Tips on my first season

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Deppizzymo

Member
Feb 28, 2022
55
Missouri
We have a Lopi Liberty on order. We do not have a 1-2 year seasoned stock of firewood and I am working to get as much as I'll need this winter right now split/stacked and then in the fall work towards having another 2ish years worth. I am thinkin 4-6 cords to heat our house in Missouri this next winter (2400 square feet two story 1920s, not well insulated) but we won't know until the winter is over haha. So far I mostly have what was standing dead red oak/white oak split and stacked with a little cherry mixed in. Probably 2.5-3 cords. I have 1/2 a cord of silver maple, a face cord of hedge and I just grabbed at least 1/2 a cord of salvaged wood out of a service entrance near my job. It was sycamore/elm rounds that are so light I know they have to be dried out. I am lucky to have a variety of things on the property and around me but was hoping for some tips to get the most out of what I have. Obviously the oak will be for the overnight/coldest nights + some hedge for when it drops below zero but since they are not going to be 1+ year seasoned, would it be best to mix in some of the elm/sycamore/maple to help drive out some of the moisture? I know this is not an exact science but I don't want to hit crazy cold temperatures and have spent all my super dry sycarmore/elm/maple in the shoulder season and find out that I need it just to get the oak to burn. With school nearly out for the kids, my firewood harvesting days are going to be limited and I will be doing my best to only target stuff like cherry/maple that will be mostly dry by winter. Thanks for any tips you can give me!
 

ericm979

Burning Hunk
Nov 2, 2018
202
California
For my first season I split smaller so it would dry faster, and put the wood (in IBC totes) uncovered in a sunny spot so our warm dry summer could dry the wood. Even though it was all hardwood it got dry enough after a summer to burn well. Your weather is surely different but maybe there's something you can work with.

You can get a moisture meter to check the splits you're making. For most of my species you can bang two splits together and if they make a hollow sound, they're dry enough.
 

hedge wood

Feeling the Heat
Mar 1, 2009
311
Eastern NE
Deppizzymo Welcome to the forum. I am just up the road in Nebraska. I would split that oak down a little smaller than normal and try to get if under a roof as soon as possible. You have a lot of house. Our winters vary a lot. I normally burn 10-15 full cord a year in my Garn to heat my house and shop. This winter was pretty mild and I am probably under eight cord. If you can get some more hedge I would do that it dries way faster than oak does. I burn a ton of hedge. Its great wood. I would get bucked and split and under a roof all the wood you can as soon as you can.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,223
Long Island NY
If you can, find some Ash. That will burn best even if not completely dry. And it dries fast.

Pine dries fast too (but don't burn it too wet...).

Indeed, small splits, sun, wind, top cover, and a moisture meter.

You can also buy NIELS or (I keep forgetting the other brand of) sawdust logs. Make sure it's only compressed sawdust without any additives as wax etc. If you don't get your wood up and ready, a pallet of such logs is great. Lots of energy in them.
You do have to store those inside to keep them dry.
 

Deppizzymo

Member
Feb 28, 2022
55
Missouri
Thanks guys! This hedge is actually the only hedge that I've ever found on the 300 acre property that our 7 acres sits on. My grandma owns the rest. There were five trees and I had determined two were dead and took them. The others are massive and I hate to remove the lone representatives of that species on the property. The oak is already stacked and under cover. I probably should have split it smaller (I will split the rest smaller that I obtain). I would say oak/hickory are 80+% of what is around us with most of the rest being honey locust/slippery elm (all small or way long dead)/red cedar/river birch/sycamore/black cherry. There are silver maples but only right around the house where a few were planted years ago and then they sprang up like weeds and took over.
 

shortys7777

Feeling the Heat
Nov 15, 2017
423
Smithfield, RI
If you run into trouble later in the winter you can mix a few wetter pieces with some of the driest pieces you have. Might have to leave the air open a little longer, but it works. Clean more often if you get worried. I cleaned monthly my first year of burning. Now with dry wood I clean less, get longer burns, and get hotter burns.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,701
07462
buy a moisture meter so you can get a base line, double down on wood scrounging to get 2-3 years ahead
 

hedge wood

Feeling the Heat
Mar 1, 2009
311
Eastern NE
Thanks guys! This hedge is actually the only hedge that I've ever found on the 300 acre property that our 7 acres sits on. My grandma owns the rest. There were five trees and I had determined two were dead and took them. The others are massive and I hate to remove the lone representatives of that species on the property. The oak is already stacked and under cover. I probably should have split it smaller (I will split the rest smaller that I obtain). I would say oak/hickory are 80+% of what is around us with most of the rest being honey locust/slippery elm (all small or way long dead)/red cedar/river birch/sycamore/black cherry. There are silver maples but only right around the house where a few were planted years ago and then they sprang up like weeds and took over.
In my area you either have hedge or you don't. There's not a lot of it around but like the one 160 acres I have it on there's a bunch. In the 30's the WPA guys planted rows and rows on this farm. No one did anything with it and hedge, cedars and locust took over this farm. We have spent the last twenty years cleaning this farm up and turning it into a nice farm. We owned the rest of the section around it or we probably wouldn't have bought it because of the mess. That hedge makes great firewood for my Garn.
 

NoGoodAtScreenNames

Feeling the Heat
Sep 16, 2015
456
Massachusetts
Save some wood for next year - don’t try to be 100% right away. Avoid a lot of cold starts, which probably means not burning much during the should season. Try to get a few loads in before letting it go cold again. Burning Friday night through Monday morning would be better than trying to start a one and done fire every night.

When reloading it’s tough balance with wet wood - you will want a nice hot bed of coals to counter act any moisture in the wood. At the same time though, when I have a load get a little out of control it often is one that had a hard time getting started at first and then takes off in the middle. That is likely to happen to you where you are trying to get rid of the excess moisture with lots of air and then - BOOM! Gates of Hell out of nowhere once it’s dry.

Good luck and be safe.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,460
Woolwich nj
stack the harwoods like the oak and hedge and do a.kiln over the summer. you still have time to put this together. no need to split small. split to the size you want wrap it in early july and it will be.sub 18% by this october
 

Lakeside

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
605
Mike's World
Tips , that come to mind are -- consider using top-down fire starting method & watch out for poor draft if lighting a cold stove if rain is in the near forecast. Be safe and enjoy
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,538
SE North Carolina
Get 1-2 cords of pine and keep every drop of water off it (it dries for me in a summer) and or a pallet for sawdust brick/logs. Build a woodshed to hold 3 years worth of wood.
 
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