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Author Topic: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak  (Read 6806 times)

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Offline Kwill

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Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« on: January 24, 2018, 02:35:29 PM »
I wondering your guys take on seasoning wood particularly red oak and post oak. I usually cut around this time of the year for next seasons wood burning. I have a shed I try to get filled up so I have a good start on the winters wood. It stays dry in the shed but I wondering how much it actually seasons over being stacked outside? Nice thing is it never gets wet but on the down side it doesn't get the wind and sun on it. Which do you think would be better?
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Offline uplander

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 03:12:08 PM »
 Red/black oak makes up the bulk of my furnace fuel. I stack two rows with space in between on a line of pallets.
It is covered with old rubber roofing on top but not the sides. It takes me at least 2 years and sometimes 3 to get that down to less than 20% moisture content.
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Offline jaygtree

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 04:51:46 PM »
i burn mostly red oak. i use to cut and stack it outside uncovered and let it dry for three years before restacking it in a woodshed.  now i leave it sit in a pile and cover it with a large tarp that has a lot of holes in it. then i stack it in my wood shed. have not noticed any difference other than the covered wood is not as dirty, no fall leaves, and i save on handling.  jg
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Offline gspren

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 06:14:19 PM »
  I think it dries a little quicker in my wood shed but it's just a roof, no sides, so the wind still gets through and with the dark green metal roof it gets hotter at roof height which draws air up through the stacks when the air is still, at least that's my theory. If your shed has sides you need to get some big openings for the summer.
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Offline Kwill

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 08:35:44 PM »
I've noticed on mine in the past that was put in the shed burned really good but still had some weight to it. Not as bad as green wood but not like a couple year seasoned. I think when I get the mill done I'm going to mill out some cedars and make a wood shed with just a roof and no sides. Kinda like a carport. That way its not out directly in the rain but will still get the wind blowing through it.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2018, 05:26:41 AM »
Red oak while good firewood is one of them you need to be timely about .If it sits any length in the rounds heaped up in a pile it will rot .White oak is much more forgiving in that situation .
Maple,red oak and hickory don't do well if left in logs or rounds in contact with the ground for long periods of time .
One of the trimmers over about a year dropped of about 12-15 cords in the round of oaks etc .Nice guy Al let him store in my woods under the idea it was to be split,stacked for him to sell .6 years later it's still there >:( .I went through some of it and at least half the red oak oak ended up on my burn pile .What a waste

Offline Blue Noser

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2018, 07:47:49 AM »
My family has always followed a similar path as you have described. We cut, split, and pile our firewood starting in late November to mid December and aim to be completed by February/March. The stacked wood then seasons in the elements until mid-late Summer (August-September) at which time it is piled in the woodshed and/or sold. Our summers are often on the drier side, with significant rains only coming every week or two, or sometimes longer, so we wait for a dry spell before moving the wood into our shed. It would take a significant and prolonged rainfall to soak all the way through a pile which has been out in the wind/sun drying for several months.

We have never had any complaints from our customers, nor issues ourselves. My family has been following this method for many generations.

Edit. We are not fortunate enough to have red oak to use as firewood (while a prevalent tree in the province, it is not on our woodlot). For hardwoods we mainly use red maple, yellow birch, white birch and some sugar maple. We also burn/sell a lot of softwoods including balsam fir, white/red/black spruce, and eastern larch. The softwood is sold at a discount, say 1/3 less than the hardwood.

Offline Wood Shed

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2018, 07:17:44 AM »
Air circulation is key to the drying process.  Over the years I have experiences everything from using basement in house storage to monster tarp covered outside wood mountains randomly stacked with an elevator.  Now using a wood shed (pole structure) lined with 5/4 boards to keep wood away from the sides and provide plenty space for air circulation.  Just wish I had taken the time to put in a floor to allow air space on all sides, got in too big a hurry to get it filled. 

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Offline John Mc

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2018, 05:54:36 PM »
Most of the hardwood species I cut for firewood here in VT I can get to dry to down below 20% moisture content by the start of the heating season even if I cut it late spring/early summer IF I stack it in single rows, uncovered, out exposed to the sun and wind. (and yes, I did get really OCD about it early on and borrowed a moisture meter while I experimented with different methods of storage for seasoning. I even got to the point where I would occasionally resplit a piece to check the MC in the middle).

The key to this was the single rows and out exposed to the sun and wind. I'd put it in the lean-to off the back of my garage (open on 3 sides) just before heating season started. If I put it in that lean-to while it was green, there was no way it would be under 20% by heating season.

The only species that this does not work for seems to be Oak. I really need at least 2 summers to get that stuff dry enough. I've heard that Black Locust may be similar to Oak in this regard, but I've not burned much of it (and that stuff was 2 or 3 years old when I burned it).
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Kwill

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2018, 08:17:41 PM »
I've never checked the moisture content on any I've cut. Not exactly sure how to go about doing that. I cut in the winter and put in the shed. It always burns good in the outdoor wood burner. I may try leaving a rank or 2 out side uncovered stacked up and see how it does next winter.
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Firewood seasoning. Red oak
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2018, 08:24:41 PM »
I've never checked the moisture content on any I've cut. Not exactly sure how to go about doing that. I cut in the winter and put in the shed. It always burns good in the outdoor wood burner. I may try leaving a rank or 2 out side uncovered stacked up and see how it does next winter.

I borrowed a moisture meter. Tried it over the course of 2 years as I was experimenting with different methods of drying and storing. I don't use a meter anymore. I was just interested in testing out the claims that so many people make about the best way to deal with firewood.

Not sure how much difference you'll see in an OWB, but I could sure see (and feel) the difference when burning wood in my wood stove. When the wood was properly dried (I averaged around 15% moisture content), my little wood stove could keep up with my need for heat on 2 stories of my house on all but an extended spell of well below 0˚F weather. When it wasn't properly dry, it really struggled to keep up.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Kwill

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2018, 08:41:35 PM »
I burn a mixture of seasoned, green and dead solid wood. Has always kept up with my heating needs
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Offline gspren

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2018, 09:06:13 PM »
  I probably burn 90% oak in my OWB and while it will tolerate almost anything I burn less if it is seasoned. Much of the oak I cut is standing dead and it's good the next year but when I cut a live one I do aim for 2 years. The other 10% is cherry and some years a very small amount of locust, they seem OK in one year.
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Offline Footloose64

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2018, 02:24:06 PM »
The problem with burning wood with any amount of moisture, although impossible to avoid (down to 0%), is that you'll burn more wood, a fact of nature.  In order for wood fibers to burn, they have to first be brought to 0% moisture, then they can turn to combustible vapors.  The method of reducing to 0% occurs within your burning device by boiling to steam that moisture by the already burning wood that's been in there prior and turning to vapor.  That means heat being generated from one log is being consumed by the adjacent log, so to speak, to dry the newest to steam.  That's why John Mc's little stove has trouble keeping up on a cold day with less than dry wood.  Simple mechanics, but not so evident when you're sitting in front of a nice wood stove.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2018, 05:14:56 PM »
Simple solution, stack the next days wood around the OUTSIDE of the stove.  

As was mentioned, fully tarping red oak will make it grow mushrooms in a hurry, it needs air to blow that swamp clear.  My advise is find some old barn tin, stack your stuff wherever you live and nail or screw tin over the stack so a few big pieces hold it down.   I prefer a slightly pitched roof shape to shed most water instead of dripping it all into the pile.


I stack ontop long pallets.  If i go double row (4 face cords) the center dont dry near as good so i leave a foot now.
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2018, 06:00:17 PM »
The problem with burning wood with any amount of moisture, although impossible to avoid (down to 0%), is that you'll burn more wood, a fact of nature.  In order for wood fibers to burn, they have to first be brought to 0% moisture, then they can turn to combustible vapors.  The method of reducing to 0% occurs within your burning device by boiling to steam that moisture by the already burning wood that's been in there prior and turning to vapor.  That means heat being generated from one log is being consumed by the adjacent log, so to speak, to dry the newest to steam.  That's why John Mc's little stove has trouble keeping up on a cold day with less than dry wood.  Simple mechanics, but not so evident when you're sitting in front of a nice wood stove.
A little known fact of wood combustion: There is such a thing as too dry. You want some moisture in the wood to help regulate the burning process. My former business partner, who is a real wood combustion guru could explain all the chemistry and thermodynamics of what is going on, but much of it goes over my head.
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Offline Rebarb

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2018, 08:22:34 PM »
I burn 90% Oak and cut everything this year and burn it next year.....store the split wood in metal shed with roof and no sides.
If anything, it may be a little to dry but mix a little green with it for longer burns...OWB.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2018, 10:23:20 PM »
I burn 90% Oak and cut everything this year and burn it next year.....store the split wood in metal shed with roof and no sides.
If anything, it may be a little to dry but mix a little green with it for longer burns...OWB.
Where are you located? That sure does not work in my neck of the woods. We don;t have much of a drying season here in VT... not that it stops some people from burning it anyway, and smoking up the neighborhood.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Rebarb

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2018, 10:35:25 PM »
I burn 90% Oak and cut everything this year and burn it next year.....store the split wood in metal shed with roof and no sides.
If anything, it may be a little to dry but mix a little green with it for longer burns...OWB.
Where are you located? That sure does not work in my neck of the woods. We don;t have much of a drying season here in VT... not that it stops some people from burning it anyway, and smoking up the neighborhood.
I'm at altitude, dryer air.
Never heard of 3 years of seasoning round here but completely respect others preferred methods of burning clean wood.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2018, 11:00:13 PM »
I'm at altitude, dryer air. Never heard of 3 years of seasoning round here but completely respect others preferred methods of burning clean wood.
 

It doesn't take me 3 years. Most species I can get dry to around 15% MC over one summer of drying. Oak generally takes me two.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow


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