Archive for July 18, 2008

Storing firewood naked

July 18, 2008

I store my firewood naked. Uncovered, that is. Contrary to popular belief, covering firewood with a tarp or storing it in a shed keeps it damp, not dry. Split firewood acts like a sponge; it soaks up the rain and draws in humidty from the air. It will draw in this dampness no matter how carefully covered. Covering the wood impedes the evaporation process and yields damp and moldy wood.

I learned this fact during my college winters when I helped harvest, split, store and deliver about 2500 face cord of firewood to homes in and around Rochester NY. It was difficult to convince customers they didn’t need to cover their wood. It’s still a difficult concept to get across to people.

For stone dry wood that will bounce like a baseball bat on your garage floor, and burn clean and hot, store it right outside in the rain and snow, out from under trees and eaves, preferably where the sun will hit it for a good part of the day.

In my college days, we dumped our newly cut, green firewood by the truckload in an open field where the snow and rain washed it and the sun baked it. It remained showroom clean and dry for a year. After a year bugs start to find their way under the bark so it’s good to use it up every year.

Cutting or scavenging already-cut wood right now, in July, will yield firewood ready to burn by late October/early November.