3 Firewood questions

3 Firewood questions

1- Obviously we all like to keep our firewood covered to where none of it gets wet at all. I was curious about just the ends getting wet, obviously not as ideal is never getting wet but how significant is just ends getting wet? Maybe asked differently, what do you guys estimate the wood's water loss at the end versus along the long split sides? I don't obsess over it, whenever the inch or so that sticks out and gets wet it always dries quickly.

2- what have you guys found to be the best time to buck the wood with a chainsaw? Perhaps it varies between tree types but my tree types are oaks and maples if that helps you. Obviously you don't have a choice when you are falling the tree, and of course you try to keep it off the ground if you can't get to it right away. But beyond that, have you guys found a significant difference in the ease of cutting with a chainsaw (less work on a chainsaw) if it is green versus one-month-old versus one-year-old etc.

3-similar question to number two above regarding splitting. It seems to me that the easiest time to split the wood is as soon as possible when if it is green, followed by quite a bit later like about 1-2 years when they have plenty of natural cracks at the ends. I think that if I split (felled green) about months # 3-12 it seems to be harder compared to those other two time periods (ASAP or 1+2 years later). And obviously we all like to get stuff cut & split & stacked as soon as possible but I was just curious what you guys have found with regards to ease of splitting and ease of chainsaw'ing. I really don't like to let the splitting be any other time other than ASAP because the wood can rot/punk from the inside out or outside in depending on the tree type.
Thank you.


Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
Lackawaxen PA
We all have our own time tested methods that we constantly strive to improve . What works for some may not work for others. There's a lot of variables.

I currently have a pile of rounds, that won't get split until next summer. When I was splitting by hand I found each wood had its best time to split. Most oak needed a few months. Even better if it froze and developed splits in the ends. But a splitter changed all that. It doesn't care when you split.

As to my covered stacks. I top cover and the tarp angles over the sizes. So the wood is not directly hit with water. The ends do weather. I stack anytime I can get around to it.

As to when to to take a tree down. I had a theory, only take them down in the winter. If you've ever taken down in the spring when the tree is pumping water up to the new leaves, you know the issue. The rounds are soaking wet. Does It help, I don't know.

Now my wood dosen't get used for 3-4 years, so it's dry. So I don't pay much attention to all the details I learned the hard way.


Feeling the Heat
Buck it up as soon as possible, it gets a chance to dry sooner. A sharp chain makes as much of a difference as anything in the speed of a cut.
Fall the trees in the winter when the sap is in the roots, if the tree has buds on it you are too late.
Split is as soon as possible, dry wood rots slower, the sooner it is split the faster it drys, the less chance it will rot.


Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
Eastern Ontario
Rain wet ends dry fast after the wind and sun hit them.
We cut our trees in the winter. They are skidded to a wood yard
loaded on trucks and taken to our fireplace yard at the farm.
In April they are bucked/split and stacked.
This is done as a family affair 2 Sones, 3 Grandsons and me (the Boss)
I know only in my dreams!!


Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
SW Missoura
I split asap. But i have found that white oak and post oak....to me....splits easier after it has been bucked for a few months. Red oak splits great the day of bucking.
Dead wood dulls a chain faster than green. I cut all my wood in the winter because im not dealing with all the ticks so i cant say that cutting in fall/winter is better than spring/summer tho it sounds like a good theory. Rain on ends of firewood doesnt bother me much. It will dry out fast and it doesnt soak up the moisture.

Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
Sisters, OR
Buck up the wood when it's green if possible. Easier to cut, chain stays sharper longer, and it smells good (at least with pine).
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Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
Northern NH
Generally as long as the core of the pile stays dry I don't think there is big impact to wet ends as they dry out quick once the sun is out. Moisture preferentially exits the ends of the grain initially. I suspect at it dries out and the "easy" moisture exits I am not sure. The internal cell walls at some point need to break down to release trapped water and expect the actual water transport mechanism less dependent on the xylem. The big trick is to let air flow over the top of the pile under the top cover. Ideally have an overhand rather than the edge of tarp hanging down.

In really cold conditions green hardwood can freeze in just a few hours. Frozen wood usually splits easy. I dropped a big beech on a 10 degree day and it was splitting like ash. Normally its a lot more work. The freeze effect doesn't work as well with round that have sat around a few months.

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
Southern IN
we all like to keep our firewood covered to where none of it gets wet at all. I was curious about just the ends getting wet...regarding splitting. It seems to me that the easiest time to split the wood is as soon as possible when if it is green, followed by quite a bit later like about 1-2 years
I think splits will pull a little moisture in through the end grain. I've got some Red Oak where the stack is leaning a bit, and if I throw 'em right in the stove, they sizzle out the ends a bit for ten or fifteen mins. I've been leaving them stacked in my staging area near the door, protected better from rain, and they dry out in a few weeks. It's been warm out, though.. ==c
Yep, easier splitting when it's green as a rule. I went to my BIL/nephew's house today. They were busting some easy Sassafras I got for them out of the woods; Dead, straight, no branches. Needless to say, that stuff flew apart if you just gave it a mean look.
Then I grabbed what I figured was Elm out of their other stack, scored from nephew's work buddy. It was live-cut. Turned out to be Slippery (Red) Elm, so it was splittable by hand since it was fresh..just a little more effort than I'm willing to expend at my advanced age. I did one 12" round, then quit. ;lol


Feeling the Heat
Dec 2, 2011
Harvard, MA
I try to do all my cutting, splitting, and stacking in the winter. No other reason than that I don't like being outside cutting and splitting in long sleeves and pants when it is hot out, not to mention the bugs.

But sometimes it doesn't work that way. A neighbor had 5 cords of wood taken down last July and said I could have all of it. I didn't want to wait on that.


Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
Rochester NY
I don't worry much about ends of wood getting wet. It happens, and if you tarp it's hard to avoid. I think it's more important to have a decent tarp overall. I use the Green harbor freight ones which are cheap and seem pretty decent. One of them is going on 4 years old and it's getting a bit of wear on it, might retire it after another year or so. But for a $8 tarp (11x8) that's pretty dang good in my opinion plus they actually keep things dry. The blue ones from harbor freight however, which are the ones they often give you for free with those coupons - are pretty bad. Water actually just soaks through them.
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