getting knotty uglies to season faster

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mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
472
California redwood coast
I did some tree trimming with non-native tree which has produced some solid heavy wood, but lots of twists, branches, etc that make it nearly impossible to split the 16" sections and they are inefficient to stack with respect to taking up space. Some even start as one piece and branch into two partway. I'd hate to not use them as they seem to have a good amount of BTU. Not splitting these ~5" diameter uglies, however, I fear will take a long time to season and thus take up storage space for many years.

Do any of you cut uglies down to smaller chunks to speed up the seasoning? Any other suggestions? Unfortunately, wood is expensive in my area and collecting free wood isn't easy or reliable for me.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,428
South Puget Sound, WA
At 5" diameter I leave them alone. They will be ready eventually and due to the wood density they may burn extra long.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,492
Fairbanks, Alaska
You can rip those in half with a chainsaw instead of splitting them but it is much easier to do when they are still attached to a heavy piece of tree. I agree with begreen, just give them an extra year or three.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,316
07462
Do what I do, get yourself a pallet, take about 10ft of metal garden fencing and make a cylinder out it, tie ends with bailing wire (pliers and twist the wire on each other) now you have a tall cylinder on a pallet, random throw the uglies / shorties in for drying.
 
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FramerJ

New Member
Mar 18, 2021
41
Missouri
Do what I do, get yourself a pallet, take about 10ft of metal garden fencing and make a cylinder out it, tie ends with bailing wire (pliers and twist the wire on each other) now you have a tall cylinder on a pallet, random throw the uglies / shorties in for drying.
Yep- thats exactly what I do too. Had some left over chicken/rabbit fencing from my garden and just made a cylinder. Works great.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,846
Northern Maine
Fire pit but I run them thru the splitter and half them.
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,883
Central Mass
I made a box out of pool pallets and chicken wire like the guys above, I let them sit for 3-4 years and use it in shoulder season. Stuff I have now is 5 years seasoned and burns great, I did put a cover over my pallet box so the wood never gets wet.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
472
California redwood coast
Do what I do, get yourself a pallet, take about 10ft of metal garden fencing and make a cylinder out it, tie ends with bailing wire (pliers and twist the wire on each other) now you have a tall cylinder on a pallet, random throw the uglies / shorties in for drying.
I've seen this done before. Sounds like something I should do.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,132
Massachusetts
I just made a mini 8' long cinder block and 2x4 rack with scraps I had laying around (my usual stacks are 16'). It's mostly full now though so I think I'll try the cylinder idea next season! Thankfully I'm largely done processing wood for the year. :cool:

Until I find more free stuff lol.
 

hickoryhoarder

Minister of Fire
Apr 5, 2013
674
Indiana
5" can season pretty well without splitting. Shorter pieces do season faster. But if they're 16" I'd leave 'em be.
 

WoodBurnerInWI

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2020
278
Madison, WI
I've been looking into the metal holders commonly used for things like the IBC totes as a possible solution for storing all the random hunks and chunks I produce during the year. Currently these random wood pieces are just tossed onto one of my extra 10 ft pallets. I do have some extra wire laying around the yard so I might also see if I can build one of those "towers" of wire.
 

walhondingnashua

Feeling the Heat
Jul 23, 2016
430
ohio
If you don't want to use the wire, I just screwed a few pallets together in the side of my woodshed that I keep the splitter and other random stuff I don't want in the garage. about a pallet tall, 2 feet wide and 8 feet long. Holds a lot of good random piece that I can burn in the outside fire pit, shoulder season wood, or if people ask to "borrow" some wood for a fire.
 

bigealta

Feeling the Heat
May 22, 2010
363
Utah, NJ
or if people ask to "borrow" some wood for a fire.
Ha Yup. Sappy pine and un splittable chunks go to them. When i hear "hey you have So Much wood" can i have some, i always think Hmm if i saw all the dollar bills in your bank account would you mind if i just go there and "borrow" some.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,132
Massachusetts
I'm so protective of my wood. I put so much work into it, the thought of simply giving it away to be used in a fire pit or open fireplace makes me upset.

Thankfully my property abuts an old abandoned apple orchard. The old owners son (son is probably 70 now) manages the 40 acres as forestry. He likes to go in with his small excavator and drag out standing dead stuff, buck/split it up, and sell it for $100 per 1/3 cord + $50 local delivery or just come get it. The wood isn't A+ but it's better than what most people have. It's mostly oak and around 20-24% at any given point, he gets a lot of wind on it, so when people want wood I just bring them over there to give the guy some business.

Honestly 22% oak for $300/cord is a pretty damn good deal around here. Most places charge $300-400 and it's gonna be mixed hardwoods that aren't remotely dry.
 

patrickk222

New Member
Mar 28, 2021
57
alderson wv
I did some tree trimming with non-native tree which has produced some solid heavy wood, but lots of twists, branches, etc that make it nearly impossible to split the 16" sections and they are inefficient to stack with respect to taking up space. Some even start as one piece and branch into two partway. I'd hate to not use them as they seem to have a good amount of BTU. Not splitting these ~5" diameter uglies, however, I fear will take a long time to season and thus take up storage space for many years.

Do any of you cut uglies down to smaller chunks to speed up the seasoning? Any other suggestions? Unfortunately, wood is expensive in my area and collecting free wood isn't easy or reliable for me.
for me i usually store my uglues in place thats outta the way for a period in time then when i need em for burnin out a stump or an old grape vine ill usually bust em out for that sorta stuff and seldom bonfires
 

The.Devo

Member
May 26, 2018
41
MA
My firewood and the stacks have become something of an obsession with me. All of the uglies that won't stack well get put in my lawn tractor trailer and driven two doors down to my neighbors house for his firepit. I get rid of my uglies, he gets firepit wood and I always have a partner who is willing to have a couple of sodas with me. Win, Win
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,135
Sand Lake, NY
I have some plastic garbage cans that I drilled holes in the side, close to bottom, so they could drain. I pile the uglies in there and put the cover on, sticking up for ventilation, and bungeed in place. It seems to dry fine. The garbage cans can be moved with a hand truck, and this year laid them on their side in the bucket of the tractor and lined up the 5 cans near the garage. Moved them in with the hand truck. Still a PITA to bring inside. The 5 buckets are what was left over from a tri-axle load.

It's more of a aesthetic thing to get rid of them. I don't have a burn pit.

Edit: The mice seem to like the shelter. Interesting how they can gnaw larger holes in the plastic.