Summer Vs. Winter Seasoning

Discussion in 'The Wood Pile' started by firecracker_77, May 8, 2014.

  1. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77

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    I believe that wood dries much faster in summer. Some have told me that the cold air will dry the wood quickly. I don't think that is true at all. I think freezing temperatures trap the moisture in ice within the wood and it takes a lot longer for wood to season. Anyone have any support either way in terms of a website or something else to prove summer drying is more effective. Old timers tell you to get that wood split by spring and it will be ready by winter.
     
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  2. papadave

    papadave

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    Unless they've been enlightened, most oldtimers are wrong........depending on the type of wood.
    Look up sublimation.
    It's better to know, than to speculate.
     
  3. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77

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    I'm aware of sublimation...but it's not nearly as quick as evaporation when it's warm out.

    Snow and ice take longer to dry up than would a water puddle when it's 80 degrees out.
     
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  4. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7

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    I wish I had the source but I remember reading that wood doubles it's rate of drying for every 20F increase in temp outside.
     
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  5. bogydave

    bogydave

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    Wood starts seasoning after it's split,
    Sooner it's split & stacked , sooner it'll be ready to burn.

    No doubt it dries faster in summer, but a wet rainy year
    may prove that wrong if not top covered.

    I CSS in the fall, it does dry some thru winter,
    Did a thread , weighing some splits thru winter.
    Time , weather , climate, stacking method, sun, wind all effect drying :)
     
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  6. papadave

    papadave

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    Agreed, dries faster in warm, dry, sunny, windy weather.
    Build a kiln......watch how fast it dries then.:thumbs:
     
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  7. My IS heats my home

    My IS heats my home

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    I have split rounds in the winter and have found the water inside frozen, Can't imagine the splits would dry much in that state. Although, the splits may give up some moisture thats closer to the exterior of the split when the sun comes out and the wind helps a bit.
     
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  8. Fanatical1

    Fanatical1

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    X2

    I remember following your testing of this very topic with a few variables thrown in. It was very informative and the take away is that wood does dry, but to a lesser degree, in the winter. I'm a firm believer that the sun plays a significant and primary role in speeding things up, with all other things considered.
     
  9. DaveGunter

    DaveGunter

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    There is no doubt that evaporation is faster than sublimation, however I suspect (no data) that subjecting harvested wood to a solid freeze will help it to dry faster as the freezing may cause the cell walls that are trapping the water inside the cell to rupture.
     
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  10. DexterDay

    DexterDay Administrator

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  11. My IS heats my home

    My IS heats my home

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  12. Jon1270

    Jon1270

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    I've said that here and elsewhere, so you might've read it in one of my posts. I got it from Dr. Gene Wengert, a USFPL researcher and wood science professor emeritus who posts on Woodweb, a website targeted at professional woodworkers.

    The idea that cold air dries wood faster is just wrong, and probably has its roots in the idea that winter air is drier, which itself is a misunderstanding of physics. Cold air does tend to contain lower amounts of water in absolute terms, but what matters here is relative humidity, not absolute humidity. In most places the average relative humidity outdoors is pretty similar year-round. Heated *indoor* air has a lower relative humidity during winter because heating air makes it able to absorb more water and thus lowers its relative humidity, but that doesn't make any difference in firewood drying times unless your wood stacks are in your living room.
     
  13. Stinny

    Stinny

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    I think Jon's right on the money and bogydave's data supports it. Humidity levels have dramatic effects on wood drying, no matter what the temp. And, hotter would be better than colder. In the real world… 3 years covered drying outside yields the lowest average water content, according to the most experienced firewood hoarders. Good nuff fer me… :yes:
     
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  14. bogydave

    bogydave

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    We all should take our wood here to dry & I bet even oak would be with a year here .
    10% humidity, 85°, lots of sun. Will get hotter in August ! Climate matters !
    click on Here to find here. :)

    HERE
     
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  15. Paul bunion

    Paul bunion

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    The factor that is important is available energy (Heat) for evaporation to take place. It takes energy to change a liquid to a gas. For water that is about 1000 btu per pound. It also takes energy to go from a solid to a liquid. For water it is something like 200 btu IIRC. That heat is called latent heat, water is absorbing it as it changes state from solid to liquid to gas but its temperature does not change.

    Wood will dry faster in the summer for several reasons. One being that if the water is frozen it will take that extra 200 btu to melt it on its way to gassing off. (Sublimation). Another is that there is a lot more heat available in the summer. Usually in the form of a hotter sun shining on your stack and it shining longer. In the winter there isn't as much heat coming from the sun. Everybody knows that things dry faster in the summer sun. Other factors come into play also, the water has to migrate through the wood. More heat (warmer wood) gets those molecules moving a little better. They bounce about a little more and are easier to get out of the wood.


    If you want to see heat in action weigh several green pieces of wood. Put them in two different stacks. Put a piece of clear plastic over one stack. Stick your hand into the covered stack, especially the top and see how much warmer it is than the open stack. Weigh your pieces weekly of more frequent intervals. Pay attention to what is happening at the top of your covered stack vs the bottom of it. You will see that the wood at the top of the getting the most heat dries at a much faster pace. And if it rains on the uncovered wood you will learn something else as you watch that wood get heavier and taking days to get back to where it was.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
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  16. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77

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    I agree that it seems the summer does dry the wood quicker. My wood does dry a bit in winter but you notice it much more rapidly once spring hits and the sun comes out. This year was weird though...so cold and so much perma-snow. The wood I cut in early February didn't have much of a chance.
     
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  17. Gark

    Gark

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    Cannot find the reference, but it stated that outdoor drying does occur in winter if only at about a sixth the rate as in summer. That difference was for the upper Midwest. YMMV.
     
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  18. Paul bunion

    Paul bunion

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    If you search for drying lumber you will find a lot of information that can be reasonably extrapolated to drying firewood.

    I wouldn't be surprised if 'natural drying potential' is split something like 10% winter 20% spring %50 summer and %20 fall.
     
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  19. Jon1270

    Jon1270

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    I think that's not far off. A year or so ago I used a spreadsheet of local climate data and the rule of thumb that wood dries twice as fast for every 20 degree (F) increase to extrapolate that drying is probably about 4 1/2 times faster in July than it is in January.
     
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  20. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77

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    This thread confirms my belief that if you plan on burning wood the same year, get it split before the end of spring for it to have a good chance of being usable. If you are on the multi year plan, it doesn't matter when you split.
     
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