Oak Seasoning Data Log - Update 2022

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Amin1992

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2019
327
PA, USA
Hey all, this is a continuation of some of the data I've collected on my Red Oak firewood seasoning - I originally posted in this thread:

I'll keep it short and sweet without nerding out too much haha. This Oak tree was dead 5-10 years, still fully standing. It was approximately 75' tall and 36" thick at breast height. We counted the rings - I forget the exact age but it was over 100 years old.

The oak was cut down in Feb 2021. I spent 8 weeks bucking, splitting, and stacking whenever I had time (Feb to end of Mar).

Updated data below! I have just started burning it. My prime seasoned Maple is around 16% and lights up quickly. At 20.5% moisture, the Oak burns but not very well. It definitely sizzles. But, it's all I've got now so I'm burning! I would say, based on my data, this Oak would take approximately 12-13 months to fully season to below 20% moisture.

Date:Moisture %:
23Feb202133.0%
26Jul202124.0%
21Aug202122.0%
20Sep202123.0%
22Nov202121.0%
24Jan202220.5%

1643836930025.png

As you can see, and has been described by many others anecdotally here, the drying process is NOT linear - it will drop 9% (from the 33% to 24%) in just 5 months, but only around 3.5% (24% to 20.5%) in the next 5 months.

At the time of bucking last year, I filled my racks and whatever rounds remained were just stacked in the woods. Got decent airflow via the winds that blow through, but was mostly shaded and uncovered.

I split 6 rounds today, and took the moisture levels. All were consistently 27 to 28%. Vast majority in the low 27.0 to 27.4% moisture level.

I share this today to show you that log rounds don't properly season without being split and stacked. However, they do season a bit. Approximately 1 year ago, these logs were 33.0%, and today they are 27.5% on average. To me, this is proof that I didn't fully waste time letting these rounds sit another year. They lost 5.5% moisture just stacked uncovered, unsplit, which is about half the drying rate of the same logs split and stacked.

If my data is any consolation, that means these rounds, once split and stacked this month, should be in the sub 20% range in the beginning of December of 2022.

Just wanted to share this all with you in case you have rounds stacked somewhere you didnt get to or didnt have space to split and stack. Hope this was interesting and/or helpful!
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,231
Woolwich nj
thanks for the update. Iv done similar data collection a number of years ago in the wood sheds I have and I also did a thread on seasoning in rounds.. Glad you did this. It just makes you smarter in the long run. the more data you have the better understanding you have. I dont split in fall because of this. some would wait till fall to split, making the seasoning process longer. Im splitting now and will have what I burned this year replaced by the end of april, the empty bins in the woodshed will be refilled. I started splitting 2 weeks ago. my wood will sit through at least 2 summers drying.. my wood can be ready in 18 months.. waiting till fall will make this wood ready in over 24 months..
 

showrguy

Minister of Fire
Aug 2, 2015
560
Marysville, Pa.
thanks for the update. Iv done similar data collection a number of years ago in the wood sheds I have and I also did a thread on seasoning in rounds.. Glad you did this. It just makes you smarter in the long run. the more data you have the better understanding you have. I dont split in fall because of this. some would wait till fall to split, making the seasoning process longer. Im splitting now and will have what I burned this year replaced by the end of april, the empty bins in the woodshed will be refilled. I started splitting 2 weeks ago. my wood will sit through at least 2 summers drying.. my wood can be ready in 18 months.. waiting till fall will make this wood ready in over 24 months..
I thought you solar kiln’d all/most of your wood ??
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,231
Woolwich nj
I thought you solar kiln’d all/most of your wood ??
No.. I have all the wood in sheds.. I did some kilns here and there as a test and to see if I could do it and what results I could get. I did the kilns to see how to do it if I got jamed up for wood. I wanted to make sure that if i needed good wood for the fall of that year if i could do it. Iv helped some friends with doing kilns. Like many others I have had wood in rounds that sat, and thought that they wood dry some but got punky.. I did some data collection to see the optimal drying months.. BYW I got .05 % seasoning over the winter months.. this month with it being so cold for so many days it wouldn't surprise me to be .03%. it was @Poindexter up in Alaska that really started the idea, I thought that the information that he provided was excellent and the geek that I am wanted to try it.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,678
central pa
my 2 YO split and roofed swamp oak is down to 15%.
15% is impressive in 2 years. I can get under 20% in a year pretty consistently. But to get to 15% takes allot longer for me with oak. I have even had a year when my mc went up on stuff under 20%. But that was really really wet
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,702
Fairbanks, Alaska
Local with spruce and birches, I find that splitting rounds even just once helps them dry fast enough to not get punky. This is a bigger issue with birch and the water tight bark of birch of course. When I have a surplus of rounds I go through the pile once and just split everything once and leave them on the ground while I go through the pile a second time splitting to stove size and stacking the stove size splits.

On the one hand juicy green splits can be easier to split than drier half rounds, but burning punky wood is a low BTU alternative outcome. For me it just depends on how big a pile of rounds I am looking at, how long it will take it to split it all down to stove size, and how much shed space I got.

For rounds that I don't have shed space for until next year, definitely split once and put the lowest level of the pile on the ground bark side down.

I have zero experience with oak. I doesn't grow up here but is a regular ongoing challenge for those of you that can get it. Appreciate the data points.
 

EmberEnergy

New Member
Aug 18, 2021
49
Maryland
This is great. I'm wondering how wishful it is to think that I can get split red oak I found a good deal on from it's current 24% down to 15% with a solar kiln from March to October, 8 months. That's probably wishful.

Maybe the safer wager would be sub-20% in that time.

@bholler - you got a thought/wager on that?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,521
Long Island NY
This is great. I'm wondering how wishful it is to think that I can get split red oak I found a good deal on from it's current 24% down to 15% with a solar kiln from March to October, 8 months. That's probably wishful.

Maybe the safer wager would be sub-20% in that time.

@bholler - you got a thought/wager on that?

@Woodsplitter67 has quite some data, and lives in NJ. I think I remember it should be possible with a proper kiln, if the sun exposure is good enough.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,231
Woolwich nj
This is great. I'm wondering how wishful it is to think that I can get split red oak I found a good deal on from it's current 24% down to 15% with a solar kiln from March to October, 8 months. That's probably wishful.

Maybe the safer wager would be sub-20% in that time.

@bholler - you got a thought/wager on that?
your looking at roughly 45 days max to go from 24 to 15% in the summer time. I'd split it now, be done splitting and stacking by end of April, top cover, let it sit until beginning of july and wrap it. It will be sub 15% by September. IF your wood is on an elevated rack, in full sun, and vented properly. How much wood are you thinking?
 

EmberEnergy

New Member
Aug 18, 2021
49
Maryland
your looking at roughly 45 days max to go from 24 to 15% in the summer time. I'd split it now, be done splitting and stacking by end of April, top cover, let it sit until beginning of july and wrap it. It will be sub 15% by September. IF your wood is on an elevated rack, in full sun, and vented properly. How much wood are you thinking?
Heck yes. Wow, that would be awesome. The nice thing is it's already split, 1.66 cords. I plan to stack it on pallets raised on concrete blocks in double rows with a large air gap in between, plastic sheeting. Was thinking if I wanted to get over the top with it I could have a little solar-powered fan forcing air flow through the whole thing.

The best sun and wind/air exposure for me is right by the public road so good for drying but also good for stealing. Pros and cons.
 
Last edited:

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,231
Woolwich nj
Heck yes. Wow, that would be awesome. The nice thing is it's already split, 1.66 cords. I plan to stack it on pallets raised on concrete blocks in double rows with a large air gap in between, plastic sheeting. Was thinking if I wanted to get over the top with it I could have a little solar-powered fan forcing air flow through the whole thing.

The best sun and wind/air exposure for me is right by the public road so good for drying but also good for stealing. Pros and cons.
You don't need a fan and dont do a large air gap between the wood and plastic. Follow the build in my signature. If you do the kiln that is posted your results will be on point. The big mistakes that are made are wrapping green wood, plastic not tight to the wood, adding fans, vents to small or to large, not using a probe to measure kiln temperature, not in full sun, taking the kiln apart to early.
If you want the wood to be 15%mc do the kiln in the signature, once you do it you'll probably feel you don't need to change anything, or your learn from a mistake and improve on what you did. Others have tried to make changes on their first time doing it with not great success. Id put the wood on the cheap racks as the wood is going to shift a lot These are just some suggestions..
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,545
07462
Anyone experiment with the airfoil greenhouse method? I saw it a few years back in Europe, they take a greenhouse (hoop house) about 30ft long and 12-15ft wide, the ends are left open but they are about 15ft high, the center is tapered down to 8ft high, this creates a low pressure and allows natural air venting out the sides, perfect for seasoning wood.
 

shoot-straight

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2012
770
Kennedyville, MD
This thread is why the word "seasoned" should be removed from the English language- and certainly banned from use of this site.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,521
Long Island NY
I like myself some seasoned anything from the grill.

But I agree when talking about firewood.