Ever Seen Green Wood to Dry THIS Fast?

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GreenMountainBoy

New Member
Aug 17, 2020
15
Western MA
About 8 weeks ago, I had two cords of freshly cut green wood delivered. A mix of red oak, cherry, red maple, white birch, and black birch. I know it was just cut because of the weight and the wonderful smells. I had both cords stacked by mid-August. Fast forward to now. The wood has been stacked and drying for between 6-8 weeks, depending on where it was in the pile that was delivered. So yesterday I decided to see how the drying process was going and put my moisture meter on about 25 splits - on both ends and in the middle. I was shocked to get a reading of 16-17% on every split. Figuring the battery in the unit might be dying (it isn't that old), I checked a board of pressure-treated pine I purchased just last week. The meter pegged at its top reading, 35%.

So I live in Western MA. Our August and September have been unusually dry, windy, with very low humidity and except for 4-5 days, sunny and warm. Total rain at my place since early August has been less than .75" - only about .25" all September. Normally we get about 3.5" per month here, with 7-8" per month not being unusual due to thunderstorms in the summer.

Has anyone ever seen wood dry this fast, from wet to 16% in eight weeks, given the mix of woods I received? I don't care what the weather is, it seems impossible, especially with the red oak. But the meter pegged on the pressure-treated, as it should have, and the cut faces of the wood are already turning dark brown. Anyone ever seen wood dry this fast, especially the New Englanders on here and folks from the Pacific Northwest or Great Lakes regions?

Much obliged!
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,974
Marshall NC
Not possible for red oak to dry in 8 weeks.
 
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moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,791
Iowa
You need to re-split your test pieces and check the freshly exposed interior face. Checking the "ends" and I assume the previously weathered "exterior middle" means zero. Fill us in on what the interior testing reveals.
 

Dmitry

Minister of Fire
Oct 4, 2014
1,053
CT

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,967
Woolwich nj
About 8 weeks ago, I had two cords of freshly cut green wood delivered. A mix of red oak, cherry, red maple, white birch, and black birch. I know it was just cut because of the weight and the wonderful smells. I had both cords stacked by mid-August. Fast forward to now. The wood has been stacked and drying for between 6-8 weeks, depending on where it was in the pile that was delivered. So yesterday I decided to see how the drying process was going and put my moisture meter on about 25 splits - on both ends and in the middle. I was shocked to get a reading of 16-17% on every split. Figuring the battery in the unit might be dying (it isn't that old), I checked a board of pressure-treated pine I purchased just last week. The meter pegged at its top reading, 35%.

So I live in Western MA. Our August and September have been unusually dry, windy, with very low humidity and except for 4-5 days, sunny and warm. Total rain at my place since early August has been less than .75" - only about .25" all September. Normally we get about 3.5" per month here, with 7-8" per month not being unusual due to thunderstorms in the summer.

Has anyone ever seen wood dry this fast, from wet to 16% in eight weeks, given the mix of woods I received? I don't care what the weather is, it seems impossible, especially with the red oak. But the meter pegged on the pressure-treated, as it should have, and the cut faces of the wood are already turning dark brown. Anyone ever seen wood dry this fast, especially the New Englanders on here and folks from the Pacific Northwest or Great Lakes regions?

Much obliged!
your not checking the splits correctly..
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,733
Northern Maine
No way is that dry.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,277
Ottawa, ON
Agree with all comments here.
 

hickoryhoarder

Minister of Fire
Apr 5, 2013
649
Indiana
Agree with others.

It has been a very dry and warm period. August and September have fairly long days. But even the cherry would probably need 4-6 months under those conditions.

My hunch is if you split one of your splits, you'd get some pretty fresh smell from it, especially red oak. If I split a red oak split after a year, it usually still has a strong odor.
 

MainePatsFan

Member
Nov 24, 2007
70
Southern Maine
Go ahead and split one of your red oak splits and try to start a fire with it. If it starts to burn easily then your meter is right. If it does not light or if it only does under a massive kindling pile but you see steam hissing from the ends, then your meter is not working.
 
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MainePatsFan

Member
Nov 24, 2007
70
Southern Maine
I had two 70+ year old red oaks dropped in April here in one of the worst drought areas of New England. They were sitting on the ground all spring and summer. I finally cut them into rounds about 3 weeks ago. When the splitter wedge sinks into the rounds I can see moisture getting squeezed out around the wedge. When they are split the inside looks like nice red oak flooring. I am hoping to be able to start burning this wood by January 2022.
 

MissMac

Minister of Fire
Dec 4, 2017
867
NW Ontario
Agree with all comments here - that wood is not as dry as you think it is. Not sure what the weather is like currently where you are, but first you need to collect several pieces and bring them up to room temp. (in the winter, this would mean bringing them in the house and letting them warm up for 48hrs). Then, once they are at room temperature, put a fresh split in each, and test the face of the fresh split. This is the MC of your wood.

Also, you can check the calibration of most moisture meters. Mine has a place in the little lid that covers the prongs for me to push into, and if it's calibrated, it's supposed to read a certain MC +/- 1%. Your manual will tell you how. This is good practice, although from your description I'm sure that the biggest reason your readings are off is due to your methodology.

Good luck!
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
545
NW Wisconsin
Not impossible, but not that common either. I'm sure I will get hounded for this, but I have had wood dry much faster than is commonly accepted. Some of it takes a while, but some dries crazy fast. When the splits ring like bowling pins, they're dry.
 
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johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,635
Eastern Ontario
Not impossible, but not that common either. I'm sure I will get hounded for this, but I have had wood dry much faster than is commonly accepted. Some of it takes a while, but some dries crazy fast. When the splits ring like bowling pins, they're dry.
X2
Where I dry my Oak and Sugar Maple if it is stacked before the middle of April
it will be at 19 % on3 different moisture meters by the end of September
Only on very wet years is it at 20 to 22% . I am in my 42 year of burning
wood to heat this old barn of a Farm House
 

MainePatsFan

Member
Nov 24, 2007
70
Southern Maine
I see these moisture meters are pretty cheap. Now I think I want to get another gadget. But what are the moisture percentages for each: Green, Seasoned, Dry?
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,805
Central Mass
Maybe, if you're doing everything right but Im dubious, I can get oak seasoned in a year, I don't understand these three year comments, maybe my spot is more conducive to drying.
 
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fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
3,053
Massachusetts
oak can season in a few weeks. if you dry it in a kiln
 

Jeff S

Feeling the Heat
Aug 31, 2008
344
Kimball,Michigan
It's extra work but if you need your wood dry in a short period of time you can benefit from splitting your wood into much smaller pieces.
 
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