Need wood to burn... would you buy this?

Elisurfer4

New Member
Jan 7, 2018
64
Richmond, VA
Hey Guys,

I'm rather new to wood burning and am having my Insert and SS liner installed tomorrow. I have about a cord of mostly oak that I bought from a local back in Dec. but it's definitely a mixed bag as far as how seasoned it is and most pieces read 20-30% after splitting and reading with pin type MM. I have built another wood storing rack in anticipation that I need to get more wood to be able to burn effectively this season. Now for the question...

The chimney sweep doing my insert gave me a recommendation for a guy who owns a tree service in town and he sells:
-2 cord of slabwood for $180 delivered
OR
-2 cords of split wood for $275 delivered

There is no doubt that these prices are super competitive for the area, but the mystery is how ready this wood really is for burning. I will quote the texts from him and let you guys decipher whether this is worthwhile. If anything I can get a buttload of good wood ready for next season and scrounge the remainder of this season.

his texts:

"I have the wood in tree length, it is 2 years old. 98% of it is Oak. I have to cut it and split it. It is good and dry"


Also, my father-in-law owns a large wooded lot in the country and I can scrounge for some dead wood to process, but again, I'm new to this so I'd love to hear y'alls advice for immediate wood gathering. I have a saw, atv etc as well.
 

mitchell721

Member
Nov 9, 2015
119
michigan
I wouldn’t think 2 years log form oak is anywhere near dry. It’s usually 2 to 3 years split and stacked. Probably read about what you have maybe even a little higher. I would put the 200 into efforts of getting standing dead off your father in laws land. Just my 2 cents. Gents on here been doing it a lot longer than me
 
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Nateums

Member
Dec 11, 2017
47
Southern Tier
Wood dries really slowly before it is cut and split. That wood will be wetter than what you already have.

I have cut down some dead cherry (<=20% moisture) that was ready to burn the same day. I cut down a large maple that was standing dead for years that was still reading in the 28% range though. For the cherry, I have found the bark is a pretty good indicator if it is burn ready, peeling off or gone is usually pretty dry.

The problem with already down wood is that there will be some amount of rot that just won't dry out until the spring/summer. Stuff that is up off the ground may be ok though.
 

illini81

Feeling the Heat
Apr 7, 2017
334
Southeastern CT
If the wood is unsplit, it’s nowhere near seasoned. I’m in a similar boat (first year with a stove). I already made the mistake of buying wood that was supposed to be seasoned, but actually wasn’t. If I were you, I would buy a ton or two of compressed wood bricks to get you started burning right away. I would then start working on preparing for next year, favoring woods that will dry in a year. Finally, I would check Craigslist on a regular basis, looking for wood sold by homeowners. I’m finding that that’s often the driest and cheapest stuff.
 

Elisurfer4

New Member
Jan 7, 2018
64
Richmond, VA
If the wood is unsplit, it’s nowhere near seasoned. I’m in a similar boat (first year with a stove). I already made the mistake of buying wood that was supposed to be seasoned, but actually wasn’t. If I were you, I would buy a ton or two of compressed wood bricks to get you started burning right away. I would then start working on preparing for next year, favoring woods that will dry in a year. Finally, I would check Craigslist on a regular basis, looking for wood sold by homeowners. I’m finding that that’s often the driest and cheapest stuff.
Where can I store the bricks if I don’t have a basement or garage though...
 

JimBear

Feeling the Heat
Dec 15, 2017
397
Iowa
I would opt for the wooded lot scrounge if you have the equipment to process & haul. If you buy the Oak you are paddling your boat up the same creek you are already in with your own wet Oak. You may be surprised what you will find in the wooded lot, depending on the conditions some wood will lay for long periods of time & still be salvageable unless it’s American Elm or Hickory then it probably rotted in the amount of time it took to fall to the ground. Lol.
 

Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,582
Indiana
It is not ready! I burn a lot of Oak each year...I have cut Oak logs that had been down 3 years and the moisture content was still very high...mid 20s-30s.... go pay him a visit and bring a couple of the larger splits home and let them warm up inside overnight and check them...
 

Firefighter938

Feeling the Heat
Dec 25, 2014
440
Central Indiana
You may ask him more about the slab wood. It could be ready. I wouldn't buy the oak unless you want to burn it 2-3yrs from now.

I would go to your FiL wood lot and look for dead standing red elm, locust, cherry, or ash. If the elm or locust is barkless it will most likely be ready to burn. If you find dead ash drop it. The top branches will likely be ready to burn, but lower in the trunk won't be ready till after next summer. Cherry is strange. The sap wood will quickly turn punky and start to fall off. The heartwood will stay solid though and may be burn able. The punk wood will hold moisture and be a bear to burn.

Dead standing and large dead branches off the ground are your best bet. Next bet is the compressed saw dust bricks to mix with your other wood. You may find a homeowner who has a stack of wood behind their house and offer them money if it looks aged.

What type of stove are you using?
 

jackatc1

Feeling the Heat
Aug 15, 2011
384
Port Crane ny
A word of caution when felling dead standing trees.
First your felling hinge will release faster than a live tree.
Means less time to run clear.
Many more dead branches than a live tree AKA widow makers .
Plus they jackknife just for the hell of it.
They tend to look easier because of less branches/leaves
Plan your exit well.
 

hickoryhoarder

Feeling the Heat
Apr 5, 2013
410
Indiana
My hunch is that oak would need two years stacked in a good place once cut and split. Next year would be ambitious. This year I'd expect poor results from it.

Most of what I buy is downed wood. It's dead when they cut it. They sell it "seasoned" -- maybe three months. I stack it in a sunny driveway for at least two years before burning. But it's better the third year. And I resplit most of the big pieces.

Any black cherry available? That's good firewood and can be ready as soon as 6 months after cut.
 

bcdudeck

New Member
Jan 14, 2018
5
Michigan
Here in MI with my first year burning in the house (I've had a stove in the garage for 4 years, short burn times besides a paint job) great luck finding dead standing Ash. Not sure your location, but the EAB did havoc on the property I cut on. Easy to look for the signs of the bugs, bark peels right off. I don't know your area....

Also, bring a few pieces you have inside. Have a wood rack? There isn't sunlight or high heat, but a humidity exchange.
 
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jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,698
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
I burned whatever standing dead stuff I could scrounge out of the woods my first year in this house.

I burned some wet nasty wood, and swept the chimney a lot, but it kept the house warm.
 

Elisurfer4

New Member
Jan 7, 2018
64
Richmond, VA
How much of a PITA do you think storing bio bricks in the attic would be and bringing them down, load by load, and mixing em in with my good pieces of oak??
 

redktmrider

Burning Hunk
Jan 21, 2012
196
Southern IN
How much of a PITA do you think storing bio bricks in the attic would be and bringing them down, load by load, and mixing em in with my good pieces of oak??
I store mine in the garage, its not too bad, but no stairs are involved. The bio brick packages around here weigh about 20 lbs, I usually carry two at a time.
 

Elisurfer4

New Member
Jan 7, 2018
64
Richmond, VA
I store mine in the garage, its not too bad, but no stairs are involved. The bio brick packages around here weigh about 20 lbs, I usually carry two at a time.
hmm ok that doesn't sound horrible. I'm a nimble 24 yr old and the attic isn't too hard to get to so that might be my solution to get through the season.

Anyone here have a good tip as to how to get these bricks for the cheapest price and most convenient delivery method? I have a Honda Fit so not a whole lotta space for a ton of bricks
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,698
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
If you already know that you will be hauling 2-4 cords per year from a distant woodlot (maybe a lot more the first year), you may want to get on craigslist and go vehicle shopping. I have a Honda Fit too, and while it is an eminently practical car, its tow rating with the CVT is 0.

Get yourself a ratty old pickup, or at least a vehicle you can hook a trailer to. The money saved on biobricks is probably about what I paid for my trailer (and the pickup wasn't a lot more).
 

Elisurfer4

New Member
Jan 7, 2018
64
Richmond, VA
If you already know that you will be hauling 2-4 cords per year from a distant woodlot (maybe a lot more the first year), you may want to get on craigslist and go vehicle shopping. I have a Honda Fit too, and while it is an eminently practical car, its tow rating with the CVT is 0.

Get yourself a ratty old pickup, or at least a vehicle you can hook a trailer to. The money saved on biobricks is probably about what I paid for my trailer (and the pickup wasn't a lot more).
You have a point. I had a badass tacoma I sold to get the Fit because I thought I was moving to a simpler lifestyle... ha. Anyhow, I am lucky enough that my father in law also owns a business that has a bunch of ratty old pickups and trailers so if I can get him to lend me one every so often I should make out alright for a while.
 

redktmrider

Burning Hunk
Jan 21, 2012
196
Southern IN
I have a Honda Fit so not a whole lotta space for a ton of bricks
You have a friend with a pickup? The TSC store near you sells the Redstone 3 pack. A half ton of the bricks fit easily in the back of a pickup, though moving them upstairs will be a bit of work.
 

redktmrider

Burning Hunk
Jan 21, 2012
196
Southern IN
How many of those 3 packs constitutes a half ton?
I don't know about three pack, I burn the six pack and it weighs 20lbs. The six pack is available at the store at POWHATAN ,
2470 ANDERSON HWY STE G POWHATAN, VA US 23139. You might check out both the three and the six pack and compare.
 

Montanalocal

Feeling the Heat
Dec 22, 2014
354
Helena MT
A word of caution when felling dead standing trees.
First your felling hinge will release faster than a live tree.
Means less time to run clear.
Many more dead branches than a live tree AKA widow makers .
Plus they jackknife just for the hell of it.
They tend to look easier because of less branches/leaves
Plan your exit well.

Jack,

I mostly cut down dead trees, and agree with your first two points. However I am unfamiliar with the term "jackknife" I have searched Google and youtube and have not found any explanation of what that is. Do you perhaps mean the term "barberchair"?
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,698
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Jack,

I mostly cut down dead trees, and agree with your first two points. However I am unfamiliar with the term "jackknife" I have searched Google and youtube and have not found any explanation of what that is. Do you perhaps mean the term "barberchair"?
I think he means that it swings around on the hinge (or there suddenly is no hinge).

Live trees have much stronger and more predictable hinges.

Large rotten trees are sometimes felled with explosives just because they're so dangerous to saw.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
524
Texas
I didn’t have time to do more than skim the thread, so I’m sorry if this is redundant or not helpful.

If you want to buy wood, try buying this season for use in 18 months, not this year.

Also, if you’re going the compressed block route, see if Liberty Bricks in Doswell still does wholesale. They used to be 170 per ton and are a very high quality product.
 
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