9

Earlier in the year I had a wood burner (stove) installed. I bought a small quantity of kiln-dried wood, to get myself going. Because of the small quantity, I was able to store it indoors (in the garage). On the several occasions we have used the wood burner, the wood was great.

I am in the UK and we are getting to the time of year where the woodburner will once again come into use. I need to stock up on wood, most likely a larger amount than I bought last time, with a view to seeing me through the winter.

However, with that kind of quantity, it would need to be stored outside. I can get a Log Store, to protect the wood from direct contact with the elements, but ultimately still outside.

My question is basically whether it is worth getting kiln-dried wood again, or will the fact that it is being stored outside nullify the kiln-dried effect?

Does anyone have any experience of whether wood stored outside, in a Log Store, will stay dry?

10

Yes you can store it outside. That said, your practice is less than optimal.

KD wood is normally dried to something like 12% moisture content. Air dried wood will eventually reach a level between 15 and 20% depending on how humid your climate is. The 12% figure corresponds to the equilibrium moisture level of wood used in a house assuming the house is kept at normal temperatures and humidity levels. This may be higher in the UK, than in drier western Canada where I live.

KD wood stored in humid air, will eventually reach equilibrium with the higher humidity, so the money and energy you spent on drying the wood beyond equilibrium will be wasted.

You notice this sort of humidity changes with wood in your house now. Doors and drawers that stick in the wet season, warp in the dry season.

The recoverable energy content of wood depends on the water content. Green logs (water is half the weight) are almost useless for heating unless you can recover latent heat from steam in the chimney. However the difference between kiln dried wood, and air dried wood is not huge.

Better practice for you would be to buy 1 season air dried wood, then store it for 1 to 2 more years. By letting the woodcutter dry it for a year, you aren't paying him to haul water to your door step, and you have one less year to store it.

I have a wood shed that will store a 4 year supply of wood. Generally I cut wood in the winter and stack it in the bush. Then in summer I use the tractor and trailer to move it to the wood shed. After two years it is dry enough that a couple sheets of newspaper between two chunks will start them burning merrily with no kindling.

  • Does it really take two years to have firewood dried to reasonable levels? – sharptooth Sep 19 '14 at 13:46
  • @Sharptooth: Yes. Two years is a minimum in our climate. (Very cold long winters, cool but dry summers.) Much of the UK will see improvement for 3 or 4 years. *** Drying time also depends on average distance to cut face -- smaller splits dry faster, and distance to the end of the chunk -- shorter chunks dry faster. -- and the species of wood. Open grain woods dry faster. As an example birch stored as unsplit chunks will rot before drying out. – Sherwood Botsford Sep 19 '14 at 18:50
  • You can buy cheap-but-unreliable wood moisture testers online for very little. They're useless for comparing very different timbers in very different places, but for the same sort of tree at different stages of drying in your shed they will be fine as long as you measure the same way (across the rings on the end, or along the side, choose only one method!) That will let you measure and decide when you're not seeing enough benefit from longer storage to be worth while. – Móż Oct 5 '16 at 23:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.