Wood may season at an uneven rate in bigger pieces. It dries from the
inside out, and the outside may be dry, but the inside still wet. I would
split it, and then allow it to dry for one season. If you split it too
small, it will burn too quickly. If you split it too large, or don't split
it, it will take a long time to dry. I try to make different sizes of
finished split wood, as once your fire is going, a large dry piece will burn
for a very long time versus feeding many smaller pieces in the same time
I would say that 16 square inches would be a good size, 4" on a side, and
then 36 square inches for larger long burning pieces, 6" on a side.
Species of woods all have their btu ratings, and desirability for different
reasons. But, the basics apply to all woods, and that includes drying time.
Splitting reduces drying time.
I have around 35 large live oaks on my property. They sometimes get pruned.
They also just drop limbs - sometimes BIG limbs - whenever they feel like
it. I buck anything from about 3" up to 10" in diameter for my fireplace;
anything larger is burned as trash.
The fireplace logs are burned as needed...sometimes thay are 1-6 years old,
sometimes 1-6 months. IOW, they don't need drying to burn; yes, the greener
ones will splutter and spit but they burn.
Oak isn't a very good fireplace wood for a "pretty fire" because it doesn't
have much volatile material to create the gas that provides the "pretty"
part; OTOH, it burns (glows) long and hot.
Forget about splitting it manually, BTDT. Had a bunch when I first moved
here, figured I'd split it, bought a wedge, good solid blow and it split
like a dream. Set up another piece, did the same, my arms are still
ringing. Looked more closely at piece #1 and it had split along a line of
A few years ago, after a couple of hurricanes, we had 100s of tons of oak
lying around. A young, strong and naive fellow was helping me with it,
thought he whould split some of the bigger stuff for me, got a splitting axe
and had at it. He split nothing.
Forget about splitting it manually.
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