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Red Oak - request comments on split size

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Chris Cringle, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. Chris Cringle

    Chris Cringle ArboristSite Lurker

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    I am harvesting for firewood several mature Red Oaks and White Oaks that were blown down in our area when the remnants of hurricane Michael passed through in October. Some real nice wood in my opinion. A question I have for you all is, what split size should I be aiming for? If the butt profile is squarish or rectangle I usually don't go much larger than a butt area of 14-18 square inches or so. If the butt profile is a wedge shape then I usually won't go bigger then ca. 20 inches total perimeter of the triangle's three sides. Of course there is a number of smaller pieces, and a few bigger ones that might be for the long burn. I am not too worried about drying time because I've gotten ahead of my firewood needs and can easily have this oak dry for three years or more, covered with roof panels nailed on top or in an open side woodshed. Splitting by hand. Burning in a Jotul Oslo. Welcome your thoughts, and thanks. Chris
     
  2. U&A

    U&A Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I like mixing it up. Say about 25% are split small. like a true 2x4 size give or take.

    and the rest big. Like true 6x6 and 4x4 size at the smallest. Hell even some around 8x8 or so.

    With different sized rounds as well. But i tend to not let rounds get much bigger than 6” diameter as they take so long to season

    Gives you options.

    I don’t care what kind of wood it is. It all gets split like this.


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  3. briantutt

    briantutt Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I agree. The smaller stuff is good to get the coal bed going again. So now i just leave the 4 way wedge on the splitter and even the smaller rounds go through so if it makes aome smaller splits so be it.

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  4. sirbuildalot

    sirbuildalot ArboristSite Guru

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    Red oak splits so nicely. Nice square pieces. As for size, the bigger pieces are nice for longer burns and quick stacking. The smaller pieces season quicker, and are easier to handle one handed. I agree with what’s been said, do most larger, with some small mixed in. I’d say 4x4ish and 7x7ish.
     
  5. sixonetonoffun

    sixonetonoffun Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I usually wind up with plenty small splits in the process. So focus on preferred size depending on the condition of the wood and when I need it to be burnable.

    Burning some today that was cut yesterday from oak windfalls that could have laid in the woods 15-20 years. Split some today so wet and water logged I stayed on the medium size so it will be burnable late next season if need be.
     
  6. CaseyForrest

    CaseyForrest I am NOT a tree freak.

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    Shoot for larger splits and you'll have enough smaller stuff just as a matter of course.

    I shoot for 5x5 or there abouts and I ALWAYS have pieces that are 3x3 or less. The ratio is almost perfect of small stuff to big stuff for daily burning.

    Im actually going to try something different this splitting season.. Im going to split a cord of slabs... around 3-4" thick and 8" wide. The idea being that they stack in the stove resembling a single block of wood that fills up the firebox. If it works, Ill do a 50/50 mix of normal splits and then the slabs.
     
  7. muddstopper

    muddstopper Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I try to split everything to where I can pick it up with one hand, 4x4, 4x5 sizes. It dont always turn out that way, I wont resplit a 6x6 or 6x8. If it fits in the door it goes. I will split small rounds in half just because they dry faster.
     
  8. Marley5

    Marley5 ArboristSite Operative

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    I split everything a little bigger than most having an OWB but do like some smaller stuff to rev things up.

    Most of my Oak is split 10×10 but limb wood makes up for it.

    Sounds like you got plenty of time for seasoning any size you desire.
     
  9. CaseyForrest

    CaseyForrest I am NOT a tree freak.

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    Like this...

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Trapper_Pete

    Trapper_Pete ArboristSite Operative

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    I have a relatively small indoor stove a Quadrafire 3100 step top. fire box 18 deep 16 wide and only about 12 high

    I like a mix of sizes although I would be more inclined to split softer wood small as it gets the fire going easy and fast and save my oak for overnight wood

    the largest thing I can easily hold out one handed and toss on the pile one handed that way they stack faster and because that is what I will have to do to get it in my stove.

    about 4 inches by 6 inches and 16 inches long and I would rather error on the side of 15 inches long than go much over 16 I like to be able to turn them side ways some times also an 18 inch long stove doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room.

    my wood size is more about what fits my stove .
     
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  11. Jere39

    Jere39 Outdoorsman and Pup

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    I split by hand, and end up with mostly 3"x4" blocks. Most of the folks I supply like this smaller size. Of course the outside edge ends up more irregular in shape. IMG_9532.JPG

    Makes a pretty stack that sells itself

    IMG_9541.JPG
     
  12. jimdeere

    jimdeere ArboristSite Lurker

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    Jere39, that stack is a work of art. Beautiful!
     
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  13. Cowboy254

    Cowboy254 ESD sufferer

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    Beautiful. All barkless pieces from the look of it.
     
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  14. square1

    square1 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If it's wider than the splitter beam / taller than the wedge (~6") it gets split again. Do the same with hand splitting except there are more judgement calls which may be influenced by how long I've been splitting ;)
     
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  15. NCPT

    NCPT Love my saws

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    Very nice....but what did you do with the bark splits?
     
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  16. lone wolf

    lone wolf MS 200T King

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    One hand comfortably! That is my method.
     
  17. Jere39

    Jere39 Outdoorsman and Pup

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    Were none, these 80-120 year old oaks are dying and I can let them stand till the bark falls off, then take them down and process them. Here is my Brit stepping off this one:

    IMG_9245.JPG
     
  18. Chris Cringle

    Chris Cringle ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thank you everyone for the helpful replies.
     
  19. captjack

    captjack ArboristSite Operative

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    for me it depends on how long its going to be before I burn it. If its not going to season that long I split them small. If its going to be out all summer drying out I go bigger. I have an OWB so there small splits burn quicker and I have to load it more often.
     
  20. SamT1

    SamT1 ArboristSite Operative

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    I like mine big, as do most of my customers.

    These are on the small side of what I cut. That big one on top is about 8 wide 4 tall I’d say 8x 6 is perfect. This was smaller because it’s mulberry I trimmed off my trees in the yard and it had sides of the branch that were green.
    image.jpg

    About as big as a large man can grab with one hand is perfect. Like mentioned above you’ll always have some small stuff by default for lighting and rekindling. 18 long fits inserts and is reasonably large for open fireplace.

    I cut special orders if someone asks and rarely does anyone want anything besides normal for me. I get an occasional “small split” order for bbq guys or old ladies and an occasional 2’ unsplit order from someone who doesn’t realize I cut big trees. I usually clarify those with pictures after a guy threatened to sue me. He sent his helpers off the cap to retrieve a load for him from me. We negotiated a price for “unsplit green mesquite”, “ no chickenshit wood” I told him I cut big trees and he said again”no chicken **** wood” It was hell loading all those big wet rounds that lots were in the 20” range. The guy was pissed when the load showed up, he told me I better get my rear up there to split it. I told him I tried to talk him out of it and next time maybe he should listen. Needless to say we didn’t do business again. My future wife later worked in his steak house and he treated his employees like garbage also. I hope his back still hurts.
     
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