The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Drying and Processing => Topic started by: Ed_K on January 26, 2004, 08:13:52 AM

Title: Firewood
Post by: Ed_K on January 26, 2004, 08:13:52 AM
 Is anyone kiln drying cordwood? I'd like to move the wood faster, quicker turnaround. How do you dry yours?
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Jeff on January 26, 2004, 12:03:30 PM
Seems like kiln drying cord wood would be impossible to recoup costs. There is not that big a difference in firewood country between the price of dry-green to possibly try to dry it.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Den Socling on January 26, 2004, 01:42:06 PM
Jeff is right unless you're selling those packaged bundles like Lowes. Then you have to be bug-free and that means kiln dried.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Ed_K on January 27, 2004, 06:34:53 AM
In western Ma. we get $125. to $135. for a dry cord. The operators that do kiln drying are Starting at $180.
It should make a difference, even if its just to turn the product faster.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: OneWithWood on January 27, 2004, 07:15:55 AM
Ed, you can always market the safety factor.  Kiln dried wood is less likely to build up as much creosote thus reducing the threat of a chimney fire.  It will not prevent a fire but it will reduce the potential.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Frickman on January 27, 2004, 08:44:22 AM
I read somewhere that guys are selling kiln-dried firewood for a premium to the "upscale" consumer based on some clever marketing and the bright color of the wood. Myself, I don't care if it is bright, grey, or orange, as long as it keeps me warm at night.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: rebocardo on January 27, 2004, 05:07:37 PM
I thought kiln dried firewood was more likely to be smokey?  

If I was going to kiln dry firewood, I would move it in and out on a pallet.

What I have seen people do is construct metal sheds, stick their firewood in that cut and split and it dries fairly quickly. Not the same as kiln dry though.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: J_T on January 27, 2004, 06:21:24 PM
Some folks get excited I hear when a few bugs warm up and start to crawel across their floor thus the kiln drying. ;D
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Wes on January 27, 2004, 06:28:50 PM
There a fiew people doing it successfuly.If I can find the info I'll post it.

Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Neil_B on January 28, 2004, 03:56:38 AM
There are more and more guys going to kiln drying firewood. I've tossed around the idea myself. Here, I sell green at $150 and many guys sell seasoned at 200+  :o. So that tells me you can make some money at it especially since you wouldn't have to have it sit in the yard for a year or more. Get an order, throw it in the kiln. Couple days later, deliver.
Grocery stores are selling bags at $6- 7 Canadian for 2 cuft.That's $384 - $448 per cord  8).
High temp and good air flow will dry the wood in a couple days as you don't need to worry about degrade.
Outdoor woodfurnace burning your scraps pumped into a shed with either direct venting or a darn good dehumidifier cranked up to the max.

Two benefits for marketing aspect.
1) NO bugs
2) The dryer the wood the more efficient it is. More BTU per cord = better heat for the dollar.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: karl on January 28, 2004, 04:17:46 AM
Lynn Gardner at Gifford lumber does- he seems like a sharing sort- you can read his responses and directions for building a kiln at Firewood center .com.
Most processors I have seen use metal cages for loading/drying.
The going price for drying firewood on the rich side of Vermont is $40.cord.
Been thinking of sticking a load in my dh kiln to see how it works.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: WV_hillbilly on January 28, 2004, 08:18:06 PM
  Ed there was an article in Idependent Sawmill and Woodlot magazine about this a few  years ago . I will try and find the issue so you might be able to find a copy to read .
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: SwampDonkey on January 30, 2004, 04:27:28 PM
HI all:

Kiln drying wood seems expensive too me. Unless you are exporting the wood or supplying Lowes with the wood I don't see a big market. I get my wood 8 foot, and delivered from woods contractors I contact when needed. I buck the wood myself in 2 days to season through the summer and early fall. Sometimes I get it in fall and season it over winter up until the following september. I share a tractor trailor load with my brother, roughly 13 cord on a load. One seasoned cord of firewood (sugar maple or beech) is roughly the same as 660 litres of stove oil. I have an oil tank which is for backup which holds 900 litres and cost me $432 to fill this season (2003), $100 more than in 2002. My wood purchase is around $660 for an entire year. By the time I toss it into the cellar its well dried by air and sun, takes two days to split and pile in the cellar. It dries further after a month of furnace fire, and by December the wood is so dry the bark falls off it. I know my wood is good since there is hardly any smoke when the fire gets going. Quite clean burning indead. My fire lasts up to 7 hours, usually, and coals last several hours after that so I never need to use newspaper or kindling to start it back up. When the temperature is above 0 F its so darn hot in here I have to open the windows. I don't need anyone to argue with me about drafty old houses. I like whatever cool air gets in some days :)  We've had a few -20 mornings here this season and the temp guage never drops below 75 F by mornin when the fire burns out :)

The neighbor cuts and burns green wood and has smoke like fog and has had several flu fires over the years. Been very lucky, but too dense to figure how lucky he's been. I regularly clean my pipes and I sweep my flu once a year. I clean out the ashes every 3 or 4 days. I also use an additive to loosen the soot and tar from the flu. Never been a flu fire here in my lifetime.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: beenthere on January 30, 2004, 06:57:49 PM
Here is a site selling kilns for drying firewood. Might be of interest to you.

Have to read between the sales pitch, but it is apparently a business with a plan.

Also, this article tells about a firewood processor/kiln drying operation in the NE.

Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Oregon_Rob on February 05, 2004, 03:39:31 AM
Seems like a guy should build a wood shead like a solar kiln, for personal use. Not have to worry about all the details, but a roof at a good angle and glazing, maybe a little insulation and your gona have some pretty dry wood come fall.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Ron Scott on February 05, 2004, 09:16:30 AM
It's always a good idea to keep one's firewood as dry as possible, thus why it's recommended to always be 2 years ahead in your firewood supply.

Irregardless the species, the drier the wood, the higher the BTU's with faster burning of course.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Furby on February 05, 2004, 02:55:49 PM
I know a guy who likes to have just a little moisture in his firewood. He stores his out in the open to keep it a little damp. He claims he will get a longer burn, and he would rather have that and lose a few BTU's. Does it make any sense to do this?
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: beenthere on February 05, 2004, 03:52:26 PM
A bit puzzling what some people want, but I suspect it is a longer 'smoulder' than a 'burn'.  But, the bottom line is it takes energy to convert the moisture to steam, and that is energy lost from the total that is in the wood. So, in my opinion, if one simply wants to consume the wood, then it makes no difference. I want all the energy I can get from the wood so I (like Ron Scott) keep my wood under cover for at least two and hopefully three years before I burn it. The white oak and hickory that I am burning now has been under cover for 5 years, and it is simply great. But each to their own, and hope all are happy. Next year I may have to burn some wood that has only been under cover for two years. We will see how it goes, but the last time that happened, it was very noticeable that there wasn't the same amount of heat coming from that wood.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Ron Scott on February 06, 2004, 12:51:36 PM
I have people tell me that they mix green wood with dry wood so their fire will burn longer. I do that sometimes also, mainly because I have some damp or green wood which didn't dry long enough. My own fault though, as I would much rather burn wood that has dried for 2+ years for its most heat output and a cleaner chimney.

Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: SwampDonkey on February 06, 2004, 01:20:57 PM
Yup I agree with Ron too

But most people here that keep wood 2 years or more ahead have large woodsheds and burn it in kitchen stoves, like my uncle. His furnace wood though, is seasoned only 1 year as is mine and knowing the way folks handle their wood around here , I'de say most everyone does it this way. But, you'll definately get more btu from the dryer wood. I thought that should be common sense, but from some posts on here I see otherwise. One winter here father had mostly yellow birch and said he had hardly any ashes. His wood was cut in July the same year he started burning it. With my beech and rock maple I can start my fire fast with a little kindling or a small amount of coals in the firebox with limb-wood. I'm talking no more than 15 minutes and that fan is on with tons of heat. With green wood, your gonna be an hour from initial startup till heat enough to start the automatic blower. You have to leave the damper wide open and its just smouldering and sizzling. Don't here any sizzling from my burning wood. I know of some people years ago having to go out with a hand sled in the snow and cut their wood for that day. They'd place it on the oven door of the kitchen stove and it be sizzling and the snow be melting all over the oven door and after awhile it would rust the door hinged. Didn't seem to know to go cut it ahead and have it handy for winter.  Oh there has to be someone in the neighborhood to make us laugh :D
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Corley5 on February 06, 2004, 05:44:14 PM
Wood can be too dry.  My grandma burns wood that grandpa stacked in the hay barn 25+ years ago.  It's mostly hard maple and elm.  It won't last in a stove any length of time and she burns it in an air tight Ashley.  She needs kindling to get the fire burning the next morning as there aren't enough coals to get anything big going but it doesn't take much to get this powder dry stuff to take off.  I split about 4 cords a year for her and hate the dusty crap.  Grandpa was just concerned with getting the wood inside and didn't split any ;D.   25+ year seasoned elm makes a 25 ton wood splitter work ;) and the maple makes a nice snapping sound 8).
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: WV_hillbilly on February 12, 2004, 06:31:28 PM

 I finally found that issue of Independent Sawmill and Woodlot mag . It is in the Oct/Nov 2000 issue . I hope this helps you out .
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Ed_K on February 12, 2004, 07:24:42 PM
 W.V. thanks I'll look up their site, and see if it there.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: etat on February 12, 2004, 07:52:24 PM
Once filled one of them ashley wood stoves slam full of hickory, locus, and white oak mix, mostly split, and all dried.  Well, after a bit she got to bellering and the pipe turned red, and the firebox started turning red and swelling in and out.  Good healthy roar coming out the top of he stack along with quite a bit of flame. I couldn't figgure out a way to slow er down.  So I just watched tight, and rode er out.  I NEVER filler er up again with that combination all at one time, scared me to death, seriously!!!!!
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: SwampDonkey on February 13, 2004, 04:00:11 AM

I a recall alot of stories about red hot stove pipes. Most those folks never had flues, just tin stovepipes out the side of the house or out through the roof. Some were very lucky, most weren't.  :-/
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: woodmills1 on February 13, 2004, 07:35:17 AM
For years I used an ashley barrel stove to heat with.  Great device, fill from the front or from the top, and a very well designed air control.  When I had it set up in a rental house on Schoolyes(sp) Mountain outside Hackettstown NJ I was burning standing dead wood I would cut on weekends and burn during the week.  I got a call from a local monastery asking if I would do some clean up work around there property.  When I got there I found a whole bunch of dead wood on the ground, it had been there long enough that the bark and most of the juvenile wood had gone away.  The heart wood seemed sound so I cut it into firewood and started burning it.  Now, the rental house was the kind of place that we might have just the three of us or many more sleeping over night due to the fact we were all members of this local theater group.  One night around three I get woken up by this loud hubub from about 10 voice.  When I got downstairs that old ashley wasa glowin red from the bottem DanG near all the way to the top, sounded like a chimney fire but just the stove itself.  Seems the fist sized chunks of that dead heartwood, chestnut I think, had slow cooked into charcoal and they was all giving red hot coal heat at the same time.  Never filled that baby like that again, we were all shocked and amazed. :D :D

Funny thing is the next owner of the place threw us out and made me take the stove out, had a "proffesional" installer put one in and promptley burnt the place to the ground. :o :o
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: pappy on February 13, 2004, 07:58:34 AM

Sounds just like a chimney fire is what you had.  About the best thing you can do is call the FD, while waiting close the air intake get out your ladder and put a pail or something over the top of the chimney to stop all air flow,  it'll smoke up the house but you'll still have a house.

You came very close to burning down that house :o :o

A friend of mine and a volunteer fireman once told me a trick in slowing down the creosote buildup is toss your potato peelings onto a bed of hot coals. He said they don't know why it works but it just does.  I had a professional chimney sweep check out and clean our wood heating system this year.  He said our chimney was cleaner than most and I hadn't cleaned it in two years.  :)

We burn only dry wood, maple,beech,yellow and some white birch, poplar and chunks of spruce and fir.  The poplar and soft wood is just for warmer days, plus 20F or so.  I like using it cause it doesn't overheat the house, sometimes we only need a small blast.

We only buy our hardwood which has to be cut in the winter months,  two years prior preferably, and split in the early part of the summer,  stacked crossway's to the prevailing wind and covered with a lumber rap from the local hardware store. Bring it in  in late September or early October.

I'll set up a small fan pointing toward the 5 cord pile and set up my dehumidifier,  turn on the oil furnace to 70F down cellar ( I like using the oil a little so I know it's gonna run OK), disconnect one of the hot air ducts, also pointing the duct toward the pile leave this setup alone for roughly two weeks and my wood it dry enough to start the heating season.

I usually have about 1/2 cord left from the previous heating season to start with, I'll open up a small hole at the top of the plenum over the stove to let some heat escape and this really helps dry the wood. :)

Just the way we like to do things, been heating our abodes for 34 years now and only one chimney fire, because green wood was all I could get me hands on that year.

I'll always remember the "ant and the grasshopper"

heat safely,
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: woodmills1 on February 14, 2004, 06:58:04 AM
that one was just red hot coals no chimney fire.

Had a chimney fire in old house with wood furnace.  Let it fire up too long with the bottem door open.  Heard a cracklin sound and stupid me, opened the clean out at bottem of chimney and whoosh.  Quickley closed the door, ran to get ladder and chimney sweep poles and brush.  Knocked fire down to bottem and it went out.  Looked kinda funny up on the ladder cleaning chimney in a suit dressed for work. :D  No damage though.

O yes then there was that time when I was real young and we were trying to get more heat out of the fireplace.  used a sheet of newspaper to partially cover the flue.  Way more heat for 2 seconds until it exploded and lit the chimney.  Put on the gloves and tossed the burning logs out the front door into the snow and it slowly subsided.  Real bright boys we were. :o :o
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Den Socling on February 14, 2004, 03:30:12 PM
I have lined, masonery chimneys and occasionally one will catch on fire. I have airtight stoves so I usually adust the draft for a 'controlled burn' unless it's dry outside. Then I clamp them shut and watch carefully until they are out.

My neighbor, however, filled an open fireplace with kiln dried oak blocks. When I saw a flame licking the sky, I went to offer a hand. He had just moved in. They hadn't even closed yet on the mortgage. First I tried throwing in newspapers that were soaking wet. Didn't slow the roar. I went home and got my biggest fire extinguisher and let her loose up the chimney. That didn't slow the roar. I got a sheet of metal and went up on the roof with another neighbor. We tried to hold the metal down tight over the top. Now I saw smoke coming out cracks in the masonery and the sheet metal got red hot. Standing on the roof of a two story house with the flue looking like a rocket pointed in the wrong direction was no place to be. Called the local FD and they were there in a few minutes and had it out in a few more minutes. We were lucky.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Ron Scott on February 15, 2004, 09:25:01 AM
Do you keep any "Chimfex" chimney fire extinguisher sticks on hand to throw in the stove for such occasions? They're a fusee that generates a volume mixture of gases in which fire cannot exist.

Maybe a good idea to have some on hand until the fire department arrives.  ;)
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: redpowerd on February 15, 2004, 10:24:02 AM
where do i find them sticks, ron?
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Den Socling on February 15, 2004, 10:26:30 AM
I never heard of Chimfex but I'll have to look for it. Thanks for the tip.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: beenthere on February 15, 2004, 01:35:46 PM
Chimfex seems to be no longer available. Several hits on web search indicate that the Chimfex was the preferred way to extinguish a fire in a stove, but several also indicated they could no longer get the product to sell. One even said the factory burned down, and wouldn't go back into production.

Hopefully that isn't a testimony on the product.  ::)

Anyone know more about it? Sounds like a good emergency back-up to have.

one site:
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: SwampDonkey on February 15, 2004, 03:18:53 PM
These folks are the manufacturer but have been telling folks to contact Wal-Mart for a similar product.

I found this off the following link:

I use products by these folks for chimney care: Canadian Tire carries their brand of products.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Ron Scott on February 16, 2004, 12:16:02 PM
Boy, I din't know that they were no longer available or that the factory burned down. That's not good.

I always got them at the local ACE Hardware Store or most places selling wood stoves.  Use to see them in the wood burning supplies section by the cases. I always keep a few on hand if ever needed. I believed that the local fire department even used them on chimney fires when called out and recommended them to home owners burning wood. They're a chimney fire extinguisher as shown on the web pages noted above.

They were made by the Standard Railway Fusee Corp. Boonton, N.J. 07005.

Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Don_Lewis on February 21, 2004, 04:59:07 PM
Drying firewood for people who are concerned about the cost of firewood is usually not a good idea. If you are in a market where it can be justified, plan on spending about $50 a cord in total costs if you put in a wood fired boiler. About $100 if you burn oil or gas. Don't try to use hot water if you are doing this as a serious business. You really need to get above 220F to boil the water out and dry quickly. The higher the temperature the less wood you burn to dry the wood. (I know that sounds odd but its is true). Steam or hot oil should be used as the heat medium. It costs a lot to do it right.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Fla._Deadheader on February 22, 2004, 09:32:36 AM
  Seems that I heard something about throwing salt on the fire or in the stove, to help slow down a runaway flue???  If so, a few bags of salt from a feed supply might be a thought???

 I like heavy duty stuff and built our last flue-chimney outta 6" well casing. Let the fires begin ;D ;D ;D  Just keep a lot of dead air space around the pipe. ;)
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Den Socling on February 22, 2004, 09:52:21 AM
( )

Last weekend, I was testing the heating and vacuum systems in this little vac kiln. I figured I might as well dry something while I was at the testing so I threw in blocks from pallet stock, DanG if I didn't dry them in a day. If I dry firewood, payback would probably be less than a hundred years.  ;D
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: breederman on February 22, 2004, 09:56:26 AM
I,m a fan of the metlebestos type chimney,ours goes up the middle of the house 2 inch clearance,I think, never been brushed.Just run fire hot once a day or so,take maybe half a gallon of junk out a year.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Jeff on February 22, 2004, 01:19:16 PM
I really find the idea to take and burn wood in order to dry out wood so you can burn it rather, what word do I want to use, ironic? No, that aint it. I want to say idiotic but that aint it either. :D
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Tom on February 22, 2004, 01:24:17 PM
What always twisted my mind was making charcoal.  Those folks burn wood to burn the wood that makes the charcoal, then take the partially burned wood to stove and use wood to light it and then burn it for heat.  Seems kinda convaluted to me. :D
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Oregon_Rob on February 23, 2004, 09:25:37 AM
I have heard the best way to slow down a chimney fire is to throw a couple of cups of water on the fire and then shut the stove down as tight as possible. The theory is that the steam will help to slow down or extinguish the fire. Has anyone else heard this one?

On the soot build up side of things, some of the newer stoves really burn the wood so much more efficiently than the older equipment, that the build up is almost non existent. I am currently in the market for a stove and have pretty much settled on a Quadrafire.
It is really nice that the EPA tests all new stoves and gives a good set of impartial numbers for efficiency and grams per hour of smoke output.
With the newer stoves, you can’t even tell, by looking at the top of the chimney, weather a fire is burring or not. All this has to add up to less stuff in the chimney.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: beenthere on February 23, 2004, 10:35:57 AM

Where is your resource for the EPA tests of all new stoves?  I would be curious to see these numbers, and figure they must be on a site somewhere. Thanks

Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Oregon_Rob on February 23, 2004, 11:02:34 AM
Here is the stove I am looking at:

Here is an EPA document listing a bunch of different makes and models of stove and their numbers:

certifiedwood.pdf (
If you do some more searching, you will find all the details about how they conduct the testing….

I wish there were more products that had independent testing like this.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: beenthere on February 23, 2004, 11:35:24 AM
Thanks for the info site.

I found it interesting that the grams/hour particulates can be so low and the efficiency be low as well. Seems to be contradictory.

I did found my Vermont Castings Defiant stove, which came in at 0.8 g/hr and 72% efficiency. However this one has the catalytic converter. I like it real well.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Jason_WI on February 23, 2004, 11:35:26 AM
Salt will take care of the chimney fire in a quick hurry. All you need is an icecream pail full handy and slowly poor down the chimney.  This what my dad used to put out a few fires.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Carl_B on February 23, 2004, 05:39:01 PM
Oregon Rob I bought a Quadra-Fire 4300 in 1996 it has the pedestal base the only thing that I would say make sure that you buy one that is big enoughf for the house that you are going to heat with it.All of the people that I talk to said that I didnot need one that big. I am glad that I got one bigger than I need. I have had no trouble with the stove they make a very good stove.
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Oregon_Rob on February 24, 2004, 07:19:05 AM
Thanks for the words. I feel pretty comfortable that it is the right one. I have a 95' 2000sf manufactured. In Oregon, that equates to 2x6 walls, vynal frame, double payne wndows...
so it's pretty tight. And I'm in western Oregon. We never get below zero, a very cold night is 10°f and we didn't get that cold this year. I would guess our average low this time a year is something like 40°.
I am feeling pretty good about the decision.

Did you get the step top or the flat top?
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: BW_Williams on February 24, 2004, 08:18:21 AM
Hadn't heard Chimfex went out of business, they made a good product and we've used them several times.  Be careful putting water in a chimeny fire as it violently expands 1700 times it volume and may cause injury or damage.  Haven't heard about potatoe peelings or salt.  I like Metalbestous pipe, never seen it fail during a fire, seen triple wall and single wall fail.  Be sure to screw your joints together, or county requires it on single wall, Metalbestous has locking rings.  Good luck and clean that chimeny at least once a year.  BWW
Title: Re: Firewood
Post by: Carl_B on February 24, 2004, 05:04:27 PM
Rob I have the flat top. I am heating 1300sf that is 40 years old even when it is 20 below zero no trouble in keeping up. I think that the pedestal base with ash pan is a real nice .