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How to tell if your wood is seasoned

May 7, 2013
How to tell if your wood is seasoned
  • One of the most common problems wood burners have is poor performance from their stove due to the use of "green wood" (wood that has not been adequately dried for optimal burning). This naturally leads to the question of how one can tell if their wood is properly seasoned. Here are some guidelines:

    1. Weight -- Seasoned wood is noticeably lighter than green wood of the same species.

    2. Loose Bark -- When wood dries, the bark tends to fall off more easily. This doesn't mean any wood that still has bark firmly in place is necessarily green, but in a cord of seasoned wood, you can find quite a few pieces of wood where the bark has peeled back or fallen off.

    3. Smell -- Fresh, green wood smells pleasant with a sap-tinted aroma. Seasoned wood still smells like wood, but the scent won't be nearly as strong.

    4. Color -- As wood seasons, the color of the sapwood on the ends and split sides fades; a cord of seasoned firewood should look dull and subdued rather than bright and should have cracks or splits visible on the ends.

    5. Cambium -- The cambium is the very thin layer between the bark and the sapwood. If you suspect some wood of being green, peel back a section of bark and check for greenness in this layer. If it's green, so is the wood.

    6. Sound -- Seasoned wood generally makes a clear, higher pitched "clink" when two pieces are beat together. Green wood tends to make a dull "thud" when struck.

    7. Moisture meter -- electronic device with probes that can give a rough estimate of the Moisture Content in your wood. Generally you want to see less than 20% Moisture Content. These devices can be unreliable, a common problem is when the user samples from a spot on the log that has dried even though other parts of the split are not dry. For best results, cut or split the wood being tested and measure the newly exposed surface; this way you are testing the internal Moisture Content of the split. See your owners manual for proper use. A moisture meter is often unnecessary as the other indicators are generally adequate.;How_to_tell_if_your_wood_is_seasoned