How To Tell If Firewood is Seasoned?

Once you have been seasoning your wood, it can be tricky to know whether the firewood has been properly seasoned or whether you should leave it for some more time. Let’s take a look at some of the factors which can help you in knowing whether your wood has been seasoned or not.

Some of the factors which you can look for is the appearance of the firewood, it should be light brown and pale in color. There should be some cracks on the log and the bark might also become flaky. The most certain way to determine if the wood is dry enough for burning would be using a moisture meter.

determining if the wood is dry enough for burning

How Can You Tell If the Firewood is Seasoned?

There are a lot of factors that can help you decide whether the wood has been seasoned or not. If you keep these few things in mind, the job will be much easier for you.

Look Test

The first factor is the look of the firewood itself. When most of the moisture has been evaporated and it has baked in the sun for a few months, the wood will turn pale, light golden brown. Although this color might differ based on the species of wood you have, you can tell a huge difference.

Other than this, if the firewood has any bark on it, it should be very flaky and come off quite easily. You might also notice some cracks along with the entire log, this is an effect of moisture being evaporated from deep within the wood.

Sound Test

The sound test is very interesting. When the firewood was freshly cut, it must have a lot of moisture within it, this makes the wood softer. So when you bang two wood pieces together, it creates a dull sound, sort of damp sound.

But when you knock two seasoned pieces of wood together, it creates a clear hollow kind of sound.

Smell Test

The smell test is something that is quite often overlooked by people.

When you smell freshly cut wood, it has a fresh, moist, or musty kind of wood smell. You can sort of smell the moisture within. But when this moisture presence goes below 20%, the firewood is left with a more musky, baked wood kind of smell.

Weight

An unseasoned piece of wood will carry a lot of water weight along with it. Freshly cut pieces of wood can have more than 50% moisture content, but when this comes below 15-20% with a seasoned piece of wood, its weight also drops quite drastically.

The first thing which you will notice when you pick up a seasoned piece of wood is how light it feels compared to unseasoned ones.

Fire Test

This test will give you a much better idea about how a seasoned wood burns and catches fire in the first place.

Properly seasoned wood will catch fire much faster and create a very smoke-less clean fire, it will also give off much more heat and last for a longer time.

While burning, the wood should not ooze out any water. Properly seasoned firewood should not make a hizzing sound. If it does, the wood has not dried long enough.

Measuring Moisture Content

If you want to be precise with your seasoning, you can either buy a moisture controller or a moisture meter. For wood to be properly seasoned, its moisture content should be below 15-20%.

What Are The Advantages of Using Properly Seasoned Firewood?

If you use properly seasoned firewood, it will completely change the way you make your fire. It is much easier to burn and catches fire quite quickly. Seasoned firewood also doesn’t create much smoke, it produces a very clean fire.

The smell of the fire will also be much more pleasant rather than the smoky and musty-smelling freshly cut firewood.

The amount of heat which is produced by seasoned firewood is also much more than unseasoned firewood. The lack of moisture within the wood conserves the heat energy which is required to evaporate the moisture first.

How To Season Firewood?

If you are still unsure about how to properly season firewood, do not fret. It is a topic on its own. I wrote a more detailed article about seasoning firewood, but below you can find a brief explanation of the topic.

Find out the species of the firewood you are dealing with, this will help you in estimating the drying times. I have written many articles about different types of firewoods in greater detail. The chances are you can find the species of firewood on Theyardable.com.

Once you have cut and split the firewood, stack it in an area with good airflow. It is important to elevate the wood from the ground at least 4-6 inches. Elevating helps to prevent the ground moisture from getting into the wood, essentially degrading and rotting it.

After stacking the wood, it is a good practice to cover the top of it, leaving another 6 inches between the wood and the roofing or tarp.

Conclusion

Seasoned firewood should be a light golden brown pale color with flaky bark. It should create a clear sound when knocked together. Seasoned firewood should also be much easier to burn, lighter in weight, and easier to split in many cases. You can also use a moisture meter to know the exact moisture content of your firewood, it should be below 20%.