Pine logs are great for wood burning stoves, camp fires and fireplaces. Pine is a soft and fragrant wood which burns readily and lets off a pleasant scent. Unfortunately, pine is also likely to have a high water content. Lots of water in your logs can reduce the energy let off when burning, increase smoke and make your fire more difficult to maintain. Rather than wasting your heating energy on evaporating water, dry your logs in advance for more efficient burning and less smoke output.
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Things you need
- Sledge hammer
- Bungee cords
Cut your wood down to the proper length. For efficient drying and burning, you will likely want your wood pieces no more than 2 feet in length. Use your saw to cut your logs to a length that will easily fit in your fire pit, fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Split the logs. You can split your wood either in halves or in fourths. Fourths will burn faster, but will also dry more quickly than halves. While wood can be split with an axe, many people find a sledge hammer more useful. Hammer your wedge gently into a fault line on the top surface of the log. Once the wedge is fixed in place, give it a big whack to split the log.
Use the saw to cut bark strips from logs too small to split. Cutting wood isn't just about reducing its size for consumption, it's also about exposing wood pulp to the air to allow for evaporation of interior water. As such, even if a log is the perfect size already and doesn't need to be split, you should saw off a thick strip of bark to facilitate drying.
Stack wood on palettes. You want your stacked wood kept off the ground. Wood on the ground will continue to absorb moisture, inhibiting its ability to dry. Palettes are a great way to separate your wood pile from the ground.
Cover with a tarp. To keep your wood from being exposed to rain, make sure it is covered tautly. Use bungee cords or weights to keep the tarp tight on top of the wood and make sure that sides are covered as well.
Allow one to two years for drying. Also known as seasoning, the process of drying wood is primarily a waiting game. Water content leaches out of logs very slowly. While wood that has been drying for three to six months can definitely be used, it is much better to wait at least a year before consumption.
Tips and warnings
- Wear safety goggles and gloves while splitting logs.
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