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When to split.

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by David Tackett, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. David Tackett

    David Tackett Member

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    This weekend my neighbor and I cut down 5 maple trees and 3 black walnut. I have cut and stacked the small stuff and piled the big stuff for splitting. My question is, when should I split it? I think I should split it now so it can dry out faster and some old timers here said to split it after it dries. Should I be able to use this wood this winter coming? Also, the walnut splits fine with a maul now, but the maple is next to impossible to split with a maul, but I have access to a gas splitter.

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  2. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    I split everything that comes my way, right away. Then stack it on pallets, and cover it with rubber roofing material.

    I'd recommend you do the same.
  3. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Big proponent of splitting wood sooner rather than later . . . if you truly want to dry out the wood.
  4. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Always split ASAP. Drying will not really start until the wood is split.
  5. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    I think the old timers said split it later bc it will be easier to split the longer it sits. Problem is it just doesn't dry much until its split. Def split it ASAP and that maple could be close to ready by next burn season. The longer it sits split and stacked the better it will be.
  6. David Tackett

    David Tackett Member

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    Thanks guys. I will get split this coming weekend or next hopefully. If I split it this soon, will I be able to use it this coming season?
  7. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    You may be able to burn it this season if you get it split, stack it in a single row so it gets lots of air and sunlight.

    God bless Kentucky!!!
    David Tackett and Trilifter7 like this.
  8. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    It has always seemed to me, wood dries just about as fast whether it's just cut to stove lengths or split. The tree is really designed to move water up and down, not side to side, so having that split face doesn't seem to make a huge difference. I try to cut a year ahead and just leave the stove-length logs in the woods where I can. Go back 6 months / a year later and they are much lighter to move... no use carrying all that water home with me. Obviously, this doesn't work everywhere...you may come back to find your wood got so light, it left on its own! This also doesn't apply to standing dead trees, or even trees which you have felled, but not cut into short lengths. But once those end faces are open, wood fibers are just like straws and the atmosphere will start sucking moisture out. (nod to my old physics teacher who is likely rolling in his grave at that 'sucking' statement)

    As far as when I split... when ever will, weather and free time combine to give me a chance!
  9. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Wood don't start to season until it's split & stacked.
    If you get it split now it might be just usable this coming burn season.

    Stack it in a single row, off the ground , (sunny & windy area) will help it dry faster & may be good for winter.

    The maple will dry faster so keep it separate & burn it first .
    Make your splits on the smaller side , they'll dry faster ;)

    Uncovered it'll dry faster, Top cover only when rain forecast .
    You need it to dry quick, so nurse it thru the summer & fall & you'll be in good shape.

    I found most would splits easier when fresh cut.
    Some don't split easy wet or dry.
    Maple won't be easier when dry IMO, not sure with the walnut. (would guess green is easier)
    Spilt "Easy" is a relative term. Using hydraulics - green or dry is about the same :)

    Posted Pictures help it dry faster too ==c
    nate379, Defiant and Trilifter7 like this.
  10. David Tackett

    David Tackett Member

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    Yeah, unfortunately this is our first year where we live, so I am behind on wood storage. I am trying to build a supply this year for at least the next three to four years. I am going to stock pile wood like a beaver this year, but I need some for the winter coming. I have it all cut to stove length and have stacked all the small stuff. the big rounds that need split are in a pile and I have a friend who is bringing his splitter for me to use. This haul is roughly 4 cord and I hope to have around 15 cord by the end of spring. I have some access to some oak, I am going to get next and try to get it cut and split so I can use it two years from now.
    Backwoods Savage and Tuneighty like this.
  11. Hills Hoard

    Hills Hoard Minister of Fire

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    interesting reading the pros and cons here.

    I split and stack my "inside" wood immediately because 1) thats the hard work done, 2) I personally feel it dries quicker 3) split and stacked looks better 4) splits takes up less space

    My party fire/outside wood i try and leave in larger un-split chunks...
  12. westkywood

    westkywood Feeling the Heat

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    Split it now. Maple will season over the summer as long as you don't split it too big.
  13. katwillny

    katwillny Guest

    I split as soon as i get it. sometimes at the location where I get it. the sooner its split the sooner it will dry out. Toothpicks dry faster than baseball bats or something like that.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  14. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    In that situation I would go after soft Maple, Ash, Cherry and other quick-drying stuff. Standing dead wood in good shape would be great. I would split (not real big) and stack all that right away, loosely in single rows. I would split the Oak, Sugar Maple, Hickory later, since it's not for this season anyway.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  15. wingsfan

    wingsfan Feeling the Heat

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    I like to split as I get, and get it stacked. Then there is room for more.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. Locust Post

    Locust Post Minister of Fire

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    Yes as said already, split it now and stack single row in best wind area you have. Once you split and expose the wood fibers it drys much faster.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  17. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

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    I would like to politely disagree, I've noticed that split wood will grow considerably from when stacked in rounds, you are adding a lot of air space to those stacks.
  18. Hills Hoard

    Hills Hoard Minister of Fire

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    fair call. perhaps what i was getting at is I find it easier to stack neat rows of split with straight edges and vertical walls.
    swagler85 likes this.
  19. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Has been the opposite in my experience. I've taken a "cord" in rounds and split it and ended up with about 3/4 of a cord.
    I'd imagine it depends if the rounds are large or smaller. The large rounds end up with a fair amount of air space.

  20. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    But now you are a wood seller.
    Sounds like a wood sellers sales pitch . LOL j j ;lol




    just joking ==c
    swagler85 likes this.
  21. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    I usually split right away, but that's because I like splitting it.

    I'm also of the belief that most drying happens out the ends of the wood, so getting it cut should get you most of the way.
  22. Tmac845

    Tmac845 New Member

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    From what I understand, the moisture is trapped in the rings of the tree, and they remain intact, until the rounds get split.
  23. hickoryhoarder

    hickoryhoarder New Member

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    I split everything pretty soon with a maul. I like to stack and bake it in the sunny driveway for two months, and then it splits real easy. Beech is usually a bear to split, so I let it sit around a long time first. With bad shoulders and bad elbows, my basic rule is that if the weight of the maul won't split it -- i.e., if it needs elbow grease -- I let it wait. Like the guys said, time the drying time from when you split it, not from when the wood is brought home.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    David, you've been given some good advice and some questionable advice. For sure you have the right idea of splitting this as soon as possible. But now what about next winter? Will the wood be ready?

    It depends. It sounds for sure like the maple is hard maple rather than soft. The hard takes much longer than the soft and you will not have the ideal situation come next winter. However, all is not lost. As you said, you'll get it split soon and that is good. When you split it, do split it much smaller than you normally would. I'd split it about half the size as normal at least. Now for the stacking, you know enough to get this off the ground. It does not have to be a long ways off the ground, just so it does not touch ground and hopefully enough to get some air under the stack. Needing it soon, it might pay to get it a bit higher off the ground this year though.

    In addition to getting it off the ground, you need to stack it in the windiest spot on your place. Sunshine is good too but if you have to choose between the two, go for the wind. Stack it in single rows with plenty of space between the rows; all one row if possible. I would not stack it over 4' high either because you need to stack it loosely. This is not a time to make pretty wood stacks that are tight and neat. Your goal is to dry the wood as fast as possible. So let air through that wood pile!

    All in all, in your area you should have better results drying than your more northern friends. As for covering, if possible, I'd leave it uncovered. However, I know in some areas of the state where you live it is really wet with numerous rainstorms. Let that be your guide. If you have to cover, then top cover only. If it is not that wet where you live, the moisture will evaporate a bit better left uncovered.

    Good luck.
    ScotO and gyrfalcon like this.
  25. JoeyD

    JoeyD Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure what is right and what is wrong but I typically start scrounging around the end of October until I have enough to cover what I will burn that season. Once the weather breaks I split and stack. So far this has worked for me for the last 5 seasons. Now with that being said I can do this because I have been at least three years ahead and this year moved to four years ahead so there is no big hurry. When I started I would split as soon as I could find the time.

    I just finished splitting and stacking for 2016-17 :)
    Trilifter7 and Backwoods Savage like this.

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