burning old firewood

A neighbor moved and gave me some old firewood. Really old it seems, maybe 10 or 15 years old, and it was outdoors in the rain all these years. In the fireplace, if there was a fire near it, a lot of smoke came out the ends, and maybe the edges glowed, but there were never any flames. When the other wood was burnt up, this wood smouldered for a couple hours longer and turned into a little pile of ash.
Before I put it in the fire, the wood weighed a lot less than a normal piece of the same size. Maybe half or less.
Is this typical, and do you know what happened inside the wood to make it like this?
Is it the age, that it was kept outside, that it was kept uncovered, or in the rain? Any way to store firewood succesfully for periods of greater than 10 years?
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mm wrote:

Here's what happens when wood - or anything else - burns...
1. The material heats up
2. As the material heats up the volatile materials in it begin to out gas
3. The gas ignites and *that* is what you see as flames - the burning gas.
4. Once all the gas has been burned, the material continues to burn as you described.
In your case, either the wood contained very little volatile material to begin with - oak is one that doesn't, southern yellow pine does - or it had been mostly destroyed by age/weather/insects/bacteria.
--

dadiOH
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mm wrote:

Age alone doesn't make much difference except for drying. Weathering does--it promotes rot and all kinds of other decomposition processes such as fungi, insect infestations, etc., etc., etc., ...
The weight loss is undoubtedly a combination of both being drier than green and weight loss from rot, etc.
Wood can be stored indefinitely if it is kept protected (mostly dry) and not allowed to be infested, but it's work to do so.
I'd probably just continue to mix it in w/ the rest and use it up if it produces a reasonable amount of heat and that is the purpose. If the intent is for visible amenity of the fireplace, probably might as well just chuck it.
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Sounds good. There are no visible bugs, no evidence imo of earlier bugs, but bacteria are too small for me to see.

Well, it's hard to say why I'm burning it. I guess I'm making more C02 and that's bad for the greenhouse thing, ?, and all it does it make little ash that I'll have to clean out.
Once a fire is lit, I see it as a story with a plot. There is a screen to keep the sparks in but I hate to leave because I come back and things have changed and I didn't see all the details. Maybe this old wood is part of the story, like the background characters in a novel.
Thanks to you and dadiOH.
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