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Surface mould on logs... superficial?

Discussion in 'In the Garden' started by d000hg, 7 Dec 2018 at 3:13 PM.

  1. d000hg

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    I had a tree felled in spring and have not got around to sorting the rounds out into a log pile, they've been in a pile without much sun for most of the year. I've finally built a log store and am sorting these out but they have a lot of surface mould and fungus. They're not rotten and when I split them the insides look nice and clean apart from right at the ends.

    Is this a problem, or just cosmetic and will die off and disappear once the logs are stored properly and dry out?
     
  2. StephenStephen

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    It's not a problem at all, don't worry.
    I read somewhere (probably in 'Norwegian Wood') that there is some evidence that some mould formation soon after felling has a marginal effect on how the wood subsequently dries out, and it is generally a good idea to split soon after felling to allow for faster drying, but that's log-stacking geekdom, rather than a real world concern.
    Split them and stack them - make sure air can get around them, and you'll have dry wood for next winter.
     
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  3. StephenOak

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    I thought mostly logs were split sooner rather than later because it is easier to do it then. I wouldn't call less effort geekdom.
     
  4. d000hg

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    I've seen people claim seasoned logs are easier to split too. I wonder if it depends on the tree. In my limited experience the poplar that was felled months ago is splitting with a single swing, but some felled this week just refuses to so much as crack after 20 swings.

    On the other hand the fresh wood is splitting with a cross wedge plus sledgehammer nicely, but the old wood doesn't like that at all.
     
  5. Burnerman

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    I use a hydraulic splitter.....new logs usually split slowly and predictably, whereas old logs seem to resist the energy and then go off with a bang and often fly :eek:
    John :)
     
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  6. StephenOak

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    I'm sure that the attributes of the wood fibres must be relevant; their size, innate strength, orientation, degree of twisted-ness. Some of that will come from the specie of tree and some from the growing conditions.

    My experience is also limited, I have processed some wood from our garden and some I got for free for a sick friend. I normally left it for some time and used the cracks that appear as locations for my wedges.

    However I had a load of holm oak that I left for a very long time (easily a couple of years) and that was astonishingly hard to split. A friend with a lot more experience subsequently told me that splitting fresh (or fresh-ish) wood is normally easier. The idea is that as the fibres dry they become stronger (loosing water) and maybe somewhat more connected to their neighbours.

    Hence they can simply 'ignore' manual blows that do not deliver enough energy and (as John comments) they require a lot of bonds to be broken at the same time, with a consequent release of energy.

    Your experience with poplar agrees with what I have wondered (but not had to test out) that a few weeks / months drying (depending on conditions) is best. The wood will have dried a bit, and so be lighter, and some cracks will have appeared. Even if you don't deliberately use those cracks, as the cracks you put in spread they will use the natural ones to propagate.
     
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