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Author Topic: How much rot do you allow?  (Read 1719 times)

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Offline cutterboy

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How much rot do you allow?
« on: January 02, 2021, 05:05:44 PM »
 

 
For those of you who sell firewood, how much rot do you allow on a piece of wood going to a customer? What do you do when you have a round of sound wood with a little center rot? The pictures above and below show a round of red maple with a bit of center rot.


 
Here it is split open.


 
Here I've split one half around the rot getting three pieces of good wood and one with rot. Would you sell that stick or throw it away?


 
What about this piece with just a bit of rot on the tip of the wedge?


 
From that round I got three pieces with rot and six clean ones.


 

 
I need six cords for myself so I take all the pieces with rot and any ugly wood and put them in my stack. I only sell 12-15 cords a year so I can easily use all the ugly wood myself, but what about you guys? How fussy do you feel you have to be?

      Happy splitting.....Cutter

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2021, 05:59:08 PM »
I use the ones with rot. With a processor I can see if its bad. That little rot can be a complaint.
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Offline Nathan4104

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2021, 06:04:03 PM »
Id sell stuff like that and not feel bad. 
Maybe not a whole cord, but a few sticks for sure! I draw the line at ant workings :)
Mine you, up here, 1/2 the wood sold is dry pine which was cut as dead standing wood, and 1/2 of that is spruce so.....its crazy but we work with what we get! 

Send me some of that rotten red maple please!  I bet itll still be night and day over our good hardwood!!! (white birch)

Offline Tacotodd

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2021, 06:54:36 PM »
Id sell it and not think much about it, HOWEVER, before you do ask the customer what they are doing with the wood. Cooking with it (grill) then no. Just heating, never think twice.

But thats just MY opinion.
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Offline Corley5

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2021, 07:19:28 PM »
Center your 4 way wedge on the rotten spot and quarter it.  Not enough rot on the four resulting pieces to matter.  Selling soft maple would cause me more complaints than that little bit of rot ;) ;D
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Offline bluthum

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2021, 08:01:38 PM »
I've sold some wood and have never bought any, have cut all my heating wood for many years. Anyway, I'd gladly burn that myself but I find   red maple on the low end around here even with out the rot. Maybe if the log was hickory or some such. Of course a lot depends on what fire wood is available locally. 

Online mike_belben

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2021, 08:09:17 PM »
I try to keep the junk and ants in my pile.  A lot of our red oak is actually scarlet oak which very commonly is pretty doaty up the center so i think most people are used to it.  


Those pieces you have, if i was getting good money from a stranger id split the rot off to my pile.  If someone i know or a cheap skate, ya get what ya pay for in it goes. 
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Offline barbender

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2021, 08:38:59 PM »
I find that a small amount of rot like that often falls off from handling before it makes it to the customer, and if it's a few sticks in a load I, figure it is firewod🤷🏽‍♂️ It all depends on your market I guess. 

Nathan, I think your enthusiasm for red maple is unfounded😁 I'd prefer white birch myself...now hard maples another story.
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Offline Runningalucas

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2021, 08:40:46 PM »
My advice look around, 1st at what people are actually selling in your area; in doing this, you can get a feel for quality, and price.  2nd, always be clear with your customer, put it on paper, too many knuckleheaded idiots anymore not to; they'll say you lied when you know you spoke clearly; this way, anyone you may do business with knows how you operate. 

I really think consistency is key to offering any product.  If you have less than desirable cords, market them accordingly, and if you have high quality cords do the same.  Figure out your own 'brand'; what you want to be known for. 

In the past, I've only bought wood one time, and it was the last.  The guy advertised split, and seasoned Tamarack/Red Fir mix.....  What I actually got, were mill ends, and mainly bark.  I was literally stuck with what I ordered, because the SOB delivered the 2 cords via a one ton dump, and just after dark.  I share this anecdote, as an example of how not to sell anything.  Had he been honest, I still may of bought, but wouldn't have paid as much as I did.

Did the guy make out? Sure, temporarily until I made it my literal mission turning him into the state's weights, and measures dept, as well as going through every *DanG social media avenue the idiot had advertised on, leaving a string of 'this guy is a fraud, and is actually offloading mill ends(mainly bark) from a sawmill operation, instead of 'seasoned, and split' wood.  It wasn't 2 weeks before he had gone invisible.  That was about 15 years back, and for about 6 years after that, I looked for the sorry SOB's ad style....  My point?  Treat people fairly, and make it clear on paper what they'll be giving in turn for what they'll be getting; problem solved, no tension, no issues, just a means to put a little money in your pocket, have a clear conscious, and happy customers.

On that note, your wood looks fine to me, don't think my stove would have any hiccups eating it.
Life is short, tragedy is instant, it's what we do with our time in between that matters.  Always strive to do better, to be better.

Offline cutterboy

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2021, 08:41:30 PM »
I agree, red maple is not the best firewood but it was what I was splitting so it is what I used for the pictures. Now, having said that, red maple has gotten a bad reputation that it doesn't deserve as a firewood so does white birch. They are both good burning wood.... not long burning wood but good. Sometimes you don't want a piece of oak or hickory in the stove. Sometimes you want a wood that burns  fast and hot, like when you start the fire or perk it up.

Offline cutterboy

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2021, 08:55:04 PM »
Runninggalucas, remind me not to tick you off. :D But seriously, that guy deserved what he got.

Offline Blueknife

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2021, 09:49:59 PM »
Send me some of that rotten red maple please!  I bet itll still be night and day over our good hardwood!!! (white birch)
Don't feel too bad. Red maple is not nearly as good as white birch. BTU value is just a little bit better than jack pine, for point of reference.

Online mike_belben

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2021, 01:11:16 AM »
When you want the stove to stay running all day without cooking you out, red maple is great. 
Psalm 37:16

Offline jmur1

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2021, 01:40:46 AM »
It is an interesting problem.  I have another related problem in my area.  The standing ash is starting to rot  And it is still everywhere.  I have been going by weight.  I hand stack everything so if it feels wrong it goes in the home burn pile.

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Offline cutterboy

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2021, 07:24:29 AM »
Lets keep things in perspective. According to the btu chart at the Firewood for Life web page; btu's per cord.
hickory 27.7 million
white oak 26.4 million
red oak   24.6     "
sugar maple 24.0  "
white birch 20.2   "
red maple  18.6   "
So according to these figures red maple has 75% of the btu's that red oak has. Not bad for a "junk" firewood.

Offline Nathan4104

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2021, 10:09:09 AM »
Well Ill admit, Ive been walking amungst the Balsam and Black Spruce for so long the only maple I ever see is the leaf on our flag! (Which looks kinda sugary to me!)   

Offline Blueknife

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2021, 12:30:57 PM »
Lets keep things in perspective. According to the btu chart at the Firewood for Life web page; btu's per cord.
hickory 27.7 million
white oak 26.4 million
red oak   24.6     "
sugar maple 24.0  "
white birch 20.2   "
red maple  18.6   "
So according to these figures red maple has 75% of the btu's that red oak has. Not bad for a "junk" firewood.
Interesting. The chart I looked at, here Firewood BTU Ratings Chart Best Firewood Heat Energy Content has it at 18.1. I'm sure there's more variation than that from log to log, so that probably explains it. Anyway, for me, and the other guys I know who sell wood, red maple was the lowest quality wood that we sold. Gotta be a stopping point somewhere. Sold around 120-150 cords a year between me and my buddy, with perhaps 25% of that being red maple, just because it's very common in that area (it's the most common tree in the US, actually). I did tree work in Ohio for 20 years, did tree work in VA and NC for a year in the middle of that and then moved to Idaho, which has given me a little different perspective on various firewoods.

Offline brianJ

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2021, 02:15:53 PM »
Lets keep things in perspective. According to the btu chart at the Firewood for Life web page; btu's per cord.
hickory 27.7 million
white oak 26.4 million
red oak   24.6     "
sugar maple 24.0  "
white birch 20.2   "
red maple  18.6   "
So according to these figures red maple has 75% of the btu's that red oak has. Not bad for a "junk" firewood.
Seems like you are breaking the law and prolly more than  one.    As far as I know facts, logic & common sense are not allowed on the internet

Offline upnut

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2021, 03:14:09 PM »
The pieces you pictured would go right in the sale pile for me, keeping in mind it's a roadside "campfire wood" type of situation. Originally, I began selling campfire wood as an outlet for marginal firewood that was rotting away in in a neglected woodlot belonging to a friend of mine, TSI if you will. Inspiration came from research, I believe on this forum, from a gentleman that kept a "knots, rots and butts" bin at his firewood sales area, which priced accordingly, he couldn't keep up with. 

You, on the other hand, appear to be selling top quality firewood for home heating purposes...a bit different market. A "sell the best and burn the  rest" approach seems best there. 

Observations from my (very limited) experience!

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Offline Blueknife

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2021, 05:16:34 PM »
Lets keep things in perspective. According to the btu chart at the Firewood for Life web page; btu's per cord.
hickory 27.7 million
white oak 26.4 million
red oak   24.6     "
sugar maple 24.0  "
white birch 20.2   "
red maple  18.6   "
So according to these figures red maple has 75% of the btu's that red oak has. Not bad for a "junk" firewood.
For some more perspective, that 25% difference can be pretty significant. According to that chart, red maple is far closer to white pine, willow, poplar or cottonwood than it is to red oak.
That being said, my experience was that trying to sell premium firewood was mostly a waste of time. There just aren't enough people who are aware of the significant differences in heating to be willing to pay extra for top quality wood. The only top quality wood that I was ever able to sell for extra was hickory, and I only did that a few times. As far as "higher end" wood, I sold more cherry than anything else and that's decent BTU value but not top end. Basically, I just kept the top quality stuff for myself, cause nobody wanted to pay extra for it anyway. The last winter I was in Ohio I burned nothing but locust and shagbark hickory. Loaded the stove once every 24 hours.

Offline Ianab

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2021, 05:47:21 PM »
I really think consistency is key to offering any product.  If you have less than desirable cords, market them accordingly, and if you have high quality cords do the same.  Figure out your own 'brand'; what you want to be known for. 


Agree with your post. 

I sell a bit of firewood, as a hobby more than anything. It's advertised as "dry", and "mixed". Pine and cypress are acceptable firewoods here, but I make sure I mix in a bit of good hardwood in every load. There will be some mill offcuts, some split rounds, some round limb wood from tree cleanups. And it's all decently dry. That way I don't have to sort the different types and have 3 different prices. 

Most of my sales are repeat customers or word of mouth, so customers must be thinking the deal is fair. 

As for the different BTUs for the wood. If you are selling "Mixed hardwood" then you can throw some soft maple and birch in there, as long as there is some White Oak / Hickory to balance it out. If you separate them, then you are back to having different prices depending on the BTUs. 
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Online mike_belben

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2021, 06:18:06 PM »
What the market pays for firewood has more to do with the lowest priced sellers than the consumer education.  You just cant get $300cd if theres 5 guys selling for $160/cd.
Psalm 37:16

Offline Runningalucas

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2021, 07:34:17 PM »
I sell a bit of firewood, as a hobby more than anything. It's advertised as "dry", and "mixed". Pine and cypress are acceptable firewoods here, but I make sure I mix in a bit of good hardwood in every load. There will be some mill offcuts, some split rounds, some round limb wood from tree cleanups. And it's all decently dry. That way I don't have to sort the different types and have 3 different prices.

Most of my sales are repeat customers or word of mouth, so customers must be thinking the deal is fair.
I think the way you sell yours is great; actually adding in some higher btu's just as a mix 'bonus'.   My godfather was a single man hvac repair company for 30+ years.  He only had around 5 large customers, all repeat continual business.  His strategy was always a 'bonus', or in his words, he would do about 10% to 20% of his work free gratis.  Sounds like a lot, but not really, between those 5 customers, they allowed him to earn a very nice 6 figure income with no boss, and relatively wash, rinse, and repeat hvac repair. 
The skinny of it, find a niche, and do it with honesty,  integrity, and a can do attitude.
Life is short, tragedy is instant, it's what we do with our time in between that matters.  Always strive to do better, to be better.

Online Skip

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2021, 07:55:55 AM »
I always tried to give them" a little more than they paid for " whether it was firewood or with the mill . It served me well. :) 

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2021, 07:56:41 AM »
I stopped selling the stuff decades ago and just burn it myself .Now here's where the chickens come home to roost .I have some stuff that had sat too long uncovered in the elements and it has degraded .It still contains heat it just takes more of it ,lots more .As luck would have it so far it's been a mild winter and with any luck by the time is does get cold I'll be rid of this stuff .I've got a fair amount of good dry white oak should we get a cold snap .White oak and ash  can take weather, hickory and maple don't do so well nor red oak and cherry .

Offline livemusic

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2021, 08:23:29 AM »
I stopped selling the stuff decades ago and just burn it myself .Now here's where the chickens come home to roost .I have some stuff that had sat too long uncovered in the elements and it has degraded .It still contains heat it just takes more of it ,lots more .As luck would have it so far it's been a mild winter and with any luck by the time is does get cold I'll be rid of this stuff .I've got a fair amount of good dry white oak should we get a cold snap .White oak and ash  can take weather, hickory and maple don't do so well nor red oak and cherry .
Al, interesting to see you say that hickory, maple and red oak don't take to being in weather very well. I have found that to be the case. Don't know I can say that about cherry so much around here. I am surprised that hickory and red oak don't do better, such as white oak does. Lately, I have found some black locust and am rather intrigued with it. Based on how good some dead ones are, even on the ground, I assume it will 'weather' just fine if not babied. Also found some water locust (lots of thorns like honey locust) and am going to try it as firewood.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2021, 09:32:34 AM »
Some of it just takes weather better than others .For example catalpa which is fairly soft was grown in groves in  these parts for fence posts .Little odd patches that were hard to farm became an endless supply of fence posts .The fences as well as the catalpa patches along with the giant dairy barns are almost all gone now .  Corn as far as the eye can see in some parts .

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2021, 10:00:34 AM »
It's all a little different .For example white oak while not actually rot proof is resistant to same .What I'm burning now had been in rounds for 8 to 10 years and finally split this past September .It's dry as a bone and burns well .
The shag bark hickory was a wind blown and has some spalting which also burns well .The wood wasn't really rotten just lacks any moisture for about 3-4 inches on the outside of the round .
About 10:30 -- 11 each evening I load the bottom layer of wood in the insert using the oak and lay the shag over top of that .Over the night the oak coals up and the shag covers it with ashes .Rake it in the morning and if it had a forced draft blower you could forge a horse shoe in it .Toss in some oak and before the coffee is made I have a roaring fire .
This is actual ground hog day but a likeness of same has gone on the last 10 months, not much changes .Excepting during summer you don't have tend the fire . :)

Offline Blueknife

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2021, 10:14:16 PM »
Lately, I have found some black locust and am rather intrigued with it. Based on how good some dead ones are, even on the ground, I assume it will 'weather' just fine if not babied.
Black locust will last longer than pressure treated lumber, given the same conditions. Wish there was more of it around here. That's one thing I miss about the east.

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2021, 09:56:12 PM »
The hard truth of it is is if the salvaged dead fall has lain on the floor long enough it will have some rot .It might be worth chunking up or it may not .Most of my dead fall is worth the time .If it's water logged it will require some dry out time though .Cut in spring, burn in winter .Been doing it for decades .
  

Offline brianJ

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2021, 07:55:44 AM »
The pieces you pictured would go right in the sale pile for me, keeping in mind it's a roadside "campfire wood" type of situation. Originally, I began selling campfire wood as an outlet for marginal firewood that was rotting away in in a neglected woodlot belonging to a friend of mine, TSI if you will. Inspiration came from research, I believe on this forum, from a gentleman that kept a "knots, rots and butts" bin at his firewood sales area, which priced accordingly, he couldn't keep up with.



Scott B.
Bonfires are a regular feature for some guys at work.   It has worked out I am the source of the material.   Knots rots & butts is a lot of it.    There is always some of that in every tree.   
You guys know when you are working down a branch.   Still six inches cant waste that.   Four inches is even better since it don't need splitting.   3 inches even 2 inches Should I take one more piece or not?      Wonder no more lope off a 4 foot section good for the bonfire.      
Sure makes clean up easy and a tidy pile when Im done at the field edge.    The landowners like that look

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2021, 09:19:43 PM »
You might find it surprising because I did .I don't advise doing it but I let a pile of shag bark bark hickory get way from me .Outside, no cover for at least 7 or 8 years and yes the rot got to it .Because my supply is getting lower that I expected it to because of colder weather I'm burning it .Even dry as a bone and light as a feather it's doing just fine considering every thing .So for your own stuff don't bon fire it because it still has heat .
It's going to be nip and tuck this winter .I might have another month and I might make it without going to the woods or I might not .This will never happen again .

Offline cutterboy

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2021, 07:39:26 AM »
Al, you're right about this winter being a cold one. I'm going through a lot of wood right now. I put up extra wood last year and I'm happy I did. I'm in good shape.
In the fall and winter of 2019 I cut up a lot of dead birch and got carried away with it as some of it was pretty far gone. I'm burning some of that nasty stuff now. I figured I'd throw it in the stove just to get rid of it but it's burning better and longer than I expected and giving off some good heat. Just goes to show you...it all burns and gives off heat.

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: How much rot do you allow?
« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2021, 08:11:47 AM »
It's surprising just how good degraded hardwoods do for a fire .I have a routine that seldom changes .I load the stove up at night throttle the air intake and go to bed right after the 11 PM news .Up around 5:30 AM .Rake the ashes to uncover the coals and toss in a couple of small pieces .Make the coffee and by then I have a roaring fire once again . The fire almost never goes out from mid November to mid to late March .


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