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Thread: Wood Shed, Moisture content, dry seasoned wood #1 for efficient burning

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Default Wood Shed, Moisture content, dry seasoned wood #1 for efficient burning

    Built a wood shed this summer.
    Roof is 8' X 48', under roof room is 80" X 47' X roughly 8' high.
    Several reason for this design.
    Open on all side to allow for air circulation to help dry the splits.
    Got tired of tarp covers getting blown away/tore up in the wind.
    Snow/ice stuck to the fire wood when bringing into the house.
    build-able in 16' sections

    Stack the wood off the ground, pallets work great & free & replacable & let air circulate.
    If no shed, leave the sides open & just cover the top. (air circulation for drying)


    I learned allot about fire wood after I got a new catalytic stove.
    Moisture content of the wood is #1 importance:
    over 20% moisture & cat stoves don't work well
    If wood is much wetter than 20%, most of the energy in the wood is used to evaporate the water & the heat energy goes up the chimney.
    Birch cause enough creosote, but wet or green birch is even worse. Dangers of chimney fires.
    Birch needs to be split to allow it to dry (Birch bark holds in moisture) even the 4" stuff, split it & use it spring & fall (shoulder season)
    Spruce dries quicker than birch, so in a pinch if needed, burn spruce.

    http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF5/555.html

    Cut your fire wood for next year, this year & let it dry a full year before burning in your stove. Buying wood now for this year, you won't get dry firewood. Buy now for next year. You will get much more heat into the house & less up the chimney if the wood is dry (20% or less moisture content) & allot less or no creosote in the chimney.

    I know folks cut wood all winter & burn it right away, but that take at least 2 times a much wood for the same heat as it would if the wood was dry & causes creosote build up & chimney fires.

    Wood sellers here say seasoned but typically its closer to "green" wood than dry seasoned around 20% moisture. Ask them to show you that it is. Take one of the splits, split it in half & measure the moisture content in the center. Moisture meters can be found at hardware stores, online etc. Ask for a price break if it's wet, stack it up & use it next year.


    Looks good, can set on back deck & look at the stacked/covered firewood

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    Wow, that's some impressive work! Great job on the wood shed and great job on all the cut, split and stacked firewood. Rep points for info on wood burning.

    Jeff

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    Nice job. Thats almost exactly how I build my woodshed. 12' x 30'...I hate stacking so I use a splitter right in front of the shed and just toss it into the pile. Holds almost as much (maybe equal) wood as stacking with much less effort...doesnt look as nice though

    I've found that if you split the big birch into "slabs" about 2" thick with the splitter, they dry very fast since 90% of the wood grain is exposed and only the two outer slabs have 90% of the bark... We had green birch, split that way in june burn fine in october...not perfect, but fine...

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Super good info that more folks should be aware of. Beautiful job!

    Reference your advice "...buy now for next year...", I would add buy or cut now for the year after next. Green wood dried two years doubles in caloric value. A two year cycle is best if you have space to manage the rotation.

    Again, great post! I wish my wood shed looked like that.

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Super good info that more folks should be aware of. Beautiful job!

    Reference your advice "...buy now for next year...", I would add buy or cut now for the year after next. Green wood dried two years doubles in caloric value. A two year cycle is best if you have space to manage the rotation.

    Again, great post! I wish my wood shed looked like that.
    Thanks

    Man that would be awesome to get 2 years ahead on wood.
    I didn't have big plans to cut much this year but if i can get more energy from the wood
    with a 2 years seasoning. Maybe I should stay busy this winter in the woods & get some 2012 wood stacked up.

    Need to get a new saw though, old one barely working. Works me over pretty hard too. (28 yr old Husky 61)
    Looking at the 346XP or 357 XP husq. with 20" bar.
    None in stock in the Valley, all sold out after big windstorm 3 weeks ago. (but some on the way, "they" say)

    More a "roof" than a shed but good air circulation that way.

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    Nice job. Thats almost exactly how I build my woodshed. 12' x 30'...I hate stacking so I use a splitter right in front of the shed and just toss it into the pile. Holds almost as much (maybe equal) wood as stacking with much less effort...doesnt look as nice though

    I've found that if you split the big birch into "slabs" about 2" thick with the splitter, they dry very fast since 90% of the wood grain is exposed and only the two outer slabs have 90% of the bark... We had green birch, split that way in june burn fine in october...not perfect, but fine...
    Thanks

    That's sound like a better way to split. I'm going to try that method on my next load.
    Trying to find some wood to cut is getting tough here though (most of last winter I cut on the Parks Hwy widening around Willow)

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    Now I wonder, as I usually get ahead of myself some, what do you guys think,

    "Is it possible for wood to be TOO DRY ?"

    I have to use primarily Spruce down here on the coast, and it seems to me at some point it can get so tinder dry in a good shed that it nearly blows up the stack. I was noticing this last year that some I had which was really light to pick up nearly balsa like (definitely not rotted either) probably 2 1/2 years dry, and it was hard to keep a long fire. Burned hot but not for long, it just evaporated up the stack.

    Opinions on this, (?) before guys start building up yrs ahead of time (which I love to do if I can) can the Moisture Percentage go too low?

    Whoops, just repped OP and mentioned "Where do I find Moist % Meter, then there it is on the bottom of Orig. Post. I'm gettin' one
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    photos like this



    sure make me wonder... why a guy would have that much time. were you GROUNDED?
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    I googled "fire wood moisture meter)
    Sears had one. http://www.sears.com:80/shc/s/p_1015...=1287108864524
    I don't know if it is different for different types of wood. I made one using a ohm meter, but don't use it.
    I cut my own wood & burn my driest wood. It's what I got. But if I were buying "seasoned wood", I'd get one & make sure it was properly seasoned.

    Can wood be to dry?
    Good question. I don't know. Is it even possible with our climate, (maybe n a desert).
    I know the dryer it is, the hotter the stove will get, thus more efficient.
    To dry in Kodiak seems unlikely LOL (funny) kodiak"rain".
    The type of stove do you have is a major factor of burning efficiency.
    I would think you could shut the air down low enough to stop any fire from running away.

    I just got a new Blaze king KEJ 1107, with a catalytic, I can shut the air "OFF".
    I've never had wood with 0% moisture, so I don't know.
    When I set it (stove Thermostat) to a mid to low setting, I don't have flame inside the stove but the catalytic is glowing red
    & the stove is cranking out heat.
    I got a( 30%) tax credit for getting a new EPA rated catalytic, low emission wood stove (over 70% efficient, & for any wood stove that is super). I think the program is still on-going.
    (30% of the stove cost off of Fed Inc Tax I owed)

    see page 7 : http://www.epa.gov/ttnchie1/ap42/ch0.../woodstove.pdf

    Another good link to compare wood stoves:
    http://www.epa.gov/Compliance/resour...tifiedwood.pdf

    If the wood was a light a balsa wood, remember, if measured by weight: 1 pound of oak, birch, spruce or pine etc has the same BTUs. Hard woods have higher density which BTU's per cord (volume) is higher than a cord of pine or any lighter density wood.
    A 16" X 4" round of birch compared to a 16" X 4" round of spruce, with = moisture content. the birch is considerable heavier & has more BTUs.

    This makes for a good discussion, especially in Alaska, we have a real diverse climates & wood types to compare.
    I burn 80% birch & 20% spruce. When winter is in full swing here, my stove loaded with seasoned Birch lasts almost 24 hours in my new stove, before I have to add more wood. With spruce, about 1/2 to 5/8 that (12 - 14 hours).
    Now, during shoulder season, I burn 3 average size splits thru the night, add 2 in the morning & 2 more around 2 pm. House 70 -72 (OAT was 19f last night. Mid 30s today)

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    Grounded ??
    Kinda
    Down-sized
    Retired

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    Nice job Mudbuddy! I just got the posts in for a little woodshed tonight, I was in the same boat tired of digging it out of a snowbank by the end of the season. Mine's only gonna hold a cord, though; I like to cut throughout the winter and split what I need each day. It gets you outside, gets the blood pumping. I'm fortunate to have about 20 years worth of old-growth Sitka spruce standing dead right behind the cabin; when I need wood, down comes another one.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    Nice job Mudbuddy! I just got the posts in for a little woodshed tonight, I was in the same boat tired of digging it out of a snowbank by the end of the season. Mine's only gonna hold a cord, though; I like to cut throughout the winter and split what I need each day. It gets you outside, gets the blood pumping. I'm fortunate to have about 20 years worth of old-growth Sitka spruce standing dead right behind the cabin; when I need wood, down comes another one.
    Thanks

    Yea, no snow yet but it will be nice to "find" the wood this year.

    Lucky you.
    How long will all that standing beetle kill spruce be good wood? I heard they rot
    at the base but up a few feet is real good wood for years.

    I got into a few dead spruce early last winter here. & I needed some dry wood at the time.
    It burned real well in the new stove. One was a twisted/spiral grain one, & splitting it was
    a royal PITA. Sure kept me warm while splitting it.
    It was the tree that convinced me to get a log splitter. LOL
    (spoiled now for sure)

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default UV rays on the Wood Pile

    Oh How I Envy you guys living in Birch Country. Did quite a few woodburning years in Talkeetna area and I just love that stuff.
    Now living in pretty much exclusively Spruce Country ( I do try Alder rounds which if really dry will do a bit better) I just have to watch those numbers quoted on Spruce vs Birch fly on by. The days of an all night fire are pretty hard to come by.
    A few tips on the sheds I built that somebody starting new might like are,

    I used Lexan for roofing. which if well supported is really tough, doesn't rot in weather like Poly sheeting and the idea I Really Like is the UV rays are let in which I am convinced does some major addition to the drying time. (Yes KodiakRAIN is my current reality) but these shed roofs really help.

    Then I also used batten material (1x4's from the local mill are cheap) and have them staggered on both sides of upright posts to allow air to freely circulate without letting the Driving Horizontal Rain we enjoy so much here, get to your wood.



    These are ideas for the Coastal folks I realize where we don't have snowcover on the roof all winter, it's sporadically snowing and thawing, so even in winter that shed is heating up to aid drying, but the side battens as well as the dividing walls seen in this next photo help in circulating the wood, using the driest first. I have approx 1 1/2 cord areas separated out so I can be cutting/splitting as I get a chance and refilling the last empty area. Then use carpenter crayon to put a date of felling or splitting on a few pcs in that section (kinda forgetful these days if I don't mark it)



    Hope it's ok to load you up with photos, this is a great thread, maybe we'll get some more ideas coming from folks??
    So here's my little stove, a Hearthstone something or other. Lots of Soapstone in it but the design is high tech, not a catalytic but makes the EPA ratings for the tax break and burns very well. My comments about wood "Blowing up the stack" were a little graphic for meaning it burns too fast even tho totally controlled. I highly recommend a high end stove as these babies are a dream for a dedicated Wood Burning Guy.



    The wood I was referring to as "too dry," had actually been felled yrs before then left laying in a round (like huge 4ft diam tree right) until I bucked and split it last year. That stuff tho not rotten was so light it was like kiln dried. And I actually believe if I had a meter on it, the moisture level may have been too low.

    Anybody have other cool Wood Heat ideas for us????? Good Thread Mud
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudbuddy View Post
    Need to get a new saw though, old one barely working. Works me over pretty hard too. (28 yr old Husky 61)
    Looking at the 346XP or 357 XP husq. with 20" bar.
    None in stock in the Valley, all sold out after big windstorm 3 weeks ago. (but some on the way, "they" say)
    Haven't looked into new saws for a long time, but Husky used to offer a couple XPG models (G = heated handles); mmmmm, warm!

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    kodiak rain
    Great pictures.
    The clear Green house plastic is a great idea. I too am convinced the sun helps dry the wood.
    Very nice hearth & wood stove install. Looks great.

    I agree, the new stoves are almost unbelievable. The efficiencies have increased tremendously.
    More heat with less wood. Pay for themselves in a few years.

    Kindling that dry might be marketable though I don't use much kindling, when I start a fire it burns
    thru the year, save a few hot coals when I empty it for the next load of wood with some birch bark.

    lofthetaiga: Heated handles on a saw WOW, I thought I got spoiled when I got a hydraulic splitter.
    I'll look & see how much more $$, may be worth it. I like warm hands.
    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudbuddy View Post
    Thanks

    Man that would be awesome to get 2 years ahead on wood.
    I didn't have big plans to cut much this year but if i can get more energy from the wood
    with a 2 years seasoning. Maybe I should stay busy this winter in the woods & get some 2012 wood stacked up.

    Need to get a new saw though, old one barely working. Works me over pretty hard too. (28 yr old Husky 61)
    Looking at the 346XP or 357 XP husq. with 20" bar.
    None in stock in the Valley, all sold out after big windstorm 3 weeks ago. (but some on the way, "they" say)

    More a "roof" than a shed but good air circulation that way.
    I had been using a $109.00 Poulan with a 14" bar until recently. I use this little saw during moose season to cut the antler off, and also for cutting firewood at the campsite. Then this year I decided to buy a Husky 435 with a 16" bar (AIH had it on sale), and let me tell you: this thing made a big difference! I cut a lot of wood and stored it for next year, and it didn't take very long at all.

    A friend of mine told me to buy another bar for it, one with a ball bearing on the chain sprocket at the front of the bar, and also to replace the chain with one that has more teeth than the one that comes with the saw. But the chain and bar that came with it works just fine

    By the way, some folks around here (near Fairbanks) are using the plastic carports sold at Home Depot, Lowe's, and Fred Mayer as firewood sheds. They just leave the front door open, and lift a portion of the plastic at the back end of the carport. I just built a shed like some of you have, but still have to lay shingles on the roof. Will do so next year.

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Can wood be too dry?

    He is some more discussions on that topic: "Can wood be "over" seasoned?"
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index...wthread/60915/

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudbuddy View Post
    Built a wood shed this summer.
    Roof is 8' X 48', under roof room is 80" X 47' X roughly 8' high.
    Several reason for this design.
    Open on all side to allow for air circulation to help dry the splits.
    Got tired of tarp covers getting blown away/tore up in the wind.
    Snow/ice stuck to the fire wood when bringing into the house.
    build-able in 16' sections

    Stack the wood off the ground, pallets work great & free & replacable & let air circulate.
    If no shed, leave the sides open & just cover the top. (air circulation for drying)


    I learned allot about fire wood after I got a new catalytic stove.
    Moisture content of the wood is #1 importance:
    over 20% moisture & cat stoves don't work well
    If wood is much wetter than 20%, most of the energy in the wood is used to evaporate the water & the heat energy goes up the chimney.
    Birch cause enough creosote, but wet or green birch is even worse. Dangers of chimney fires.
    Birch needs to be split to allow it to dry (Birch bark holds in moisture) even the 4" stuff, split it & use it spring & fall (shoulder season)
    Spruce dries quicker than birch, so in a pinch if needed, burn spruce.

    http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF5/555.html

    Cut your fire wood for next year, this year & let it dry a full year before burning in your stove. Buying wood now for this year, you won't get dry firewood. Buy now for next year. You will get much more heat into the house & less up the chimney if the wood is dry (20% or less moisture content) & allot less or no creosote in the chimney.

    I know folks cut wood all winter & burn it right away, but that take at least 2 times a much wood for the same heat as it would if the wood was dry & causes creosote build up & chimney fires.

    Wood sellers here say seasoned but typically its closer to "green" wood than dry seasoned around 20% moisture. Ask them to show you that it is. Take one of the splits, split it in half & measure the moisture content in the center. Moisture meters can be found at hardware stores, online etc. Ask for a price break if it's wet, stack it up & use it next year.


    Looks good, can set on back deck & look at the stacked/covered firewood

    What angle did you cut on the roof rafters......and are they 2X4'S?

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    2X6 on 24" centers
    I forget the exact angle for the front cut but close to 20°. I just cut a little angle for looks more than anything. I had to cut 4-1/2" off the 8 footers so when I put on the end plates, I still had a 1/2" of plywood sticking over for a drip edge.
    The back I left square for a drip edge. I'm thinking of adding rain gutter, the drips splash the bottom layer of wood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Always The Herd View Post
    What angle did you cut on the roof rafters......and are they 2X4'S?
    11-30-11
    How much overhang (eve) do you have on the backside AND did you only use "metal hangers" to connect the roof rafters on the front and back? Do you have other pictures you can post of this woodshed or others?

    Thanks,
    Always The Herd

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