Current MC% and Timing Question

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Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,014
Massachusetts
Hi All:

Its a beautiful day here in MA and I decided to take a peak at the stash and see how its coming along and ask the experts here a few questions as this is my first full year burning. Here's my setup:

Stove: Osburn 1600 non-cat insert. Half protruding as we have a tiny fireplace. It throws off nice heat.

Home: 1600 sq ft cape. Semi open plan, the heat gets everywhere but the dining room/kitchen pretty well as they are on the opposite side of the house. One indoor oscillating fan keep those rooms within a few degrees of the others.

Wood: A the wood below was C/S/S in cord sized stacks, single row, early this spring. Mostly from standing dead sources or locals having tree work done. I left it uncovered through the summer and now its all tarped ready for winter. They get decent sun and a lot of wind.

Ok here's where the stacks stand:

Maple Stack #1: 20-23%. This will be ready for next year.

Maple Stack #2: 25-30%. This got soaked last week during a big rain storm. It was the only stack I hadn't covered yet. This will need another year.

Maple Stack #3: 13-18% I have 2 cords of this and it will be my primary fuel this season.

Ash Stack: 17-22%. I think I can get away with burning this at the end of this season if need be?

Cherry Stack: 14-18%. Ready to go! I'll mix this in with the maple.

White Oak Stacks #1/2: 18-24%. I was happy to see this readings as I think it will be ready for next year.

Red Oak Stacks #1-3: 24-32%. Even though it was cut down standing dead this spring its still soaked. Not surprising. This is at least 2 years away.

Poplar and Uglies: Didn't bother measuring, its bone dry. I've been using this the last couple weeks.

Overall it's looking pretty good. My main question is about the ash. Will it be ready for me in Jan/Feb/March if need be? Its already at 17-22% and its covered but out in the wind. Im envisioning that as my emergency stash as everything I've read says it'll burn OK even if its not bone dry yet and this stack is pretty close.

Thanks for your input and helping out a new guy!
 
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qwee

Burning Hunk
Jan 17, 2013
134
Idaho
If it was me and I knew I was going to run out of the dry stuff (your cherry and maple) I would burn the ash with the cherry instead of burning the ash alone - just to be on the safe side. That is before the cherry or maple runs out I would mix it with the ash.
 
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Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,014
Massachusetts
Ah thats a good idea, thanks. I didn't think about mixing. A log or two of the borderline mixed in with the good stuff will be much less noticeable than a full stove of 20% ash.
 
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shortys7777

Feeling the Heat
Nov 15, 2017
365
Smithfield, RI
Some people burn ash right away. I'm sure if you research it here you'll find some posts. I will be burning a cord of dead standing this winter that was split stacked and top covered in August. I'll Probably get to it mid January. Looks like you are getting ahead. I am just about at 2 years. This will be my 3rd season burning.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,014
Massachusetts
20201105_114642.jpg


Cherry and Ash mixed stack. I love my wife but this is sexy ;)
 
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MMH

Feeling the Heat
Jan 21, 2019
405
NV
Will you be okay? Probably. I’m in an area that has none of these species (naturally) but I’d agree with everyone so far; I’d say take the time to sift out the pieces that are a little subpar (20-22%) and mix it in with your other woods/burns. The stuff under 20% should be fine, but could also mix if you wanted. The other option would be to burn it as is and just increase your sweeping frequency once you get into it etc. but this wouldn’t be ideal obviously. If it’s any constellation, I have mahogany where I’m at and I can’t even get a moisture meter into it. Some is obviously well seasoned/dry but some of it also is obviously not as dry (all standing dead). When I start getting into pieces I know are not as dry as they could be I increase my cleaning frequency, and I tend to mix more etc. so far so good and when I sweep I rarely get copious amounts of creo and it’s still very powdery. Good luck.
 

BrianVA

New Member
Oct 28, 2020
48
Central VA
That's a great looking stack! Have you considered cross stacking? In my experience, that will help it dry faster.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,014
Massachusetts
How often do you sweep? I'm using an insert so I was under the impression the only way to sweep the chimney liner efficiently is from the roof as id suspect the creosote would be hiding higher up the liner (2 story cape) I suppose I could remove the baffle and get in from the firebox too with a flexible brush. I was planning on having it swept professionally annually at the end of every burn season.

Should I be doing more? I'm planning on burning between 3-5 cords of sub 20% hardwoods per year as primary heat.

Thanks for taking the time!
 
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MMH

Feeling the Heat
Jan 21, 2019
405
NV
How often do you sweep? I'm using an insert so I was under the impression the only way to sweep the chimney liner efficiently is from the roof as id suspect the creosote would be hiding higher up the liner (2 story cape) I suppose I could remove the baffle and get in from the firebox too with a flexible brush. I was planning on having it swept professionally annually at the end of every burn season.

Should I be doing more? I'm planning on burning between 3-5 cords of sub 20% hardwoods per year as primary heat.

Thanks for taking the time!

Sorry I saw that (layout and insert); Im burning close to same amounts as you, with pines junipers and mahogany. I think you could still do it relatively easily with a flexible system, sooteater or something similar that way you eliminate the safety problem etc. As far as how often to clean everybody kind of finds there own schedules depending on wood and amounts etc. I’ve only been burning a few years (coming into 3rd) but my go to pattern is I clean at the end of shoulder season/start winter, when I’m burning 24/7 I’ll sweep every 1-2 months, then again at the end of spring as I shut down. I’ve had subpar wood especially my first year and honestly this frequent of sweeping was unnecessary, but it gave me piece of mind and it was quick/easy (I have sooteater and sweep from the inside usually takes 10-15 mins). You’ll find your own preferences. And yes typically annually is what the minimum recommendation is. Once you start burning, then the first time you clean you’ll be able to judge where you are (clean more clean less keep this schedule etc).
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,014
Massachusetts
That's a great looking stack! Have you considered cross stacking? In my experience, that will help it dry faster.

Yeah I've thought about it but that tends to take up more room and the wife already doesn't love his much room 8 cords takes up lol. I'm working on some wood shed plans which would free up more drying real estate but it will require a lot of work as my only spot us uneven ground. Probably a year or two away from it.
 

BrianVA

New Member
Oct 28, 2020
48
Central VA
Yeah I've thought about it but that tends to take up more room and the wife already doesn't love his much room 8 cords takes up lol. I'm working on some wood shed plans which would free up more drying real estate but it will require a lot of work as my only spot us uneven ground. Probably a year or two away from it.
Yep, I hear ya. That is the trade off. I'm hoping to start on a new wood shed next week.