Pine / seasoning advice

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sw18x

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A neighbor down the street cut down some pine trees about 2 years ago and stacked the logs. He was going to mill it but changed his mind, now it's mine for the taking. I have a Catalytic stove (Blazeking) that does ok on softwoods, so I want to grab as much of this as I can. I went over there Saturday and did some cutting to see if it had gone punky. Some of the logs the bark was off and the outside looked good. Some pieces had fungus / mushrooms. The sawcut looked good, wood was solid not mealy. I split a few rounds and the wood seems ok inside. Sunday I took one of the pieces I split the day before, stuck a moisture meter on the split side of the grain, it read 12 - 14%. When I stuck the meter in farther, a solid 1/4 inch, it jumped up to over 30%.

So the real question is: do you think the pine is seasoned yet? If the surface moisture content dropped down to 14% in less than 24 hours of drying, I'm thinking the higher reading deeper in the wood is just residual moisture the wood has soaked up because of recent rain (we've had a lot of rain the past couple weeks), and this moisture will quickly dissipate under cover.

Here's why it matters:

I have a large covered wood rack away from the house. I just filled it 1/3 of the way with my hardwoods that have been seasoned in open drying racks for 1.5 years. In the fall, I will move these hardwoods down to a covered area next to the house to burn. At that point I will also rotate my softwoods off the drying racks into the large covered rack because there isn't enough room by the house for a winter's worth of hardwoods + my softwoods too. Then I make trips to the large covered rack for my softwoods as necessary during the winter months.

Concerning the pine, I have two choices. I can stack it in open drying racks to let it season more, but then I'll have to move it again into the covered rack in the fall. Or I can just stack in the covered rack now and be done with it. The covered rack still gets some sun and air (its 8 feet high, no sides). We're talking 2 full cords at least. I want to burn it this Fall.

Thanks for the input.
 
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A neighbor down the street cut down some pine trees about 2 years ago and stacked the logs. He was going to mill it but changed his mind, now it's mine for the taking. I have a Catalytic stove (Blazeking) that does ok on softwoods, so I want to grab as much of this as I can. I went over there Saturday and did some cutting to see if it had gone punky. Some of the logs the bark was off and the outside looked good. Some pieces had fungus / mushrooms. The sawcut looked good, wood was solid not mealy. I split a few rounds and the wood seems ok inside. Sunday I took one of the pieces I split the day before, stuck a moisture meter on the split side of the grain, it read 12 - 14%. When I stuck the meter in farther, a solid 1/4 inch, it jumped up to over 30%.

So the real question is: do you think the pine is seasoned yet? If the surface moisture content dropped down to 14% in less than 24 hours of drying, I'm thinking the higher reading deeper in the wood is just residual moisture the wood has soaked up because of recent rain (we've had a lot of rain the past couple weeks), and this moisture will quickly dissipate under cover.

Here's why it matters:

I have a large covered wood rack away from the house. I just filled it 1/3 of the way with my hardwoods that have been seasoned in open drying racks for 1.5 years. In the fall, I will move these hardwoods down to a covered area next to the house to burn. At that point I will also rotate my softwoods off the drying racks into the large covered rack because there isn't enough room by the house for a winter's worth of hardwoods + my softwoods too. Then I make trips to the large covered rack for my softwoods as necessary during the winter months.

Concerning the pine, I have two choices. I can stack it in open drying racks to let it season more, but then I'll have to move it again into the covered rack in the fall. Or I can just stack in the covered rack now and be done with it. The covered rack still gets some sun and air (its 8 feet high, no sides). We're talking 2 full cords at least. I want to burn it this Fall.

Thanks for the input.
Split it and stack it in the covered rack, it’ll be ready by fall.
 
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Pine needs to be split to season quickly. I cut some stuff a couple years back. Two years rounds in full sun and it would still spurt water back at you when you hit it with the maul.
 

moresnow

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Your measurement was correct I'd bet. Lots of pine on my place. I burn it regularly. In a Blaze King. Actually I like burning it. The BK's were designed/developed in softwood country. When seasoned to BK's recommendation I get impressive burn times out of it with very little ash.
I'd think about retesting M.C. by splitting a few rounds/chunks and test the newly exposed surface immediately. My moisture meter is only accurate if pushed in very solidly like you found. Pine is no different than any other species. It won't season in the round worth a hoot in my experience.
Your BK will be very happy burning it at a true <20% M.C. Not so sure I'd stack it somewhere thinking it will be ready by the upcoming burning season. Maybe it's my geographic location but I don't have as much luck getting pine to <20% in 6 months as some appear to?
The difference in my BK's performance is night and day between wet wood and correctly seasoned. My 2 cents worth:drinkingcoffee:
 

NSMaple1

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No, it's not seasoned yet. Split & stack ASAP. The less optimum the time & conditions you have for the seasoning, the smaller you'd split it. I like my softwoods to be bigger when burning, so hopefully you have decent conditions.
 

moresnow

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I like my softwoods to be bigger when burning, so hopefully you have decent conditions.

Agree completely. My stove does real well on a handful of large pine splits. The straight grain splits kick ar_e;) Seems that it takes forever to season anything with big knots also.
 

rancher2

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I would get it bucked,split and stacked under cover as soon as you can and plan on burning it toward the end of next season. You will be a lot happier with the heat it makes if it gets seasoned out well.
 

sw18x

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So opinions seem split on this. I whacked apart a few more rounds last night and they seemed pretty dry, but I'll probably rack as much as I can in the open to be safe. Thanks for the advice.
 
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