Long dead on the ground red oak

MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
403
NE Missouri
I've been out scrounging for dead wood, and found some nice long dead, laying on the ground, red oak with the inner bark crumbling away. The wood looked great, however after splitting I noticed light oval colored spots scattered along the grain. When burning it seemed punky, and wanted more air to burn. With small splits, like 2x3 inches, it seemed to get past the punkiness and burned ok. I do not know what the moisture content is. Are the light spots a sign of bad wood and an early sign of decay? Is the wood salvageable, or relegate it to the outdoor fire pit?

Both pictures are of the same split, with one pic zoomed in.

2 (2).JPG 1 (2).jpg
 
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Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
915
SW Missoura
I would put it in the fire pit stash. Looks to be on It's on it's way out and will burn fast in the stove but will be a good firestarter for a weiner roast.
 

MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
403
NE Missouri
I would put it in the fire pit stash. Looks to be on It's on it's way out and will burn fast in the stove but will be a good firestarter for a weiner roast.
That's is kind of what I thought. I put a lot of work into getting that bucked, moved and split... most of it appears solid, but too much is like that.
 

Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
915
SW Missoura
That's is kind of what I thought. I put a lot of work into getting that bucked, moved and split... most of it appears solid, but too much is like that.
I cut a bunch of red oak exactly like that once before and it ended up being a waste of time and effort as well. So don't feel bad. Some of it may very well be ok. The yellowish circles in the wood though indicate that it is rotting though. It will seem fine but as it dries it will get feather light and you won't get even a decent burn time and no coals. The plus side is it does make good kindling if you wanted to split it into smaller pieces and good firepit wood as you mentioned earlier.
 
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Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,703
Indiana
It is on its way out but you can mix it and get it burned up since you put the effort into it.
 

MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
403
NE Missouri
I cut a bunch of red oak exactly like that once before and it ended up being a waste of time and effort as well. So don't feel bad. Some of it may very well be ok. The yellowish circles in the wood though indicate that it is rotting though. It will seem fine but as it dries it will get feather light and you won't get even a decent burn time and no coals. The plus side is it does make good kindling if you wanted to split it into smaller pieces and good firepit wood as you mentioned earlier.
I'm probably only about 5 years too late on this wood. LOL It's good to have suspicions confirmed, that's the chances you take with wood, the inside doesn't always reveal itself until split. I did split some kindling size, since that's what wanted to burn. Large split the rest and move it to the pit pile and move on.
 
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MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
403
NE Missouri
It is on its way out but you can mix it and get it burned up since you put the effort into it.
Some will get mixed in, but I have a lot of dead wood available, which is a good thing as now I'm working on next years supply.
 
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johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,287
Eastern Ontario
Is every one of your splits look like that?
If not I would say it is a rare ray fleck in the wood
I have not seen many but a few and a furniture
maker pays a premium for boards with it
When it hits 20% or less it will burn fine
 
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MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
403
NE Missouri
Is every one of your splits look like that?
If not I would say it is a rare ray fleck in the wood
I have not seen many but a few and a furniture
maker pays a premium for boards with it
When it hits 20% or less it will burn fine
The trees were in partial contact with the ground, with sections of the trunks up and off the ground. These pieces were mostly ground contact, and that's why I'm thinking early rot. I've never heard of ray fleck, but with it being rare I shouldn't be surprised. I really need to bring a couple pieces inside and check the moisture content in a couple days, or when it warms up enough for my log splitter to start. LOL I really need to put synthetic oil in it..
 

hickoryhoarder

Minister of Fire
Apr 5, 2013
555
Indiana
I use it when it's like that. To me, it is on it's way out, but I put it on a hot fire.
 

ClintonH

Burning Hunk
Jan 4, 2014
103
NW OH
Here are some pictures of the wood. The last two are of the same section, one with the rotten bark "filleted" off.
Looks flammable to me. I'd burn that. It might be extra messy with that junk peeling off once fully dried.
 
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andym

Feeling the Heat
Feb 6, 2020
368
Hicksville, Ohio
First test the moisture. You don't know what you got until that's confirmed. It don't look too bad to me. I burned half a cord earlier this year of stuff that was very rotten, but dry. Short burn times and few coals. It still heated the house just fine. If it still looks like oak I would keep it. Unless you are one of those picky wood connessiours! (Don't think that got spelled right?)
 

MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
403
NE Missouri
Unless you are one of those picky wood connessiours! (Don't think that got spelled right?)
Did you call me a county sewer? (Sorry, couldn't resist) LOL I brought in a decent size split, I'll resplit next year (friday) and see what the moisture is.
 

MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
403
NE Missouri
I brought in a decent size split, I'll resplit next year (friday) and see what the moisture is.
After 3 days inside, the moisture level was surprisingly low at 21%. That seems low enough to slowly mix in with better wood, if I start getting low this year.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,686
Woolwich nj
After 3 days inside, the moisture level was surprisingly low at 21%. That seems low enough to slowly mix in with better wood, if I start getting low this year.
the splits will not lose that much in 3 days throughout the split. If I come across something on the ground ill do a test cut to see of its starting to get punky. I did a thread a few years back on seasoning full rounds. some of the stiff sat for 2 years and was off the ground on pallets and tarped and was still 35%MC and getting punky. A good indicator for oak is if the bark peals off and is wet.. its on its way out
 

MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
403
NE Missouri
the splits will not lose that much in 3 days throughout the split. If I come across something on the ground ill do a test cut to see of its starting to get punky. I did a thread a few years back on seasoning full rounds. some of the stiff sat for 2 years and was off the ground on pallets and tarped and was still 35%MC and getting punky. A good indicator for oak is if the bark peals off and is wet.. its on its way out
A lot of this was well settled on the ground, and I'm sure it's on it way out. Pretty much all of this was missing it's outer bark, and the inner bark is a mess or gone completely. I was targeting this kind of wood for next years burn, and hoping it would be in a little better shape.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,686
Woolwich nj
once you dry it the rot will stop, but the rot stole some of the BTUs from the wood making it not as good. The wood will be more dirty and burn quicker... This is why I check it out prior to considering on taking it. In the long run it usually is not worth the effort and storage space... unless your low on wood and in a pinch.. then its a possibility..
 

MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
403
NE Missouri
  • the rot stole some of the BTUs...
  • not worth the effort and storage space...
  • unless your low on wood and in a pinch...
Your last post boils down to those key points. I'm realizing what you're saying, unless I'm in a pinch I need to be a lot more selective. At this point I'm not in a pinch. But as mentioned earlier, I've put the time and effort into what I have, so I'll mix it into a hot fire, preferably after a year of being split.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,686
Woolwich nj
Your last post boils down to those key points. I'm realizing what you're saying, unless I'm in a pinch I need to be a lot more selective. At this point I'm not in a pinch. But as mentioned earlier, I've put the time and effort into what I have, so I'll mix it into a hot fire, preferably after a year of being split.
Yes your right.. you put the time and effort in.. so don't throw it away, or burn it in the pit. Mix it in. We have all been there. Next time if your good on wood and not jamed up be more selective. I and others as well are sitting on multiple years of wood so we can be selective. I started the year with 12 cords CSS.. I probably have 6+ cords in log lenth ready to be cut up, but burn no more than 4 cords in a year. I sold some of my wood to a friend who just got a stove.. like 2 cords. If you have the capability of storing multiple years of wood.. do so. all of my wood sits in wood sheds...no tarping
 
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aansorge

Minister of Fire
Aug 12, 2011
949
Southern Minnesota
I burn worse wood than that all the time. The BTUs will be a bit lower but no big deal. As long as wood is dry, it burns even if it was a bit punky. Just add wood a little more often!
 
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MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
403
NE Missouri
Yes your right.. you put the time and effort in.. so don't throw it away, or burn it in the pit. Mix it in. We have all been there. Next time if your good on wood and not jamed up be more selective. I and others as well are sitting on multiple years of wood so we can be selective. I started the year with 12 cords CSS.. I probably have 6+ cords in log lenth ready to be cut up, but burn no more than 4 cords in a year. I sold some of my wood to a friend who just got a stove.. like 2 cords. If you have the capability of storing multiple years of wood.. do so. all of my wood sits in wood sheds...no tarping
When we decided on installing a wood stove, it was all about the looks and ambiance. It has since turned into a savings on propane, and the room it's in seems cold and lifeless without a fire going. So my wood needs have increased considerably. What I thought would be a simple outside rack and has taken me by surprise. There's a federal campground being renovated, and I find myself with a windfall of available trees this season. It won't be like this again, so I have to grab what I can, while I can. It's a good problem, I have wood overflow, that I think is going into a 4 year plan. I've had this stove for almost a year now, so I'm still figuring out my wood usage. I don't have a shed, so I will tarp the tops, and even consider an additional rack out in the sun that I can kiln some.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,686
Woolwich nj
When we decided on installing a wood stove, it was all about the looks and ambiance. It has since turned into a savings on propane, and the room it's in seems cold and lifeless without a fire going. So my wood needs have increased considerably. What I thought would be a simple outside rack and has taken me by surprise. There's a federal campground being renovated, and I find myself with a windfall of available trees this season. It won't be like this again, so I have to grab what I can, while I can. It's a good problem, I have wood overflow, that I think is going into a 4 year plan. I've had this stove for almost a year now, so I'm still figuring out my wood usage. I don't have a shed, so I will tarp the tops, and even consider an additional rack out in the sun that I can kiln some.
I totally feel you.. I started as a weekend burner.. it quickly wet to my primary heat.. This is how I wound up with 3 wood sheds.. Who knew.. It took me 3+ years to get where I am now.. Rome wasn't built in a day... It will be alot of work.. but once you get stocked up and have good storage.. you'll be super happy with what you have done..
 
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walhondingnashua

Feeling the Heat
Jul 23, 2016
351
ohio
I am with both of you. My stove was just to burn for back up, for looks, and to just burn when we are home because the heat is nice. After the amount of propane it saved me in the first year, and the fact that my wife now has 3 different options for what she can sit on within range of the stove, I run it nonstop until October to April. The entire house just feels warmer and we spend most of the winter in the basement.
I've come to really enjoy the entire process.
 
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