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Wood question.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Robbie, Sep 7, 2006.

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  1. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    Does small rounds from tree tops cleanup etc., average size of 4 inches (cut 18" long) seem to dry as good as split wood, or can you tell the difference ?



    Thanks.


    Robbie

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    4" rounds or any rounds takes more time to dry than being split probably it will take a year to dry enough for usage
  3. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    I try to split every piece at least once it dries a lot faster. Stacks a little better in my wood pile too.
  4. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    If it's about the size of my wrist I might split it and I might not. Smaller than that is not split. Larger is. That's just a general rule. I have a couple years wood sitting out back so it doesn't seem to matter so much. If you intend to use it this year, split as much as you can. hickory and beach should always be split. they just don't dry well otherwise.
  5. BikeMedic2709

    BikeMedic2709 New Member

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    Split it if you can. No matter what the size. (But don't be ridiculus.) I split everything I can. Unless of course it is too small. Anything split will dry faster that unsplit.
  6. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Last year I tried burning some maple "rounds" that were about 2" that had been sitting for at least a year. They sizzled like mad, so I gave up on them real quick...like after 1 or 2 of them. The general rule I use is if the bark is loose it's ready to burn, but I'm not sure that works with all species. I think some pine will hold the bark for quite a while, same with mulberry, and a few other unidentifiable peices I have in the pile that have been there for more than a year now.

    Definitely split down to around 1-1.5 " peices. After that let them sit for a couple years. or toss them into a brush pile.
  7. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    The reason is bark is practically waterproof. The only places rounds can dry is through the ends, and it takes so long because of such little surface area I've found usually the wood rots before it dries when unsplit. 4" is borderline for me though, anything about the size of my wrists I don't split.

    It's also the reason why when stacking you want to have your air spaces & tunnels have as much of the fibers of the wood exposed. A tunnel of all bark in your pile is useless, whereas a tunnel with all sides being the fibers will dry the wood very well.
  8. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, good point Rhon. Seems I'll acquire peices less than 4" that are punky inside. I still burn them as long as their dry.

    The one good thing about Elm...The bark falls off the tree within a year of the tree dying, so the wood is almost ready to burn while the tree is still standing. Still takes a few months to dry, and I'm guessing longer to be optimal. I'll see this year after it's all been stacked and covered the whole summer.

    Stacking technique is always a favorite topic around here, and Rhonemas's point is a good one for folks new to stacking. If the wood is stacked with each layer set 90 degrees to the previous, the wood will dry better, and the stack will be quite stable without the need for support.
  9. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Have read on a couple government sites and others that roughly 80 percent of moisture exits through the ends of the wood not the sides..

    we have a large firebox 3.2 cf and some of the rounds are around 7-8 inches, anything over 9 most likely will not fit in with good coals, they usually are 15-20 monthes drying on pallets and covered, they burn well and long, some of the maple will have checks over quarter inch in width.
  10. kevinlp

    kevinlp New Member

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    Are there fewer pieces in a stack done this way. My rows are all stacked the same. Mainly because my first splits weren't as uniform. Now with practice, the piece are all quite the same and it would be possible to do this.
  11. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Hmm... that doesn't make sense. We wouldn't split & stack wood if only improves drying 20%. The rounds I deal with aren't ever close to burning sitting around for a year, even two but split & stacked they're ready in 6-7 months. The fibers do run vertical with the wood. Anyone throwing on a wet piece of wood will see the steam come out the ends only. Maybe they're trying to tell you unsplit rounds have 80% of the evaporation happen through the ends meaning 20% occurs through the bark. I can't imagine splits are 80% out the ends else they wouldn't be dry in at least 1/2 time or faster.
  12. martel

    martel Member

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    agreed. this is not scientific, but experiential. I had some cherry rounds that sat for 3 years. I split them and tried to burn and they were still bubbling and hissing (not to mention cherry seems to be a wood that dries rather quickly). The same wood I split and stacked. In three months it was burning well. Granted fresh split cherry would not be ready to burn in three months, so there was some significant drying that did occur (but not 80%).
  13. brian_in_idaho

    brian_in_idaho New Member

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    To some extent I think this depends on wood species and humidity in the area. Our local softwoods (fir and pine, especially pine) both have bark that seems to be pretty porous, they dry pretty well in the round, but a dry round also soaks up water like a sponge if it gets rained on. It's really tough to start a fire in the woods after a rain, unlike where I grew up back in WNY, hardwoods don't seem to suck up water nearly as quickly (nor dry as quickly). And around here, our summer time RH usually is under 20%, so stuff dries out pretty fast. I burn a fair amount of rounds 4 inches or less, haven't noticed a problem. Usually cut rounds shed bark in a season or so.

    Bri
  14. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    This is from the US forest service lab.

    Generally, the way this drying is accomplished is by "seasoning" it. Firewood is cut to length and then seasoned (dried) in a stack, with air being able to get to it, for at least 9 months before burning. The natural 60%-70% moisture content must be reduced to about 20% to burn well. The wood cells don't lose much moisture through the bark; the moisture is most effectively removed through the cut cells at the ends of each piece.


    Cannot remember where the site that gave the actual 80 percent figure on the ends..will poke around later.. a key component is length of the round and if they are near or close to the ground..all our wood is on pallets..the top is always dryer..rain splash etc

    Here is the link to the forest service site, there is other goood info..

    http://mb-soft.com/juca/print/firewood.html
  15. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The acceptable wood to burn in a wood stove is:

    1. Dry split hardwood that has seasoned for nine months to a year to a moisture content of 20% or less.

    2. Dry split softwood that has seasoned for nine months to a year to a moisture content of 20% or less.

    3. Anything you can find including the furniture, kinda/sorta dry wood, the kid's wooden toys, pictures of trees, phone books, politician's memoirs or whatever you can find if it is anytime before May, it is cold and you have run out of number 1 and number 2.
  16. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    Don't forget instruction manuals and last notice magazine subscription renewal notices!!!
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Kindling.
  18. kevinlp

    kevinlp New Member

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    From the same site

    There are people who insist that wood should be dried (seasoned) for at least one or two years. Experimental evidence has established that that is nearly always unnecessary, as long as the pieces of wood are cut to length and stacked. Natural airflows through the stack, and particularly through the cut cells of the pieces of wood themselves, dries them sooner than that. Experimental evidence has established that one-foot long cut pieces generally dry to acceptable levels in just two or three months. Two-foot long cut pieces take about six or seven months for similar acceptability. Four-foot long cut pieces DO require at least a year.
  19. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    I may be ok with this wood, it's small enough to not split I think. I just wondered where everyone else stopped splitting. Thanks for the replies.


    Robbie.
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