What is seasoned wood?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by potatoc, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. potatoc

    potatoc Meat Mopper

    Since I have been on here everyone tells me to make sure ur wood is seasoned. Well I have been buying chunks of hickroy and cherry from Dunhams now for some time. Then I got to thinking, I am a woodshop teacher who can't even burn all the scrap cherry, mapple, hickory, oak, etc. that my students produce. All our wood is kiln dried. Is that what everyone on here is talking about as seasoned wood???????
  2. crewdawg52

    crewdawg52 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Seasoned wood is wood logs/chunks/sticks/etc that is dried and has no or very little water/moisture to it. Most seasoned wood comes form people who cut a tree down and make "logs". It is then left out in natures elements (wind, sun, rain, snow) to naturally dry. Dont use unseasoned wood to smoke. Produces to much "white smoke" which in turn will create creosote.
  3. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    I use the fruit wood and nut wood scraps from my workshop all the time, but I know where it comes from and that it is raw wood not treated (I get it from my uncle who has a saw mill). As long as it's not treated, pine, fir, spruce, redwood, cedar, cypress, sweet gum, elm, eucalyptus, sycamore or liquid amber or moldy it should be okay.
  4. potatoc

    potatoc Meat Mopper

    To my understanding here in northern Michigan, wood cut and left outside after a few months has a moisture content of appx 25%.... Where the kiln dried wood we use in the shop has appx. 10%... So that might work out alright...?....
  5. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    trust me.........any wood that is used in woodshop is seasoned wood..........has to be to be used in a wood project

    at least when "I" was in wood shop

  6. potatoc

    potatoc Meat Mopper

    So I can bandaw up some chunks or I can joint some chips, or do about whatever.... What does anyone reccomend???
  7. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    chain saw is EXCELLANT for producing chips

  8. chris_harper

    chris_harper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    as long as it is untreated it is good. cut it into chunks with a saw if you wish. i use logs and splits; chunks if i am in a pinch.
  9. monty

    monty Master of the Pit Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well, PotatoC, it looks like you have reopened a great discussion!

    First of all, any KD wood products meant for use in furniture, cabinetry or hobby pursuits should NOT be used in a smoker. That is because in Kiln Drying the wood is actually placed in a pressurized steam bath which in many cases will contain unwanted chemicals for your food.

    THE best wood for your smoker is naturally seasoned wood. Now, how does one tell if the wood is ready for the smoker?

    The best way to obtain a good hardwood for your smoker is from a friend, neighbor, relative or a landscaper/tree service type person. Hopefully the word free enters into the picture here.

    Determine the length of wood your firebox will hold. Buck up (slice) the wood logs to that length. In about six months you will notice fine cracks in the ends of the bucked logs. This is called checking and is a sign of seasoning. The wood may now be used for smoking although I personally prefer wood to be seasoned a year or beter.

    So, all you want is wood for a smoke box and not to fire up the ole gal. Well, same rules apply. Only I really would stress the one year time for your smoke wood because if the wood is only used to make smoke and if it is the least bit damp, unseasoned, it will produce an acrid billow of creosote.

    So, I hope all this helps! If you have any further questions post away or PM me!

  10. smokebuzz

    smokebuzz Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I burn a lot of scrap wood from my dads wood shop, no problems.
  11. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I got this outta Wikipedia... Don't see where any chems are used, unless you mean created within the wood itself by the very act of a higher temp evaporation process?

    I have used furniture/flooring grade wood for several years, and have not noticed a difference with seasoned "Sticks" in flavor. Now I HAVE noticed the kiln dried stuff generally burns a bit faster, and hotter, due to reduced moisture content.

    A variety of wood drying kiln technologies exist today: conventional, dehumidification, solar, vacuum and radio frequency.

    Conventional wood dry kilns are either package-type (sideloader) or track-type (tram) construction. Most hardwood lumber kilns are sideloader kilns in which fork trucks are used to load lumber packages into the kiln. Most softwood lumber kilns are track types in which lumber packages are loaded on kiln/track cars for loading the kiln. Of the two types the track type is far superior in lumber drying quality control (temperature and air flow rate through the lumber packages) when drying large amounts of lumber. Small lumber drying plants typically use the package (sideloader) lumber kiln.
    Modern high-temperature, high-air-velocity conventional kilns can typically dry 1 inch thick green lumber in 10 hours down to a moisture content of 18%. However, 1 inch thick green Red Oak requires about 28 days to dry down to a moisture content of 8%.

    Heat is typically introduced via steam running through fin/tube heat exchangers controlled by on/off pneumatic valves. Less common are proportional pneumatic valves or even various electrical actuators. Humidity is removed via a system of vents, the specific layout of which are usually particular to a given manufacturer. In general, cool dry air is introduced at one end of the kiln while warm moist air is expelled at the other. Hardwood conventional kilns also require the introduction of humidity via either steam spray or cold water misting systems to keep the relative humidity inside the kiln from dropping too low during the drying cycle. Fan directions are typically reversed periodically to ensure even drying of larger kiln charges.

    Most softwood lumber kilns operate below 240 °F temperature. Hardwood lumber kiln drying schedules typically keep the dry bulb temperature below 180 °F. Difficult-to-dry species might not exceed 140 degrees F.
    Dehumidification kilns are very similar to conventional kilns in basic construction. Drying times are usually comparable. Heat is primarily supplied by an integral dehumidification unit which also serves to remove humidity. Auxiliary heat is often provided early in the schedule where the heat required may exceed the heat generated by the DH unit.
    Solar kilns are conventional kilns, typically built by hobbyists to keep initial investment costs low. Heat is provided via solar radiation, while internal air circulation is typically passive.

    Newer wood drying technologies have included the use of reduced atmospheric pressure to attempt to speed up the drying process. A variety of vacuum technologies exist, varying primarily in the method heat is introduced into the wood charge. Hot water platten vacuum kilns use aluminum heating plates with the water circulating within as the heat source, and typically operate at significantly reduced absolute pressure. Discontinuous and SSV (super-heated steam) use atmosphere to introduce heat into the kiln charge. Discontinuous technology allows the entire kiln charge to come up to full atmospheric pressure, the air in the chamber is then heated, and finally vacuum is pulled. SSV run at partial atmospheres (typically around 1/3 of full atmospheric pressure) in a hybrid of vacuum and conventional kiln technology (SSV kilns are significantly more popular in Europe where the locally harvested wood is easier to dry versus species found in North America). RF/V (radio frequency + vacuum) kilns use microwave radiation to heat the kiln charge, and typically have the highest operating cost due to the heat of vaporization being provided by electricity rather than local fossil fuel or waste wood sources.

    Valid economic studies of different wood drying technologies are based on the total energy, capital, insurance/risk, environmental impacts, labor, maintenance, and product degrade costs for the task of removing water from the wood fiber. These costs (which can be a significant part of the entire plant costs)involve the differential impact of the presence of drying equipment in a specific plant. An example of this is that every piece of equipment (in a lumber manufacturing plant) from the green trimmer to the infeed system at the planer mill is the "drying system". Since thousands of different types of wood products manufacturing plants exist around the globe, and may be integrated (lumber, plywood, paper, etc.) or stand alone (lumber only), the true costs of the drying system can only be determined when comparing the total plant costs and risks with and without drying.

    The total (harmful) air emissions produced by wood kilns, including their heat source, can be significant. Typically, the higher the temperature the kiln operates at, the larger amount of emissions are produced (per pound of water removed). This is especially true in the drying of thin veneers and high-temperature drying of softwoods.
  12. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    i have boughten lump charchol from the store.......and it contained hardwood pieces......and i should know.......i install hardwood floors.....heheeh......

  13. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    Seems like all the lump I get is just cutoff scraps of lumber cooked a bit. You can even see the rounded over edges from 1x3's, 2x3's and 2x4's.
  14. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey...as a collorary of this info, and the green wood producing creosote..why the hell are folks soaking wood chips?!?

    I never have...
  15. cheech

    cheech Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    PotatoC with all of the apple and cherry orchards in your area just find an orchard where they trim the trees and use that or many will have wood there for sale. I have found that a trade of some smoked meat for some wood does very well

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