by Darrin Payne
I usually get a grapple load of hardwood delivered each spring. Generally I spend the end of March and the beginning of April to process the tree lengths to stackable cord wood. The last 2 years the wood was hand processed to typical woodstove sizes (no longer than 18" and no wider than 5-6") The wood is stacked on racks made of PT that are 5' high and 12' long. I get full sun for part of the day and then partial sun at the end of the day. The space for drying is limited so the racks are only 12" apart. The prevailing wind does not go into the end grains but into the side of the wood, under and over as well.
I seem to get a good 7-8 mos worth of drying. Although some of the moisture content of partially dried wood seems to affect the burn in past years.
My question is this: I have processed this years firewood for drying, during the splitting portion I thought to myself to make the pieces of firewood smaller in size (in width, not length) to aid in the drying process. Instead of a 5" wide piece of firewood I now have a 2 1/2" piece. Will the smaller width size of the firewood pieces dry faster than the typical firewood size?
What you did was exactly was I was going to suggest before reading your entire post. Making the diameter of the firewood smaller will expedite the seasoning process.
The other suggestions that I have may not be applicable since space is limited. One is to stack the wood loosely allowing the air to travel between the wood more freely.
Secondly, if possible, try to stay a year ahead with firewood. That way, you are burning wood that has been seasoned for 19 months rather than only 7. The reality is that some species of wood are unlikely to season properly in 7 months in Massachusetts even in ideal conditions.
Good luck this year and let us know your results!
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