How to dry wood logs

Written by ashley kurz
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How to dry wood logs
Seasoned logs burn much easier than fresh cut logs. (Logs image by Tjobbe from

When trees are first cut, the logs are not yet ready for burning or for building because they are not dry enough. Even wood cut from seemingly dry trees, still have a higher water content than what is recommended for burning or building. Drying logs before using them involves a long process of "seasoning" them. You will need to know how and where to place your wood logs for drying.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Axe or log splitter
  • Wooden pallet or storage shed
  • Vinyl tarp
  • Tent stakes
  • Twine

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  1. 1

    Cut your logs into at least quarter logs with an axe or log splitter. The bark around the log will prevent it from drying completely and also harbours insects that could ruin the wood. Cutting them into quarters allows for airflow to the core of the log.

    How to dry wood logs
    Use an axe or log splitter to cut logs efficiently. (steel axe and wood image by Tomo Jesenicnik from
  2. 2

    Clear an area in your storage shed, or lay a wooden pallet onto a flat area of ground outside.

  3. 3

    Stack your logs into a pile. Stack the first row, then change the log direction for the next row. Change log direction for each row to allow for as much air circulation between logs as possible.

  4. 4

    Cover wood, if you placed it outside, with a vinyl tarp. Cover only the top of the wood pile, like an awning, to encourage air flow under the tarp.

  5. 5

    Allow wood to dry, or "season" thoroughly this way, before using it. You can tell that the wood is dry by picking up one of the logs. If the log is lighter than it was before, it has dried. Oak takes about 2 years, Pine wood, and the wood from fruit trees, can be used within only a few months. Beech wood can be used in about a year.

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