You wake up and get your ax ready; you look out the window and see it pouring outside, and then you realize it has been raining a lot for the past few days. So now you think is there an alternative to waiting for a few more days till the wood dries before you can start splitting it?
These thoughts lead to questions such as can you split fresh cut wood? We created this article to answer all your burning questions such as this and more.
In short, you can split wood that is still wet. Many people prefer splitting damp and fresh wood as, in certain cases, it will actually speed up the drying or seasoning process.
However, fresh wood has a higher level of moisture content than dried wood, so it will be tougher to split due to the increased resistance. We get into more details below, which will further fortify your understanding, so keep reading.
Why Do We Split Wood?
Whole logs of wood do not burn very easily. Many tree species have thick fire-resistant bark. These can ignite but will take much more heat than other types of tree bark. This is how to split wood.
So, splitting is performed primarily for creating firewood that is much easier to burn. Chopping the wood into smaller pieces, each with less bark will ignite quicker and easier than whole logs of wood.
The smaller firewood created from splitting is much more appropriate for fire pits, grills, stoves, and smokers. Not only do they ignite quicker, but they also fit easier into these wood-burning accessories.
Splitting also quickens the seasoning or drying process. Now, if you were to take a freshly cut piece of wood and ignite it, the heat would be minimal while a huge amount of smoke would be created.
If you were wondering should wood be split before seasoning, the answer is yes. As splitting reduces the amount of bark in each piece of wood, the moisture will evaporate quicker than whole logs.
Splitting Fresh Wood
As we discussed earlier, splitting fresh wood can result in faster drying and seasoning. The logs of wood will naturally dry out when left to the outdoor air for anywhere between six to twelve months.
If the logs of wood have been properly split and stacked with adequate coverage, you can expect the stack of split wood to take about six months to season properly. This is why some people are splitting their wood and then leaving it out to dry.
Log Splitter vs. Axe
As we talked about earlier, splitting fresh logs of wood is tougher than dry and seasoned wood. Fresh wood contains more moisture in its bark, giving it more resistance when you try to split it. This is the tradeoff you make for the quicker seasoning period.
Using an ax to split wood is the most traditional way you can go about it. An axe is cheap and relatively easy to learn how to use, but it is also laborious and tiring. This is amplified even more when splitting wet wood with an ax which is tougher to chop down.
However, if splitting wet wood with an axe is proving to be a bit too difficult for you, you could look into investing in a log splitter. This will automate the otherwise very laborious and time-intensive task of splitting your wood.
They sport an engine typically powered by gas which cuts through the wood using a huge amount of force regardless of wet or dry wood.
It is a very smart investment if you are looking to harvest your own wood on a regular basis. The amount of wood you are looking to split will ultimately decide whether a log splitter will be worth it or not, as they run for anything between $500 to $5000, while commercial grade log splitters can cost even more.
This high cost of log splitters will deter most people from buying them.
Green-Wood And Dry Wood
It might be surprising to learn there are some types of wood that are actually easier to split when they are fresh. A general consensus is that splitting green wood is easier.
Oak and Maple are amongst the most popular of the bunch. There are also many hardwoods species that turn quite dense and hard when they go through the seasoning process, which makes splitting them afterward much more challenging.
There are also some other wood that you will find is much better to wait for it to be seasoned properly before splitting. For instance, Pine and other similar woods tend to become brittle and much easier to split once they have been seasoned.
Some wood splitters also wait for conifer wood to season before cutting them as they tend to be too sappy and soft when fresh.
Other woods are hard and rigid regardless of being seasoned or not. Using a log splitter for wood such as cherry and Elm is your best option.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have summarized everything you need to answer your queries. Are you still thinking can you split fresh cut wood? We think not!
It all depends on you and your preferences. Splitting fresh wood has its share of advantages as well as complications. Personally, we feel if you do not have any issues waiting for the seasoning period to be over, wait till the wood is dry and split them easily.
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