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I have a woodstove but all my firewood is still green. My friend suggested I dry it out indoors. He said I should put a few fire bricks on top of the stove, then stack green firewood on the bricks, around the single-wall chimney pipe.

Is this a good idea?

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5 Answers

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Proper seasoning is going to take longer than that. Most experts recommend you buy green firewood in the spring, to let it season in the rack over the summer. A minimum of 6 months' drying time, leaving it exposed to the sun and protected from moisture, is needed to "cure' firewood.

DO NOT burn your green firewood. It will smoke, smoulder and not heat the chimney properly for good draft, so you'll get backdrafts into your home. I had this problem even with seasoned but dampened logs from my rack outside; the wood wouldn't burn properly even with a nice hot bed of coals under it, and we got a lot of smoke coming out the front of the fireplace (and up into the upper story of our house).

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+1 on the smokin' and backdrafts. It will generally just NOT burn that well. I typically leave mine out for an entire year (this year's cut is next year's burn). If I have leftovers, they'll just burn that much better next year. –  jeriley Dec 18 '11 at 15:18
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It also builds up a very dangerous layer of creosote because a) flue temperatures don't get hot enough due to the extra water and b) water steam extracts volatiles very efficiently and the cool flue temperature acts as a still causing the wood tar to come out of suspension and coat the inside of the pipe. Creosote fires are hot, dangerous, can self extinguish and then ignite with a pressure wave that cracks liner tiles, blows stovepipe apart and generally flings burning material onto the roof. I've seen a chimney split from top to foundation from the heat. Demolition time. –  Fiasco Labs Feb 24 '13 at 18:17
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I have no experience in wood burning. However, can one use a stove fan to blow hot air on logs a few feet away. Perhaps stack in an alternate course crosswise with a lot of air space between logs? I imagine one could do this and still have the fan blowing towards you but through a stack of logs or alternatively have the fan blow toward you with the logs stacked behind you. This could be your inside next wood to be burned stack. A little last minute drying.

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All good answers, but ignores the question: can one preheat one's firewood over a wood stove? In my opinion why yes one can, to a degree BUT safety first, and other steps are very important, life and death so...

If you have NO other choice except moving to a shelter, then you can help yourself a little. Sometimes applying for heating assistance or moving out is safer but clearly not everyone can do so. I live in the woods but life was rough last year so I got to visit this question again this year. My 35 years of wood burning experience has been refreshed now:

  • Bricks give some space between the stove surface but clearance from the flue is essential.
  • Never ever leave the room while drying wood on the stovetop. Ever!
  • Always have leather fireplace or welders gloves on hand, as it were.
  • A water spritzer & fire extinguisher as well. Rechargable air powered water extiguishers are great.

Here are several steps that one should take.

  • Choose your species with care, forget about oak, apple, or any other dense hardwood, look instead for ash. Forget about softwoods like pine. If you have no ash or beech or birch you might as well forget about this effort.
  • Splitting the wood very small is key, 2"x 2" max!
  • Stack it INDOORS in an alternate course crosswise manner with a lot of open space between chunks.
  • Then set up a fan blowing directly thru and on it.

A waste perhps but important. Still going to take a few weeks.

Alternate sources of dry wood such as hardwood pallets or better yet biobricks should be found, this wood isn't going to burn without help. If you bought this wood, half of your money will be wasted in burning the water out. Expensivesteam. If you have money, biobricks or an electric heater is actually cheaper.

This final note: When the fire is out, remove the flue at the stove top and with a mirror look up to the top to see if there is a creosote build up. If you cannot check this, better to not try indoor drying at all. Good luck.

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Combining Doug Fir pellets in a pellet basket and the green wood as the back log has allowed burning green wood. The first pellet burn heats the stove and starts baking out the green wood. The second pellet burn gives the additional heat to burn most of the wood. By the third, you have charcoal ready to take the next green piece and a self starting pellet basket. If you do it right you actually can burn the smoke coming off your green stuff during the process and not lose all that fuel to making creosote. Works best in a front loader like an Earth Stove. NO PINE! –  Fiasco Labs Feb 24 '13 at 22:03
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Not a good idea. Doing dangerous things over time builds up increasing lack of caution. You'll leave it unattended one day, something will fall against the stovepipe and we'll be reading next about how it was found to be a bad idea.

Fuels are supposed to be kept away from woodstove installations for a really good reason. We already had a house burn down in our county from having kindling right next to the stove. Sparks fell in, the house was on fire a couple hours later.

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I think you are trying to speed up the drying process by attempting a low brow "kiln" by using the heat of the stove to dry out the wood. The rate at which wood dries depends upon a number of factors, the most important of which are the temperature, the dimensions of the wood, and the relative humidity.

Using the stove could work to speed up the process, although your wood stove "kiln" is less efficient than a true kiln.

In general, I usually dry out wood outside because:

  • Wood contains bugs and possibly termites, and I don't want those critters migrating from log to house

I have a stack with a tarp over it. I've set up the tarp like a tent so that the airflow goes through the pile. Totally covering the stack with a tarp will reduce airflow and seasoning effectiveness.

Wood drying WIKI link, there some math/formulas up there for figuring out how long it will take to dry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_drying

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Drying it over the stove will only remove water in a thin outer layer. Summer heat and time will dry the wood completely through. –  Fiasco Labs Feb 24 '13 at 18:21
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