How To Dry Firewood Fast? - Level Up Your Skills

How To Dry Firewood Fast?

Having dry firewood is a key part of building a successful fire. In this article when we say dry, we aren’t just meaning dry from rain or water. We are talking about dry all the way throughout the wood. Another term for the dry firewood we are referring to is seasoned. In this article, we are going to talk about the best ways to dry firewood fast. This way you will have wood to use in the winter to burn to warm your home or cook. It is always important to keep a large supply of seasoned wood on hand because it does take some time for the wood to dry properly, even if you are using faster methods.

How to Dry Firewood Fast

How to Dry Firewood Fast

Type of Wood

Before going into detail on how to dry wood fast we are first going to talk about some factors that affect how long it takes wood to dry. The first of those factors is if the wood is a hardwood or softwood. You may have heard of hardwood before when it has come to talk about furniture and the type of wood it was made of. A lot of times nice, heavy furniture is made of hardwood.

Hardwoods are great for furniture, but they are also great for building fires. This is because they are thicker, denser, and take longer to burn. This means they will provide warmth longer. Some common hardwoods are your oak, locust, and black maple trees. There are many other kinds of hardwood though. The downside though to hardwoods is that it is harder to work with.

The main reason hardwoods are harder to work with is because they take longer to dry. The other reason is that it is harder to cut and split into good firewood size pieces. For firewood, you don’t want large pieces because it won’t fit into the fireplace, but you also don’t want tiny pieces because they will burn to fast. Since hardwoods are harder to work with a lot of times people use softwoods for firewood, but you don’t have too. If you have some good hardwood logs that are the right size for firewood, then you can use them. You just have to remember to give them more time to dry.

Softwoods are easier to use than hardwoods and they can be found anywhere. Another reason why people like it for firewood is that it is cheap. Softwood burns faster though, so you need more of it. The big perk though is that it dries a lot faster. So, that is the first tip, if you need dry firewood fast, then get softwood. Both still take time though. Hardwood takes around 18 months to dry while soft takes 6 months depending on the method that you use.

Softwood

Softwood

Green vs. Seasoned

So, since it takes so long to dry you may be wondering if it matters. The answer is yes it does matter. Greenwood is moist wood that has not dried. It is the state the wood is in when you cut a living tree down. The moister is from the sap in the wood. When you burn green wood it does not burn well. Also, it does not produce much heat. That is because the heat is being lost into smoke from the moisture. Greenwood just sizzles.

Seasoned or dry wood, on the other hand, burns well. That is because there is no moisture in the wood to turn into smoke. On top of burning well, it produces a good amount of heat. That is important because when you are burning wood, it is the heat that you want to produce.

Methods

So, now that you know why it is important to dry out firewood and season it before use we can get into the three main methods of drying firewood. The three methods are

  • Natural Drying
  • Ventilation Drying
  • Kiln Drying

We will talk about what is involved with each type of drying and also cover which is the fastest way to dry firewood.

Natural Drying

The easiest way to dry firewood is natural drying. However, this way is normally the slowest of the three. With the tips we are doing to cover though, it will help make the natural drying way faster. For our explanation and tips on how to dry firewood, we are going to already assumed that the wood is split and ready to dry. To get the wood ready to dry it needs to have the branches removed and log that is the size you would stick into your fireplace or fire.

To dry firewood naturally, all you do is stack it. To make the drying faster though you can stack it in a specific way. Use these tips to stack the firewood, so you can have dry wood in a season. To dry firewood naturally it is best to cut the tree in the spring, so the wood will have a couple of seasons to season. Then when you begin stacking you want to stack it in a spot with a lot of sunlight. That is the first key thing. Next, when it comes to stacking the wood you don’t want it to be perfectly fitted together. Instead, you want holes between the wood. This will allow for airflow and faster drying.

One key tip to remember is also don’t stack the wood directly on the ground. This will prevent airflow and cause moisture to raise throughout the stack. Instead, stack it off the ground on top of something such as a pallet. This will help it dry faster. Also, the spot where you stack the wood should be away from your living area so bugs won’t come in. The next question is should you cover the wood. The answer is yes if you have too. You don’t want the wood to get rained on, but you also want to let it breathe. Only cover the wood with a tarp when you have too and uncover as soon as you can. Also, only cover the top of the wood. The best thing is to have a roof hut or shed built around the wood stacks to dry the wood in.

The rest is just a matter of time when it comes to drying firewood naturally. If you follow these tips though you can have dry firewood in as little as a few months if it is softwood. If it is a hardwood it will take longer though especially depending on how much it rains in your area. Just stack the wood in as sunny of a spot as you can though and make sure it has good airflow to dry the wood out fast.

Ventilation

The next method focuses on airflow, and that is the ventilation method. This method uses forced ventilation and airflow to speed up the drying process. However, it is not a cheap method.  To dry wood using this method you still stack the wood in the same way as the previous method. This time though you are going to put ventilators in the pallets under the wood stack. The ventilators will move the air around. Another thing with this method is that the humidity has to be below 75% if it is greater then that, then you can rewet the wood.

The ventilators should also be turned off at night, when it rains, or if it is foggy. This all ties into humidity. You don’t want moisture considering on to the wood stacks. The increased airflow with the ventilators does lead to faster drying though when done right. This method is costly though as you have to buy ventilators and also it uses electricity. You will have to determine how much the quicker drying speed is worth it to determine if this method is the best method for you.

Kiln Drying

The last method is the most costly at first, but also relatively simple and a lot faster. That is using a kiln to dry the wood. A kiln is a device that produces heat, like air vents, and you can control the humidity. It is used to dry wood and also can be used to fire pottery which is where you might have heard of a kiln before. Nice kilns have moisture meters, so you can see exactly how much moisture is in the firewood.

The thing is, if you don’t have a nice kiln with a meter, then it might not do you much good to kiln dry your logs because you still won’t know exactly how dry they are. On the other hand, though a kiln can dry out logs in a matter of hours or days deepening on the type of wood and the way you have it set up. That is way faster than any other way. If you are drying a lot of wood, need it fast, or want to sell wood, then investing in a kiln might be worth it.

Conclusion

The fastest way to dry firewood is with a kiln. The next fastest and easiest though is probably just drying it naturally with the stacking method. We don’t recommend the ventilation method with ventilators because it cost too much and runs the risk of rewetting the wood too much. If you follow the tips we have for drying wood naturally, then you can have dry firewood fast. Drying firewood isn’t hard, but it is important. As we have said seasoned wood burns way better and provides more heat than moist wood. That is why it is important to dry our your firewood and season it before use.

Donna Paulsen
 

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