Nothing beats the soft crackle of a fire, whether in your fireplace or a bonfire pit. And, if you're a firewood fan, you probably know that silver maple makes some of the best firewood. However, if you have fresh silver maple logs, you might also wonder how long it takes to season them. Well, you're in the right place! We've done the research, and we'll answer that question for you, along with others you may have.
You can season small pieces of silver maple firewood in under 90 days. Larger pieces, on the other hand, need to be seasoned for at least two years. The target moisture amount for silver maple firewood to be considered burn-ready is between 28% and 32%.
In the rest of this article, we'll delve into more specifics about how long it takes to season silver maple firewood. We'll also answer questions about how to season silver maple firewood and what makes it a good wood for burning. So, with no further ado, let's get started!
How Long To Season Silver Maple Firewood?
Silver maple firewood can take anywhere from 90 days to two years to season completely. This depends almost entirely on the size of your firewood pieces. If you split your logs into smaller sections, usually one log divided four ways, it dries quickly.
So, if you process your silver maple firewood in August or September, it should be ready to burn by November or December.
On the other hand, if you leave your silver maple firewood in larger logs, it seasons fully in about one to two years. This can be a good option if you have other wood to burn up first. It's also a good option if you have a larger furnace that requires big logs.
Is Silver Maple Good Firewood?
Silver maple is considered moderate-quality firewood. This means that while it's not premium firewood, it still does an excellent job of heating your home with minimal problems. For starters, it provides a good amount of heat.
It's BTU [British thermal measurement] is between 19.0 and 20.1. This provides enough heat to warm a home overnight without overheating.
Silver maple firewood also has qualities that make it an excellent choice for burning indoors. Since it is a low-density wood, it creates only a tiny amount of smoke. Plus, it has a low sap content.
That means that, unlike other maple varieties, it doesn't smell strongly when burned. This is helpful if you have a sensitive nose!
Finally, since silver maple catches fire quickly, it makes effective kindling. However, that also means it might burn out too quickly. Try combining it with hardwood like oak or hickory to increase burn time.
If you'd like to learn more about whether silver maple is considered a hardwood or softwood, check out our article "Is Silver Maple Considered a Hardwood?"
How To Season Firewood
Seasoning firewood simply means letting it dry out until it contains a minimal amount of moisture. Most green firewood contains at least 50% moisture, which is much higher than the 20% recommended for safely burning wood.
When wood contains that much water, it will produce a lot of smoke. It's also hard to start a fire with green firewood because most of the energy will go toward evaporating the water.
Burning unseasoned firewood also produces the carcinogenic coal tar called creosote. This black, waxy substance can build up in your chimney, stove, fireplace, or on the rocks surrounding your fire pit.
Not only does it look unsightly, but it also releases toxic fumes into the air every time it warms up from the heat of your fire.
Seasoning your firewood is incredibly important; fortunately, it's a simple process.
Find A Good Log Storage Spot
First, you'll need to find a place on your property to season your firewood. The most important thing to ensure is that your location gets plenty of airflow. Without enough air circulation, your firewood could develop mold just from the moisture already present in the logs.
The next thing on your list should be finding a place that is protected from rain and snow. Since the goal is to dry the wood as much as possible, you won't want to add even more water.
A permanent solution could be building a lean-to or adding a roof overhang. Otherwise, you could simply cover the wood pile with a tarp. To maintain airflow, just make sure it doesn't touch the wood.
Finally, finding a spot with a lot of sunlight can speed up your process even more. This isn't as important as the other two qualities, but it's nice to have if you can manage it. Try placing your log storage on the southern side of your home, garage, or barn.
Choose A Log Store
Next, you'll need to select a log store, which is the structure that holds your logs as they season. Log stores can be constructed from metal or wood and sometimes come with a roof or cover already attached.
You can also make your own simple log store by driving vertical posts into the ground around a pallet and adding horizontal boards to keep the logs in place.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a log store is checking that it allows for plenty of air circulation. Since air circulation is essential to the seasoning process, ensure your logs will be elevated off the ground.
Mofeez's Outdoor Firewood Storage Rack is a great option because it can be adjusted to accommodate many different lengths of wood. Made from wood and reinforcement metal brackets, it comes in various colors.
Chop And Split Your Logs
After you've selected a place for your log store and set it up, it's time to prepare your logs for seasoning. Chopped logs dry faster than whole logs because more of their moisture-filled inner core is open to the air. So, you'll want to at least split your logs in half before piling them in your log store.
To split a log, stand it on its end on a tree stump or wooden block and strike it in the center with an ax. From there, you can chop it into even smaller pieces. Most stoves or fireplaces can accommodate firewood that is 12 to 16 inches long but confirm this with the size of your burning location.
Depending on the original size of your logs, you might also want to split them into thinner pieces. 6 to 8 inches thick is generally a good size to ensure they will season quickly and fit in your stove.
Stack For Optimal Air Flow
It might sound simple, but one of the most important steps in seasoning firewood is stacking the wood correctly to allow for airflow. To make sure your woodpile has sufficient air circulation, follow these tips:
- Make sure to keep your logs off the ground. Hopefully, your log store has a built-in support panel at the bottom, but if it doesn't, you can simply stack your firewood on a pallet or other logs.
- If you have space, stack the firewood in a criss-cross pattern. To do this, place your first layer of firewood, so it's facing vertically when viewed from above. Then, stack the next layer, so they're facing diagonally over the first layer.
- Whether or not you do criss-cross stacking, stack your firewood in a single row. This maximizes airflow potential to avoid mold and rotting.
- Stack logs with the bark facing up if you haven't removed it already. That way, even if rain or snow manages to get in, the bulk of the firewood will be protected.
- Whether or not you stack them criss-cross, orient the logs, so the sliced ends face out. The moisture inside them could get trapped and cause rot if the cut ends are blocked.
Protect From The Elements
If your log store has a built-in roof, or if your firewood is stacked in a lean-to or under another type of roof, you can skip this part. Otherwise, keep reading!
As we discussed earlier, you'll need to protect your firewood from moisture in the environment. If you're using a tarp, you'll want to maximize airflow by covering the firewood only when it's raining or snowing.
However, since a roof provides much more airflow than a tarp, you don't have to worry if your firewood is always covered by a roof.
When it rains or snows, simply drape the tarp over the wood pile and ensure it doesn't touch the ground or cover the cut ends of the logs. Ideally, you should prop the tarp up on nails or extra pieces of wood, so it doesn't touch the top of the woodpile, either.
Right after the weather clears up, remove the tarp again. The extra moisture in the ground might get trapped underneath the tarp and rot your wood if you leave it covering the pile.
Check out our article "Is Bay Laurel Good Firewood?" to learn more about seasoning and burning other types of wood.
Silver maple firewood takes anywhere from 90 days to two years to thoroughly season. However, you can shorten the process by cutting your wood into smaller pieces. Silver maple makes good firewood, especially for burning indoors. You can season it by stacking it in a log store that gets plenty of air circulation and is protected from the elements. We hope this article answered your questions about seasoning silver maple firewood!