What signs do firewood exhibit when it is dry enough to burn well? Does the
bark start coming off? What about species where the bark is tenacious? I
cut some FRESH fruit trees this past summer, and I KNOW it won't be ready
before next fall, but I was wondering how to select pieces of wood from my
big pile by just looking at it. When we go to recover wood, we take freshly
fallen wood, as well as downed wood that has already aged, and the bark is
coming off. We try to select the stuff where the bark is coming off, but
not so old that there is any insect activity going on, like wood ants, or
such, or any rot.
Hold the log by one end, and rap the other end on your driveway. Dry wood makes
characteristic ringing sound -- a baseball bat gives a great example of this --
but if you hear a
dull thud, the wood is still pretty damp.
It varies. If kept in a well ventilated, dry place most wood needs a
year to dry out. Some such as willow takes two years. (From being
freshly cut down)
If you're going into serious wood burning you need to construct a
proper store to keep the rain off but be well ventilated. Also
designed so that the wood can be used in rotation. I have a lot of
wood so mine is stored for three years minimum. My final drying off is
completed in my conservatory.
Very important to get it as dry as possible.
As Mr. Miller says, you can hear dry wood. Where I live hard wood that is
split, and stacked in the barn is usable in about 6-8 mons. Many folks
prefer wood that is more than a year old.
A pile of wood, not seperated from the ground, will have a lot of rot and
Rather than having to sort through a sstack looking for dry pieces,
segregate the wood as you bindg it in, Stuff already dry on one pile,
green on another. That, of course, assumes you have the room to do
Wood dries faster if it's split.
As an aside, I scored about a 1/4 cord of oak. I then bought the cheapes HF
log splitter ($100.00), a ten-ton unit. The damned thing requires someone
MUCH stronger than I to split a log. It got returned.
Called a tool rental place. Their 30-ton, gasoline-powered unit rents for a
paltry ten dollars a day! Rent it on Saturday morning, take it back Monday,
Soon as I recover from using the HF splitter, I'm off to the rental store.
SWMBO and I have an apparently identical log splitter that we bought at Sears a
ago, and used it most recently to split about half a cord from a fallen cherry
tree -- I used a
maul to split the rounds in half, and she used the hydraulic splitter to split
the halves into
I *was* going to call this a case of "operator error" and ask if you had read
but then I looked at HF's instructions, and either (a) the HF splitter isn't
actually the same as
the Sears splitter I have, despite their virtually identical appearance, or (b)
on the HF unit omit a critical fact: the two handles don't perform the same
the two sides of the hydraulic jack are not symmetrical. One handle is a "speed"
advance the ram rapidly; the other is a "power" handle to actually split the
wood. If you were
using only the speed handle, yeah, you would've had a lot of trouble.
I need to make a trip to our local HF store in a few days. I'll have a look at
the unit then, if
they have one in stock, to see if my conjecture is correct, and post a followup.
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