firewood: chop it green or dried

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Paul Wheaton, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    Every year that we try to get our firewood in, we always look for dead trees. Sometimes (like now) we're in the middle of winter and still getting our wood in.

    While trying to chop wood today, I suggested that we should try to be smarter next year: cut and chop green wood in the spring and dry it through the summer. My wife says that dry wood is easier to chop because it's more brittle. I remember chopping some green wood back when I was a kid and that seemed pretty easy.

    But we're both just guessing.

    Anybody know the answer to this one?
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    This doesn't exactly answer your question, but the best time to split wood is in the dead of winter when the bolts are frozen rock hard.

    The best time to cut wood with a chainsaw is when it's green. Cutting green wood is easier on the saw's engine and chain.
     

  3. rio002

    rio002 Well-Known Member

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    Equally unsure if this answers your question but to me it's six of one--half a dozen of the other. If you cut it green (which yes is easier on the chainsaw) and let it dry then your fires are easier to start and burn better come winter then if you come up short on wood the dead wood is still out there come winter. If you always wait til winter to finish up your wood and run short then you run the chance of having to cut and try to burn green wood, if it's your main heat source. Make sense---I hope so it's a Monday LOL
     
  4. ratherbefishin

    ratherbefishin Well-Known Member

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    some wood, like alder splits easily green, but turns into iron when dry.
     
  5. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cut trees and rounds when green....rent a woodsplitter if you want it to season quicker and split it green....but definately easier by hand to do it when its been about 0 degrees for 2-3 days....if you can pry them off the pile....

    no bugs in the winter and much nicer weather for heavy work!

    Ash is a nice wood you can cut split and burn right away....oak takes longer to season than say maple....white birch makes a nice smelling fire. Apple wood is a good heating wood....

    Wood is wonderful....it warms you twice!
     
  6. Bob in WI

    Bob in WI Well-Known Member

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    Most woods here where we are are easier to split when green, but if possible cold. So we cut trees in the fall or winter when they are still a litttle wet, but not saturated. By the next heating season they are just right. Seasoned and ready. It worked for us for 20 some years.

    We always have stacked the pieces in ranks so they dry better than just throwing them in a pile as some do.
     
  7. Always try to collect next years firewood this year. If you buy it, buy it green. Around here green firewood is cheaper than seasoned. So buy next years now. If your cutting it yourself, cut next years now and cut green so it will cut easier. Of coarse that will not help you now if you need it now. If you need it now this year, cut whatever dry wood you can find.
     
  8. GRHE

    GRHE Mountain Ogre

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    My experience is that it really depends on the wood. Most oak and hardwood I have cut splits much easier when green and fresh cut, once they start to dry they become much more difficult to split. With hardwoods the grains seem to lock together as the wood dries but will rip (cut or split with the grain) fine when wet as long as it is not a knotty piece of wood. Pines have always tended to be the opposite, most being very difficult to split when green, easier as they dry. They sent to lose the grain bonds as they start to form check cracks in the rounds. Cedar is a breeze whenever and is almost fun to split. Most all wood is easier on a chainsaw when green and wet in all but the most sap filled woods. I always learned to oversinter wood as well as nothing seems to dry the wood better than a few months of freezing, as long as you do not let it get wet enough to rot.
     
  9. JustinThyme

    JustinThyme Active Member

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    Seems to me frozen wood is easier to split ,probably because its stiffer .Given the choice ,I usually look for wood thats a good size but doesnt have to be split .
     
  10. Joe in MO

    Joe in MO Active Member

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    Here's a question that goes along with the original: Is it a good idea to put a tarp over your woodpile. I've seen it done lots of times and I've tried it but the wind always blows it off, no matter how much I try to weigh it down.
    Joe
     
  11. GRHE

    GRHE Mountain Ogre

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    For me its an easy yes. It is easier choice here in Norther CA though. We get all or percipitation Oct-April, so I cover in winter, then remove in spring, so have very dry wood in fall. I keep the tarp on stacking the wood on the first edge of the tarp, the wrapping over the top of the stack. This leaves only one edge to try to hold down. I use stakes on that side rather than weight. In spring I remove the tarp to let the sun finish the drying. In places that get rain through the year this can be a bit more problematic as you may end up with molds and mildew under the tarp.
     
  12. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    You only want to cover the top of the pile so air can circulate. Cut your tarp in 3' wide strips and attach a furing strip to 2 sides to cover the pile then put a row of wood overtop or use scraps of rubber roofing because it's heavy.

    mikell
     
  13. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A tarp is good in cold weather after the wood has aged some 3 months or more...during hot weather(and green wood) you just get a cycle of condensation...

    We have our wood all cut and split (5cord) for next year in a giant mound with two large tarps with pallets to weigh down tarps, laid around the pile and up the sides. The wood was uncovered since it was done in June covered in November.

    When the seasoned wood is uncovered and put in the woodshed (May)...the rounds are stacked on the pallets before splitting(we buy tree length)....after it is split and thrown into the mound (by June) its left uncovered until late Fall....its a cycle and the pallets help to judge how much wood we have and also keep tarps on over winter. Hardwood pallets are preferred as they last longer and are heavier.
     
  14. caberjim

    caberjim Stableboy III

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    split it early and stack it in big wide rows that run perpendicular to each other. Cover with a heavy clear plastic. The clear plastic with the sun will speed up the seasoning. Or so I have read.
     
  15. dreadstalker

    dreadstalker Well-Known Member

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    cut it green split it dry or frozen.around here frozen seems to work the best.i like to keep some green on hand that dosen't need splitting,after you have a good bed of coals a chunk of green will smolder a long time rally slows down the burn and holds the heat a long time.you do have to ensure a clean chimmny but i clean mine 4-6 times a yr anyway.the paper tarps the lumber store uses works well for covering the pile.i just cover the top to allow air circulation thru the pile
     
  16. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    I buy special wood pile tarps to cover my firewood. They are 6' wide by 24' long (I believe). You can purchase them from Northern Tool. I stack the fire wood on pallets to keep the wood off the ground. I place the pallets side-by-side which makes long, narrow rows of firewood.

    What I do to hold the tarps down is nail a U-shaped nail (ie, fencing staple) into the ends of pieces of wood. Then I use a cable straps to connect the wood weights to the tarp gromments. This set up works great, IMHO.
     
  17. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    If you read my post on Is this wood seasoned.The trees had been cut down last Spring it seemed heavy,but we had lots of rain.Well I was cutting it,having problems with it burning.But while I was cutting it I would cover it with metal.Well yesterday I changed where I was getting wood off my stack,getting into what had been cut for a month,it was unbelieveable how dry it was.So now I'm very warm

    As far as splitting dry will split some what better.What I've found with wood its better to get everything done with it you have to while working it.It always just seemed double hard to cut up Pole wood,or split Block stuff.If its already split drys much faster.

    Now Wood Splitters if you don't already know,you can spilt wood a lot faster with a Maul faster than you ever could with a Splitter.And I really don't know if your back feels any better at the end of the day after moving large Blocks to it.

    big rockpile
     
  18. coso

    coso Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dad always said Grandpa cut in July. Said the sap would be down and you could use it the same winter. I've always heard not to cut in spring time because the sap is up and it will take longer for wood to dry out. I usually cut when I have time. Try to cut dry along with some green. If I don't have some green the outside wood furnace will burn us out of the house if it gets 40-50 degrees outside.
     
  19. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    In my northland it's ideal to down trees in winter when it's dormant. I have a wood outdoor stove and it burns best with a mixed load of green fresh cut and some of the previious dry wood. Mostly, I've cut poplar, some spruce, balsam, and ash. The other thing is that in warmer weather to cut in the bush is just too hot and sticky, too many bugs and the chain saw gets more dirty. A good layer of snow on the ground and getting in firewood is a good way to go about it here. Also, the frozen ground facilitates loading and not getting stuck in soft ground. Actually, March is about perfect for a lot of this activity. If the wood is cut and stacked in the bush to cure, it can be brought up and used the following winter.
     
  20. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

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    Not to hyjack this thread but...

    The house we are about to buy has a wood shed. (the only way I know this is because it has a sign on it that says "Wood Shed" :haha: )

    Do I put fresh cut wood in it to season, or put already seasoned wood in it?

    It's about 100 or more feet from the house. On the side of the house by the back door there is a wood holder, and I know that is for wood that you are about to use...

    In the wood shed now there is about 20 bags of pellets for the pellet stove. We will be switching that out to a wood stove.

    Anyone want to by a pellet stove, or trade for a wood stove? :)

    I haven't had a wood stove or fireplace for over 20 years, when I was 7 so I forgot a lot!

    ~Marisa :)