Whether it’s a late summer camping trip or a cold winter’s night staying at home, nothing beats a roaring fire. It brings light and a source to heat food when you’re out in the wilderness and allows you to heat your home in a quaint or even functional way.
That said, if you’re planning on having a fire in any capacity, then you’re going to need to know the best way to dry firewood fast. It’s true that for some things, you may be able to chop some firewood as needed. But for most situations, that won’t be true. Wood that’s too moist simply struggles to catch a light, which means you’ll need to dry out the wood before you can use it.
If you’re not certain how to dry out wood, then here are a few tips.
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Preparing The Wood For Drying
You’ll want to start preparing long before you actually need the wood if you want to ensure it’s dry. Six months before you need it is a fairly good rule of thumb, though some types of wood will need a longer or shorter period of time. If possible, you should prepare your firewood a year in advance. This means it’s best if you start a constant pile of firewood, replenishing whenever it begins to get low. That way, you have a constant supply of firewood. Keep the wood in a similar fashion to how you would rotate food in the pantry/fridge. First in, first out so that way all the timber is evenly rotated and has appropriate amounts of time to dry.
Splitting The Logs Fast And Efficiently
Start by chopping the wood into round logs. Once you have the traditional log shape, split it in half. For the fastest and safest results, we highly recommend the use of a Log Splitter. This will shave an incredible amount of time of your work load and also be easier on the shoulders and back .
There are several types of log splitters you can use. Depending on your situation there’s affordable home models and splitters that go all the way up to commercial status. Below you can find more information on the types of log splitters available, starting form the cheapest and going up to the more expensive types.
- Manuel Log Splitters – Cheapest But More Labor Intensive
- Electric Log Splitters – Best For Home Use
- Gas Powered Machines (Heavy Duty)
At that point, you should begin using the split pieces to create “bookends”. These are stacks of wood that allow you to more easily make a pile.
In order to make book ends, place three split logs next to each other. Then place three more split logs on top of those, laying them across the bottom row. Continue stacking and crisscrossing the logs as you build, until you get to a height of about 4 feet.
Stacking The Wood For Quicker Drying
The book ends are the most important part of the stack. However, you’ll also need to do a bit of geometry. Specifically, you’ll need to figure out how wide the average split log is. You’ll then need to figure out how many of those logs will fit between your two book ends. That way, you can lay the wood neatly in rows. This allows you to stack them in a uniform way while still giving them plenty of space to breath and dry.
If you live in a more humid climate, then you may wish to cover your wood pile. This is especially true if your area sees a lot of rainfall. It would be terrible to set up wood to dry, only to have a heavy rain set you back months.
Checking The Firewood For Dryness
Once time has passed, you’ll begin seeing signs that the wood is drying. Most wood gets darker as it dries, though there are a few exceptions to the rule of course.
You can also smell a piece of wood and see if you can find the scent of sap. When wood is freshly chopped, it has a strong sap smell clinging to it. That sap smell goes away as it dries, and once the wood is fully dry it’s gone completely. After much experience cutting and drying firewood, this smell will become natural. In the beginning it may be difficult to determine which stage the log is at.
Lastly, if you’re still in doubt, you can simply build a fire. After all, you want firewood. So you may as well give it a trial by fire, so to speak!
Of course, if you want to speed up the process then you simply start with a wood that tends to be dry on its own. Woods such as ash and other dry woods can dry out more quickly. In addition, laying the wood near heat will help it dry out more quickly. If you are using an outdoors firepit, you could dry out moist firewood by placing it on a wire rack over the firepit. Some fire pits have this feature built into the pit.