Did my firewood provider short-change me?

Cassius Posted By Cassius, Jan 4, 2013 at 11:31 AM

  1. basod

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Sep 11, 2009
    Mount Cheaha Alabama
    I wouldn't start bashing your firewood dealer.
    You needed non-standard 12" wood that they cut and split on order - and delivered in early December.
    If this was an open hearth wouldn't be a huge deal, running a wood stove/insert requires dry wood.

    I grew up in southern Maine - firewood sellers are a different breed, and they smell (used to be called yuppies) out of staters a mile away.
    Most of these folks want clean looking wood and have no idea about moisture content as they typically burn in open hearths.

    In the mean time see if you can source some pallets or look for construction sites nearby and ask the builders if they have any cutoff piles you could scrounge.
    Mix the dry with some of the splits or bricks for now.

    If this dealer didn't short you or was reasonable price, call and get him to deliver now for next year, and if you can afford it buy multiple cords
    Shane N likes this.
  2. Cassius

    New Member 2.

    Jan 4, 2013
    Regardless of the time of year, I paid for aged wood and I paid them what they asked for the custom length. And they knew I was looking for wood that I could burn this year. I realize that wood dealers may be a different breed and that they might look to take advantage of people who are new to this. But that doesn't excuse it.

    I'm not necessarily looking to cause them a big headache but at this point my options are:

    1) Burn this wood and deal with the risks and expenses associated with creosote.
    2) Purchase kiln dried wood at an increased expense. This has it's own problems because my wife and I are renting and expecting to buy soon and I wasn't even sure we would be here long enough to burn all of this wood. So if I buy another cord I'm looking at three winters to burn through what I've purchased.
    3) Go scrapping, which wouldn't be an effective use of my time and we drive a little hybrid so I'm not going to be hauling pallets around.

    So yeah, I'm a bit miffed.

    Yeah it's buyer beware and all that. I understand But a businessperson who doesn't want to end up with an upset customer should make sure they are actually selling what the customer wants.

    Anyway, what seems best is option #1 along with drying the wood by the "fan method" mentioned above. I know the chimney was checked this last summer and was deemed clean by the landlord's "guy". So maybe I can have him stop by for a check only (no cleaning) for a few bucks and see where things stand.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 14, 2007

    Welcome to the forum Cassius.

    I won't harp on things as the other guys have covered things pretty well. However, I'd like to give you an example so you can compare a bit. The wood you bought was downed in tree length for 18 months. We know that is not ready to burn. But just a month ago my wife and I picked up some wood from a neighbor. His woods was cut off over 10 years ago. Then the tops were cut by a firewood supplier. When they left, they also left some large blocks or logs; probably didn't have room and not enough for another load so they just got left. There were some really big ones too. Most were cut into 16" lengths, but not split. We also found a couple 4' and 6' logs. All of this wood had sat there for the last 10 years! One might think the wood no good at all. Not so! Hey, the wood had sat there so long most was at least 1/3 buried in the ground.

    Here is the good part. It is all white oak and even after 10 years, there is no way that wood could be burned this year! I am guessing it might be good in 2 years but we probably will leave it longer simply because we won't need it before then.

    The point I wish to make is that wood just will not dry until it has been cut to firewood length and then split. After being split, it needs to be stacked out in the wind. Yes, air circulation is more important than sunshine! Air circulation is the big key.

    Good luck.
  4. jatoxico

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Aug 8, 2011
    Long Island NY
    Wood bricks are about same money as kiln dried but store more easily and are packaged in plastic wrap so could take to new place when that happens.
  5. weatherguy

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 20, 2009
    Central Mass
    Was just going to make the same suggestion, you dont have to buy by the pallet, you can buy packages from a TSC and if you hit a sale they're pretty cheap. If I was in a position like you currently find yourself, Id buy some of these to mix in http://www.woodpellets4me.com/bioprod-cozylogs.html
  6. Jon1270

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Aug 25, 2012
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Keep in mind that the wood you've got now, which is nearly worthless if you burn it this winter, will actually be worth quite a lot more next winter -- possibly enough more to compensate you for the trouble of moving it to a new place. Burning it before it's ready is like throwing money away; you've bought high and are currently selling low. Keeping it until it appreciates (and it will do so, very predictably) may involve some short-term costs, but is still a good investment.
    Shane N likes this.
  7. bogydave

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 4, 2009
    So Cent ALASKA

    Glad you joined & are hanging in there & learning.
    You are learning the lessons most of us here have gone thru.
    98.5% of the time, seasoned wood (aged ) sold by a wood seller is not ready to burn.
    Could be they believe it starts seasoning after a frost or after it's fell, but seasoned for how long & what method is the big queston.

    We all had to learn: (like you I learned the hard way, & had serious creosote issues)

    Now I know:
    It only starts drying out (seasoning) after it Cut Split & Stacked off the ground in an area where it can get some air circulation.
    AND it take at least a year for most wood & some wood can take 2 or 3 years to season well & be dry & ready to burn & not cause creosote ;)

    Good luck
  8. peakbagger

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jul 11, 2008
    Northern NH
    Very few new wood burners get it "right" the first winter and if you figure out a way of making it through this winter, you will be far wiser next winter. There are many folks who burn less than dry wood and with older style stoves they can get away with it. If the wood dealer caters to those customers he can get away with selling wood at a higher moisture content.

    On the other hand add an EPA stove to the mix and a less than ideal draft and less than dry wood and the stove will probably refuse to burn. Once you get your own place and get a years worth of wood ahead, even if the wood you buy is green, if you stack it and store it properly its going to burn pretty well. I would suggest you stay away from buying oak and stick to northern hardwoods like maple, ash and white birch (split). They all tend to season in a year while Oak is two to three years. Oak ultimately burns longer if its dry and has a higher BTU content but if its wet those benefits dont come into effect.

    There are some good firewood dealers but they have steady customers and rarely advertise, the folks who advertise in local classifieds or craiglist tend to be the folks who do this part time "under the table" and rarely are they going to cut and split and stack a year before to make sure the wood they sell is dry.

    I would encourage you to get your hands on a bundle or two of truly kiln dried hardwood and have a fire, if the stove runs well and performs like you want it to, then its worth getting dry wood, but if it doesnt that may be sign that the installation or the stove itself is not right.

    Good luck.
  9. maple1

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Sep 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    I don't see where you said you took this advice offered a few times, so I'll repeat it: re-split your wood.

    Re-split it very small, pile or arrange loosely around the heat like your doing, and it will dry very quickly in the interior dry warmth - especially if you can set up a small fan blowing slowly on it for a few hours a day. Start doing it now and you'd have some you could likely burn quite well in a couple of weeks. Way better IMO than trying to scrounge dry stuff elsewhere at this time of the year.
  10. Mr A

    Mr A
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Nov 18, 2011
    N. California
    No need to suffer! You shouldn't have much of a problem finding some good dry wood to burn. Keep an eye on Craigslist for free wood, it's crazy I know, but people just give away firewood all the time. I have 10 cords collected in just 9 months. i'm burning pallets as I type this. Many are made from hardwoods, and they are nice and dry. Just cut 'em up, they burn good and hot and coal well. I do have to turn the air down because they burn too hot. I find the best pallets at mason supply yards, steel trench plate suppliers, construction sites- Think heavy stuff. I have collected dunnage that comes from steel delivery to construction sites, good stuff.
  11. DanCorcoran

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 5, 2010
    Richmond, VA

    I just put two and two together: many folks complain about the lack of humidity when using a woodstove. Others complain their wood is too wet. Solution: dry the wood indoors!

    I'm already working on the design for a livingroom wood drying line...kind of like a clothesline, but stronger. You could have splits dangling all around the living room!
  12. Snotrocket

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Sep 17, 2011
    Where exactly in Maine are you? I know somebody who sells kiln dried in the Damariscotta area.

    You should be buying next years firewood now, or at least be in the process of splitting it if you're doing it yourself.
  13. bluedogz

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Oct 9, 2011
    NE Maryland
    I understand the thinking... but please don't do this.
  14. maple1

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Sep 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    But don't forget to re-split it small. Very important for drying times approaching anything 'quick'.

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