Smaller Splits to speed up seasoning versus burn time and quality of burn.

Kenster Posted By Kenster, Mar 24, 2010 at 8:17 PM

  1. Kenster

    Kenster
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 10, 2010
    1,702
    127
    Loc:
    Texas- West of Houston
    I assume that a round split into eights, rather than fourths, will dry/season quicker. More air and sun getting to the wood. I also assume that the smaller splits will catch fire quicker and may burn hotter but how is the overall burn of a box full of small splits compared to a box full of larger splits. For the sake of this question, let's also assume that it's all wood from the same tree.
    Larger splits should burn slower and longer, right? So, how much advantage is there in splitting the same rounds down to eighths instead of quarters? If it were a sure thing that the wood would be ready for next winter by splitting it down to smaller pieces, is it worth it in regards to the extra labor in doing so.

    I hope that makes some sort of sense.
     
  2. basswidow

    basswidow
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 17, 2008
    1,316
    32
    Loc:
    Milton GA
    Make sence.

    I usually do alittle of both. Have a mix of sizes. Some smaller fast burning well seasoned hot splits and then some larger slower burning ones. I use a rented splitter. I find I get exhausted by the days end and the splits get larger out of a need to get finished and turn the splitter back in.

    If you have green wood and you want it ready by fall and your are thinking to split it small to accelerate the seasoning, this will work. What kind of wood? Rather then doing all the splits small, I would have a mix of sizes. I also like a good mix of wood types.
     
  3. Kenster

    Kenster
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 10, 2010
    1,702
    127
    Loc:
    Texas- West of Houston
    It'll be nearly all oak and hickory. My woods are loaded with them. And really big cedars but I don't burn them. I have my eye on several standing dead ones that I would like to get cut and split sometime soon before it gets too hot and steamy to work out in the woods. Plus there's always the issue of snakes: rattlers, copperheads, coral. And really big cedars but I don't burn them. I don't spend a lot of time in the woods during the summer.
     
  4. oldspark

    oldspark
    Guest 2.
    NULL
    

    Was the wood you are splitting now live when you cut it or was it dead as this will come in to play on how long it takes to cure.
     
  5. Kenster

    Kenster
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 10, 2010
    1,702
    127
    Loc:
    Texas- West of Houston
    All standing or storm dropped dead. I've never cut a live tree down for firewood. Haven't needed to.
    For the sake of the discussion, let's assume, though, a freshly cut green tree. It might not make much different in a tree that's been dead two or three years but the size of the split ought to have a significant effect on the seasoning of green wood, eh?
     
  6. basswidow

    basswidow
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 17, 2008
    1,316
    32
    Loc:
    Milton GA
    I've cut into Oak thats been dead and on the ground for probably 10 years and they are still wet inside and need to season. I would split all of it in various sizes - and if the oak isn't ready - let it sit for another year.
     
  7. Jags

    Jags
    Moderate Moderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    17,650
    6,213
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Yes it does. Especially with Oak. If you are looking to burn it for this up coming season, keep them splits small, and even then it might not be "ready", but its your best chance. Get it stacked and in the sun and wind asap.

    I hear you guys in Texas have sun and wind. :)
     
  8. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 3, 2008
    6,784
    63
    Loc:
    Syracuse NY
    Wood may dry out the ends but smaller splits definitely dry faster than big ones. I did this while getting ahead and am now enjoying the splitting productivity improvement of bigger splits.
     
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart
    Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    33,009
    10,021
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    With the humidity west of Houston there ain't nothing going to be dry enough to burn next winter. As to how I split'em, everything size large because I can make little ones if I need'em but I can't glue them back together if I need big ones. But of course they are split and stacked three years ahead of burning them.

    Crack'em small and hope for the best. And figure out a 'cane proof cover for the top of the stack.
     
  10. oldspark

    oldspark
    Guest 2.
    NULL
    

    I cut on the ground dead oak all the time, stack it early and after one long summer drying season the wood is more than dry enough, you can tell by the way it looks when you split it how much moisture is in it. I do agree some of it has way more moisture than others but splitting and stacking in the sun early goes a long way in cureing any wood.
     
  11. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Mar 17, 2009
    5,261
    1,265
    Loc:
    Las Vegas, NV
    I cut and split some 5 year dead Red Oak in March '09 and it burned very nicely this winter. I only had about 1/3 cord of it so I saved it for the real cold weather. Funny thing is that it is the only seasoned wood that I have left for the spring shoulder season.
     
  12. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 22, 2008
    17,869
    4,073
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    The wood I'm working on now is for either 202011-2012 or 2012-2013 . . . depending on my usage . . . I've changed a bit in how I split my wood . . . while I still find that the larger splits and rounds tend to take longer to burn, I prefer having smaller wood on hand for the simple reason that I am able to fill up the firebox better and it seems as though I am able to get secondary combustion much quicker. That said, while the majority of my wood is now being split on the smaller side (or at least smaller than I did in the first year or two of splitting) I still make sure to split up some large wood for those overnight burns.
     
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 14, 2007
    27,815
    7,369
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Kenster, it is difficult to say split into eights rather than fourths simply because all logs are not the same size. But to answer your other questions, yes, wood will dry faster if split into smaller sizes. It will also dry faster if stacked loosely rather than a tight stack. It will also dry faster if in both sun and wind but wind is the most important.

    Yes, the smaller splits will burn faster. So what advantage? How about having both large and small. Use mostly large for holding fires but when using large splits sometimes it is good to be able to fill in the cracks to pack the stove tighter. So, my answer is to do both, but perhaps more large than small.

    Again, the smaller splits usually work out better when the temperature is above 25 degrees or so. Small splits and a small load will give quick fires and tend to burn hotter which is good for the heat and for the stove and flue. Actually, most of the winter we burn smaller splits during the daytime hours.
     
  14. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Jun 25, 2010
    819
    0
    Loc:
    South Central Alabama
    Well, it's been over a year since this discussion was active but I'm curious what the op experienced this past winter. Kenster, what was your experience this past winter in regards to size of splits and difference in burn characteristics?

    Ed
     
  15. joefrompa

    joefrompa
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Sep 7, 2010
    778
    1
    Loc:
    SE PA
    I'll say that my stove works alot better with semi-seasoned splits of smaller variety. It seems that the more mass the wood has overall, the greater it needs other sources of heat and oxygen for itself to combust well. So a semi-seasoned smaller split will burn notably better than a semi-seasoned large split.

    Hope that made sense. My stove this past winter really struggled with large splits - I'd go back out and make a large split into 2 or even 3 smaller pieces, and it'd burn far better.
     

Share This Page