Wood Push

By , October 13, 2016

I’ve been scrambling the last few days. We’ve had a stretch of unseasonably sunny weather, which will change up in the coming days after a day or two of strong wind. This is wood seasoning weather!

Sunshine in October: Wood Seasoning Season! (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger.)

Sunshine in October: Wood Seasoning Season! (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger.)

I bucked up a couple of windfalls on the east side of the property, and have spent most of my time and energy the last few days packing the wood to the ricks on the “Power Point,” where it will soak in the sun and dry in the wind.

These conditions are most fortuitous for a birch I finished cutting up recently. While birch is our most valuable fuel, being a hard wood with highly flammable bark, it also absorbs moisture, and takes a long time to dry. Rather than leaving this tree in my usual half rounds, I chopped it all up into smaller pieces, and stacked it on our most exposed rick. Even before the high winds, some of it has dried to burnable condition already. I’d assumed it might have to season through the coming winter, to be burned the following year.

Much prettier than photos of wood piles . . . (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Much prettier than photos of wood piles . . . (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The trick will be to leave the wood exposed as long as possible before stacking it in the woodshed. The weather forecast is rather cryptic for the coming days. By Saturday, we have a 30% chance of rain. In our experience, if the Haines forecast calls for up to a 40% chance of rain, there’s very little likelihood that our property will get rained on at all. If the marine weather forecast’s high winds stay steady, I’ll likely leave the wood exposed. Even if it gets some rain, the wind will likely dry it, in addition to continuing to suck inside moisture from the wood, for a net gain (see Seasoning Firewood: A Scientific Approach). The forecast suggests we might get a day or two of sun after the chance of rain, so leaving it exposed would be advantageous.

However, the forecast says this rain, if it comes, will be “heavy at times.” That means I might have to scramble to cover any exposed woodpiles. Normally, I’m fine with that, but if it’s going to be in high winds, it’ll be harder. On the other hand, Michelle and Aly will be home then, so we’ll have the hands to do the work if necessary.

I’ll likely be going back and forth on that issue right up until the rain falls.

2 Responses to “Wood Push”

  1. Ekij says:

    I love burning birch but some of the birch I’ve got seasoning has developed a white fungus. I’m worried this fungus could spread not only to my other firewood but to the structural timbers of my shed/home. Do you ever have fungus problems on your seasoning wood?

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Ekij, we get fungi on our wood, particularly birch, but we don’t worry about it, and I’ve never seen it spread, particularly on cut and stored wood. Most fungi that grow on birch and other woods, particularly “conchs” or shelf fungi, are quite flammable. One birch fungi, called chagga, is often used as tinder for flint and steel fire starting kits and the like.

    Fungus generally needs damp or wet wood to propagate. If your firewood’s seasoned enough to store, I don’t think there’s much chance of any associated fungi spreading, particularly to other types of wood.

    If I may advise, watch for signs of spreading (maybe take photos periodically?) and if you discover it is moving to other wood, then isolate it from your structural timbers. Otherwise, consider it extra fuel!

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