Split Length/Thickness vs Burn Times.

KJamesJR Posted By KJamesJR, Feb 13, 2018 at 11:33 AM

  1. KJamesJR

    KJamesJR
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    Jan 8, 2018
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    Hello folks,

    I'll start by saying I'm new to burning in a wood stove.

    Now, I'm going to be taking some trees down this weekend, most of which will be Cherry and Sugar Maple. I've heard these species can dry relatively quickly and I have a tons of them scattered throughout my property. I'm going to have them split and drying from now until November, so hopefully 9 months is enough drying time for this wood. I will also be felling oak but having that dry in less than a year seems a little unrealistic.

    The stove I will most likely be getting can take a 24" log(Oslo), or so they claim in the brochure. I'm looking to maximize burn times here. I understand wood seasoned less than two years isn't exactly efficient but I'm not looking to get peak efficiency yet. Realistically I should have been doing this two years ago, but I just bought the house a year ago. The Oak that will be harvested this year will be for 2019-2020 use.

    Should I buck the trees at 24"? If so, do I want thicker splits or smaller splits?
     
  2. Dobish

    Dobish
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    I have a stove that takes 22" logs, and I find that 22" is a really tight fit. I keep mine at around 20", so i have a little wiggle room to adjust for knots, etc. Also, most stoves will take 16-18", so if you do go with a different stove, you would have to cut all of that down first.
     
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  3. ZZ Tom

    ZZ Tom
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    My experience is that thicker splits burn longer but take FOREVER to dry. If you're hoping to have dry wood to burn in 9 months, I'd split a little on the small side.
     
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  4. Bad LP

    Bad LP
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    I'd cut at 20-22
    Smaller splits put out more heat but don't last as long.

    IMO if your plan is to burn that maple next season you better keep the weather off it, lots of sun and breeze, single stacked rows only and split it smaller and medium sized like under 6 inches. Wet wood just sucks.

    Oak is 2 years minimum but 3 is better.
     
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  5. KJamesJR

    KJamesJR
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    Jan 8, 2018
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    Alright.

    I think I’m going to go 20-22” medium to small splits. Single row stacks.

    When October/November rolls around, if I leave some in larger spilts and keep inside near the stove for say, two months, they’ll be dry enough to burn come December/January?
     
  6. jackatc1

    jackatc1
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  7. Wood1Dennis

    Wood1Dennis
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    If you can put your stacks in an area that gets full sun and wind. That will help the drying process a lot!
     
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  8. snojetter

    snojetter
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    Feb 1, 2018
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    General consensus says lighter wood can be burned after one season of drying (and I define a season as spring to fall when sun and wind can really do their work) and denser woods 2 to 3 seasons. I would put cherry on the high end of lighter hardwoods, and sugar maple on the lower end of denser woods. Normally, I would advise that this wood be given 2 full seasons to dry appropriately. But since you are planning to burn this fall, I would split them smaller than you would for a normal drying cycle. I've fought with some wood the past two seasons that was less than ideal and I've had to clean my chimney more often as a result. This is wood that's been split and stacked for 3+ seasons...but the splits are relatively large. Do yourself a favor and split next season's wood small, then for the following year's supply you can leave the splits bigger. You'll likely lose some burn time with the smaller stuff, but you'll be more likely to burn cleaner with dry wood come fall.

    For length, I'd go at least an inch shorter than the max on your stove. I think my firebox max is 17" (or is it 19" - can't recall) but it's not a perfect cube. As a consequence, the longer stuff won't lay flat in the belly when I've emtpied the ashes so I need to have some shorter stuff on hand to fill it properly.
     
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  9. KJamesJR

    KJamesJR
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    Most all the Cherry can be used as fire wood. I'm only culling the Maples that are either at the end of their life, sick, or simply have no means to prosper (i.e. over crowding, leaners, cankers, infestation etc...). All these trees are in a wood lot that I tap to make syrup. There's quite a bit of birch too but it smells funky when burned so I only use it to fire the evaporator. The random apple tree(s) will also be taken out.
     
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  10. KJamesJR

    KJamesJR
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    I would expect poor performance from this seasons wood, but I'm willing to suffer through it next winter if it means saving on the LP bill. My only other option is to have wood delivered that's been kiln dried it seems. If I start now, I can heat my house next winter and save a buck. Also if I take enough down now I can get ahead of the game for the years to come.
     
  11. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake
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    I find that cutting my wood 18-20 inches works pretty well with my stove (Oslo) to deal with ash build up on one end or the other or the inevitable (at least in my case) crooks or not quite straight wood. I find a few inches short doesn't really hurt things.

    If I was cutting and splitting wood now to burn next Fall I would split it on the smaller side . . . and single stack it, exposing it to the sun and wind with a top cover . . . although keeping in mind that in the future I would want to split wood on the bigger side as well.

    My thinking is smaller splits would give me a better chance of having seasoned or at least semi-seasoned wood . . . it's possible the smaller splits may burn up quicker (or maybe not with the added moisture from only being seasoned 9 months) . . . but I know if I had to choose between reloading more often or dealing with a chimney gunked up with creosote and hard starts I would always go with loading the stove more often.
     
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  12. KJamesJR

    KJamesJR
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    Okay and just for the sake of sanity can someone please confirm that this is indeed black cherry and not a mature black birch?
     

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  13. Jan Pijpelink

    Jan Pijpelink
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    Jan 2, 2015
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    For faster drying read this threat. https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/solar-cord-wood-kiln-operation.152699/page-4#post-2242687
     
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  14. jackatc1

    jackatc1
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    100% Cherry.

    I would be happy if it was Black Birch.
     
  15. Eureka

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  16. pernox

    pernox
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    Definitely cherry.

    On the cutting/splitting, I'd definitely go on the smaller side, especially with the sugar maple. It is a high btu wood, but if you split small and stack conscientiously it should at least beat paying the oil man. One of the beauties of sugar maple is that it burns near the top of the btu charts but takes less time to dry than other heavy duty woods.
     
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  17. KJamesJR

    KJamesJR
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    That’s what I expected. I have some black birch that grows along the creek. When it hits a certain age the bark can get just as crispy looking.
     
  18. KJamesJR

    KJamesJR
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    They really scienced that up. I think with a few sheets of Johns Manville reflective foam insulation board tucked in on the north side would have been a good addition as well. The reflective foil facing south of course.

    Yeah I think I got myself a game plan for this weekend. Tapping trees and splitting wood!

    From the charts I’ve been looking at, 3 +/- 1 trees of this cherry should give me about a cord. I’ll drop ten of them. Maybe 5 maple and 5 - 10 younger oak should get me another cord or two.
     
  19. maple1

    maple1
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    I'd be splitting that maple pretty small if you want to burn it next winter.
     
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  20. CincyBurner

    CincyBurner
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    I have an Oslo too, and am cutting all of my wood for stacks to 20", which has worked well. Wood is long enough to catch behind the Oslo's andirons, yet not so long that each load is a tight fit.
    And still plenty of shorts & uglies generated that I'll mix in for N/S burns, and for shoulder season burns.
    I like a mix of thins and thick splits, but have gotten away fro the huge "over-nighter" chunks.
    For me hard maple always takes longer than I think it should to season (2 years).
    My dad's Morso takes short splits (12" - 14") that season in noticeably shorter time. Allow extra time for the longer, thicker splits for the Oslo.
     
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  21. Hasufel

    Hasufel
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    +1 on the recommendations to split small. We had a discussion a while back (see here) about thickness vs. drying time that showed the benefits of splitting small if you're in a hurry to use the wood. There was a study on red oak (so the exact numbers might be different for maple) that basically showed this: If a 4" split takes, say, 2 years to dry under certain conditions, then a 3" split will dry in about 2/3 of that time (15-16 months) and a 2" split will take only about 1/3 of that time (8 months). Half as thick for a 2/3 reduction in drying time is a pretty good deal if you want to burn it soon. And that's on top of any of the benefits you get from the other recommendations here regarding location, use of kilns, etc.
     
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  22. Nateums

    Nateums
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    Dec 11, 2017
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    Standing dead trees are often fully seasoned. I'd start with that if you have em.

    Definitely take a good look at your notch to see how much rot you're dealing with, and drop them into the lean.
     

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