Wood won't season

Travishall

New Member
Nov 14, 2018
24
Central New York
I have a mix of sugar maple and Ash that has been cut, split, stacked for 18 months. Wood had been stacked in a single row and off the ground on old fence rails. Plenty of wind and sun. Wood has been top covered only with tarp. Tarp hangs down the side about 12 inches.

Moisture meter reading 25% still. Wood hisses and spits in the stove. What gives?

This wood came from a sanitation harvest removing diseased or dead trees, particularly a fungal canker on the sugar maple. Can a fungal or bacterial disease inhibit the seasoning process? I have read about "wood that never seasons" and am afraid I might have just that.

Open to thoughts or suggestions.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
11,463
Southern IN
That's two-year wood here, depending on how big the splits are. Might get away with 18 months if they were 4" on a side. How big did you split?
You'll just have to burn in the load a little longer, but you can get away with it. You'll use more wood for the same amount of heat, compared to dry wood. Ya hate to see your wood go up in smoke, I know.. ;)
 

Travishall

New Member
Nov 14, 2018
24
Central New York
That's two-year wood here, depending on how big the splits are. Might get away with 18 months if they were 4" on a side. How big did you split?
You'll just have to burn in the load a little longer, but you can get away with it. You'll use more wood for the same amount of heat, compared to dry wood. Ya hate to see your wood go up in smoke, I know.. ;)
That's good to know! Yes, it burns well after the initial water boils out but it gnaws at me.
 

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thewoodlands

Minister of Fire
Aug 25, 2009
12,575
Foothills of The Adirondacks
We've been burning some sugar maple that has been seasoned 3 & 4 years and we top cover the start of the second year. I've burned 1 & 2 year old seasoned sugar and there's a big difference.

I took a moisture meter to the sugar maple we've been burning this year and I'm getting readings of 12, 15 and 18 percent.
 

Travishall

New Member
Nov 14, 2018
24
Central New York
We've been burning some sugar maple that has been seasoned 3 & 4 years and we top cover the start of the second year. I've burned 1 & 2 year old seasoned sugar and there's a big difference.

I took a moisture meter to the sugar maple we've been burning this year and I'm getting readings of 12, 15 and 18 percent.
Thanks. Seems I may have had unrealistic expectations for seasoning time.

I will keep trying to get ahead
 

Prof

Feeling the Heat
Oct 18, 2011
425
Western PA
I would expect the ash to be good to go in a bit less than a year. That being said, the summer/fall of 2018 was the wettest I can remember and I was literally eating oyster mushrooms off of the stacks of wood that would have normally had great wind and sun exposure. Not sure if this was true in your neck of the woods as well. This past summer was much better for drying wood, so that is why I would think that the ash would be below 20%.
 

Travishall

New Member
Nov 14, 2018
24
Central New York
I would expect the ash to be good to go in a bit less than a year. That being said, the summer/fall of 2018 was the wettest I can remember and I was literally eating oyster mushrooms off of the stacks of wood that would have normally had great wind and sun exposure. Not sure if this was true in your neck of the woods as well. This past summer was much better for drying wood, so that is why I would think that the ash would be below 20%.
Same here! The Ash is really puzzling. Where in Western PA are you? I went to college in Meadville
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
11,463
Southern IN
That's good to know! Yes, it burns well after the initial water boils out but it gnaws at me.
I see you had her blowing on the stack to dry it a little faster. ;lol
 

Prof

Feeling the Heat
Oct 18, 2011
425
Western PA
Same here! The Ash is really puzzling. Where in Western PA are you? I went to college in Meadville
I'm in Lilly PA, between Johnstown and Altoona. I went to college at Edinboro--a bit north of Meadville.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
11,463
Southern IN
Seems I may have had unrealistic expectations for seasoning time.
Splits that size are gonna take longer to dry, but if the T6 is like the T5, it takes off to 700+ on small splits. I might put in a second flue damper to use until I can get bigger splits dry.
There are some "solar kiln" threads here, using the forum search will turn up good info. I try to avoid using plastic if I can but I think I might have enough old aluminum storm windows from when we converted a glassed-in porch to a bedroom..I might try that for fun.
 

mustash29

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2012
669
SE CT
Are those tarps regular ones cut down to fit your stacks or are they the "special" firewood tarps that are long & skinny? What brand are they? Where did you get them?
 

jmb6420

New Member
Jun 25, 2019
44
NE Oklahoma
Are those tarps regular ones cut down to fit your stacks or are they the "special" firewood tarps that are long & skinny? What brand are they? Where did you get them?
The tarps I use are from Northern Tool. 18' x 4' tarps made specifically for covering woodpiles. Less than $4.


Lopi Endeavor
Lopi Republic
Northern tool 37t splitter
 

jmb6420

New Member
Jun 25, 2019
44
NE Oklahoma
Northern Tool tarp Pic


Lopi Endeavor
Lopi Republic
Northern tool 37t splitter
 

mustash29

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2012
669
SE CT
I need to get some of those long & skinnies for my 4 x 80 foot stacking area that lives under pine trees and gets full sun exposure. Tired of dealing with the pine needle debris.
 

Travishall

New Member
Nov 14, 2018
24
Central New York
Splits that size are gonna take longer to dry, but if the T6 is like the T5, it takes off to 700+ on small splits. I might put in a second flue damper to use until I can get bigger splits dry.
There are some "solar kiln" threads here, using the forum search will turn up good info. I try to avoid using plastic if I can but I think I might have enough old aluminum storm windows from when we converted a glassed-in porch to a bedroom..I might try that for fun.
[/QUOTE

Oh yeah, she roars.
 

Travishall

New Member
Nov 14, 2018
24
Central New York
Tarps are from "thetarpswholesaler.com". They are 4x20.

I just drive a nail and a small bungee to keep them on. I wish they had a 2 x 20.

I cut my pieces 18 inches, but might start doing two rows in pallets to get them up off the ground more and have less tarp hanging down.
 

Travishall

New Member
Nov 14, 2018
24
Central New York
I thought this set up would season faster...maybe too tightly stacked
 

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Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
733
Palmyra, WI
I have read about "wood that never seasons" and am afraid I might have just that.
I remember the quote. But I wonder about that. It was regarding spruce, hemlock and birch, and in a far northern climate, all of which can dry in a season. And if something invaded blocking pores, then, maybe it would take longer, relative to other clear wood in that area. Here in the states, most hardwoods (oak, hard maple) takes a couple years or more to dry anyway. They're not considered soft, porous, light weight, easy to dry to begin with. So to have things here 18 months out still struggling to dry - sounds fairly normal - let it cure a little longer. Not talking about much, but that last little bit can seem to take forever.
 
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Travishall

New Member
Nov 14, 2018
24
Central New York
Thanks for all your replies. I kept reading "6 months to season" and was wondering what I was doing wrong. Then I read about wood that never seasons and thought that's what I was up against. The wood is from sick trees and did have a distinct smell when splitting. Not like sap but sweet nonetheless. Did seem excessively wet even for green wood...

I have pulled a lot of tops of these logs out of my woods to cut this winter, but was having second thoughts if the wood would never season. I will cut it up over the holiday and hope two years from now it is good to go. Hate to waste that effort and be depending on wood that will never get where it needs to be.

I clean the chimney 3 times a season regardless, so hopefully low risk of excessive creosote buildup.
 

nrford

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2011
1,283
NW lower Mi.
You are trapping moisture by covering part of the sides like that right away. Water condenses under that tarp everyday and drips onto the wood. I never cover until it has had a full summer in the sun...
 

Travishall

New Member
Nov 14, 2018
24
Central New York
You are trapping moisture by covering part of the sides like that right away. Water condenses under that tarp everyday and drips onto the wood. I never cover until it has had a full summer in the sun...
Good to know. I will try to find a way to use the tarps in a way that doesn't cover the sides or, like you said, let it season a bit before covering. The tarps are only held by the end grommets, so there is wind flow under them as I have to occasionally pull the middle part back over the stacks when they get blown off.
 

hickoryhoarder

Feeling the Heat
Apr 5, 2013
354
Indiana
Ash can be ready for me in as little as 12 months, but 18-24 is better. Sugar Maple usually 24 months minimum.