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How long will firewood last?

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by ironhead, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. ironhead

    ironhead ArboristSite Member

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    Can anyone tell me how long firewood will last if it is cut into lenths and then stacked and covered with a tarp?
     
  2. Gologit

    Gologit Mostly retired

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    What kind of wood?
     
  3. Newfie

    Newfie Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Not too long if you cover it with the tarp before it has a chance to season/dry. Tarping wet wood will trap the mositure and breed fungus mold and decay.

    Stack your wood and cover the top and leave the sides of the stack open for good ventilation. Firewood should last 3 or 4 years (depending on species) but after a couple of years I think the wood becomes TOO dry and burns too quickly.
     
  4. ironhead

    ironhead ArboristSite Member

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    type of wood

    Most of its red &white oak, hickory, ash and cherry.
     
  5. woodfarmer

    woodfarmer AboristSite Guru

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    dry wood

    we have oak in the very back of the wood shed since 1964, i know its not under a tarp but oak does take a little longer to dry, although probably not 42 yrs.
     
  6. Gologit

    Gologit Mostly retired

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    Newfie said it best...cover the top and let the air circulate...hardwoods like that should be good for quite some time. Even if the sides get a little wet they won't rot nearly as fast as if they had no air circulation at all.
     
  7. Gologit

    Gologit Mostly retired

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    LOL...you can probably go ahead and burn that oak now:) I have some insence cedar thats about fifteen years old but I think my oak will be termite food in 42 years.
     
  8. manual

    manual Banned

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    kept dry I would think it will last as long as the furnature in your house.
     
  9. Newfie

    Newfie Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Why would you think that? Unless of course you are going to kiln dry your firewood to 6% MC and then seal it with paint,stain,urethane or laquer. Controlling the humidity outdoors might be a little more difficult than in your house.:dizzy:
     
  10. manual

    manual Banned

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    Ok then how about all these barns out there over 100 years old.
    Just trying to say as long as you keep it dry. and not all furnature was kiln dryed. also unpainted barns last longer.
     
  11. RoosterBoy

    RoosterBoy ArboristSite Member

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    i was wondering it may not rot but if it gets to dry it will not burn as long and will use the wood up fast because the btu's are gone right? or not true

    thanks
    Jason
     
  12. Big Woody

    Big Woody Banned

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    Mine always lasts until I burn it.:rockn:
     
  13. ironhead

    ironhead ArboristSite Member

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    Thats a good one woody!
     
  14. Newfie

    Newfie Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I guess to boil it down ironhead, firewood will last anywhere from a few hours all the way up to forever.:greenchainsaw:
     
  15. woojr

    woojr ArboristSite Operative

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    I would add that its a real good idea to keep it off the ground. I stack on old pallets or landscape posts that give several inches of air. Only stands to reason the more moisture that is trapped, more bad things, like bugs find their way into your potential BTU's.
    I had a 20x20x8 foot high shed that worked well for the stuff I had stored away for 2-3 years ahead... however, it got invested with some kind maniacal eating insects that you could hear from 30 feet away. I shot off cans of poison bombs under tarps to quell the uprising. This was in a very dry summer location. Bottom line is you need air movement. I find cherry rots pretty fast. Others give you some time, but I put something under the logs and leave em whole while they wait their turn to sized and stacked.
    White oak is a long drier. Depending on your stove size, might want to split a little smaller if you want to use it sooner than others. woojr
     
  16. curdy

    curdy ArboristSite Operative

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    How about Maple? My pile is mostly oak and maple. Most of the stuff is mixed together in the stacks...is that a bad idea? I assume the oak will last way longer than the maple...so if I don't get to burn all of it over the next couple of seasons I'd hate for the maple to ruin the oak?
     
  17. PA. Woodsman

    PA. Woodsman Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Maple will get "punky" faster than Oak will. Keep the top covered, and hope for the best. I'd try to use as much Maple as I could.
     
  18. Ianab

    Ianab ArboristSite Operative

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    If the wood is dry (below 20% moisture) it wont go punky on you.
    The only thing that will touch it is borer beetles. Heartwood of many species is unpalatable to them anyway.
    So if the wood is off the ground and covered, it should last for many years.
    The BTU's wont dissapear, but completely dry wood will burn faster than stuff thats still semi-wet. Will actually put out more BTUs, but will burn faster unless your fireplace can control the airflow.

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  19. PA. Woodsman

    PA. Woodsman Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I beg to differ with you, but here in Pennsylvania Maple DOES get "punky", "pithy", "soft", "dry-rot" or whatever else you want to call it if left outside too long. If you lived here, you'd know that it is very wet and humid, and Maple unfortunately does not hold up as long as some other woods do. That's why I try to keep Maple in the garage OR use it fast, because it does "turn". Guess you have to live here to make ASSUMPTIONS about things, just as I wouldn't make assumptions about where you live because I can't...
     
  20. Ianab

    Ianab ArboristSite Operative

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    PA, I do agree with you, what I said was...

    If it's on the ground and /or not covered.. all bets are off. It wont be dry, it will rot just like you describe.

    I'm saying if it's stored properly ( in a shed or under a lean-to, not on damp ground) it will last.
    The decay fungus simply wont grow in the wood if it's under 20% moisture, thats a constant for any part of the world.

    And yes I know all about rain and humidity, I'm from NZ :D

    Cheers

    Ian
     

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