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Wood Drying....The Moisture Meter Test

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by 80s Burnout, Jan 8, 2009.

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  1. 80s Burnout

    80s Burnout New Member

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    After much debate on a thread back in December and the purhcase of a moisture meter, I can confirm that semi-seasoned wood can dry out in a matter or days when stored near a wood stove.

    The experiment:

    1. I took several large semi-seasoned splits (~8 inch dia.) and chopped them down to ~3 inch splits.
    2. I took moisture meter readings on the fresh split surfaces and got a range of readings between 27% and 35%. (my meter tops out at 40%)
    3. I put all splits into the fireplace behind the woodstove and left them there for two days.
    4. I put one split in the stove and sure enough she sizzled and bubbled out of the visible end.
    5. Two days later (running stove 24/7), the highest reading I could get was 3%.
    6. Dried splits were placed in the stove...........no sizzling or bubbling.

    The next test will involve splitting the dried splits and taking a reading on the next split surface to see water kind of reading I get. I could also take two large splits, keep one outside and one behind the stove. Split both two days later and take readings. Finally, the larger the split the longer the time probably needed behind the stove....

    Only other test would be to weigh each piece before and after, but I don't have a scale.

    Bottom line, wood will dry out quickly behind the stove.

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  2. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    Not to stir the coals or anything, but your moisture meter data is worthless. Take a look at this thread: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/31749/


    That being said, Your "put it in the stove test" is more than enough for me, but this counts as anecdotal evidence, at best.

    I can verify 100% that drying wood by the stove works just fine, as can most people who have burning wood for any signifigant amount of time, but there is still no scientific proof of this.


    The debate goes on...
  3. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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  4. 80s Burnout

    80s Burnout New Member

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    Ah, I forgot you guys are on here throughout the day / everyday. Well, I enjoyed doing the experiement.
  5. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Well anyway that was a smart move to continue testing with the moisture meter...cause I'm thinking that more in step of following the scientific method...or whatever they called that process of proving/disproving a theory.

    I don't have a meter but from what I gather around here 20% is good to burn...so that's what you should shoot for...I dunno but I thinking you can get there in 24hrs.
  6. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    This is how I rotate a 2/3 cord of wood most of the season. (silver maple 90-120 days cut and spiltt) put a fresh splitt on it and 48-72 hrs next to the furance good wood! Glad to see your using the moister meter.(I add 20-25 cu ft a day)
  7. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    The next one I think should be a "standing living to burnable" test. Using the grate on top of stove method, the direct contact with stovetop method, the bake it in your oven method, and the standing near/behind the stove method, we should find out and push the limit of JUST how quickly we can make wood burnable with an acceptable moisture content. I think we might be able to do it in less than 72 hours.


    That being said, I'm not so certain that "drying" is the only thing that occurs during the true outdoor seasoning. I'm very certain carbohydrates change form, different chemical reactions occur, capillary action does more than just move the water, and lots of other variables exist. For one thing, moisture content alone isn't going to turn the wood from "wood colored" to grey. I realize the latter is mostly sun bleaching, but who's to say it doesn't affect the way the wood burns?
  8. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Cluttermagnet says he's been using the grate method and it works.
  9. Yamaha_gurl

    Yamaha_gurl New Member

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    My little experiment goes as such:

    I brought a 4" round in the house, and took a pink high lighter and marked all of the cracks on the ends...this was about 3 weeks ago. If the wood dried more, wouldn't it get more cracks? Cause as of now, there are no new cracks. :(
  10. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    Maybe, maybe not. It could continue to lose moisture through the existing cracks. But obviously a round is not going to lose moisture as fast as a split round. ;-) I personally save those rounds for cold nights, as they hold up well in my Endeavor, thus leaving me a much nicer coal bed in the morning for far easier restarts.
  11. Woodrat

    Woodrat New Member

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    - Already "been there, done that"--- nobody listens-- they would rather play with meters of questionable accuracy than to trust thier own powers of observation. When you can hit two sticks of wood together and they sound like bowling pins--you know it's dry.
    - To reiterate previous posts by myself and numerous others: Standing to Burnable can be done in as little as 4 days under the right conditions (plenty of forced circulation of hot air from the stove when you're burning 24/7)

    Best wishes, Woodrat
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Even better. Split and stack your wood. Leave it for a minimum of a year or even better, two years. Save your dollars as you won't need a moisture meter because your wood will be well seasoned. No worries and more heat from available fuel because you aren't cooking the wood before burning it; that is, you don't have to evaporate all that moisture when you put it into the stove. Yes, there will still be some moisture in the wood but you would be hard pressed to find anything that would be more than 15%.
  13. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    I'm confused. Do some people think that wood dries no faster in the woodshed than it does stacked next to the stove? Really?
  14. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking this topic is more for those that buy fire wood....cause I've been taking seasoned wood for granted for ever. We happy few that cut ours in the backyard are blessed I guess to be masters of our own domain.

    You would think it'd pretty easy to buy seasoned firewood...but when you hear the same story repeated around the country hundreds of times there must be truth to it. So these ideas of stacking wood around the hearth, redirecting air etc can be of great benefit to those at the mercy of the open market.

    The thing is to do it safely....we wood burners have to be righteous in our procedures all the time, fire only has to be right once.
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Just got back from town. On the way home I saw 3 different people putting firewood up. First guy was throwing it on his porch. Next guy had a small stack next to his porch. Next guy was pulling a trailer load up to his outdoor boiler. There are 3 different ones that are going to be burning green wood. Amazing...
  16. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    wait til next week with the temps falling like a rock they will be burning tires!
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    There are some guys that believe in burning green wood in those OWBs. Man, they sure can smoke and stink up the neighborhood! Nearest one is a half mile away from me so I escape the worst of it. They're a bloody traffic hazard in places.

    When I was laying up in my woodshed at the end of Summer, the wood that was out drying since Winter, I could hear some bucking going on at the impoverished neighbor's place. I don't know how she lives in the place. It was condemned for a while as she had garbage stacked to the ceiling in every room. Someone came and cleaned it all out and she moved back in but the power company would not turn the power back on. I have no idea what she does for heat but was expecting to get smoked out by all the green wood being bucked. I don't often drive by her place and I don't like to gawk but so far no stench has drifted over to my place.
  18. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

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    By and large everyone agrees that wood will definitely dry quyicker next to a stove. It was the claims that green, freshly cut red oak will season in 24 hours next to a stove that raises red flags.
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