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Your estimate to season various woods?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by woodjack, Mar 11, 2008.

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  1. woodjack

    woodjack Minister of Fire

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    I've read in this forum that it often takes two years for oak to season.
    What about:
    hickory
    maple
    ash
    pine
    ???

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  2. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    In reality, this may not be as simple a question as it sounds. There are many factors involved.

    1) Size of splits, both length and width;

    2) Is it seasoning with southern exposure or is it under cover in a partially opened wood shed;

    3) How often is it windy;

    Also depends on your definition of seasoning. Most would regard 20% moisture content acceptable. I bet the people who are happy with oak after 2 years of seasoning say so because the mositure content is at 10 or 12%. This can make a huge difference in how quickly it combusts and how hot it burns.

    If everything else is equal, though, I imagine people with more experience will be weighing in soon.
  3. Yule log

    Yule log New Member

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    I learned the hard way that Red Oak needs to season out in the open in single file rows for more than one year. I had a couple pickup loads that ended up being worthless when I really needed the heat. Now I stack all my wood in single files facing west (most of our wind is out of the west).

    When I tell old timers that I burn a lot of Ash, they always say it doesn't really need to season. Not wanting to take chances, mine usually seasons for at least 9 months. I did have to take some that I was planning on using next season for burning this month. I underestimated what I would need for this season. Having only been split and stacked for 3 months, I haven't noticed a ton of moisture. It sizzles a tad during the initial burn but nothing compared to the Oak from a few years ago. That stuff would put out a fire. Luckily, I didn't have any major creosote issues. I can't comment on the other species you listed.
  4. jtb51b

    jtb51b Feeling the Heat

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    I think that the length of seasoning depends greatly on your location. I'm deep in the south and with our plentiful 90+ days we can season even red oak in a year and have no troubles.. Another thing to consider is also climate based, when I'm running on a really cold night here you guys are opening windows since its only 25* out.. If I were trying to warm up in your climate it might just take a bit hotter fire..

    Jason
  5. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    If you stack it in a nice dry location? It can never be over-seasoned. My neighbour has douglas fir that is 20 years old in his woodshed,.love to get me hands on some of that stuff. He actually gave me 2 splits to burn back in Jan. god,talk about throw the heat!!

    Otherside of the coin, 7 months under ideal conditions.
  6. Chettt

    Chettt Feeling the Heat

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    If kept completely dry, I've had really good luck with maple being acceptable in 4 to 6 months and by 9 months it can be as lightweight as balsa. Oak 1 to 2 years but I've burned it after 9 months.
  7. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

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    in my back yard if it is split and stacked by the end of April it is good to go by Nov. my back yard gets full sun from dawn to dusk and we do not get much rain in the summer and almost always have a breeze from the west to the east.
  8. fugazi42

    fugazi42 New Member

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    I think drying time for maple depends on what type of maple it is..

    I cut and split some red maple (Acer rubrum) from a windblow in March of last year. By November it was ready to burn, below 20%. I have some hard sugar maple (Acer saccharum) that has been seasoning for over 12 months and still isn't dry. My meter says it's around 28%. Same size splits, stacked in the same place. A moisture meter is a great tool when seasoning firewood. It takes a lot of the guess work out of it.

    As far as Ash goes- I've already burned all the Ash I cut back in December. It burns great green or dry. If I had my druthers I'd burn it dry, but in a pinch it will burn any time..

    Josh
  9. derbygreg

    derbygreg New Member

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    Ash has under 20 percent moiste the day you cut it per a lot of studies. It is usually rated number one on the scale for green wood burning.

    That darn Emerald Ash Borer is bad news. Can see evidence of it in many places.
  10. Appleby

    Appleby New Member

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    Tell that to the green ash I cut the other day that was literally dripping water from the the inner wood. I guess it has to do with the march time frame but let me tlel you......that stuff was SOAKED.
  11. Henz

    Henz New Member

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    ON AVERAGE, i WOULD SAY 6 MONTHS IS THE MINIMUM. DIRECT SUN AND DECENT WINDS
  12. moondoggy

    moondoggy New Member

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    this was gone over not long ago... wasnt there a chart somewhere for est. season times i saw... dang. i gotta find it now.


    edit;
    GOT IT

    second chart down, mid page

    http://www.blountweb.com/goddards/firewood_ratings.htm

    my guess is you need to let hemlock season for long long time... does this mean ASH you can burn like almost immeditatly or no I think i read it as Black locust seasons fastest BASS wood slowest... i think
  13. bcnu

    bcnu New Member

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    Here in the Willamette Valley we have lots of Hazelnut(Filbert) orchards. Does anyone know the BTU value for this wood?
  14. woodjack

    woodjack Minister of Fire

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    According to the chart from the link above, hickory is only 19% water when cut. Does that mean that hickory can be burned as soon as it's cut or seasoned for a very short period (i.e. two months)? Has anyone tried that?
  15. moondoggy

    moondoggy New Member

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    i think what it means is its the 2nd fastest to season next to locust.
    and yes i would THINK it (like locust) has a very short required seasoning period...... anyone else?
    as for 2 months... not sure maybe
  16. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    I just split a bunch of hickory. Not only is it hell to split, it is WET. I might be able to get a fresh split to burn with the assistance of three truck tires and a gallon of diesel fuel.
  17. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Pine takes 6 months if cut standing dead and it gets dried over the summer months in good aerated stacks. At least 1 year if cut green and split.

    Red Fir takes about 9 Months to properly season if cut standing dead. About 1-1.5 years if cut green. Red fir becomes very good premium wood if seasoned 2 years.

    Tamarack seems to take about a good year to season.

    Birch takes about a year but it HAS to be split immediately after being cut.
  18. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I think seasoning depends on a whole lot of variables. I burned 1/2 cord of hickory over the last month that I took from a standing dead tree during late summer/early fall. The front part of the stack was at 15% moisture. The part of the stack that was in the middle (next to some popple in the back) was at 18% moisture. It all burned great.
  19. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    No, that chart shows EXCESS MOISTURE, which they define as moisture above 20%. So where it shows 19% excess moisture, that's a total moisture of 19+20=39%
  20. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    Silver maple? I'd believe that by 9 months it can be as lightweight as balsa, red maple, probably dry in 9 months reasonably cared for but not light as balsa, sugar maple?, a year of really good drying is good and it would be about as light as..oak! Not all maples are created equal.
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