Downed Oak Firewood - Fall 2019

A couple of days ago, I posted some photos of a snow-downed limb from one of our massive old Oak trees in the yard and mentioned that I was going to cut and begin to dry the limb for firewood.

"Cut early.  Burn late."

That's what the old-timers say about firewood.  Especially Oak as it takes upwards of a year (or more) to properly season and dry out.  I figured I'd try a little experiment here and monitor how long it would take to dry out and get down to where the seasoned wood that I buy is when it arrives (under 15% moisture).

You can see in the photo above, that this Oak firewood is measuring 24.5% on the C setting of my moisture meter.  I'll try to measure these pieces of Oak over the next year and see if we can establish the timeline for seasoning downed Oak limbs.

Below, you can see some of the pile that I've made out of the limb.  Some of it has naturally split while other parts of it are narrow enough to not have to split.

I've begun to cut it up and am going to store it on the stoop outside of my office.  It is heavy right now.  Getting it up and on the stoop will keep it out of the rain/snow, but being up against the house (and under cover) it won't give it a ton of wind access or sun.  Thus, in terms of seasoning, I'm thinking that this is going to be pretty close to optimum.  My experiment will weight towards keeping it dry and open to the air and against full sun exposure.

Some of it that hasn't split naturally is 4" in diameter:

Because of that, I'm thinking that I might need a hand or camping axe - like this one that is $18 from Home Depot - that I can take to some of these pieces and split them.  Once I get it all cut up, split and stacked, I'll try to revisit the pile when the Winter breaks to see what kind of moisture has been pulled out during the cold months.


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