How to Dry Firewood How to Dry Firewood

Whether you are drying firewood for your home or for outdoor use, knowing how to dry it correctly so that it is ‘seasoned’ is important. Dry or seasoned firewood will help your logs burn more quickly and produce more heat energy. Once your firewood tree has been cut, the following 5 steps will help you prepare your firewood so that it has less water content and dries more effectively:

Step 1 – Determine the Size

Before you begin cutting your wood, you must first determine what the maximum size of logs you will need to best fit in your wood burning stove or fireplace. Saw your wood into manageable sized pieces that will fit into your stove or fireplace – usually 16 to 20 inches in length.  

Step 2 – Split Your Logs

Although smaller logs do not have to be split, logs that are larger will need to be split into smaller ones, not only so that they will fit into your fireplace, but so that they can dry properly. Wood that has been freshly cut contains as much as half of its weight in water. Wood that has been correctly seasoned will contain less than 20% of its weight in water, which in turn provides almost double the heat energy of freshly cut wood. Therefore even smaller logs, although they may not need to be split, will dry more quickly if you use a small axe to strip the bark from the log. It’s important to expose your logs to air to as much air as possible for them to season properly.

To split larger logs, you will need to use a splitting maul. Secure the log on its end on a wide, sturdy log that will provide a good base or foundation for the splitting. For safety purposes, be sure there are not children or pets around when you do this. Again, stripping bark off the logs will help you dry them more quickly.

Step 3 – Stack Your Logs

Stacking your logs is equally important in helping them to season properly. In order to thoroughly dry your wood, it is best to stack it so that the wood is protected from the elements and moisture. When stacking your wood, choose a location that is dry and well ventilated. Placing your wood on wood pallets works well, but anywhere and on anything where the logs will be free of moisture will support the seasoning process.

Step 4 – Allow Your Logs to Season

If you have the time to do so, allowing your logs to season properly will help them burn better. To season wood best, it should be dried for one year. Two years is even better. If you live in a damp climate, you will benefit from having your wood dry for as long as three years.

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