Tough year drying

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GreenMountainBoy

New Member
Aug 17, 2020
28
Western MA
My county in Northern Nh was in drought conditions most of the year. Great year for drying especially with my plastic covered "kiln"
I'm in Western MA, probably 150 +/- miles from you as the crow flies, and we had the wettest summer I can remember. It started in late May, then in July alone we had 15+" of rain. June, Sept, and Oct were all 6"+ with Aug 8"+!! If I'm remembering correctly, we had the remnants of 4 hurricanes go directly up the CT River Valley over us this summer. And all of them poured over the exact same spots for hours at a time.

That said, I got this year's firewood (3-year old red oak & hickory) under cover before the worst of it, so I was lucky.

Just goes to show you, it pays to have at least 2-3 years of firewood cut and stacked at all times, You never know what's going to happen next, but so far at least I've never gotten stuck trying to burn this year's wet wood.
 

vatmark

Burning Hunk
Jan 5, 2017
122
Nebo NC
I just too a look at some of our stacked wood. It has some of the green mold on the ends on a few logs. Not a lot of them. This spring and summer in Nebo NC was completely disgusting. Torrential rains a few times and so humid. We even put in a whole home dehumidifier due to the humidity. The stacks are top covered but we get blowing rain so I'm sure a good amount of water got into some of the wood.
 

ToastyRanch

New Member
Nov 15, 2021
57
Coastal Massachusetts
As everyone here has reported we had an extremely wet year in New England. Our local reserviors are all maxed out and I haven't been able to mow my front yard in months. That being said I still got some great wood drying. I split it all on the smaller wide ans have it stacked facing west in my open back yard so it gets pounded with the afternoon sun and prevailing winds. Location/orientation really matter when it comes to drying.
I’m just getting into all of these wood burning related things, and I’m also in MA…. I want to be as clear as possible what to do before I go moving wood around and go buying things… You mean store wood uncovered pointing east/west so that the wind blows on the west ends of the splits and also blows along the full lengths of the split from west to east? It would be convenient for me to do that. Thus, I’m wondering if I’m going to want to put wood into a shed over the winter? Or keep it outside but keep it top-side covered with some propped up (for ventilation) plywood with some plastic sheeting/tarps stapled onto the plywood to shed snow/rain better? Or is outside uncovered okay with our high wind level? 27mph wind today and that’s not unusual for my location.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,277
Massachusetts
I’m just getting into all of these wood burning related things, and I’m also in MA…. I want to be as clear as possible what to do before I go moving wood around and go buying things… You mean store wood uncovered pointing east/west so that the wind blows on the west ends of the splits and also blows along the full lengths of the split from west to east? It would be convenient for me to do that. Thus, I’m wondering if I’m going to want to put wood into a shed over the winter? Or keep it outside but keep it top-side covered with some propped up (for ventilation) plywood with some plastic sheeting/tarps stapled onto the plywood to shed snow/rain better? Or is outside uncovered okay with our high wind level? 27mph wind today and that’s not unusual for my location.

I have my wood oriented like so:

1638543490406254032913336105195.jpg


It's about 10:00 am and as you can see it's just about all in full sun. The stacks are 1 cord each, two rows deep, and have an 8" air gap between them and have 4 x 3" branches mixed in linking them for stability. I wanted them strong in case the kids or dog ran into them. They running N/S the long way about 6' from the woods edge. I'm looking north east in the pic so the exposed side is facing due west which gets all the warm midday/afternoon sun and gets hit by the prevailing wind.

While the tarps aren't ideal, we've had 50+ mph winds on many occasions and they have survived just fine. They only last a couple seasons but only cost like $10 each so it's not a big expense. My long term plan is to build lean-to style roofs over the stacks and construct a large shed out back (to the left in the photo) but with the cost of lumber being so high I'm in no hurry.

Sun/top covering help but wind is the most important factor for drying time along with split size. Try to orient your storage to maximize wind exposure. Once it's good and dry make sure it stays top covered either with tarps, loose roofing, under a lean-to, or ideally in a wood shed. Top covering isn't necessary in the summer but I'd recommend it for winter. You don't want piles of snow sitting on top slowly melting into the stacks. I personally top cover all year it's just easier, I never have to worry about it.

I like to cut cut splits around 3-4" for faster drying and easier loading. I feel I can get more wood in each load with reasonably sized splits as my stove is only 1.85 cu ft.

With this setup I can fully season maple, cherry, ash in one season and red oak in two. If you're really in a hurry you could build a solar kiln, there's lots of good data on that here, but if you just plan ahead you can season it naturally in this area no problem.
 
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ToastyRanch

New Member
Nov 15, 2021
57
Coastal Massachusetts
I have my wood oriented like so:

View attachment 286949

It's about 10:00 am and as you can see it's just about all in full sun. The stacks are 1 cord each, two rows deep, and have an 8" air gap between them and have 4 x 3" branches mixed in linking them for stability. I wanted them strong in case the kids or dog ran into them. They running N/S the long way about 6' from the woods edge. I'm looking north east in the pic so the exposed side is facing due west which gets all the warm midday/afternoon sun and gets hit by the prevailing wind.

While the tarps aren't ideal, we've had 50+ mph winds on many occasions and they have survived just fine. They only last a couple seasons but only cost like $10 each so it's not a big expense. My long term plan is to build lean-to style roofs over the stacks and construct a large shed out back (to the left in the photo) but with the cost of lumber being so high I'm in no hurry.

Sun/top covering help but wind is the most important factor for drying time along with split size. Try to orient your storage to maximize wind exposure. Once it's good and dry make sure it stays top covered either with tarps, loose roofing, under a lean-to, or ideally in a wood shed. Top covering isn't necessary in the summer but I'd recommend it for winter. You don't want piles of snow sitting on top slowly melting into the stacks. I personally top cover all year it's just easier, I never have to worry about it.

I like to cut cut splits around 3-4" for faster drying and easier loading. I feel I can get more wood in each load with reasonably sized splits as my stove is only 1.85 cu ft.

With this setup I can fully season maple, cherry, ash in one season and red oak in two. If you're really in a hurry you could build a solar kiln, there's lots of good data on that here, but if you just plan ahead you can season it naturally in this area no problem.
Thanks for all of your details and photo. I’m going to take a closer look step by step while standing in my yard and make sure that I can map your instructions onto my property. I’m not someone who likes to reinvent the wheel so I’ll try as close to your methods as possible and adjust from there.
 

RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,353
Whitmore lake, MI
Very wet summer in MI this year. I have readings at around 20% about a month and a half ago. Hoping it has dropped a couple % since then.
Yep. And followed by a wet fall and probably a wet winter. I work outside and October was a horrible month for me.
 

fvhowler

Burning Hunk
May 4, 2018
164
Heart of NC
A dry fall for me has made up for a humid/wet summer. In the mid-South, we get wood drying almost year around. Could use some rain though, its really dry for this time of year.
 

vatmark

Burning Hunk
Jan 5, 2017
122
Nebo NC
So after the humid wet summer it is now so dry that burn bans are in effect. A forest fire broke out on Pogue Mountain which is 4 miles from my home. Luckily they got it under control. For now we will not being using the wood stove, our fire pit, pellet grill or our kamado grill. Don't want to take any chances.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,525
Long Island NY
Depends on the burning habits... If you have glowing embers exiting the chimney, it's risky - lol.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,525
Long Island NY
I was only joking.

I do think that with the potential consequences of wild fires, being extra careful is a good thing, even if it inconveniences one (as in no stove).
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,277
Massachusetts
Yeah I figured I just feel badly for the guy. I don't think they need to forgo the wood stove as I don't see the danger but if you aren't sure it's probably for the best. No firepit makes 100% sense tho. Mine blows embers everywhere.
 
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vatmark

Burning Hunk
Jan 5, 2017
122
Nebo NC
Yeah I figured I just feel badly for the guy. I don't think they need to forgo the wood stove as I don't see the danger but if you aren't sure it's probably for the best. No firepit makes 100% sense tho. Mine blows embers everywhere.
Using wood stoves is not part of the burn ban. We just don't want to take any chances. Plus right now it is not too cold out. Currently at 6:45 pm it is 53 out with low going down to 48 overnight. We are not full time burners. Now if we depended on the stove to heat our house then we would use it.
 
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Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,277
Massachusetts
Using wood stoves is not part of the burn ban. We just don't want to take any chances. Plus right now it is not too cold out. Currently at 6:45 pm it is 53 out with low going down to 48 overnight. We are not full time burners. Now if we depended on the stove to heat our house then we would use it.

That makes sense! I won't burn if its over 40 myself I just let the heat pump work. Best of luck.
 

fvhowler

Burning Hunk
May 4, 2018
164
Heart of NC
There is a burn ban statewide in NC. We've had several forest fires in the state over the last week or so. The ban includes prescribed burns, cancelling any burning permits and burning leaves/debris. The ban does not include wood stoves, fireplaces or even backyard recreation burning (small fire).
 

vatmark

Burning Hunk
Jan 5, 2017
122
Nebo NC
There is a burn ban statewide in NC. We've had several forest fires in the state over the last week or so. The ban includes prescribed burns, cancelling any burning permits and burning leaves/debris. The ban does not include wood stoves, fireplaces or even backyard recreation burning (small fire).
Yes I understand the burn ban doesn’t include those things. This is just us not wanting to take a chance. We have lots of trees around us as well as a forest floor of dry leaves. Our back yard is a long hill covered in dry wild grasses and weeds which could easily ignite. Our HOA also advised the community not to use fire pits and wood stoves/fire places.
 
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