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Author Topic: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak  (Read 7247 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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Online 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).
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2018, 04:55:44 PM »
I think some of you are missing the point .If you want a hot fire you have to burn smaller wood .You can't expect to burn 10-12" rounds of oak and get a hot fire.You'll get a long one though if that's what you want .

Offline John Mc

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2018, 07:01:34 PM »
I think some of you are missing the point .If you want a hot fire you have to burn smaller wood .You can't expect to burn 10-12" rounds of oak and get a hot fire.You'll get a long one though if that's what you want .
Some folks make fun of my wood pile as being "mostly kindling". It's not quite that bad: I tend to shoot for 3 to 4", with occasional 6" pieces for when I need a longer burn. But then I'm burning in a 60,000 BTU wood stove, not a massive outdoor wood boiler.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2018, 07:36:52 PM »
I've had more than one tell me I can't burn that. ::)  But they don't complain when they come in the house and it's nice and warm. ;) My choice of wood has always been differant than most. Now with the OWB I can leave the good wood and burn the wood that I can't burn. ;D
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Offline Rebarb

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2018, 08:56:40 PM »
I've noticed this is not really an Apples to Apples comparison. 
Some of us use OWB's where we don't have to be as particular, fearing a chimney fire.

I realize the properly seasoned wood produces maximum Btu's but my findings show much faster burn times when compared to mixing in some less seasoned wood or wet wood.

The theory behind this could easily be lower flame until moisture is burned off.

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2018, 09:01:00 PM »
Not that it matters,but most of mine is well seasoned. Been standing dead for years.   :)
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2018, 09:31:28 AM »
Ive heard it all, and defied it all without issue.  Conventional wisdom can actually be a wives tale sometime.  

Ive burned wet hardwood, wet pine, pure waste vegetable oil, WVO and sawdust in manufactured stoves, modified stoves and home made stoves of conventional and rocket configuration.  10 years and never did a brush touch my chimney.   Meanwhile my buddy who is "following the rules" brushes 2x per season and has black tar DRIPPING off the riser elbow onto the floor.  Yeah, looks great.  

You want creasote?  Damper that stove down to a 300 stack and youll have all you want, just like my buddy.

I routinely ran my stack up to dull orange with sparks coming out the roof to keep it clean. No chimney fires, no house fires.  Occasionally need to open a window.  
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Offline Tin Horse

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2018, 10:05:13 AM »
I agree with Mike. My Caddy wood furnace requires a standard  barometric damper by code. My furnace is EPA rated. Problem was that stack temp was low. Furnace has lots of outside make up air. Creosote dripped from the pipes. Closed off the damper years ago and it runs clean. I also burn a lot of red oak. Barely seasoned a year. I check the stove and pipes but it requires nothing in the chimney. There are a lot of variables with wood burning and it's often the user with the problem.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2018, 10:10:11 AM »
I chalk it up to a cold flue being the root of all evil.  


Makeup air is probably a close 2nd.  
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2018, 11:22:16 AM »
I chalk it up to a cold flue being the root of all evil.  


Makeup air is probably a close 2nd.  
Agreed. However, burning unseasoned wood and smothering the fire by choking off the combustion are are two of the biggest culprits in causing a cold flue. That doesn't mean you can't get a hot fire with green wood. You just have to work at it a bit more than with seasoned wood.  I will say that you are wasting BTUs burning green wood: as much as 40% of the BTUs in the wood. You can't get around the fact that you have to heat up all that water, and even more significant, vaporize that water (driving water from liquid to gas takes a LOT of energy). Further, a cold smoldery fire - whatever is causing it - wastes BTUs because some of those gases which are the products of wood combustion will not ignite at lower temperatures, you are just letting them go up your flue, or leaving them to condense as creosote on your flue. A catalytic stove or boiler helps with this, if you first get it up to temperature to ignite those gases. Once ignited, the catalyst will help keep them burning at somewhat lower temperatures.

I'll be the first to admit that maximizing BTUs per load of wood is not always someone's primary objective. Sometimes it's minimizing labor involved in dealing with firewood, or minimizing the time it takes from cutting to burning the wood, or getting a stove to burn through the night without reloading.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2018, 10:03:58 PM »
I dont disagree with you at all.  Ive just never had a sane or stable enough life for wood burning details to ever make front page.  

Stoves lit.  On to the next problem. 
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #30 on: May 06, 2018, 11:59:20 AM »
I burn in an owb . I split in the spring  to burn in the winter . I burn what ever the tree guys drop off in the yard and some wood I cut from my own lot . I store my wood in a 40' shipping container and there is always condensation on the ceiling . I cut pine logs into cookies 6' long and don't split them . It's a lot less work , and the dry quicker. I love oak but it takes along time to season properly . The problem is time . Working 50 hrs a week and maintaining my land ,house and equipment leaves less time for firewood . 
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #31 on: June 05, 2018, 10:25:59 PM »
Firewood seasoning is hardly even in my vocabulary.  I've lived with wood as my primary heat source for at least 65 of my seventy-two years.  I have three wood stoves --  all Ashleys. My primary stove was bought new by me in 1977.  That is about 40 years service.  I burn mostly standing dead trees the first part of the winter until I run out-- then green wood.  Sometimes I burn wood the day it was cut. I never did own a chimney brush--but I do check the pipe out two or three times per winter-- nothing to be done, except, at the first (fall) inspection I always have to knock down a few dirt dobber nests.   I do always clean the aluminum rain cap, as it is simple stamped aluminum and plates out with black (dry) deposit.  I burn mostly oaks, some hickory-- never any softwoods.

My flue pipe is "Metalbestos" brand double wall pipe in 30" sections, 1977 vintage, so it is most likely real asbestos.  To me in my location--that is, not as cold as many of you see, control and long-burn are more important than ultimate heat generation.  In fact, if I had all standing dead wood, I would go out and cut some green wood for added control and burn time.  My night time procedure is to burn hot for about 30 minutes before bedtime, rake down, and load full with wood-to include a big round one that will just go in the door.  The house is always warm in the morning and I just rake the ashes out of the coals and it is a roaring fire in a few minutes.  

A note on emissions-yours may be better than mine.  It is not very critical in my case, with low population density and we own everything around us for a good distance. 

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2018, 06:36:13 PM »
I, too, have a moisture meter, but I rarely use it anymore.  My advice is to find some space, either outside or in a shed, or both, and prep 2 year's supply of wood.  After the first year, you will have to prep only one year's supply each year, staying one full year ahead. Each year's fuel thereafter will have, dependent upon when during the year you put the wood up, two full spring-summer-fall seasons (and one winter) to dry.  So I try and have all my wood prep done by April 1 of each spring.  This has worked well for me.  I burn 80% oak, with a bunch of it being red oak.  MC on most of what I burn is 17-18%.

I stack half under cover in the shed with the OWB and half outside exposed to the elements.  When the weather is nice, I use the outside stacks.  When it's yucky, I stay nice and dry and use the shed wood.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2018, 07:14:38 PM »
Doctorb -

Are you drying your Red Oak through two summers, or one? If it's one, I suspect  your drying season in MD is a whole lot longer than ours in VT. I've just not had luck getting Red Oak to dry here if it's only gone through one summer as cut split and stacked wood.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2018, 12:49:44 PM »
Sorry.  I must not have detailed that too well, John.

I put up 90% oak this spring that will be used in November 2019.  So my wood will dry all this summer, as well as all the next summer.  You and I agree that one summer is not enough to season green red oak.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2018, 01:11:01 PM »
Sorry.  I must not have detailed that too well, John.

I put up 90% oak this spring that will be used in November 2019.  So my wood will dry all this summer, as well as all the next summer.  You and I agree that one summer is not enough to season green red oak.
In rereading your post, there is no lack of clarity there. The shortcoming was in my own addled brain.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2018, 05:00:44 PM »
We cut and split mostly Beech, Maple and Ash, with a little Ironwood and occasional Cherry.
We're fortunate this year to say all our wood for this winter is put up, and working on Fall '19. Usually we're cutting deadfalls and blow downs in February and March- with only an indoor Furnace for heat. I shut off the Propane furnace when my girls learned that it was easier to turn up the thermostat than stoke the fire (10 years ago, and the furnace hasn't come on since).
Most of our wood is stacked on pallets, with a tarp on the top, leaving the sides open to the prevailing westerly wind. Most years, our wood doesn't get much more than a couple months to dry. We clean the pipe 2-3 times a winter.
Not the best use of this valuable resource, but it suffices....
Good thread; Let's keep it going. Some of your good advice might "Soak in" (old saying...). 
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2018, 07:33:56 PM »
Ash is probably one of the best to burn if you don't have time for it to fully season. It starts off with one of the lowest moisture contents of any of the "prime" hardwoods. Beech is probably second on that list (though it makes an even better firewood when it's fully seasoned).

Wood is our primary heat source. We heat 2000+ sq ft with a single woods stove, burning fully seasoned wood. We clean our flue once a year, whether it needs it or not. In a "bad" year, we'll get a little over a quart of crap out of our 20' flue when we clean it.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2018, 08:55:36 PM »
"Ash wood wet or ash wood dry, a King can warm his stockings by..." (Old saying).
I normally would not be cutting ash, but they're all dead. I liked having them in the woods, as they seem to be magnets for the elusive Morel (a mushroom much sought after here).
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2018, 07:42:14 AM »
Doctorb -

Are you drying your Red Oak through two summers, or one? If it's one, I suspect  your drying season in MD is a whole lot longer than ours in VT. I've just not had luck getting Red Oak to dry here if it's only gone through one summer as cut split and stacked wood.
 This. There is no way I can get away with burning any oak drying during only one summer. It will creosote my flue like you cannot believe if I try it. Generally I let my oak season three full years before I burn it. It took many years for me to get there but I am finally there.  I have had much better luck with faster drying times with beech and even hickory.
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Offline Tom Caroselli

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2018, 11:26:14 AM »
I have a tree service business and red oak is a big portion of our daily removals. I also heat my home with wood. Both ways will work for you, but the wood in the shed if it doesn't get the wind might take a little longer to dry. Buy yourself a moisture letter, and keep a log book.

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #41 on: June 11, 2018, 07:16:27 PM »
Tom-  Welcome to the Forum!

We agree and I think it's time for a little experiment.

I am cutting and splitting a red oak (I assume.  I'll also get pics of the wood.  It's not a tree that I have ID'ed closely before.) that blew over in a storm about 3 months ago.  It was a healthy live tree.  I will take one of the 18 inch rounds and split it into 6 triangular shaped pieces.  Each will have a radius of bark attached.  I will mark the bark so I don't lose track.

I'll measure the MC after splitting, which should be very high.  (I have read here that MC is inaccurate on most meters when it's extremely high.)  I'll report that here.  I'll place a couple of the pieces on top of my outside wood stacks (fully exposed to wind / sun / rain) that will not be used for at least 18 months from now, providing 2 summers, 2 falls, 1 winter and 1 spring of seasoning.  I'll place the others inside the shed, one within one of this year's "green" stacks and another on top of the same stack.  I'll take pics to give you guys some idea of the different environments for these pieces.

Hopefully I'll write this stuff down, not turn senile, and let the wood season until December 2019.  Then I'll split the pieces and measure the MC.   We will get some idea how much the shed experience effects the MC.  I would tend to agree with your assumption regarding seasoning inside of the shed.

It's a long time to have a reminder string tied around a finger....
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2018, 08:01:04 PM »
We load and stack wood off the splitter on dump trailers and I store the trailers in metal pole sheds that get very hot in the summer. Usually we load the trailers in the spring or summer and burn the wood late in the winter or the next fall it always seems to be dry when I burn it. 

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #43 on: June 13, 2018, 01:49:51 PM »
All who are interested....I have started the experiment on firewood seasoning.  I took the liberty to post pics of the firewood involved in the Tree, Plant, and Wood I.D section, to verify the species of tree that I will be testing.  

Please verify species in Tree, Plant and Wood I.D.

Once confirmed, I will detail the experiment and provide pics here.  I am not trying to confuse people by posting in two different threads, but I believe that the folks interested in tree ID are not necessarily the same folks interested in firewood seasoning.  And I wanted a confirmed answer as to the tree species before continuing the experiment.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #44 on: June 13, 2018, 03:44:58 PM »
doctor, that is an interesting experiment you've started. Hopefully we will all live to see the results.
   I looked at the pictures of the wood and believe it is a red oak. There are a few varieties of red oak, black oak being one of them. I think they all dry and burn about the same.

 

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #45 on: June 13, 2018, 06:03:34 PM »
Here's my set-up.  A three-sided shed with one small window, and different cribs to hold firewood.

 



 

I split a single round into 6 pieces and sprayed some paint on the bark to help me remember where they are located.  MC = 26%



 


I placed 3 pieces outside and 3 inside the shed.  2 of the outside pieces will sit on top of an existing woodstack, with full exposure to sun and wind and rain/snow.  Like this:



 

The other outside piece is buried in the stack



 



I did the same thing inside the shed, with two pieces on top of a stack, and one buried inside the stack.  No sunlight will reach these logs.

 I will wait 18 months, which is how long (minimum) I let wood season.  We will see if there is any measurable difference in the MC of these 4 different positions of the logs.  Somebody remind me in December 2019!
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #46 on: June 13, 2018, 09:38:31 PM »
Red Oak (and some other species), when cut in the spring, if the outside of the log is relatively defect-free, and you score the bark lengthwise with a chainsaw, can be de-barked with an axe. Yes, this can be a bit labor-intensive, but bark-free wood dries faster and burns better and fewer bugs. Anyone else do this ?

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #47 on: June 14, 2018, 08:13:43 AM »
Wow Doc B!  I am in awe!   :o
 
I knew my setup was kind of redneck, have seen some nicer setups, and have thought about adding a carport around my outdoor burner.  However, looking at your setup, the only comparison that comes to mind comes from a podcast I’ve been listening to about Genghis Kahn and his descendants attacking Europe in the early middle ages.  “Not only were they better than the European armies, but they brought tactics and technology that the Europeans didn’t even know existed.  It’s like they came down from a higher plane.”
 
We burn standing dead and deadfall almost exclusively as we have more of that than we can keep up with.  No sense cutting live trees other than in fencelines.  As such there is a lot of wood that goes straight from our trailers to the woodstove.  I felt real good about myself when I had last winters wood cut and stacked by mid October, covered with used tin laid on top and weighted down.  ;D
 
KEC:  As for debarking, I find if you leave a dead tree standing two-three years, the bark comes off easily and often on it’s own.   :D
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #48 on: June 14, 2018, 01:56:21 PM »
TKehl-

Thanks, but it's not that amazing.  This shed was an old 3-stall "barn".  The previous owner added a real barn to it, making it unused space.  I just removed a few of the stall partitions, changed the roofline a bit, and....there you go.  It's an old structure whose life expectancy was "extended".  I do like being protected from the rain / snow when I visit on cold winter evenings.  And I appreciate not having to knock snow and ice off the fuel just to be able to extract it from the stacks and throw into the stove.

My father once said, "This is my son who wanted to grow up and become a doctor.  So far, he's only become a doctor."

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #49 on: June 16, 2018, 06:22:43 AM »
 
 It's on my calendar......
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #50 on: June 16, 2018, 07:35:10 AM »
doctorb -

I suspect your moisture meter will not read accurately over about 25% (that's common in a lot of meters designed for woodworking use, which focus on the low end of the scale). Fresh cut Red Oak has a much higher moisture content. Even if it blew over 3 months ago, it's unlikely it would be down to 26% by now (especially if it spent a good bit of that time still in tree length). If it were down to 26%, I'd expect to be seeing checking in the ends.

I've always been told the proper method is a comparison of the weight of the water to the weight of the dry wood, so if the water weighs the same as the wood, that would be 100% moisture content. In this case, it's possible to have more than 100% moisture content. Most of the studies I've read seem to use this method

Another method I've heard people argue in favor of is to compare the weight of the water to the total weight of the piece. In this case, in the example above, where the water weight equals the wood weight, the moisture content would be called 50%. Intuitively, this method makes more sense to most people: If it's 50% moisture content, then half the weight of this piece is water. However, this does not seem to be the method commonly in use.

By the first method, Moisture content in fresh cut logs ranges from 45 to more than 200%. I've read somewhere that Red Oak is generally in the mid 80% range, but I can't swear to that. Most wood dries relatively quickly to the fiber saturation point (FSP varies by species, but generally around 25-30%). That's the point where the "free water" in the cells is out of the wood. Drying below the FSP takes more time, as water is being removed from the cell walls. Generally, no shrinkage takes place while free water is being lost. The shrinkage happens as you go below the FSP. So if you are seeing cracks appear in the wood, at least parts of it are getting below the FSP.

Some light reading on the subject, if you get bored:
Wood and Moisture Relationships, by James Reeb
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #51 on: June 16, 2018, 10:53:47 AM »
So, are you suggesting that I weigh each piece now, and compare the weight to that of Dec 2019?  I could easily do that.  It would represent a percent of total weight lost, and may give a different degree of “seasoning” than the moisture meter.

And, yes, the tree was untouched until about 4 weeks ago when I started the buck it and move the rounds down to my wood stove area.  It’s as green as can be.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #52 on: June 16, 2018, 02:02:36 PM »
Whether to weigh or not is up to you. The meter should read accurately as you get into lower moisture content ranges. Just letting you know that if the tree is as green as you describe, it's certainly well over 26% MC
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #53 on: June 16, 2018, 03:42:37 PM »
Got it.  Thanks.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #54 on: July 30, 2018, 09:59:32 PM »
i cut in mid winter when roads are frozen and can skid out without all the dirt getting into the bark, which makes for a lot of chain sharpening when bucking. split in early summer and it burns fine in the fall. keep it tarped after september ,so snow and ice don't build up on it. only burn about 10 cords a year in camp, house, evaporator. never had an issue with creosote building in chimney's . cut a variety of hard and soft...oak,maple ( hard and soft), white ,yellow and black birch, hickory, wp,hemlock to mix in the evaporator to keep the boil from dropping off.
Randy

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #55 on: August 02, 2018, 10:49:09 AM »
My son has a wood burning oven on his pizza truck.
pizzarita.org, it is a 1946 Chevrolet 2 ton former farm truck.

I split white and red oak, that is the only wood he uses, and then
stack it in rows 4' high by 24'four feet long. The rows are
stacked 3' feet apart. The wood is in an area that gets shade
though plenty of air.

The wood is not covered. I wish I had a roof over then to keep
the direct rain and snow off and they would stay cleaner.

When I get the rounds I try to split them before they sit for one
month. Though there have been a few times were they sat for
3 to 4 months before I get them split. The rounds are stacked
bark side to the ground so the ends are exposed to the air.
The rows of rounds are stacked 3' apart. Height depends on
how heavy the rounds are.

My moisture meter says that after one year the ends are 14% and
when I re-split a piece the moisture reads 22% in the middle.

Green the moisture measured is 48% when the round is first split.

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #56 on: August 02, 2018, 11:07:08 AM »
Red Oak (and some other species), when cut in the spring, if the outside of the log is relatively defect-free, and you score the bark lengthwise with a chainsaw, can be de-barked with an axe. Yes, this can be a bit labor-intensive, but bark-free wood dries faster and burns better and fewer bugs. Anyone else do this ?
When splitting white and red oak I never remove the bark
unless it appears that is will come off easily when splitting.
Visible gap where a axe will fit in an one tap and the bark
is off.

Less insects is a plus though I do not bring the barked pieces
into my fire place. Also I split many large diameter rounds
in the 18" to 36" so there is a high yield of no bark pieces.
I never used the moisture meter to see if the pieces that had
bark had a higher moisture content than the interior pieces.

Being that the outer grow rings have more sap flow it would
appear that pieces split from that section would have a higher
moisture content due to their location and having bark does
not cause the higher moisture content. Just my guess. Not
a scientist.

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #57 on: August 18, 2018, 11:40:16 AM »
Bark is the devil, all the crawly stuff and all the fungus lives just under it.  Once bark is gone, ants is the only other thing that might be in there and theyre pretty easy to spot.  A debarked woodpile lasts a lot longer without rotting.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #58 on: September 06, 2018, 02:29:10 PM »
Just started using a log splitting. So I now take off the bark
as part of the splitting process. Cleaner wood, get rid of the 
insects.

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #59 on: September 18, 2018, 08:29:33 AM »
Update on the wood seasoning experiment.  (See explanation Reply # 41.)

The guru's over in the Tree ID section believe that this is actually a Chestnut Oak, and not a Red Oak.  Doesn't really change the experiment.

Please verify species in Tree, Plant and Wood I.D.  See pics of wood at top of thread.

I got a little worried that the logs, especially the pieces exposed to the sun, might have their identifying yellow paint fade by December 2019, so I nailed a large washer into the ends of each log.  I don't think I'd miss that before I threw it into the OWB.

So now we just let nature take its course.
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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #60 on: September 18, 2018, 10:38:03 AM »
I did an experiment just like this some years ago. I was trying to find out how much difference it makes stacking wood in a single row exposed to sun and wind, in a triple row with 3 rows stacked right next to each other - also exposed to sun and wind, or under firewood shed (open on three sides, multiple rows stacked about 6" apart). Other than the roof on the shed, everything else was uncovered. The shed has a gravel floor, the rest were laid on poles to keep it up off the ground. Species were Beech, Red Maple, some Sugar Maple, Oak (red & white) and Black Birch.

I wish I had kept the data, but it has been lost over time. I do recall the general results:

For most of the species I tracked, I could easily get below 20% (most was in the 15% range) with one summer of drying if stacked in single rows. I could even wait until June or July to cut split and stack and still be ready to burn by late fall. The exception was Oak, which was higher MC and hard to light that fall. It really needs to season 2 summers (at least in my drying conditions here in VT).

In the triple rows, it was hit or miss if I could get it dry in one summer, but most of the non-oak wood in the outside rows was in decent shape.

The slowest drying was in my shed, even though it was open on three sides. Some of the stuff that was fresh-cut green developed mold. It did eventually dry, but other than the outer row, nothing cut that spring was as dry as I like it in order to use that fall. No problems with rot, however.

I'll be interested to see what you come up with, Dr b
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Offline 32vld

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #61 on: October 24, 2018, 08:44:47 AM »
It makes me wonder when people say two to three years to
season oak just how long do they let the rounds sit before
they split them and to what size do they split the firewood 
pieces.

My son has a pizza truck with a wood fired oven. He has
been running his truck for four years.

We use only oak. Started burning mostly red, now we use almost
all white. Firewood is 16" to 17" length. Most of the wood is split
to about a 2" x 3" cross section.

I have a 6.5' x 15' trailer to get the wood. So a trailer load of
rounds will be split in 2 to 4 weeks.

The wood is stacked 4' high by 24' long in a shady but open
area, uncovered. Rows are 3' apart to easily run a wheel barrow
through them.

Moisture meter reading of 14% on the ends and 21% when 
the wood is re-split to check the middle moisture content after
one year of drying.


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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #62 on: October 24, 2018, 10:33:36 AM »
I need two summers of drying to reliably get Red Oak down to below 20% average MC. Cut to 16", split to roughly 3"x3" or 3" x 4", and stack in the spring, single rows (i.e. at least several feet between them) open to the sun and wind, uncovered until just before heating season. Most species will be ready to burn (+/- 15% MC) by that fall.

Not Oak. It's not ready until the following heating season. Can I get it to burn after just that one summer? Sure. But it's harder to get started, burns less cleanly, and does not give off as much heat as if I let it fully dry.

I suspect if I got an early enough start in the late summer or fall, I might by able to get it there in only slightly over a year, but I've never done much testing of that.

I'm guessing the difference may be either the time of year that the Oak is cut, or the fact that your drying season is probably a bit longer on Long Island than in my part of VT.
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Offline 32vld

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #63 on: October 25, 2018, 07:17:04 AM »
I have split all my oak with a splitting axe. So I never would have
enough firewood put up to season to more than 1 year ahead.

This September I finally bought a log splitter and have a source
for white oak so I hope to be able to try seasoning the oak for
a longer time so my son and I can see what difference there is
burning in his wood fired oven.

Also he is looking to open a store in addition to his truck so I will
need to have enough wood on hand to supply him.

Another thing is I am thinking of using a hoop shed with a canvas
over the top because his wood has to be clean for the fire is on 
the floor of the oven to keep dirt off the pizza.

Now the lower rows of wood get splashed with dirt from the rain.
Slows up the loading time cleaning the wood. And the bottom two
rows are so dirty that the have to be restacked like a log cabin
out in the open so the rain washes all the dirt off of them before 
they can be used.

I wood leave the ends of the hoop shed open and the sides have
a opening about 2' between the canvas and the ground.

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Re: Firewood seasonoing. Red oak
« Reply #64 on: October 25, 2018, 09:19:10 AM »
32vld,I doubt many of us is splitting down to 2-3 inches for firewood. Yours should dry quicker than a stove wood size of wood,which I think would be at least 6 inches across.
Good idea on the hoop house.
I wonder,room wise,if you could dry it like lumber. Lay down 2 pieces,like stickers,than a layer of wood than stickers and so on. That would give you more airflow,I would think.
More thinking,would that black weed control allow airflow but help keep the rain off the ends?
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