How long before using fresh cut wood?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by koboxerks, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. koboxerks

    koboxerks Newbie

    How long do I need to wait to use fresh cut wood to smoke? What is a “basic rule of thumb” ?
  2. tirrin

    tirrin Smoke Blower

    i think most ppl suggest letting it season for at least 6-12 helps if you get a moisture detector..i think i read somewhere on SMF that something like 8% moisture in the wood is key
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Split it into small pieces will help it dry faster.  Only problem is splitting wood immediately after cutting is doable, splitting wood when it is dry is easy.  Splitting wood somewhere in the middle can be a real pain in the neck.  Also keep it where fresh air can get to it and keep it out of the rain.   6 months is possible but optimistic.  I agree that 8% is a good number,  I have heard as low as 6%  a little retained moisture will be driven out if you preheat the splits by laying them on top of the firebox while smoking.
  4. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Like Al said, cutting & splitting will get it ready a lot faster.

    As for how dry it should be, I would think 15% should be dry enough for smoking. IMO

    Construction Grade lumber is usually taken to about 20% moisture content.

    Cabinet grade hardwoods in PA are usually Kiln Dried to 6% moisture content, and then steamed back up to about 8% MC.

    As for air drying, unless you take the wood in your house, depending on where you live, it won't be easy to get it much lower than 15%, because it depends on the "EMC" (Equilibrium Moisture Content) in your area.

    You can't air dry your wood to a lower moisture content than the moisture content in the surrounding air.

    Depending on the time of year:

    PA runs between 11% and 13%.

    LA runs between 14% and 15%.

    CA runs between 12% and 15%

    In some states, such as Arizona & Nevada, the EMC is below 10%.


    My 2¢


    Dewetha---You posted that while I was rounding up my numbers (took me awhile)---Pretty much the same info.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  6. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Always learning something new from the Bear.  Obviously EMC is not the same as humidity or the moisture content in our wood would be somewhere 80% in the summer.  I'll need to read the link Bearcarver provided to understand Equilibrium Moisture Content.  I'll bet it has something to do with capilary action in the wood and air moving over the surface of the wood  Kind of like how moisture and nutrients move up the trunk of a tree from the roots toward the crown..
  7. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    sorry Bear :) as a one time novice woodworker I use to know that stuff.

    I guess you could pull a Macgyver in your garage to drop the moister content quickly for smoking purposes.

    sticker the wood. make a small gap between layers of wood with a stick. so layer a row logs then place a few 1x2 across the row, add more logs and continue.

    place a tarp over the stack and use a box fax to circulate the air under the tarp. maybe add a hotdog heater(propane unit) with careful observation :)
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup, adding heat changes the whole equation. LOL--Don't be sorry--I'm just very slow at typing.

    I worked with wood all of my life, raised by a Self-employed Carpenter, and had my own Cabinet shop for the last 10 years, before I started chainsaw carving Bears.

    Toured a few Mills with huge kilns---Worst steam bath I was ever in. LOL

    I loved the one tour my Oak salesman used to give me tickets for---They had Pulled Pork, BBQ Chicken, and all the steamed clams you can eat. Don't think I ever missed one of those tours.

  9. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    that sounds like a sweet tour!

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