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Is burning dead wood a good idea?

 
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Hi!

I got interested in building a rocket mass heater or only a brick rocket stove and I am wondering if it is alright to go gather dry dead wood hanging from trees (not on the ground) and then burn that after drying it for a week or two. I wonder if it has to be dried for a year like fresh cut wood.
I would like to heat the house that way occasionnaly.

Nice forums by the way! I am flabergasted!!!

Thank you!
 
gardener
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Hi Julien;  Big Welcome to Permies!
We like that you are flabbergasted by our Forum's ! It means we are doing a good job.  Thank You! Tell all your like minded friends about us as well!

Your question about still on the tree dead wood.  Yes, you can use it. If it is dead, chop it off and bring it home. Cut it down to 16"or 40 cm long and stack in a dry/ sunny spot.
If it isn't ready when you first bring it home, it will be shortly after.
Fresh cut wood that is still green needs a year to dry.
Standing dead wood can be burnt as soon as you get it home.

Let us know what your plans are about building your RMH.
Our helpful crew of rocket scientists are eagerly awaiting your questions!
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Helpful rocket scientists
 
Julien Beausejour
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Thank you for your nice reply!

I will tell you about my plans (or concerns!! ) very soon!

Thank you again and have a nice day!
 
gardener
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Welcome, Julien!  Great to have you here.

I typically find that if the wood is dry enough to break off the tree, it is dry enough to burn.

That rule of thumb works for smaller stuff you can break off by hand. Not so sure it holds for thicker stuff you would need to use a saw to take off, unless you can break it by foot once on the ground.
 
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if its dry and will burn its good to go. myself I'm having a battle getting enough dry wood this winter, most all the standing dead trees I've cut so far are either rotten or soaking wet even the year old dead oak, beech and locust I've cut
 
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One thing to check with standing dead, is whether the wood has been exposed to rain and thus still wet. If a tree is leaning you might find that the top that the rain could hit has become punky/rotten while the bottom/back is in better shape. So aim for the straightest standing dead you can find first.
 
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Not sure what kind of trees you have access to (standing dead or on ground), but please use caution when harvesting dead wood. Be sure the tree is stout (many dead tress are rotten inside and can fall if disturbed) and to "look up" for any snags or dead branches that might fall down while your working under the tree.  Never hurts to have a spotter or helper along with, just in case.

 
bruce Fine
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widow makers are called widow makers for a reason.
 
Julien Beausejour
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Thank you all for very great general advices and security advices.
I was more into getting dead branches and wood I can bring home without a saw.
I will keep those advices about dead trees and widow makers in mind when hiking in the wood.

Have a nice day!
 
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Wood you can pick up or break off without a saw is more likely to be somewhat rotten, and can hold a lot of water. It would need to be dried thoroughly if not already dry; this depends on your climate and recent weather. Cut it to stove length and stack in a warm, well ventilated place. The size you describe would probably be tricky to split, but anything larger would dry faster if split too.

I often carry a folding pruning saw in my back pocket when walking in my woods, and can trim low branches or cut useful firewood without any special preparation. It is just part of the walk. For maybe $18-20 US, you get a lot of value returned. I even use it for whacking weeds, as it makes an effective sickle.

The available resources depend very much on your particular land; my wife's property was logged and scrub 60-100 years ago, and just getting back to forest, with lots of small oaks and other hardwoods having lost the battle for light in crowded early succession woodland. It had not been thinned or culled in the last 40 years, and there are currently many dozens of 3-6" dbh oaks 20-40 feet tall either standing dead or recently fallen and still prime firewood inside. My property was logged and farmland 100 years ago or more, and when I was a kid I helped my father thin scrub red maples that were growing too close together or in clumps, making good firewood. I am still thinning those groves 50 years later, some of it for long straight poles for rafters and joists.
 
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