Cutting and Curing Firewood - Anyone has tips?

Discussion in 'Energy & Electricity' started by IrritatedWithUS, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. IrritatedWithUS

    IrritatedWithUS Well-Known Member

    I like cutting my wood in the Fall and Winter time for next year's use for some reason. It allows plenty of time for the moisture to escape the wood. I always stack my wood off the ground and in a cross-hatch formation so that air can circulate.
    However, I have had times where I couldn't get firewood until March or April. So to cure quickly I used the same cross-hatch formation and covered the wood in tin sheets so any form of sunlight that I had would shine on the tin sheets and act like a greenhouse. This cures it quicker most times. I have actually cured wood in 6 weeks before by using this method and having a plastic sheet over the wood as well and removing the plastic covering at night to prevent moisture collection. And during the daytime on nicer days I've put a window fan at one end to circulate the air throughout the wood pile.

    Anyone else have any styles, tips, or methods to share on this subject? :wave:
  2. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

    Cut it into firewood length and even green wood will be dry in four months or less. Long lengths take longer to dry. Wood fibers are like straws. Very little moisture escapes through the sides, most escapes out the ends. The shorter the distance to the open end the faster they drain. Tests have shown that covering doesn't do much to speed things up unless you live where there is lots of rain.

  3. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    If you are curing deciduos trees cut in spring , if you just fall the tree and let if leaf out the leaves pull quite a bit of the moisture out,but the sap stays making hotter wood. (works well on poplars at least)
  4. IrritatedWithUS

    IrritatedWithUS Well-Known Member

    Has anyone ever been lazy and rented a diesel-powered firewood cutter? I did that in Alaska one Summer.
  5. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    Splitting it smaller will also hasten the drying time.
  6. BasecampUSA

    BasecampUSA Sr. Homesteader

    Good post, Irritated... up here in Maine we cut and stack in fall and winter a year ahead.

    Tirediron, that method is called "wilt-wood" up here and I have recommended that to newcomer homesteaders that need to get thier woodpiles up quick for thier first year.

    Yep... popple dries out real quick that way... burns hotter than hell and quick too... I like it for my maple syrup evaporator. Hmmm - that's coming up the end of next month! Whew... the 'steadin year is about to start another cycle, aint it?

    *sigh! whadid I do with them seed catalogs :rolleyes:

    - Basey
  7. GroovyMike

    GroovyMike Well-Known Member

    Cut dead wood.

    Standing dead trees are already more dry than anything you stack up from live trees you cut. When I tell people this they say that they can't find dead trees. I don't understand it. I can't keep up with all the dead wood. Every storm blows limbs down. There are dead standing trees every few hundred yards in any forest.

    By the time I clean up 2 or 3 blow downs, there are more within sight of the house. I collect all my wood from about 3 acres of hardwoods and burn 3-4 cords per winter. I can still see dead trees from every window.
  8. JayJay

    JayJay Well-Known Member

    If you are respectful of a person's property;), many times land owners have allowed their fallen, aged logs and tree ends to be carried out after a logging operation leaves.
  9. Frugal_Farmers

    Frugal_Farmers Good ole country folk

    We heat 100 percent with wood. We have been keeping one year ahead of burn season, but will increase our supply to two years. Having that extra year of wood will give me peace of mind in the event I am unable to fall, cut and split for health or medical reasons.

    This is another prepping objective on our list of things to accomplish this year.
  10. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    A good source for firewood is Craigslist. My DH has taken advantage of some postings where the homeowner had a tree fall down and just wants it cut up and hauled away. We still have a lot of wood to work with on our property, but this helps us extend our resources. Of course, you have to find out what kind of tree it is first - my DH is picky about that stuff. :)
  11. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

    Splitting wood is easier below freezing, it shatters apart.
  12. Country Living

    Country Living Supporting Member

    We do the same thing and for the same reasons. :beercheer: We store our firewood on pallets (cheap and easy to find). One thing we did different this year was to put the pallets on top of concrete blocks. This allows the air to circulate a bit more freely and keeps the bottom of the pallets from rotting.

    We have four pallets to a section. T-Posts are at both ends of each section so the wood will stack higher. We did the four pallets so we could use firewood tarps to cover the section.

    We store split wood according to year cut so it will have at least a year to dry. Right now I have four four-pallet sections of firewood. I use red, white, and blue (sequence is easy to remember) surveyors tape tied to one of the t-posts to identify the sections. The wood we burned last year was from the red section. We're burning the white section this year. This fall we'll use the blue section. The wood we're cutting this year gets stored in a (new) red section. This process gives us current year plus two years.

    We store some split wood inside the barn along with all the kindling. A few years ago we had a very wet and very cold couple of weeks. Even though the wood we were using was stored under a metal canopy, it was still damp from all the moisture in the air. Having wood stored in the barn became part of our contingency plan.

    We use a 37 ton splitter. It came in handy when the huge red oak fell. That one tree will provide most of the wood we'll use next winter.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  13. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

    I also heat 100 per cent with wood. I use one of those outdoor wood furnaces. I'm not at all picky about the wood I burn because my chimney is a 3' section of single wall stainless pipe. If it gets built up (and it does) with creosote, I just climb on top of the furnace and knock the crap off the pipe back into the firebox with the furnace poker. I actually got some live pine trees a couple years ago from a friend at work. We dropped them on a weekend morning and that afternoon, mainly just to say I did it, I burned a bunch of it. Typically, though, I use dead elm (of which we have a ton around here) or at least I let the pine dry for a while. I go through waaaay too much wood to have several years' worth on hand but I try to stay at least a month ahead of the game. I use a Stihl MS290 chainsaw and a 35 ton splitter.
  14. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

    Green wood gives less heat when burning because so much of the heat must be used to evaporate the water stored in the wood itself. Green wood may contain up to 40 percent of it's weight in water. That means a 10 lb. section of green wood may have 4 lbs. of water in it. That's a half-gallon of water. Imagine pouring that much water on your fire and you can get an idea of what's going on when you burn green wood.

    I have 6 lb., 8 lb., and 12 lb. splitters.
  15. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    If you split by hand I found a time and back saver, wrap the unsplit block with a short piece of chain and a bungee cord (tarp strap) Or spring about the same strength. the chain holds the bunch together on the chopping block so you just have to turn it for the next split, then move the whole bundle to where ever you stack it. sounds silly but after you try it you will like it .
  16. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

    I'll have to give that a try. Thanks!
  17. BlueShoe

    BlueShoe ExCommunicated

    That's a back saver right there. Not nearly as much bending over.
  18. kyfarmer

    kyfarmer Well-Known Member

    Cut now stack to dry, and cut twice as much as you think you need. Handy tip about the splitting.
  19. Clarice

    Clarice Well-Known Member

    We sell most of our wood as only DH's shop has wood heat. Usually we sell about 15 cords a year, but winters are warmer here in SE AR. A man just gave us enough trees to make 20 cords and another gave us 3 trees that will make 2 cords. Now all we have to do is split and stack before it gets too hot. We will take the trailer and splitter with us when we cut and sometimes we can deliver to our customers before we have to take it home unload and stack and then reload and restack at customers house. It's a lot of work, but adds to the income.
  20. BlueShoe

    BlueShoe ExCommunicated

    I notice if I bring a wet piece of wood in and it's standing on end, the moisture will pool out at the base. Will stacking on end dry faster? You'd have to elevate it from the ground.

    I saw a road widening project going on today. Tons and tons of potential firewood were going into a chipping/grubbing machine. The only thing it wasn't trashing were the big trunks. Nothing left but the larger trunks.