Getting wood dry enough for next season

KennyK Posted By KennyK, Mar 10, 2018 at 7:08 PM

  1. Montanalocal

    Montanalocal
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    Dec 22, 2014
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    I learned the hard way about building a heavy weight-bearing deck. I had an existing deck that I wanted to expand to put a hot tub on. A large hot tub full of water is rather heavy. I contacted a contractor to build my deck expansion, and told him what I wanted it for. Well, he did not do it properly. He built it like most decks are built, with a rim joist around the edge sitting on the supporting posts, and then the cross stringers were merely nailed in from the sides of the rim joist. In other words, the only thing holding the weigh of the deck was the nails coming in from the side of the rim joist.

    Well after I had installed the hot tub and filled it with water, I noticed that the stringers were sagging, because the nails were bending. I had to disassemble the deck supports, and install a perimeter beam underneath the stringers, consisting of three 2 X 6's screwed together and installed on top of the vertical supports. The stringers were then supported securely on top of the perimeter beam. Make sure your contractor knows that you want a heavy duty deck that can take weight and is built like this.
     
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  2. KJamesJR

    KJamesJR
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    Jan 8, 2018
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    I'm in this same boat right now. I've dropped about half a dozen sugar maples and cherry. With the weather though (and another nor'easter coming) I haven't gotten around to bucking and splitting it. Not like it would dry covered in snow anyways. I saw a thread on here about a kind of solar kiln. I was thinking of doing a simplified version of with some clear mil plastic. Might be worth looking in to if you haven't got a covered wood shed.
     
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  3. Durantefarm

    Durantefarm
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    Jan 7, 2018
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    I actually looked into that also ! So many options and everyone has diff opinions on each . I’m going to tarp some , keep some exposed and going to make a simple solar kiln .
     
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  4. MissMac

    MissMac
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    Dec 4, 2017
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    I second this - get some pine!! It throws some really hot heat, and fast! And as long as you've got it split this spring and stacked somewhere where the sun and wind can hit it, it will be good and ready for you come next winter. Mine was measuring between 12-16% this fall, and was green going into last summer (some of it)
     
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  5. Simonkenton

    Simonkenton
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    Feb 27, 2014
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    My woodshed is 8 x 12 feet.
    I know the prevailing wisdom is that wood needs ventilation. And that makes sense.
    Nobody else has a woodshed like mine, so only I know how well this non-ventilated woodshed works.
    From green to dry in 7 months, oak and beech. No kidding.
     
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  6. KennyK

    KennyK
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    Oct 26, 2011
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    That's where it's at! I don't doubt you. 8 x 12 x 4 would give you three cords, but it looks like you can go quite a bit higher than 4'. How many cords do you/can you get in there?
     
  7. ValleyCottageSplitter

    ValleyCottageSplitter
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    Dec 11, 2016
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    I had good luck with this single row covered rack I made. Just the standard cinder block design with some uprights to hold a 4' wide tarp. It holds 1/4 cord per segment and can easily be taken down or moved. I got some recently dead ash cut and split @36% in June 2017 and by December it was reading 18% (measuring a fresh split with the grain). Smaller splits with lots of sun and air. I'm surrounded by trees but it get's the most sun as possible. I think the single layer makes a big difference. It was burning great this winter. It's not very space efficient but that is as fast as you'll get without some type of solar kiln.

    My Norway Maple on the other hand was going slowly. It was CSS in March, moved to this rack in June and is sitting around 24-26% now.

    I may expand it to 2 cord to fence the rest of the tree line... The other 3 cords are slowly seasoning tarped on pallets in the woods.

    Good luck.
     

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  8. Rich L

    Rich L
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    Jan 25, 2008
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    Loc:
    Eastern,Ma.
    Kenny sometimes my wood is not seasoned as well as I like so I buy a pallet of canawick bricks from norther fence on route 1.I'll put three or four bricks in the stove at one side of the wood.Start the bricks going which burn super hot and they in turn get the wood going easily.
     
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  9. FLINT

    FLINT
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    Dec 5, 2008
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    Norway maple is kind of between the soft maples (red and silver) and the hard maples (sugar and black).

    I think the fastest way to season is to do a single uncovered stack in the most exposed area in your yard, where the sun can beat on it. leave it there all summer. then in the fall, put it all in a shed if you have one.
     
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  10. KennyK

    KennyK
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    Oct 26, 2011
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    Thanks Rich! Very helpful info. Can you use the canawick bricks by themselves? On Northeastern Fence's website, they claim that these are highly efficient, burn longer, and can be used for heating or starting material.
     
  11. KennyK

    KennyK
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    Oct 26, 2011
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    I split most of the Norway Maple before the blizzard - about a 1/3 of a cord. I made the splits thin for the most part and stacked in a double row, though I can adjust that, and stacked alternating direction - not sure if that makes a difference or not (I've heard mixed opinions). Pic below (need to work on my stacking skills a bit!) I have a few more rounds of the Norway Maple, and another third of a cord or so of cut rounds of an unidentified tree (need to work on my tree identifying skills too!) that fell in the "no man's land" between a few abutting houses onto my property this past fall. I also have at least another cord or so of the rest of that tree, which is mostly suspended off the group and perhaps another cord of another tree that has been on the ground for a couple years (I have to look to see what condition that's in). My very nice neighbor, with whom I share a back yard (we live in a single family attached house, like a side-by-side duplex), is going to give me a chainsaw less to go at these!

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  12. DuaeGuttae

    DuaeGuttae
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    Oct 26, 2016
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    I don’t recall details of what you own, and I know nothing about your neighbor, but I wanted to offer up chainsaw rule number 1: Buy and don all proper personal protection equipment before undertaking work. A lot of folks seem to scoff at that. I just don’t get it.
     
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  13. Simonkenton

    Simonkenton
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    Feb 27, 2014
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    If you decide to build a non-ventilated woodshed, here is what you need to do:

    1. Get it off the ground. Mine is 16 inches off the ground in front and 5 feet in the back, built on a hill. You need air circulation under the structure.
    2. Metal roof, all wood walls and floor. No paint, no stain on the wood. Water vapor readily passes through bare wood.
    3. Massive roof overhangs. We don't want the rain to hit the walls we want those walls dry.
    4. Set it out where the sun shines. It is a solar powered wood drying kiln. We want sunshine on the roof and walls as much as possible.
     
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  14. Rich L

    Rich L
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    Jan 25, 2008
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    Yes Kenny you can burn them by themselves.These things got so hot once I thought my stove was going to melt.Next time around I didn't use as many.I find them to burn longer than bio-bricks,hot bricks, and envi blocks.However the longest burning wood blocks that I've come across are the Idaho logs and the Hot brick logs.
     
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  15. ValleyCottageSplitter

    ValleyCottageSplitter
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    Dec 11, 2016
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    I had my N Maple crib stacked uncovered in the woods like that from March- May. It was raining 5 days a week on average. I quickly changed my mind and got a tarp just for the top. I had exactly 1/3 cord, 4x8x1.5 regular stack. It came out to eight 4.5' tall cross stacks. Still wasn't ready by November with the cover.
    Ash is your best friend for starting a wood stash, if you can find any...
     

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  16. Rich L

    Rich L
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    Jan 25, 2008
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    I also find if you cover the top and a little of the sides with black rubber roofing that black absorbs serious heat from the sun and will bake the moisture out of the wood.Just don't cover the wood totally so the moisture can escape.
     
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  17. KennyK

    KennyK
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    Oct 26, 2011
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    Very good reminder! My neighbor is very cautious about safety. That said, what is the personal protection equipment I should be getting if I'm going to use a chainsaw?
     
  18. Simonkenton

    Simonkenton
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    Feb 27, 2014
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    I always use Stihl "headphones" to protect the ears. Sometimes use earplugs and the headphones.
     
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  19. Alpine1

    Alpine1
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    Apr 27, 2017
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    If the use you make is limited (i.e. a few hours per year) steel toe boots, chainsaw chaps and eye and ear protection will suffice IF YOU ARE VERY CAUTIOUS.
    For prolonged (professional) use add helmet, jacket and gloves. It’s quite pricey gear, but will last many years.
    And your arms, legs, fingers etc are pretty valuable tools.
     
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  20. DuaeGuttae

    DuaeGuttae
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    Oct 26, 2016
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    I, too, would consider boots, chaps, and eye and ear protection the minimum. My husband always uses gloves, and recently we’ve both acquired forestry helmets with face shield and ear protection built in. In our former home in suburbia we never had occasion to do anything other than deal with wood that was already down, often already bucked as well. We’ve moved and have a lot of work to do. We’ve discovered since acquiring the helmets that we actually prefer to use them all the time. I particularly like the mesh face shield.

    The protective gear is pricey but so is a trip to the emergency room. We’ve never had an accident while working with wood and hope never to, but we also make sure that someone is around for medical assistance and to call 911 if necessary.

    There are also good training videos on chainsaw use on some of the manufacturers’ websites as well as educational documents put out by forestry services. They really are worth a look.
     
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  21. Jeffm1

    Jeffm1
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    Jun 15, 2015
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    Hatchet, small handsaw or depending on their thickness, your chainsaw. Then when the trunk in de-limbed, buck it into rounds.
     
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  22. KennyK

    KennyK
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    Oct 26, 2011
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    Hey firefighterjake, as we say in Boston, "you're wicked smaaaaht!" I just scored the motherload of high quality wood exactly as you said. I've been on the lookout and found a wood burner who recently put his house on the market and was looking to get rid of his wood stash. I bought three plus cords of 3-year split (all right around 16 inches) and stacked oak, maple and a bit of cherry (some of which I'll be cutting into smaller chunks to go into my smoker and impart some delicious flavor into ribs and chicken!) for $150!!! I rented a 15 foot uhaul cargo truck, and made two trips (had to make two trips due to weight concerns more than space). The guy even helped me load it all up and threw in a big blue tarp, a couple nice rubber roof pieces great for covering a cord or two, and six nice wood fence posts that he had the wood stacked on. Pics below. The wood burns great and I split a few pieces after sitting in the house for a day and they measure 14% on my moisture meter. The uhaul was another $100, plus $30 in gas, so for $280 and a good days work, I've now got three cords ready to go (plus the wood I already had)! I'm feeling that I'm now in a good place as I can start thinking about getting ahead, seasoning wood for future years without stressing about the now and next season. But first, a good amount of stacking in my near future!

    One question for y'all: I've got a space for about two cords build next to the foundation of my house. It's a concrete base up against the outside of the fieldstone basement of my home, and under a wooden deck. I believe it was intended for storing wood or coal. I put some pallets down to not have the wood right on the concrete. I'm thinking that as this wood is seasoned, I'll store as much of it as I can stacked there (it's the closest space for wood I have to the house and probably not great for seasoning, as it doesn't get sun and less wind than other areas). As it's right up against my home I worry a bit about bugs, especially the wood eating kind that could potentially effect my home, and possibly also mice. Should I put some bug/ant poison down and possibly some mouse traps or poison before I stack the wood there, and/or also on top of the wood? If so, what do you recommend?
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  23. KennyK

    KennyK
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    Oct 26, 2011
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    I'm starting to get a hang of this keep your eyes open for wood all the time thing. Today I passed a team of three guys taking a tree down. I pulled over and asked them if I could have some of the rounds. They smiled and were happy to lighten their load. They cut some logs into manageable pieces and I took as much as I could. They said it was oak - I'm not sure. Look correct from these pics?

    Also, anyone have any ideas on what I wrote in my last post about stacking my seasoned wood in a space next to the foundation of my house under my deck - should I spread any bug/ant/mouse poison or traps before stacking the wood there?

    IMG_2024.JPG IMG_2026.JPG
     
  24. Ctwoodtick

    Ctwoodtick
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    Jun 5, 2015
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    Good score! Looks like hard maple to me.
     
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  25. Simonkenton

    Simonkenton
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    Feb 27, 2014
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    Might be oak I am not sure. But, you got a lot of joints there, places where a big branch comes off of the trunk. Nearly impossible to split with a maul, hope you have a gasoline powered splitter.

    I haven't had much problem with bugs getting into outside wood piles. I have had some rats get in there but you can always add a rat trap later. Do what I did get a Havahart trap, that way if it is a squirrel or chipmunk you can let him go.
     
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