Shoulder season wood.

Discussion in 'The Wood Pile' started by Backwoods Savage, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage

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    Over and over we see people posting about getting or needing some shoulder season wood so I thought maybe it was time to talk about it more.

    For sure there is wood that can work well in spring/fall when short small fires are desired. Many types of wood can fit the bill, but should we go looking for it?

    Personally we do usually get some but never have I actually went to the woods looking for some. Why should I. Shoot, oak can and will work good for that; it just takes a little bit for a small and short fire and it can even leave you some coals.

    We have had a couple winters through our years of wood burning where we've burned nothing but cheap junk wood. One in particular was a winter after a move and nothing to start with and no dollars to buy wood. I talked a neighbor into letting me cut dead popple (aspen) to heat our home and that is all we used that winter. Yes it sure seemed like a long winter that year and we had a few frozen pipes to mess with but we lived through it. Another winter we burned all ash that was fresh cut. Nasty...

    But when I read about folks actually looking for shoulder season wood I can't help but thing that it doesn't take any longer to cut good hardwood than it takes to cut softer wood, it does make me wonder.

    This year we still have some poor wood in our stacks that we'll burn but if we had nothing but oak, maple, ironwood, elm, etc to burn I would not be disappointed!

    What say you? Do you need shoulder season wood?
     
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  2. MikeInMa

    MikeInMa

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    I've never sought out shoulder wood.

    I had the opportunity to hoard about a full cord of yellow poplar. Easy access. Easy getting. Easy splitting. I burned it for shoulder season. If it were a cord of oak, I'd have not complained.
     
  3. Ron T

    Ron T

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    Don't need it at all. Would rather invest my time towards more desirable species.
     
  4. Canadian border VT

    Canadian border VT

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    90% of my wood is shoulder season wood, very little high BTU wood, exception of sugar maple some beech. I burn a lot of Tulip poplar, soft maple, birch and cherry! Save good stuff for cold snaps.

    Burn what ya got.
     
  5. EODMSgt

    EODMSgt

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    I've never consciously looked for shoulder season wood. As a full-time scrounger (only hardwood), inevitably some of the wood brought back will be somewhat punky. When added to the uglies (especially with the amount of beech I get), I have a good supply of shoulder season wood. Once that's gone, I burn what I would at any other time of the season.
     
  6. schlot

    schlot

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    Me too. My stove over powers my little house so I burn smaller fires with less BTU wood now. Silver maple, ash and elm.

    My stacks of oak will go to my buddy up north in "Wiscansin" when this Covid scare fades away. :)
     
  7. Rich L

    Rich L

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    I usually burn maple and elm.I don't see much oak though I have a little over a cord drying out now.Sometimes I've had aliantus, cedar,mulberry,and some fruit tree woods.During shoulder season I burn first the crotches and pallets with a few splits of the softer woods.Don't need to make big fires to get the job done.
     
  8. Rich L

    Rich L

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    Man you have to explain why stacks of Oak is being shipped out.Who does that ?
     
  9. schlot

    schlot

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    Well as some of the old timers on this site will testify...I'm not sharpest tool in the shed. :)

    Its going to a great friend so its worth the 7 hour trip up north.
     
  10. buZZsaw BRAD

    buZZsaw BRAD

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    I dont intentionally seek SS wood (dont burn or take any softwoods) and pretty much take it as it comes with my scrounging. Given the choice ill always take higher btu wood. I have a sassafras score i could go cut but big logs and hard work retrieving it roadside.
    I look at it this way...if you are given the choice of a Mercedes or Hyundai after working a month, which would you take???
    If i want a SS fire ill just use one log with a small fire and it does the trick. I mostly mix SS wood in.
     
  11. sirbuildalot

    sirbuildalot

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    I think people seek out shoulder wood because it seasons in 6-12 months, instead of 2-3 years for Oaks, Hard Maple, etc

    Take me for example. I just could not get ahead and on the 3 year plan. Between a family, full time job, taking care of a big property, etc, it can be hard to find enough time to process wood. I burn 8 cords a year, so a three year plan for me is 24 cords. Keep in m ind thats from tree to stove. No buying split wood or logs for this guy. It seem as though the last 2 or 3 times I scored wood it was almost exclusively Red Oak. While its great for future years, what about this year or next year. I think species like soft maples, birch, pine etc can be valuable to get you through til the better stuff is ready.
     
  12. buZZsaw BRAD

    buZZsaw BRAD

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    7 Hours! Can i be your friend? :handshake: Ill take some black locust off your hands and im only a few hours more drive in Connecticut!
     
  13. schlot

    schlot

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    Sorry, no black locust.

    Only honey locust, oak, mulberry mix going north.

    If I come across some ill get your address and gas up the truck. :)
     
  14. ReelFaster

    ReelFaster

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    Most shoulder season woods dry quicker so I don't turn them down if I have an easy opportunity to grab it. Mixed in with the hardwoods, does a nice job in the dead of winter as well as shoulder season.
     
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  15. JDU

    JDU

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    I do seek out shoulder wood, but it is easy. Cut off hardwood boards at the pallet mill. Back in and throw it on. $10 for all you can stuff in an 8' pickup truck bed, well worth it. I get a couple loads a year. And..stack 2 or 3 on top of each other in the fire, almost like a log. DSC03926.JPG
     
  16. Eric Schamell

    Eric Schamell

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    Is it necessary to have? Not at all. As mentioned previously, you can get by on all top-shelf hardwoods if that's what you've got or prefer to burn. Or burn conifers and "junk" wood the entire season if that's the boat you're in. It's kind of like the guy who likes to catch a buzz off of small batch craft brews versus the die-hard Budweiser-Miller-Rolling Rock type. It all has the same effect in the end. That warm glow... lol. But I digress. Personally I like to have variety and try not to turn down opportunities for free BTUs regardless. Unless it's not worth the trouble for some reason or another.
     
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  17. dahmer

    dahmer

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    Mine will be all that white oak bark that popped off the rounds when splitting. Very thick and dense and now I don’t need to clean that pile up to throw away.
     
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  18. red oak

    red oak

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    No I don’t go looking for shoulder season wood but I always seem to find it. If I’m cutting up an oak and a few pieces have some punk - well that is shoulder season wood. Or last winter a big pine came down in my woods - shoulder wood. Or those chunks and uglies I always seem to wind up with. I actually started separating with the opposite thought - saving the straight, dry, solid oak for the middle of winter. Shoulder wood is just what’s left over but I seldom go looking for it.
     
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  19. Erik B

    Erik B

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    I am on the 3 year plan for SS wood. I have my own woods so putting up the less desirable for SS helps keep the woods a little cleaner.
     
  20. Dumf

    Dumf

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    On this coastal plain the woodlands regen is primarily spruce and fir since it has been cut over many times over generations.
    Not far inland and way south ( like CT. ! ) more diverse hardwoods grow. We have enough soft/red maple and white/paper birch to get by for winter
    with just some red oak and white ash.
    We manage trails for fun and harvest to use the many softwood blowdowns for early and late season shoulder burns. The Snorkel hot tub takes
    +/- 2 cords for the year also. So we mix the spruce and fir with hardwoods in the shoulder times for the two stoves.