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How Long Should I Dry Beech Firewood?

Updated February 21, 2017

A roaring fire in the fireplace just doesn't happen by chance. It takes careful planning and at least a year's worth of patience. Fresh cut trees are considered green -- or still full of moisture. The water content must be reduced to about 20 per cent to have properly seasoned firewood.

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Beech is a densely grained wood that makes a good burning fire. Beech is difficult to split because of its denseness. However, it will dry much faster and more thoroughly when split.

Slower Drying

The bark on a tree acts as a sealer, delaying the moisture from leaving unsplit wood. When branches under 4 inches are split for drying they then make good kindling wood.

Time to Dry

Properly stacked under a dry shelter, beech takes about 12 months to fully season. Keeping a constant air circulation over the stacked wood with a large fan reduces the time to about 6 months. If the storage area is enclosed, adding even a small heat source further reduces the time to a few months.

Poor Fire

If beech is not seasoned well the wood will burn poorly and with low heat. Wetter wood actually burns faster than dryer wood, so more wood is needed just to maintain a fire.

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About the Author

Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.

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