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White and Red Oak Smaller Branches

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by firecracker_77, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    I took in at least a cord of smaller stuff that I cut to length with a 12" bar...maybe the largest of it was 6" in diameter and the smallest 3-4" in diameter. I chose that due to what I perceived as a quicker drying time. The larger rounds off these loads have just been cut to length...won't be split till workload eases up...maybe 12 weeks from now. I know that will have to be stacked and allowed to season.

    Is it possible that smaller diameter oak branches will season in 6-7 months? None of this small stuff was split further. As I haul it in for the winter, I sometimes split it and stack by the door prior just to make it easier to fit and burn.

    Even though it's not heartwood, I don't care as I'm always with my stove in the wintertime, since it's at work, and I can feed the beast as often as I need to. I don't set it and then return 10 hours later as many do. Any branches and smaller stuff I have tends to season quick. The silver maple I cut and stacked seasons very rapidly.

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    No. Branches or trunk, oak is just such a dense wood that time is the key to getting it dry. Some may get by by mixing it with dry wood but that is still a questionable way to operate a wood stove. About the only way to hasten the drying of oak is to split small and stack extremely loosely in both sun and wind but wind is always the most important.

    Silver maple is a soft maple and that will always dry really quick. I've cut some in late winter or early spring and burned it the following winter with no problem.
  3. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    I had really bad experiences with unsplit branches drying. I had ash where I did not split anything below 4 inches; just stacked it. When I burned those a lot of water was still oozing out of the ends. Even some small stuff around 1 inch that I kept as kindling had a lot of moisture. Since then I am convinced that anything with the bark still wrapped around does not dry. The good thing is that such smaller stuff splits pretty easily with my electric splitter and for kindling I use now pine and woodchips from my splitting.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    It will dry but does take longer.
  5. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Ditto. I split everything now, even little 3" branches. Anything too small to split goes in the brush pile, not the stove!
  6. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    This saddens me. I was hoping for a quick dry time.
    Missouri Frontier likes this.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    We feel your displeasure for sure. But oak is oak. Reminds me of the old saw: A goose is a goose, dress it as you will. But it remains a goose still. Same with oak. You just can't change the fact that it is oak and takes quite some time to dry.
  8. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    I had that same experience with pin oak. I now split it all 3 inches and over and know that the even smaller ones are right there in the 3 year window.
  9. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    I have to experiment this winter all the same. I want to try and burn some of the smaller branches.
  10. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    You need to split Everything.....or else!
  11. Missouri Frontier

    Missouri Frontier Feeling the Heat

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    I feel your pain but a wise man once told me, "burn what you got. Mix in dry splits and keep an eye on your chimney". Good advice and it made me feel better.
  12. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    A Wiseone said to be " busy like the ant "
  13. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    This is another misunderstanding. Heartwood is not denser than sapwood, and does not burn any longer. Heartwood just doesn't rot as easily.
    Joful likes this.
  14. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    This is mostly correct. Actually, when comparing green density, sapwood is often heavier, as it contains much higher water. Dry density of heartwood is typically higher than dry density of sapwood, due to higher resin content, but only marginally so. The difference is minor enough, that almost all tables on wood density ignore the ratio of heartwood to sapwood as a factor. The big difference between the two, other than appearance, is rot resistance, and how they will absorb finish / treatment.

    A good (read, "short") article discussing some of this: http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fpltn/fpltn-189-1936.pdf
  15. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the link. Obviously we're discounting density related to moisture content, since we're (hopefully) not burning green wood, but it's interesting that some species do get measurably denser (dry weight) when they become heartwood. Looks like I made too broad a generalization.
  16. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    +1. I burned limbs and branches for many years and had no problem whatsoever. I also have not any problem keeping some larger rounds for overnight burns. To be sure, there will still be some moisture there, and the stove will not be as efficient as it could be, but it can be done and you can stay plenty warm doing it.
  17. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    On a round all the moisture come out of the ends, so shorter is better when it comes to drying rounds, and single row stacking is VERY important.;)
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Not necessarily so. We keep a fair amount of rounds every year. But of course we don't try to burn it that year....
  19. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Maybe you should add that you wait 6 to 7 years before burning your logs. Not everyone has that space or patience. ;)
  20. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

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    Dennis is right. I re split a small split of red oak today that was at least a year old. Pegged the meter at 35%. Every day or so I test from another stack. Only the stuff I got left over from last year, that I bought as seasoned, was testing 15 to 20%. And there ain't much of it left.
  21. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Not always do we wait that long. Even last winter we burned some 2 year old wood. But, we do have the space and patience too.
    Missouri Frontier likes this.
  22. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks...I think it won't be great, but if small enough, it will dry some.
  23. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    With rounds length is more important then diameter, "cookies" will dry very quickly.

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