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  1. #1
    Lieutenant Junior Grade mike64's Avatar
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    Default How long to season firewood?

    We have a high-efficiency fireplace insert-- basically a wood-burning stove made to fit in a fireplace enclosure. It works great-- in the winter it heats most of the house. It needs properly seasoned hardwood or creosote will build up.

    In late June we had a big storm that brought down a lot of trees in our area. Between a couple that fell on my property and some other wood I scrounged up, I have some free quality hardwood collected. I cut it up into log-sized pieces at the end of June, and I'm just now getting around to splitting it all-- I'm about 1/3 of the way done splitting.

    How long will it take to season the wood? I've heard a minimum of 6 months, but 9 is better. If I have to wait 9 months, I won't be using it till the winter of 2009/2010. Also, did the seasoning start at the end of June when the wood fell, or does it start after the wood is split? The split wood is stored under cover, so it won't see a drop of rain.

  2. #2
    Commander FLATHEAD's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    I season my wood for ten months minimum. Even then I'll get the fire started with wood that has been aged a year or so and then mix in the less seasoned wood. That wood you have would be perfect for next years heating season. If it were me I would not burn it this year.

    Once you split it, it does dry quicker and keeping it under cover does help.

  3. #3
    Moderator Bob_VT's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    I am a 1 year person but here is a link that will help you http://www.i4at.org/surv/woodburn.htm
    This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
    Please, shop iboats first!!


  4. #4
    Petty Officer 2nd Class Philthyphil's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    I'm a one year guy even with dead elm. I cut so much for the farm and my cottage I can usually season it for at least 3 years under cover. You really do not want to burn wet wood ,makes a mess of leaking seams and a danger of a chimney fire. Better to wait one more winter.

  5. #5
    Lieutenant Junior Grade mike64's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    I appreciate the replies...looks like I'll be waiting till the winter after next to burn that wood. Thanks for the link Bob VT, that's some good info.

  6. #6
    Moderator aspeck's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    Yep, wait till next season ... I don't use wood any more personally, but when I did it was at least 1 year of aging ... now if they were dead when cut down, that was different ... basically 1 year from last life ...
    Rules of Repair:
    1. If it ain't broke, give me a hammer, it will be!
    2. You only need 2 tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move, and it should, use WD-40. If it moves, and it shouldn't, use Duct Tape!
    3. If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    Back on the farm in my youth...........hhhmmmmmmmmm............yah....bac k in my youth we used to fell the trees in the spring which was something you could do during mud season when it was too wet to do other things and leave them as they fell with the limbs and leaves on them to "wilt" which accelerated the seasoning and we would then process them in the fall for our firewood for the coming winter.Man,I used to hate splitting firewood......all by hand.....we didn't have a machine for anything......turned the grindstone by hand to sharpen the axes.......ohhhhh.....my aching back.Ron G

  8. #8
    Moderator Bob_VT's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    I believe Ash is the fastest from Fallen to fire since it can almost be burned the same day. Depends on the type of wood too.
    This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
    Please, shop iboats first!!


  9. #9
    Lieutenant Junior Grade mike64's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_VT View Post
    I believe Ash is the fastest from Fallen to fire since it can almost be burned the same day. Depends on the type of wood too.
    I wonder why ash seasons so quickly?

    Most of our ash trees here in SE Michigan are dead or dying because of an epidemic of a bug called the emerald ash borer.

  10. #10
    Petty Officer 2nd Class Philthyphil's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    I do most of my felling and cutting in the winter when it's all frozen up. I hate trying to work in mud and at the farm leaving stuff in the field is not an option, except in winter. And I still do all my spilting with a spliting maul by hand. I do "cheat" in two ways, often I cut just 12 inch lengths. And with a really knotty piece I'll cut it length wise with a big saw if it won't spilt. Takes a bit of gas but easier on my old back. Doing it in the winter keeps you warm twice, once when you cut and spilt and once when you burn it. Famous American said that.

  11. #11
    Lieutenant Junior Grade mike64's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    I love to chop wood. I know if it was a chore I had to every day I wouldn't love it nearly as much, maybe even get to hate it, but once in a while it's a great way to burn off a little aggression or life's little frustrations. Once in my late teens-early 20's i was staying at a friend's father's cabin, and he had a big pile of wood that needed splitting. I went crazy on it, once I started I didn't want to stop. Ended up splitting the whole pile--his dad couldn't believe it. Next day my hands were so sore I couldn't grip a thing. We went into town to go bowling and I kept dropping the bowling ball

    These days I just do a little bit at a time. I picked up a splitter ax and a sledge & star wedge-- great tools for the job. Some of the big gnarly logs the ax just bounces off, but they're no match for the star wedge.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    My wife and I heat almost exclusively with wood and have a method to make things easier.

    I keep my wood stacked in an area that can be accessed from either side of the stack. I am always 1 year ahead with my wood (use 20 cords per year, but always have 40 on hand by fall). During the winter we pull from one side of the stack, then in the spring we replenish that side of the stack with fresh wood. The following year, we alternate sides and pull from the other, then replenish that side in the spring.

    This ensures us that we will always have hot burning well-seasoned wood at all times. It also ensures that if something happens where one of us isn't able to log or split due to injury or illness, we have a year's supply at hand "just in case" without having to pay market price for wood (we have enough property to keep us supplied for life).

    I live in the Northeast. Here's my take on wood we harvest:
    1. Ash- Ease of splitting makes this my favorite to log. Quick to season. Burns with medium heat.
    2. Beech- Splits okay, but has a tendency to grow in a spiral and can be tought to split larger logs. Burns hot and has a beautiful blue flame. Quick to season too.
    3. Maple- splits fair to easy. Burns nice. Needs at least 12 months split to season properly. The sugar content will soot up a chimney real fast if not properly seasoned.
    4. Oak- usually splits easily. Burns very hot. Takes a long time to season due to it's density.
    5. Hickory- Can be a dog to split (stringy and hard). Burns very hot. Needs a long seasoning period.
    6. Cherry- Splits very easy. I don't like the smell personally. Burns moderately hot. Pops and sparks quite a bit while burning. Not good for regular fireplaces because of its tendency to pop hot embers into the room.
    7. Elm- One of the toughest to split. Takes forever to dry. Not a lot of heat value.

    Ash, Cherry and Beech can usually be burned within 6-8 months of splitting, everything else is at least a year.

  13. #13
    Lieutenant Junior Grade mike64's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    Thanks, getinmerry-- good tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by getinmerry View Post
    (use 20 cords per year, but always have 40 on hand by fall).
    Woah, that's a lot of wood. Are you talking 20 face cords or full cords?

  14. #14
    Moderator Bob_VT's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    Try splitting elm in the winter when it is frozen and that helps out alot. You would never believe how easy it gets.
    This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
    Please, shop iboats first!!


  15. #15
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    It depends but I would allow it to season for a year.
    Improvise, Adapt, Modify, and Overcome.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike64 View Post
    Woah, that's a lot of wood. Are you talking 20 face cords or full cords?
    Just face cords.

    Around here wood averages $75 per face cord ($90 for Cherry). During an average winter, we burn 17 (20 during a really cold winter). That's $1275. About the same as heating with natural gas. It's worth the effort to cut and split our own wood as long as it's free. It's also good exercise.

    I also look at it this way. We also save money on doing laundry. Our house is always warm, we spend most of our time in our skivies........I know....TMI

  17. #17
    Petty Officer 2nd Class Philthyphil's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    Thats five bush cords, still alot of wood. Don't forget you save on drying, just hang the clothes around the wood stove....dry in no time and you help humidify the air. Now who remembers the quote from Walden Pond?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    A man can consider himself wealthy in direct proportion to the things he can afford to let alone.Or something close to that.Henry David Thoreau.Ron G

  19. #19
    Lieutenant Junior Grade mike64's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philthyphil View Post
    Thats five bush cords, still alot of wood. Don't forget you save on drying, just hang the clothes around the wood stove....dry in no time and you help humidify the air. Now who remembers the quote from Walden Pond?
    "Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice."

  20. #20
    Petty Officer 2nd Class Philthyphil's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    "Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice."

    Thats it ....by....Henry David Thoreau.....mind you he skiped the back ache part.....lol

  21. #21
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    Google
    Holz Hausen

    http://www.thechimneysweep.ca/6seasoningwood.html


    It's a German method for quick seasoning and a unique way to stack wood in a free standing pile

  22. #22
    Lieutenant Junior Grade mike64's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    Quote Originally Posted by dimock44 View Post
    Google
    Holz Hausen

    http://www.thechimneysweep.ca/6seasoningwood.html


    It's a German method for quick seasoning and a unique way to stack wood in a free standing pile
    That is awesome! Thanks dimock!! I think I will try that. If/when I do I'll post pics of the woodpile here.

  23. #23
    Lieutenant Junior Grade Ross J's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    If you can hose down (wet) the split wood each day for a week then the water is assimilated into thwe wood and displaces the sap speeding the drying process by half with most types of wood. This works with most of the wood available here in New Zealand.
    We cut down at the end of spring and the wood is ready to burn at the start of winter.
    Mind you it rains a lot here at that time so we just let it sit in the weather then dry for a couple of weeks before stacking it away for winter.
    Ross

  24. #24
    Lieutenant Junior Grade mike64's Avatar
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    As promised, here's a pic of the holz hausen I made. Took a while because I didn't have enough wood to finish and had to get some more. I don't know if it really allows the wood to season any faster, but it's a great way to store a lot of wood freestanding in a small area!

    Thanks again to dimock44 for the tip.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: How long to season firewood?

    Excellent Mike I usually burn about 2 that size each winter. I've only had the heat on a dozen or so time in the last 10 years

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