Splitting Green VS Dry?

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Mr A

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2011
597
N. California
Are some species easier to split green vs dry? I'm looking at some splitter reviews and the question is always "will it split a knotty green log?" Before I have recently got myself into burning I had helped out with some eucalyptus and doug fir trees. Both split well wet, but a dry eucalyptus was indestructible. I would think a dry hardwood will be harder to split dry?
 

onetracker

Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2011
606
rondout valley ny
Are some species easier to split green vs dry? I'm looking at some splitter reviews and the question is always "will it split a knotty green log?" Before I have recently got myself into burning I had helped out with some eucalyptus and doug fir trees. Both split well wet, but a dry eucalyptus was indestructible. I would think a dry hardwood will be harder to split dry?
yeah there have been some insightful posts on this already if you search around a bit. personal experience is always prefrered to hear-say. and its an important thing to know so we're not working against mama nature. plus i see you're in CA so we're gonna have different options. sure love burning that madrone when i was out there.

all bets are off when the wood is knotty or stringy

sugar maple/cherry/hickory - brutal when green and a snap when dry
red oak - easy when fresh cut then a bear after a few days/weeks...then easy as pie after it dries a bit
red maple - easy/easy
ash - had fresh-cut white ash that i simply could not split and other trees that split green just fine. easy when dry.

etc....

onetracker
 

seeyal8r

Feeling the Heat
Jan 20, 2011
272
Central Oklahoma
Oak splits, IMHO, easier green. When its dry it builds up a bunch of pressure and then pops all at once. It is easier to wrestle the logs around once they are dry though just because they can weigh 20% or more less. But of course they dry faster already split. I like to get stuff css as soon as I cut it so its not laying around. So if I cut some standing dead or some green they get split as soon as I get em.
 

jackatc1

Feeling the Heat
Aug 15, 2011
380
Port Crane ny
If forced to choose,I vote for green fresh cut. Including shagbark hickory.

Iam talking maul and wedge,hydraulic splitter is not an issue.
 

zzr7ky

Minister of Fire
Jun 12, 2006
1,053
Split first, ask questions later... Only a few, like Elm or Poplar are left to firm up. However if I miss the sweet spot I'm no above stacking 'em off on the side and spitting them when I have time.

Most split best when they come down for me.
 

Flatbedford

Minister of Fire
Mar 17, 2009
5,252
Las Vegas, NV
I split by hand, and I believe that most wood splits easiest when green. With a machine, it may not matter that much.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
Mister A, you sound like you are about where we was before we purchased a hydraulic splitter. I had split wood by hand (green) for many years and enjoyed it but an injury forced us to look for help. My biggest fear was that I'd buy a splitter and then come the knotty stuff or elm, which we cut a good deal of, that it would not work. Those fears are all behind us.

Most of the elm we cut and split is already dead and the bark mostly off. This makes it split easy. However, I've also split a couple of elm that were cut when the tree was alive and well. Then it really turns out stringy, sort of like that picture that Jags has posted before. The wood just does not want to separate so it gets twisted out of shape and leaves it stringy. That tends to make the wood burn super fast and is the reason some folks give elm a bad rap.

But getting back tot he splitter, we bought a 20 ton splitter and have smiled ever since. However, I have no experience with eucalyptus or doug fir so can not say on those trees.
 

Dune

Minister of Fire
I like to dry pine rounds on their side, and off the ground for a year before splitting by hand. By machine, doesn't matter.
 

pdxdave

Burning Hunk
Aug 16, 2010
224
Kirkland, WA
All of my (limited) experiences have pointed towards dry wood being easier to split than when green. I've never ran into a dry split that didn't pop apart with a good solid hit, whereas I've struggled with countless green rounds. So I've never quite understood why so many people believe green is easier to split, other than to assume that every species, and probably each tree/grain to some degree will have differing characteristics.
 

timusp40

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2010
266
Lake Orion, Michigan
Mr. A,
From everything that I have read here, I would say go green! Main reason is to get it drying faster, sooner etc.
Tim
 
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ScotO

Guest
I split almost all my wood when its green with relative ease, be it with the maul or the hydraulic. That said, the green black walnut I'm splitting right now is some of the hardest stuff I've ever split. Stringy as all get-out!
 

LLigetfa

Minister of Fire
Nov 9, 2008
7,360
NW Ontario
With the exception of some really stringy stuff, green and fresh cut splits easier. Anyone that says otherwise is probably a procrastinator that is lying to themself. It doesn't much matter when using a splitter unless it is underpowered or real stringy.

The sooner it is split, the faster it will dry. Also the bark tends to stay on green wood better. Splitting dry or standing dead wood tends to shed more bark.
 
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OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,525
Center of Ohio
all bets are off when the wood is knotty or stringy

sugar maple/cherry/hickory - brutal when green and a snap when dry
red oak - easy when fresh cut then a bear after a few days/weeks...then easy as pie after it dries a bit
red maple - easy/easy
ash - had fresh-cut white ash that i simply could not split and other trees that split green just fine. easy when dry.

etc....

onetracker
That might explain my situation too. I know most say green is easier to split. I've only tried splitting green a few times but in every case it was much more difficult. Mainly cherry though. Some maple and locust, although all the locust I cut has been dead for a while. Green I was struggling with normal sized rounds to even split them at all so I have given up splitting green. Let em sit just a little until it starts getting crack marks through it and hit it on the crack and its been much easier. I'll have to give green another shot though, especially if I come across some other species like oak.
 

Dune

Minister of Fire
That might explain my situation too. I know most say green is easier to split. I've only tried splitting green a few times but in every case it was much more difficult. Mainly cherry though. Some maple and locust, although all the locust I cut has been dead for a while. Green I was struggling with normal sized rounds to even split them at all so I have given up splitting green. Let em sit just a little until it starts getting crack marks through it and hit it on the crack and its been much easier. I'll have to give green another shot though, especially if I come across some other species like oak.
Cherry is another exception like pine. I don't even try to spilt much cherry by hand anymore, but it definitely splits easier after drying for a year.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
Ask Tony (fire_man) if dry cherry splits easy and you'll get another story! As for me, the wood will be split when green unless some unforeseen problem crops up.
 

Locust Post

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2012
1,063
Northeast Ohio
www
I probably burn more cherry and maple than anything else. I have never thought either one was that difficult to split when green unless it had some knots. Until last year I split everthing by hand with a monster maul and I have not used a wedge in many years.
 

Dune

Minister of Fire
I wonder if cherry grows different in the midwest than here on the beach. I have other friends who also wait a year to hand split cherry.
Arround here, cherry does not grow straight, but instead bends every which way, often making a 90 degree turn for no apparent reason.
Tha's another reason I don't hand split much of it, seldon are the two end cuts even nearly in the same plane.
 

Jimxj2000

Member
Aug 14, 2008
52
SE NH
Green - and frozen solid when using Fiskars!!! Pops right open. The only type I have really noticed is green pine is harder than dry. But frozen anythings splits much better.
 

OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,525
Center of Ohio
We didnt have hardly any frozen days this year lol!

And when I was talking green being harder to split for me, I usually only let it sit for a month or two to start getting cracks then its usually good to go. Its not like its realy much drier, just that it starts those cracks.

I split everything by hand mainly with the Fiskars X27, and I do have an 8# maul too. Never owned a splitting wedge, so the really nasty pieces either get noodled or turn into compost in the woods.
 

LLigetfa

Minister of Fire
Nov 9, 2008
7,360
NW Ontario
...I usually only let it sit for a month or two to start getting cracks then its usually good to go. Its not like its realy much drier, just that it starts those cracks.

I split everything by hand....
My experience with hand splitting is contrary to that. I always found that a fresh cut face split easier than one that had been exposed and started to form cracks.

Anyway, I think the OP was talking about using a splitter. With a splitter, stringy stuff may hang on better when green but pop apart better when dry.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
I wonder if cherry grows different in the midwest than here on the beach. I have other friends who also wait a year to hand split cherry.
Arround here, cherry does not grow straight, but instead bends every which way, often making a 90 degree turn for no apparent reason.
Tha's another reason I don't hand split much of it, seldon are the two end cuts even nearly in the same plane.
Not sure if this is true or not but I've always noticed that cherry is one of the trees that does really tend to grow crooked. Trees will tend to grow to where they get the most sunshine and that is why on field edges, or any edge of the woods, the trees will always lean out. Inside the woods the trees will grow taller and more straight up. Cherry seems to have the ability to grow in different directions during its growing time. Yet, have a cherry in the open and it will generally grow straight.
 
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