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Author Topic: when to cut firewood  (Read 11007 times)

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Offline easymoney

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when to cut firewood
« on: March 08, 2010, 06:58:30 PM »
this may have been answered before, but a cousin of mine says he heard that it was best to cut firewood in the winter while the sap is down. or does it matter if you let it dry enough before you burn it?

Offline breederman

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2010, 07:12:51 PM »
I always figure the best time is when I get around to it. ;)
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2010, 07:13:13 PM »
Not much difference in seasonal moisture at all. Just dry it good. I wonder where he thought the moisture came from to go there? Water has to go up to send it down, can't suck it out of the air. Well maybe that ain't quite true, but it ain't in liquid form. ;)

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline Slabs

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2010, 07:51:20 PM »
The sap-down thing sounds resaonable.  I cut mine at least a year before I burn it to make sure it dries out as much as possible.  Cool weather also makes a much better time to swing the saw and axe.  Some stays in the rack for two years.

Wet wood takes 970 BTU per pound of water to dry out if it's in your heater/stove.  That's not counting the energy it takes to elevate the water to evaporation temperature (1 BTU/pound/degree Farenheit).  Could mean lotsa BTUs up the flue just to get the water out of the wood.

Now this probably didn't have anything to do with the original question but it's a few facts to consider for woodburners.

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Offline footer

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2010, 09:14:36 PM »
Not much difference in seasonal moisture at all. Just dry it good. I wonder where he thought the moisture came from to go there? Water has to go up to send it down, can't suck it out of the air. Well maybe that ain't quite true, but it ain't in liquid form. ;)

Well, I would have to say that depends on the tree species and the climate you live in, among other variables. If i cut a cottonwood down here in the spring, summer or fall, mainly on the river bottoms, the water gushes out like a faucet is turned on. In the winter, trees are dormant here in the winter, no water comes out. There is also a big difference in maple from winter to summer.
Like breederman says, I cut it whenever i have time, usually the weekend before i burn it :D

Offline ErikC

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2010, 09:36:54 PM »
 I cut it as soon as it falls across the road :D or near the road, or anywhere easy to get to with the pickup or tractor. You're going to dry it anyway, why make it more complicated than need be?
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Offline stonebroke

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2010, 09:39:39 PM »
A good day to cut firewood is yesterday  :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Stonebroke

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2010, 09:48:35 PM »
I'll be cutting and splitting Friday.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2010, 05:35:37 AM »
Footer, that's to do with sight not season and I agree with you there. Water don't flow when it's froze. And not only that your talking about seasons where the water in circulating in the tree it don't hold any more water though. ;) However I've yet to see any significant  difference in water content by season. The evidence, and not old time legends, backs that up. ;) Unless it's been bucked, split and stacked to dry. :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Dirty Harry

Offline 4genlgr

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2010, 07:38:24 AM »
my greaat uncle would cut his down in the summer and leave the leaves on when the leaves were dead and faling off he'd cut it up and burn it that winter

Offline trapper

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2010, 11:54:40 AM »
I like to cut elm when it is dead and the bark has fallen off.  Them much of the water is gone and is less weight for me to handle.  I have to handle  all of my firewood by hand.  Been cutting by a lady that has a lot of dead wood she wants cleaned up. Yesterday was the end for me until the ground dries out and I can use a trailor.  Her driveway just melted of snow and I dont want to wreck my sled.  In the winter i use an otter sled that will hold the 30 inch pices crossways and pull it with the atv out of the woods. I cut to 30 inches because that is what will fit in my splitter and seems to work well in the owb
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Offline roger 4400

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2010, 01:11:21 PM »
Hi.
Usually I cut mine in november when I,m hunting deer. The deers will feed on the tender ends,(deers will eat all the top branchs of my maples) I only fell the trees down. In may before the mosquitos attack..., I cut it in 16 in.and cord it. If I do not have time to fell the trees in automn, I cut it in early june and let them with their leaves on (only fell, not cut in 16 in.) 2 to 3 weeks after the leaves will have taken all the sap they can and they are dry , then I cut it in 16 in. and make my cord to dry, it is dry the same automn....Good luck Roger.
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Offline ladylake

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2010, 06:10:41 PM »
Today wasn't a good day, drizzling all day but I had about a cord on a pond that I wanted to get before I couldn't drive on the pond.   Steve
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Offline wageslave

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2010, 06:40:20 PM »
I cut the tree's down in the winter and then buck it up in the spring to dry for the coming winter. I have cut  tree"s in july cause i didn't have time to get to it, and then bucked it up to dry but the wood is still wet come winter. The wood doesn't dry out during the winter months when cut this late unless I store a lot of it in the house and let the woodstove dry it out.

Offline downeast

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2010, 09:07:28 PM »
We've always harvested firewood in winter in northern New England. Deciduous trees are dormant, little osmosis or sap flow in hardwoods, the frozen wood 'seems' easier and lighter to move and cut ( just this one's experience over the years harvesting 6-8 cords/year). Besides all this there's no bugs, usually soft snow, frozen ground, easier working in the cold since you can always take things off.
When spring comes with longer days, greater sun exposure, but below freezing nights, many species are tapped to extract the sap from the cambium; the sap of maples, and some birches are made into syrup here and in Quebec.
For example, Red/Soft Maple when cut in spring and summer weeps sap profusely; never in winter. There's a big difference for us hand humping butts/bucks in the winter as opposed to spring/summer. The body knows. ;D  Your experience may differ.

Offline footer

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2010, 11:23:06 PM »
We've always harvested firewood in winter in northern New England. Deciduous trees are dormant, little osmosis or sap flow in hardwoods, the frozen wood 'seems' easier and lighter to move and cut ( just this one's experience over the years harvesting 6-8 cords/year). Besides all this there's no bugs, usually soft snow, frozen ground, easier working in the cold since you can always take things off.
When spring comes with longer days, greater sun exposure, but below freezing nights, many species are tapped to extract the sap from the cambium; the sap of maples, and some birches are made into syrup here and in Quebec.
For example, Red/Soft Maple when cut in spring and summer weeps sap profusely; never in winter. There's a big difference for us hand humping butts/bucks in the winter as opposed to spring/summer. The body knows. ;D  Your experience may differ.
I couldnt agree more  ;D I dispise cutting wood when its hot out, but for some reason, when its bitter cold, I dont seem to mind working outside cutting wood. Also, I never get poison ivy in the winter :D

Offline shinnlinger

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2010, 12:48:25 AM »
I agree with all that has been posted.  Ideally you do it in the winter as there are no bugs,  the sap is down and you can skid trees in snow so it wont dull you blade back at the ranch.  If you do it in the winter you can also say "It warms you twice" 

All that said, when you get to it, you get to it.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2010, 05:28:49 AM »
I never felt it get any lighter and with snow all over it, slipping out of your gloves and on your foot feels mighty heavy. Splits a lot easier green (wet) and frozen though. :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2010, 06:11:35 PM »
I cut and split today.  The splitter ran out of gas at 2:00.  A good "Quiting  time"...... :D
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2010, 08:34:23 PM »
I carry two jugs into the woods, one with water and one with gasoline. Whichever I empty first, I leave the woods. ;D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
Dirty Harry

Offline isawlogs

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2010, 08:38:05 PM »

 That would of been my ticket out also ! smiley_wavy
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Offline Banjo picker

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2010, 09:16:58 PM »
I did not burn anything but slabs this winter....I tried to keep the stacks nice and neat...They have been there for over a year...just take the 084 and a 36" bar and in about 15 or 20 minutes I can have 1/4 of a cord at the house to put on the porch...Thats about all you can pile on the 900 rtv... ;)  Tim
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Offline customdave

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2010, 11:10:01 PM »
I would say 70% of my firewood gets put up in the winter, seems like thats when I have time for it, plus the fact its nicer to play with wood when its cooler. I like to stay a couple years stockpiled ahead so if it is a bad weather winter I don't have to worry about gettin wood, plus I enjoy playin with wood for the most part.



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Offline zopi

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2010, 11:19:43 PM »
this may have been answered before, but a cousin of mine says he heard that it was best to cut firewood in the winter while the sap is down. or does it matter if you let it dry enough before you burn it?
When I can't get someone else to cut it for me....
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Offline DirtForester

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2010, 10:11:51 AM »
Trees are full of water in the winter, awaiting the first flush of spring. 

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Offline JohnG28

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2010, 05:34:14 PM »
Id have to agree its better cutting in the cooler weather, you warm up quick.  I also like that the trees are off the dirt when theyre on the snow, better for bucking and blocking up logs, dont have to worry about putting the chain in the dirt and grit.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: when to cut firewood
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2010, 07:25:27 PM »
Sounds like they are relating the significant moisture swings with the live sapwood. "Most variations in moisture content were observed in the wood nearest the bark." In summer, it would stand to reason moisture in the sapwood would go down some simply because of moisture deficits depending on rainfall and soil properties and driven by temperature and  evapotranspiration through leaves. It's not a closed system. A fellow would have to see the actual journal article that was published to see how they arrived at their results. As they point out, significant swings in moisture content are not observed in all species. "Northern conifers do not seem to vary much seasonally". I wonder about their take on northern tolerant hardwoods. According to figures from around here, which I can't point to any specific study, there is no big swing in moisture content of hard maple, beech and yellow birch. I have a yellow birch tapped right now and it hasn't released a drop of sap yet. But, I know it will soon as when we cut yellow birch brush they weep sap for days. The old tree pump just hasn't started up yet. ;D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Dirty Harry


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