in the pile if I let it go to that- especially if it's touching the ground (where it will never get dry for me). Decaying wood is BTU's lost.

    The sound it makes is one clue as to dryness. Density for a wood that you deal with a lot is a good indicator (feels lighter to trained hand).

    I go through about 12 cord in the kiln, and 4 for the house every year, so I do have a leeetle experience in telling what's dry... and I can't tell it's dry looking at it.
  9. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    It's as dry as it needs to be (guaranteed not sopping wet), not rotten, plenty of BTUs. Not heating a kiln, just my house, use about 4 cord for that, like everybody else. Gets more than hot enough.

    If I covered all the wood I have in the front yard, in the back yard, and piled out in the woods, I'd have a fortune in tarps, over the last 40 years (I have a leeetle experience too, and I can tell it's properly seasoned by listening to the woodpile on a dark, quiet night :) ).

    Not to mention elevating it to keep it from touching the ground. If I wasn't able to burn the few pieces on the bottom (which I do), we'd just call that "sacrificial wood". Much cheaper than carrying lumber around in the woods. The grayest wood on the bottom isn't from rot, it's dirt/dust from driving by it over the years.
  10. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I didn't say that your wood wasn't dry. I said that how it looks isn't really a great indicator in many cases.

    Your system works for you- that's what matters for you- I just know that inexperienced folks may stop in here and see this. They will then try to burn the sort of wood that my dad insists on dropping at my house ("Ya- O'Reilly had this piled against his garage... ") that sometimes looks about like that- and they will have serious issues :)
  11. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    I hear ya! There's no substitute for experience. The first time they try to burn wood that isn't seasoned as well as mine is, or wood that is much lighter colored but looks dry and is actually still green, they'll gain experience in a hurry, either way.




    Disclaimer for the newbies:
    As I stated in the thread title 3 years ago when I started this long-term example of how I do it, "What seasoned wood looks like to me." It's obvious that other people have different methods. Never trying to say anybody should change there way or follow my way, was just trying to show my woodpile over the long haul from cutting to burning. Do not try this at home unless you want to and of your own free will.
  12. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    quads, I'm surprised you would do all this work, bucking, splitting, stacking, storing for years and leave them on the ground.
    I think elevating off the ground is probably the single most important part of the seasoning procedure. I would like to see a moisuture meter on the splits, from top to bottom from one year to the next.
  13. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Ha ha! They're not on the ground, there's wood under my woodpiles. I just have a different name for it instead of boards or lumber. I call the wood under my piles "splits". Hee hee. Much cheaper (free), especially for a guy like me that burns wood because he needs to (even though I enjoy it anyway).

    Moisture meter??? I can honestly say that I have never in my life seen a moisture meter, don't even know what one looks like. I have an ohm meter around here somewhere, would that work? Although, my ohm meter probably doesn't burn very well, but my wood does. :)
  14. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Perhaps a couple pictures of my woodpiles would help explain why I don't do any fancy covering or elevating:

    The front yard:
    [​IMG]

    The back yard:
    [​IMG]

    Piled over there:
    [​IMG]

    And over there:
    [​IMG]

    Oops, she won't let me put any more in the yard:
    [​IMG]

    And out in the woods here:
    [​IMG]

    Woods here:
    [​IMG]

    Woods there:
    [​IMG]

    A little in this spot:
    [​IMG]

    Some there:
    [​IMG]

    And of course out there:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, on the 500+ acres where I cut wood, I have it all over in various states of "seasoning". If I were to buy lumber to put under all of my piles, then buy tarps to put on top of all my piles, then do it every year for the last 40 or so, oh my. I burn wood because I can't afford to burn anything else. I won't be blowing money on those kinds of accessories anytime soon. Starts to make filling the LP tank look attractive again!

    Don't get me wrong though, I can certainly understand why people cover, elevate, and otherwise coddle their firewood. If I was in the position to be able to do that, and had a small/single pile in the yard, I would too. Heck I'd even build a trophy case around it! C'mon, it's just firewood, around here it grows on trees!
  15. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    I guess if I had 500 acres and wood was as available, maybe I wouldn't stack it off the ground. I don't cover it and I don't pay for the elevated supports. I get them free from CL, decks and such people are getting rid of. I only have 2 acres. I need to be as efficient as possible in my storage and usage.
  16. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    quads who has been trying to talk you into storing your wood differently? It's your wood, do it the way you want too. Different people in different climates and other conditions store wood in different ways. For instance, in our climate if I stored my wood like you do I would have to have propane installed. Because not one stick of it would burn come winter. I know. I tried it twenty-five years ago.
  17. Metal

    Metal Minister of Fire

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    Very impressive stacks. I wondered what in the heck you planned to do with it all if you only burn 4 cords a year, then I saw the last picture : ) Hope you don't have to hand split all that.
  18. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Yes, every single stick is hand split by myself. No one else touches it from tree to stove.
  19. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Exactly! Thank you Brother Bart!
  20. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    that almost sounds dirty
  21. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    ;-)
  22. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    Quads- you should spread those piles out a bit more and rent out the field for paintballing! You're already 3/4 the way to making a wooden fortress there.
    With 500 acres and that many stacks, do you use GPS to locate them? Very impressive.
  23. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    +1 but I dont bother to stack!
  24. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Thank you all for the compliments! I enjoy sharing photos of my woodpiles/hard work (actually, I enjoy the hard work too, splitting is my favorite part), and I like taking pictures. I always have my camera with me and shoot everything I see. Deer, turkeys, flowers, weeds, planes, birds, woodpiles, you name it!

    Paintballing is a cool idea. I've never tried it, but while deer hunting, when on drives, the standers often hide behind the woodpiles.

    I've got a network of trails in the woods and I stack the wood near them. That way I can find the firewood when I need to and load it up on my little trailer behind my ATV.

    I stack instead of piling because the wood in the middle of a pile doesn't seem to season very well. In a stack it all seems to season pretty evenly. Sometimes it's years before I haul it up out of the woods. That way when I need it, it's ready to burn, even though it just came out of the woods.

    Cutting firewood is a big part of my life. I love it! I'm out there all year long, in between milking the cows. I cut wood for my family and friends too. Plus I sell some, mostly to campers. The grocery store sells bundles of pine slab wood, about a big handful or equivalent of two or three splits, for $5. When the campers see how much good oak they can get from me for $25 they rush right over. Especially now that it's a law in WI that you can't haul firewood for more than 50 miles.
  25. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Elevating off the ground indeed is good and I doubt anyone would argue with it. However, there is some of our wood that is stacked directly on the ground and we've done this for years. The reason it works is where we stack. It is on high ground and nothing but sand. Water goes through sand like **** through a tin horn.

    The only bad thing we find is that some of the wood will bury itself right into the ground but that is no problem. In the spring, we then tap them with a maul and they pop right out. Those are then thrown on top of another stack to be burned later. Reason? They aren't seasoned! But it is just the bottom layer and not all of it. Some can be burned right then. And if you've seen any of my posts, I probably have close to the amount of wood that quads has. At last count it was 23 cords.
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