Does Firewood Dry Fast Next to Wood Stove?

KodyWallice

Well-Known Member
  • #1
I've been burning wood in my wood stove for a few months now and it's been going well. Even though my wood is seasoned, I still hear it hiss sometimes while it's inside the stove. I even see bubbles coming out of the ends every so often. This tells me the wood isn't nearly dry enough to burn. The result of this is creosote in my chimney cap that I need to clean often and a lack of draft. When I open my stove door, smoke comes out. I think that's because the chimney isn't getting hot enough to create a good draft.

Anyway, I was wondering of there is any way to hurry the drying process up. My firewood has been sitting outside and in my open garage for over a year. How long does it take to dry? Can I dry my firewood if I stand it up or stack it next to my wood stove? I've got pieces of maple in my garage that are well over a year old. They look like they were cut yesterday. Any advice would be helpful.
 

Phoenix1

Well-Known Member
  • #2
These are good questions. I store my wood in an open wood shed and it rarely dries as much as I need it to by the time I need to burn it. Maple and oak are very dense woods and I like to keep my logs as large as possible so they burn more slowly in my wood stove. I'd be waiting years for my firewood to season outside. Log rounds don't dry quickly at all and I don't have the patience to wait.

What I do is stand my firewood up next to my wood stove for a few days before I burn it. I pretty much kiln dry every piece of wood I put in my stove by doing this. I do this to 8 and 10 inch rounds and I don't get any hiss when I finally put the wood in the stove. Each piece is dried completely. I know people say to be careful with drying firewood next to a wood stove and that's true. I will tell you though that I've put mine so close to my stove (6" away) that I've actually smelled the bark begin to brown. That's when I pull it somewhat farther away. But my point is, you can stack wood pretty darn close to a wood stove and not have to worry about it igniting. Don't take my word for it though because I wouldn't want something bad to happen. Use your own judgement. I'm only telling you about my own experiences.

Firewood dries incredibly fast when stood up next to a stove. Take a look at the pictures down below. The first two pieces have been standing there for about a day, the second two about two days, and the last two about three or four days. These logs are both elm and maple. Very dense. They've been sitting in a stack in my wood shed and each one had no cracks in the ends when I brought them in. After a few days of sitting next to the stove and having the entire piece of wood rise to about 100°, it dries out as if it's in a kiln. There are no two ways about it. This is why people who burn firewood like to bring a lot in the house for storage. The wood warms up and it dries out somewhat, depending on how close they have it to their stoves.

After drying my wood like this for a while, I've had no problems whatsoever burning it. It's no longer green and even after one day, I see big splits in the ends. I just need to rotate the log positions and flip them over so each end warms up to the maximum degree.

Check out the checking on that last log. That had no cracks just a few days ago. I suppose what I could do for a really good test would be to buy a moisture meter and test a log's interior moisture before I put it next to the stove by splitting it and then keeping a full unsplit log next to the stove for a few days and then splitting it and testing the interior moisture a few days later. That would be definitive proof of dryness and burnability.
 

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Phoenix1

Well-Known Member
  • #3
Since I don't have a moisture meter at the moment, I decided to do a little workaround. Instead of measuring the moisture levels in two similar logs, I'll be taking a picture of one log for about a week. I'll snap one every day, just to show how much cracking, or checking, comes about on the ends. And to make things even more exciting, I'll weigh the log on my food scale right after I take its photo. I'll post the info here to show you what's going on. This experiment is to demonstrate how much moisture disappears simply by standing a piece of firewood up next to your wood stove in the winter. I hope it works out. I know lots of cracking appears on the ends, but I have yet to learn how much lighter a piece of wood becomes. I really do hope there's a change or else I'll be wrong about this whole "drying firewood next to the stove" thing. Fingers crossed.

Okay, here's day one.

Weight: 10.95 lbs.
 

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Phoenix1

Well-Known Member
  • #4
Wow, what a difference one day makes. I just snapped a photo of my drying log and it sure does look like there are many cracks on the end. I actually flipped this log over yesterday as to dry out the center from both sides. What I've found in the past is that if you don't flip them, the logs don't dry out as well as they can. Both ends need to see some daylight. Now, if you stored your firewood in some sort of rack that's situated near your wood stove, that would be all the better. Here's today's weight. That's a reduction of .28 pounds. That's just a hair over a quarter pound of water that's already evaporated. Not bad for only sitting a piece of firewood near a heat source for a day. So basically, if I had tossed this log in the fire yesterday, that fire would have had to burn off an additional quarter pound of liquid before (or during) it burned the actual log as a heat source. What a difference a day makes.

Weight: 10.67 lbs.
 

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Phoenix1

Well-Known Member
  • #5
There appears to be a point of diminishing returns going on here. If you take a look at the photo of today's log below, you'll see only slightly more cracking than yesterday's. It's nothing like the difference between day one and day two. And if you take a look at the weight, yes, it did drop, but not as drastically as the previous drop. I suspected this would happen. I mean, things can only go so far. But really, for a log to lose a half pound of moisture only from sitting next to a wood stove for a few days is remarkable. The reduction of moisture from day one is .46 lb and the reduction from yesterday's level is .18 lb. Not bad, if you ask me. I was going to keep this going for an entire week, but I think I'll stop when it stops. If the log halts its cracking and no more weight is being lost, I'll have no choice but to stop this experiment. I think we've got a few more days before that happens. though.

Weight: 10.49 lbs.
 

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Phoenix1

Well-Known Member
  • #6
I think this will be my last day of this experiment. The amount of weight this log is losing is getting smaller and smaller. Today's weight is .11 lbs less than yesterday's, so tomorrow's will be even less than today's. I think we all get the picture of what's going on here. By storing firewood next to your wood stove, that firewood has the potential to dry out remarkably well. I suspect that even green firewood could be burnable after just a few days. This wood I used in this experiment was almost green. After about six months of drying in my open garage, it didn't dry very much at all. And the reason it's still round as opposed to split is because I like to keep my firewood as big as possible. I've got a big stove and I like long burn times.

So, after four days, this one log lost .57 pounds of water. That's over a half pound, which is very good. I'm actually surprised this went so well. Maybe I'll keep the log hanging around the stove for a few more days and then weigh it again then, just for fun. Maybe.

Weight: 10.38 lbs.
 

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Phoenix1

Well-Known Member
  • #7
Just as a quick update, the log now weighs 10.31 lbs, so it's still losing water. I'm going to have to burn it now or else I'll keep weighing it long after I said I'd stop. I didn't take a photo because it pretty much looks the same. I do wonder if it's any smaller though. It's got to be smaller by this point.
 
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