How Soon To Split Firewood?

As soon as possible. Wood does not dry much, if at all, when left unsplit.

When you leave those rounds, (that’s what we call logs which have been cut to size), just like that, well, they stay just like that.

Their moisture content might get lower over time, but its, at best, marginal.

I mean, it makes sense. You have to open that wood up, let more surface area get exposed to the world in order for it to season. That’s just the way it is…

But it won’t split!

If that’s so, then letting the wood sit for a bit is the thing to do. Some species of wood just need a bit of “drying” to get going.

Like for example, fresh elm is known to be notoriously hard to split, by hand that is. Some folks tell stories of waiting even a year to get that stringy stuff popped apart.

Firewood rounds sitting in a pile.
This is what you call rounds

Firewood” by Mom the Barbarian is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Though that is not to say you’ll need to wait that long to deal with the headache of firewood you got. A couple of weeks or so might be all that’s needed for your species of wood to finally give way; this may be the case with pine, as it’s rather sappy when green.

Having said that, you may only allow yourself such a luxury of time if you are years in advance in your firewood operations.

If you need to get the difficult wood you got split and stacked now, only a good log splitter will help.

The perfect season for splitting

The colder the better, I think.

It’s just that I feel more comfortable working up a sweat when it’s a bit chilly out. And as summers only seem to get more intense each year, this is something to consider.

Traditionally, if you get to splitting during spring, it should be rather comfortable working during that time of year as it is.

Though I have heard of many people choosing exactly winter, if they can.

Some swear that the freezes make the wood easier to split. I guess it makes sense, as water does expand during such conditions. And let me tell you, there’s plenty of that in wood that has not been split.

The moral of the story is, do it ASAP

If wood is not split and stacked, it’s not drying. You have to keep that in mind. So if you leave rounds laying around, there should be a good reason for it.

In other words, you should give a proper try at the wood you got before throwing in the towel. Maybe you’re just tired that day?

You’d be surprised at how many times I felt like I was about to go and rent a splitter for some of the stuff I was hand splitting, only to come back next day refreshed and get it done anyway.

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