Removing Moisture from Wood (to burn)

Removing Moisture from Wood (to burn)

To remove moisture from wood, there are several methods that can be used. The most common method is air drying. Air drying can take several months, depending on the size of the piece and how much moisture it contains. Other drying methods include kiln drying, vacuum drying, and surface drying.

Kiln-drying is usually the fastest and most efficient way to remove moisture from wood while preserving its natural color. Vacuum drying involves using a vacuum chamber to rapidly draw out moisture from the wood’s surface. Surface drying is a method where the surface of the wood is heated in order to evaporate the moisture faster.

How to determine if your firewood is dry

There are various methods for determining if your firewood is sufficiently dry to ignite a fire, such as oven dry testing.

Oven dry testing is a traditional method used to measure the moisture content of wood. Although it can be time-consuming, the process yields accurate results when executed properly. Here is an explanation of how it works…

Alternative methods for measuring the moisture content of wood include the use of a moisture meter. A moisture meter is a device that measures the electrical resistance of a wood sample and provides a moisture level reading.

During oven-dry testing, there are some drawbacks to consider, even though it can provide accurate results when done correctly.

  • The oven drying process must be done slowly to avoid burning the wood and to ensure accurate test results.
  • It will render the wood unusable – It often happens that oven drying over dries the wood to the point where it’s unusable.
  • It is necessary to have a special oven or kiln – Many hobbyists who work with wood do not have an oven that can produce precise results.

Soap test – blow on the firewood

It is easy to test your firewood to see if it is dry – you can use regular washing-up soap.

How to do it:

  • Add a little soap on one end of the log
  • Put your mouth near the other end and blow through the log

Your firewood is dry if bubbles appear. This happens because there are some channels inside the log which transport water. When the wood has been cut and dried, the water disappears, and air can pass through when you blow.

By using the sound test method

To test the dryness of your firewood, bang two pieces of wood together. Dry firewood makes a hard and ringing sound, while moist firewood makes a dull sound. However, be cautious with the sound test. In freezing temperatures, fresh wood can still produce a high and ringing sound even if it’s not dry yet. Keep in mind that the sound test only gives a surface-level impression of the wood’s condition and may not reveal if it’s dry at the core.

Examine the firewood

Your intuition is also a useful tool when it comes to assessing the moisture content of the firewood. Below is a dry firewood checklist:

Firewood must be:

  • The surface is dry to youch.
  • The object is clean.
  • Hard to touch (and not squidgy)
  • There maybe dry cracks at the ends.
  • No present mould or fungi.
  • The scent is not damp.
  • Light in colour – Sun exposure makes the wood yellow and old wood turns greyish. Often the bark will separate from the wood.

If your firewood meets the criteria, it indicates that it may be sufficiently dry for use in your wood-burning stove. However if you want to be 100% sure that your moisture content is low enough you cant beat a moisture meter & should be looking for 18% or less.