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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 05-14-2013, 03:17 PM   #1
NorthernMN
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Default When is wood seasoned?

You see a lot of people talking about seasoned wood and I was wondering what your seasoning time? I realize it needs to be dry but are most of you going by time or moisture %? I have seen some say it needs to be split and then wait two years to use it but I question if this is green trees that have blown down or cut down rather than cutting down dead standing trees?
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Unread 05-14-2013, 03:21 PM   #2
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When you put the salt and pepper on? Seriously, depending on the size of the splits, 6 months of drying should do it. If the splits are larger or the humidity is higher more time is needed. You can tell by the ends of the splits. Do they have "spider web" cracks on them? If so, they are good to go
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Unread 05-14-2013, 03:23 PM   #3
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Standing dead wood you can use right away, If it is a live blow down or standing it need to season it will season faster if split more surface area the faster it goes I usually wait 1 yr on Oak & Mesquite
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Unread 05-14-2013, 03:25 PM   #4
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I try to let my hickory sit for a year. Usually you can hear a difference in the sound that 2 splits make when smacked together. Very similar to 2 2x4s smacking.
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Unread 05-14-2013, 03:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
Standing dead wood you can use right away, If it is a live blow down or standing it need to season it will season faster if split more surface area the faster it goes I usually wait 1 yr on Oak & Mesquite
Thats what I thought but wanted to see what everyone else thought

I used to cut alot of Fir Trees when I lived in Montana and the humidity was so low you could walk by the wood pile and hear it cracking on a warm day. Made for some easy splitting.
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Unread 05-14-2013, 07:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
Standing dead wood you can use right away, If it is a live blow down or standing it need to season it will season faster if split more surface area the faster it goes I usually wait 1 yr on Oak & Mesquite
+1 on a year
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Unread 05-14-2013, 09:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 82's BBQ View Post
I try to let my hickory sit for a year. Usually you can hear a difference in the sound that 2 splits make when smacked together. Very similar to 2 2x4s smacking.
I agree... to a point.
Instead of 2x4s, dry hardwood splits, when hit together, will make a sharp "crack" sound like hitting 2 baseball bats together.
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Unread 05-15-2013, 06:58 AM   #8
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Wood is considered dry enough to burn when it is <20% moisture as measured with a moisture/density meter. How long it takes to get there depends on the wood and whether it is cut to length and split. The red maple I use most often is ready in 6-8 months, my black cherry and apple take 9-12 months. Chunks generally take 4-8 weeks to dry depending on the size I make them.
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Unread 05-15-2013, 07:28 AM   #9
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Burn a sample piece. If it smells like bugs it's not dry enough.
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Unread 05-15-2013, 07:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cholloway View Post
I agree... to a point.
Instead of 2x4s, dry hardwood splits, when hit together, will make a sharp "crack" sound like hitting 2 baseball bats together.
^^^^ The wood will clack and a crack like sound when hit.

Note the 1:45 mark within Ben Lang's video... http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=QqPCjQubKzA
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Unread 05-15-2013, 08:00 AM   #11
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when you need it, that when it dry enough!
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Unread 05-15-2013, 09:17 AM   #12
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I've thrown it in the cooker with green leaves still on it.
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Unread 05-15-2013, 09:22 AM   #13
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For guys with offset smokers, can they set the wood on top of the firebox to expedite the seasoning/drying out process?
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Unread 05-15-2013, 09:57 AM   #14
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I think there's lots of variables.

One variable is the variety of wood. For me, cherry, beech and apple seem to dry pretty quickly, whereas oak will take longer. I think it's because of the density of the wood grain, but I'm not sure.

If it's whole rounds, they'll take longer to dry than splits.
Also, depending on how it's stacked. If it's stacked and covered, it'll take longer. If it's stacked and only the top covered, but the air is allowed to blow through the stack, it'll dry quicker. If it's stacked in a constantly shady spot (like in the woods) then it'll take longer to dry than if it's in a good warm, sunny spot.


In short, I've had cherry and apple be nice and dry in only a couple of months, but I've had some fresh cut oak take twice that long, if not longer.

I also know of some who purposely use green wood for smoke too.
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Unread 05-15-2013, 09:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob in St. Louis View Post
For guys with offset smokers, can they set the wood on top of the firebox to expedite the seasoning/drying out process?
I don't think this will help with drying really, but only heating.
I've done this or even put logs IN the firebox over to the side to help dry out wood that was seasoned but had been rained on and was wet, but I don't think heating up a still wet (green) log is going to help season it. It'll just get hot and hiss (which is the moisture in the wood grains steaming) and will not burn real well, but more like smolder.
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