If push came to shove, what is the highest moisture content that you would burn?

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Garbanzo62

Minister of Fire
Aug 25, 2022
629
Connecticut
Since it is my first season, I am a bit low on burnable wood. I have a lot of Ash cut and stacked from dead standing and recently fallen trees. Some is below 20% and some is above. The well seasoned wood that I have that was split and stacked 4 years ago is dwindling fast and I have some slabwood below 20 that I am burning. I try to put a mix of each in the box each time. The ash was split and stacked late August. Some was on the punky side and I am finding that is drying out the fastest. I am hoping to pick up more slabwood next week if it is available.
I know I can look for pallets and biobricks etc and that below 20% is optimal, but assuming I have none of that available, what is the highest MC that I should consider as usable? (P.S. I am going to split some small and stack by the insert to dry it out faster, but If I can get away with throwing some 22 - 25% pieces in with each load, then I'll split and stack stuff higher than that by the stove).
 
20%
 
If we didn't have any dry wood and we had to burn wet wood, I'd be burning the driest stuff I could find. That would be ash, elm, dead standing, lumber scraps, cardboard bales, etc...

It depends on your stove though. Many newer stoves can't physically burn wet wood. We have a big cookstove that will burn whatever you can stuff inside. (5 cu ft firebox) we burned wet wood for the first several years before getting ahead.
 
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I'll burn anything before I'm cold
This ^ ^ ^
I'd go into the low 20's if I had too, especially if I have some real dry stuff to mix in with it, so that I can get a nice hot fire going...which is about the only way you'll be able to burn wetter stuff, get 'er hot and keep it hot! Reloading on plenty of hot coals works best.
 
Growing up in the Boy Scouts, we did winter weekend trips. Usually, an uninsulated cabin, with an open ceiling and single pane windows up on blocks with an old wood stove in the middle. We burned anything we could find, the stoves were strictly a source of radiant heat, they really could not heat up the space so soon after going to bed the stove burnt out its load and the building cooled down quickly to the outdoor temp. Most of the weekend was spent hauling and cutting wood from the surrounding woods. We did not cut live trees but were not opposed to grabbing recently live trees that had been knocked over. No doubt some of it was close to green. The stoves got started with the dryest wood we had and then we just added wood with the air cranked up. Wet wood can be burnt, just split it small and realize that most of the heat is going up the stack as water vapor.
 
At some point you burn what you’ve got. Cutting up free pallets got me through my first year burning.

Compressed sawdust blocks will work too. I’ve used the ones from tractor supply.
 
Since it is my first season, I am a bit low on burnable wood. I have a lot of Ash cut and stacked from dead standing and recently fallen trees. Some is below 20% and some is above. The well seasoned wood that I have that was split and stacked 4 years ago is dwindling fast and I have some slabwood below 20 that I am burning. I try to put a mix of each in the box each time. The ash was split and stacked late August. Some was on the punky side and I am finding that is drying out the fastest. I am hoping to pick up more slabwood next week if it is available.
I know I can look for pallets and biobricks etc and that below 20% is optimal, but assuming I have none of that available, what is the highest MC that I should consider as usable? (P.S. I am going to split some small and stack by the insert to dry it out faster, but If I can get away with throwing some 22 - 25% pieces in with each load, then I'll split and stack stuff higher than that by the stove).

The highest MC ill go is not over 18%. With the information on the site, really there's no reason to burn sub par wood. Id mix the driest wood with the higher MC wood and maybe throw in a bio brick.. Its the end of December.. Id pick up a bunch of them while you can at a local TSC..
Even as a first year burner.. You could have put together a basic solar kiln in August and had ALL your wood at sub 18%MC. Its December.. Me, personally Ill start splitting in 2 weeks for myself as well as the people I sell to.. The wood I will sell, will be kiln dried this summer and be 8% MC by September. If all your good wood is gone You should consider this strategy for this coming fall.. This will help you get ahead. If you plan correctly You should only have to kiln dry this years wood.. fall 2022.. you should also split the wood you will need for fall 2023 now and that will be dry by then.. Keep splitting..
 
Rarely check moisture content anymore. My firewood sits in stacks with plenty of sun and air flow for 20-24 months...no matter the species. This is my process and while some of the oaks may be slightly north of 20%, the maple, hickory and sweetgum are well below. I have the capacity for two winters of firewood so its kinda "ready or not" I'm burning after two years. This works for me.
 
The highest MC ill go is not over 18%. With the information on the site, really there's no reason to burn sub par wood. Id mix the driest wood with the higher MC wood and maybe throw in a bio brick.. Its the end of December.. Id pick up a bunch of them while you can at a local TSC..
Even as a first year burner.. You could have put together a basic solar kiln in August and had ALL your wood at sub 18%MC. Its December.. Me, personally Ill start splitting in 2 weeks for myself as well as the people I sell to.. The wood I will sell, will be kiln dried this summer and be 8% MC by September. If all your good wood is gone You should consider this strategy for this coming fall.. This will help you get ahead. If you plan correctly You should only have to kiln dry this years wood.. fall 2022.. you should also split the wood you will need for fall 2023 now and that will be dry by then.. Keep splitting..


At my family cabin I had lots of 3 year old oak. A spring flood washed it down the lake. I got some white pine to replace it as that’ll season fast. It washed out that fall.


Unexpected, bad things happen sometimes. I ended up buying bricks from tractor supply and eating some wood from a friends cabin.
 
If my wood is over 20% I mix in compressed bricks, I've been burning long enough that I can tell when I grab a piece of wood that's it's going to be a problem and I'll throw a couple compressed bricks in.
 
Can someone share the li k for building a solar kiln? I tried the search function and all I get is people mentioning it, but no actual kiln.
 
Can someone share the li k for building a solar kiln? I tried the search function and all I get is people mentioning it, but no actual kiln.

all the links are in my signature
 
Probably ~15% edge, 22~23% center. Anything more moist is just a hassle and not worth it. It won't catch properly, I can't really turn the air down, sometimes I have to burn with door cracked open, blueish smoke everywhere in my yard freaking out the chickens and embarrassing me in front of neighbors.
 
I just registered for herth.com found out by doing some other googling on my wood fireplace. I saw that someone mentioned a solar kiln and you posted it's in your signature I don't understand that. Could you please clarify. Merry Christmas thanks

.If your usi g your phone.. turn it sideways..and all the info in my signature will pop up.. see picture below

If push came to shove, what is the highest moisture content that you would burn?
 
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If my power was out and the only wood I had was cut yesterday I would be burning it. Half the BTUs would be used for boiling water but it will still keep me warm and keep the pipes from freezing. Extenuating circumstances aside, I won't burn anything higher than the low 20's MC.
 
I have an outside woodstove that I’ve burned some pretty high Mc wood in. I usually use it to burn extra cardboard, or papers with bank info etc on them. But I’ve also made maple syrup on it. When I’m doing that sometimes I’ll throw in scraps from fresh split wood.

Once you get it up to temp, you can feed it whatever you wood you want and it doesn’t even smoke. As long as you feed it one or two pieces at a time.

If you load it up with cardboard, it looks like this at night :)
It has a 6’ piece of insulated chimney on it.



The stove in the house I wouldn’t put more than low 20’s Mc wood in it.

If push came to shove, what is the highest moisture content that you would burn?
 
OK just picked up another 2 loads of slabwood. $80 for the wood Truck rental was 66 and gas was 11. Figured 1 got about 1.2 cords. Now just need to cut to length , check MC and stack. Some will need more time. Hoping at least half is burnable now.

If push came to shove, what is the highest moisture content that you would burn?
 
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