Oak/Maple how long to season?

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dggreen

New Member
Sep 22, 2010
14
cape cod
How long does Oak and Maple take to season? Is there a significant difference between halved vs quartered sections?
 

argus66

Feeling the Heat
Dec 9, 2007
458
central coastal nj
all i burn is oak maple and ash. mine seasons in a 1yr . ill split it now and by next nov good to go. i keep it in a wood shed that has slotted sides and a role up door so it gets sun in the summer with door up by august i get 20% to 17 % on the wood meter and the wood never gets wet at all. i split mine al in quartered sections because it seasons quicker and fits better in my small stove.
 

bigtall

Member
Oct 30, 2009
157
West Georgia
A lot of folks on here say that anything needs two to three years to season, but I think it has a lot to do with where you live. Down here in the south we have longer days, longer summers, and are typically warmer, so I think the wood dries and cures much faster. I have oak, ash and cherry that I cut-split-stacked in January that is now reading 13-16% on the moisture meter, so it is good to go.
 

wood-fan-atic

Minister of Fire
Oct 4, 2010
872
Long Island, NY
Being in Cape Cod, you will need to be vigilant about your seasoning to get the oak ready in just a year. Stack in single rows, with the stacks open to the wind ( sun is nice, too, but wind is more important). Cover the TOPS of the stacks only, to keep the majority of rain from repeatedly soaking your wood, and as long as your splits are not HUGE ( 5" thick or less) you should be ok. All other types of wood up here in the N.E. should season in a year. :)
 

Wood Duck

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2009
4,790
Central PA
Seasoning the maple will depend on the type of maple. Sugar Maple, aka hard Maple, seasons more slowly than Red or Silver Maples. I think Noway Maple is a soft maple like Red and Silver Maples. If you have the rather rare Black maple, I think it is like Sugar Maple. Hard Maples may take two years to get nice and seasoned, while Red or Silver will easily be seasoned in a year.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,151
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Just echoing here . . .

Seasoning really does depend on one's area of the country . . . for example seasoning wood in a dry area (i.e. Southweast) vs. very rainy area (i.e. Pacific Northwest) means the wood will generally season faster. Here in New England it seems it really depends on the year . . . this past Summer was great for seasoning -- lots of sun, good winds, etc. . . . last year was not so great -- lots of rain all summer and Fall.

On top of this you have to factor in where you stack the wood and how you stack the wood -- is it in an area that is open to the sun vs. under the trees, is it open to the wind or blocked by the house or another structure, is the wood stacked loosely in single rows or tightly stacked together in double, triple or quadruple rows?

Size matters as well . . . smaller splits season faster than larger splits . . . I tend to have smaller splits myself (with a few larger splits for overnights/overdays) since I like how they catch easier and it is easier to load up my woodstove with them.

Finally, there is the wood itself. Generally speaking most folks recommend seasoning oak for two years. As Wood Duck mentioned there seems to be quite a variety of maples and their seasoning time is pretty variable -- silver maple folks say will season in just a few months vs. sugar maple which may take a year or two before it is truly good to go.
 

CTYank

Minister of Fire
Sep 28, 2010
1,031
SW CT
Wood Duck said:
Seasoning the maple will depend on the type of maple. Sugar Maple, aka hard Maple, seasons more slowly than Red or Silver Maples. I think Noway Maple is a soft maple like Red and Silver Maples. If you have the rather rare Black maple, I think it is like Sugar Maple. Hard Maples may take two years to get nice and seasoned, while Red or Silver will easily be seasoned in a year.
We've lots of norway maple where I am. Been known to burn some.

Norway maple is definitely NOT "a soft maple like red or silver maples." It is very similar to sugar maple, IOW great stuff.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
dggreen said:
How long does Oak and Maple take to season? Is there a significant difference between halved vs quartered sections?

It is difficult to answer your question. Saying oak is like saying I have a car. Well, what type of car. I've read that there are over 50 types of oak in the USA. As for maple, not quite as many but still there is a big difference in maples. For example, I can fell a soft maple on our place and leave it for 2-3 years just laying in the woods. This stuff will burn right away because it is dry. In fact, some might be already turning punky. Try that with most trees and the wood just will not dry.

Generally, red oaks needs 2-3 years, at least where we live. White oaks generally need 2 years. Soft maple needs a few months. Hard maple needs a year.
 

Jfk4th

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2007
683
NY
I am using oak right now that has seasoned for one year and I know I wasting some of the wood here so I have to open the draft a little more then close it down after about 5 minutes, I have around 25-26% moisture and I really don't go by the meter by itself because it varies. I have no choice this year to use it along with other species that I have to burn which is seasoned, I just love oak too much and couldn't get enough two years ago for it to be completely ready. So I mix the oak with others(ash, maple, etc) and it works OK, especially on a hot bed of coals. Next year I will have enough Oak that has seasoned for two years and that will be golden :)

BTW, I keep my wood uncovered the whole time(sunny and windy area) until I bring it into my shed area in September where it stays completely dry, ready to burn

Also thanks B. Savage as I using your way to start a fire and worked very well. The last four years I have played with many ways of starting a fire and it seems your way works for me, BRAVO :cheese:
 

btuser

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2009
2,069
Principality of Pontinha
Season it as long as you can. I'm finally buring 2yr oak and haven't had a problem lighting a fire even when I'm pulling stuff straight off the woodpile and the ends of the splits are soaked from rain. Another year can't hurt either. I'm starting on year 2013 supply now.
 

muncybob

Minister of Fire
Apr 8, 2008
2,140
Near Williamsport, PA
Some good advice above. I cut a live silver maple in March, split it fairly small and stacked right away...burning it right now so I can save my "better" firewood for colder days soon to be upon us! I tested my splits with a meter...all are 20% or less(which really amazed me) so silver seems to season fairly quickly.
 

daveswoodhauler

Minister of Fire
May 20, 2008
1,847
Massachusetts
For what its worth, my stacks are a little too close together....the maple is fine to burn, but the oak needs another year.
My lesson for next year is to stack in single rows, or allow more airspace for the wood to breath....funny, my third year of burning, and I still can't get my wood to season :red:
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
JFK said:
I am using oak right now that has seasoned for one year and I know I wasting some of the wood here so I have to open the draft a little more then close it down after about 5 minutes, I have around 25-26% moisture and I really don't go by the meter by itself because it varies. I have no choice this year to use it along with other species that I have to burn which is seasoned, I just love oak too much and couldn't get enough two years ago for it to be completely ready. So I mix the oak with others(ash, maple, etc) and it works OK, especially on a hot bed of coals. Next year I will have enough Oak that has seasoned for two years and that will be golden :)

BTW, I keep my wood uncovered the whole time(sunny and windy area) until I bring it into my shed area in September where it stays completely dry, ready to burn

Also thanks B. Savage as I using your way to start a fire and worked very well. The last four years I have played with many ways of starting a fire and it seems your way works for me, BRAVO :cheese:
You are very welcome JFK. Glad it works out well for you.
 

peedenmark7

Member
Oct 22, 2010
67
wisconsin
I've found that in wisconsin, oak needs about 2 plus years depending on how cut/split to season. you can certainly burn it before , but its not going to yield what it should had you let it go.

hard maple? cut in spring, burn in fall...

we're burning hard ash and hickory this year... great wood !

I have 2 big oaks seasoning now,for 2012's burn.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
peedenmark7, you are right on the oak and that is one of the biggest points about burning green wood. You can make it burn....but it will not yield the heat that it would if left to dry.
 

ecocavalier02

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2008
1,441
ct
im starting not burn any oak after this year nothing less than three years. i have over a cord of cotton wood i have now i need to split and i will be mixing it in with the 2 years oak next year cuz i know it will be nice and dry.
 
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