Choosing Dry Wood

More than 50% of the weight of fresh cut wood can be water. That is why wet or “green” wood is hard to light, doesn’t produce nearly as much heat as dry wood, and releases clouds of smoke. It takes from six months to a year to dry wood properly. Dry wood has a water content of 15%-25% by weight. Some of the signs of properly dry wood are loose bark and radial cracks in the ends of the logs. Dry wood should have a faded, lighter color, and will not smell as much as green wood. Dry wood makes a “crack” when two pieces are hit together. Green wood makes more of a “thud.”

How To Store Wood

Drying wood gives off a lot of water. To prevent rot and speed drying, you should provide good air circulation around the woodpile. Go ahead and cover your wood with a waterproof tarp, but make sure you let the sides of the pile breathe. A woodpile is heavy, and needs a good foundation. Use a few boards or a used pallet to keep your wood level and off the ground. Open-sided sheds offer an ideal way to store wood and keep it dry.

How Much Wood Is In A Cord?

A standard cord of wood is a unit of volume. A cord is 8 feet long, 4 feet high and 4 feet wide or 128 cubic feet. But the type of wood and how the wood is stacked mean that the amount of wood in cord can vary by a considerable amount. A “run” is 1/3 of a cord and measures 8 feet by 4 feet by 16 inches. A “face cord” is a non-standard measurement. Generally it is 8 feet by 4 feet high, one length of wood deep. Note that depth can vary considerably, making a “face cord” an imprecise term at best. If you buy over-length logs and cut them to fit your firebox, remember that cutting converts a significant amount to sawdust, not to mention wasting time and effort.


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