How Long Will Wood Last?

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TurkII

New Member
Oct 20, 2013
4
CT
A few months ago I took down a significant number of large trees and the tree company cut everything into 18" logs for me. Is there a rule of thumb as to how many years wood will last before it rots to the point of uselessness?

Right now I have split and stacked enough wood for about three years. None of it is seasoned yet, so I hope to start burning it next year and for the following years afterwards. Is this too much wood that I have split? Will some of this rot before it can be used in 3+ years?

Additionally I probably have enough unsplit logs to make 12-15 more cords. Should I split more now for future years or leave it unsplit until the year before I plan to burn it? And is there any theory as to when the logs will be completely useless due to rotting?
 

Jon1270

Minister of Fire
Aug 25, 2012
2,048
Pittsburgh, PA
www.workbyhand.com
Really depends on species, whether you get it off the ground, and whether you shelter it from the weather. Kept thoroughly dry, wood lasts indefinitely. Wet, some woods get punky very quickly while others last for decades. In any case dry is better for storage, so splitting sooner rather than later is a good idea.
 

Bigg_Redd

Minister of Fire
Oct 19, 2008
4,153
Shelton, WA
A few months ago I took down a significant number of large trees and the tree company cut everything into 18" logs for me. Is there a rule of thumb as to how many years wood will last before it rots to the point of uselessness?

Right now I have split and stacked enough wood for about three years. None of it is seasoned yet, so I hope to start burning it next year and for the following years afterwards. Is this too much wood that I have split? Will some of this rot before it can be used in 3+ years?

Additionally I probably have enough unsplit logs to make 12-15 more cords. Should I split more now for future years or leave it unsplit until the year before I plan to burn it? And is there any theory as to when the logs will be completely useless due to rotting?
It depends on species. Get it off the ground and under cover and it has an indefinitely shelf life.
 

My Oslo heats my home

Minister of Fire
Sep 20, 2010
1,584
South Shore, MA
If you have the time and can get the rounds split and stacked, do it. Let it dry and if you have some storage (like a barn) it will keep nice for years until you use it
 

Lumber-Jack

Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2008
2,007
Beautiful British Columbia
And is there any theory as to when the logs will be completely useless due to rotting?
The rule is to split it and stack it so it can dry out. Don't just throw it in a pile. As others have said, try and keep it up off the ground, otherwise the ones on the ground will rot. If you don't have a woodshed to store it in, you'll eventually want to top cover the stacks to help keep them dry for the long term.
If you just leave the wood in a pile on the ground and / or exposed to the rain it could start to rot in a year or two, depending on the species and how wet your climate is.
 
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gerry100

Minister of Fire
May 16, 2008
742
NY Capitol Region
wood decays when it can't get dry, if you keep it where water can't pool or penetrate into the cracks it will last a long time.

You need to split it so the internal moisture can migrate out, if you don't many species will rot under the bark

(BTW- having too much dry firewood is like having too much money)
 
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Applesister

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2012
2,483
Upstate NY
Find some steel pipe or small saplings or something to role the logs onto to get them off the ground. If you can seperate the wood from soil contact then just keep plugging away at it.
You have a great windfall of wood.
You can spend the time it takes to cut it and drag it home, splitting instead.
It may seem daunting but if you pick a routine it will be like going to the gym.
Builds muscles.
Have fun...
 
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Paulywalnut

Minister of Fire
Nov 29, 2012
2,659
Kennett Square, PA
I had a mulberry laying down ten years in my back property line. I c/s/s the whole tree last year.
No bark at all no punky wood. Smaller splits are at 17% already. Great firewood.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
We usually have our wood burned up before it has been in the stack 10 years. However, I've known a couple to have burned some 20 year old wood.

Just be sure to stack it off the ground and top cover it. Never cover the sides or ends; only the top. Here is how we do it.

Christmas-2008d.JPG Wood-3-4-10d.JPG Wood-2009a.JPG Wood-2009e.JPG
 

Hickorynut

Feeling the Heat
Jan 10, 2012
344
western ky.
Alot of great answers on this. My experience, topcover after a year or two off the ground at the very least. A well ventilated woodshed off the ground out of the weather and your wood could last indefinitely.:)
 

gregbesia

Feeling the Heat
Jan 26, 2009
354
central CT
I think it will rot really fast but I'm a nice guy and will take some off your hands :)
 
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