Are you struggling to source dry, seasoned firewood? Has rain-soaked your woodpile before you got it covered? Cut down a tree and want to know how quickly you can turn its remnants into a cheerful backyard fire? Knowing how to dry firewood quickly is essential for the backyard firepit boss.
While you can technically burn any wood, burning damp firewood is not wise. It’s harder to catch, more prone to go out, and more inclined to split or spit in dangerous ways as the water inside the wood reacts to the heat outside. It’s also a lot smokier and doesn’t radiate warmth as seasoned firewood does.
Seasoned firewood has a low moisture content, typically between 15-20%. Seasoning happens by exposing wood to air and sunlight to allow moisture to evaporate naturally.
Greenwood is sap-wet, fresh-cut lumber. This firewood has a high moisture content, usually ranging from 30-50%, sometimes higher with recent rain or high humidity. This type of wood is occasionally useable in a fire. Notably, pine and gorse can burn well even when freshly cut. Though, they are not good choices for fires you plan to cook over, as the terpenes will impart a bitter, unpleasant taste to food.
Seasoned firewood is necessary for a cozy fire. Unseasoned firewood produces billowing, acrid smoke heavy with creosote. When burned in a fireplace, it builds up sediment in the chimney that can create housefires. In a firepit, it will irritate the lungs and eyes of anyone nearby.
Quickly is relative when seasoning firewood. Most seasoned firewood dries slowly over many months. It is possible to shorten the process to about 6-12 weeks with proper treatment of greenwood. Some tips can quickly bring it from damp to useable if you have well-seasoned wood left out in a storm.
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If you have freshly cut wood and want to season it as quickly as possible, the following steps can cut your seasoning time to as little as six weeks.
If your pre-seasoned wood got too damp to use, these tricks might help speed up the drying process.
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