PNW woods drying times?

AndrewU

New Member
Dec 1, 2019
16
Sedro-Woolley WA
Getting ready to order an Ashford 30. Got quite a bit of wood on my place. The typical PNW species like red alder, big leaf maple, and birch. A little hemlock and cedar, but I don't expect to burn much of those.

How long should I expect those woods to take to dry to 20%? Assume it's spilt to max 4" thick and freshly felled. I know alder is usually fast, but how fast? I've scored the bark on the birch to help promote drying before rotting.

I'm going to build a well ventilated covered firewood shack with maximum sun exposure and plenty of wind exposure.
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,724
Central Mass
Most of those woods should only take one season, the ashford will burn the hwemlock and cedar nicely, don't be afraid to get those.
 
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AndrewU

New Member
Dec 1, 2019
16
Sedro-Woolley WA
Thanks. Not afraid of burning hemlock and cedar, just don't have many of that species growing on my property, and those I do have are the trees I really like and want to keep alive for long time yet.
 

iLoveWood

Member
Jan 17, 2016
39
Pacific Northwest
I'm a PNW'er. Alder is good to go after 6-9 months. I'm ahead now, but my rule was "get all your wood for winter cut and stacked by April and you can be burning by October." I'd give Maple a little more time. I don't see much oak, I stay away from it or stack it separately.

Keep your stacks dry. I keep covered until I see long periods of sun or extreme cold/wind/low humidity. Just don't forget to recover. It's no fun running out in the middle of the night in a freak unexpected downpour trying to recover your stacks.

I try to always have some cedar around. Nature's kindling.
 
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AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
825
Vancouver Island
I start splitting in the fall, stack and top cover. It doesn't go into the shed until the end of the following September. On the south island we tend to get four hot, dry summer months and I can get 8'' cedar under 16% and 6'' doug fir and alder to 20% in that time. It then goes in to an open shed for another 2 years. All the fir I'm burning now is 15% or less. You shouldn't have any trouble getting 4'' splits to 20%
 

blacktail

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2011
1,414
Western WA
Alder will be ready for next season. Maple and birch might be ready with ideal conditions. I've burned both maple and birch after one summer of drying and it's better with 2 summers of drying.
You'll be better off cutting down birch now. By march, they'll be drawing a huge amount of water up.
Hemlock, cedar, and fir will be ready after one summer of drying.
I get some birch now and then but had 2 years when I cut a bunch down on property my uncle owned near the old Kesselring's. The birch we cut down in early spring would piss water as soon as the saw touched them.
 

AndrewU

New Member
Dec 1, 2019
16
Sedro-Woolley WA
Well, sounds like I'll be stacking the alder for the 2020-2021 season. And the birch and maple and any excess alder stacked for the following season.

I have some chunks of cedar from old stumps I've cut close to the ground that I'll split up for kindling.

Hopefully the nice huge hemlocks and cedars stay alive and attractive for many more years. But if the die or break in a storm I'll be able to utilize them.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
825
Vancouver Island
Well, sounds like I'll be stacking the alder for the 2020-2021 season. And the birch and maple and any excess alder stacked for the following season.

I have some chunks of cedar from old stumps I've cut close to the ground that I'll split up for kindling.

Hopefully the nice huge hemlocks and cedars stay alive and attractive for many more years. But if the die or break in a storm I'll be able to utilize them.
Unfortunately, the reason I burn so much cedar is because they're all dying around us. The neighbours keep cutting them down and I get the wood. Haven't paid for firewood in years.