Until I sort out a mini saw-mill of my own, I’ve been getting some hardwoods planked up at a local wood mill.
These planks are from a fine ash tree that we felled for the new plantation. It’s been down for nearly two years now, so won’t need too long to season.
The planks are slowly dried using the traditional stickered stack. Very simple in principle; the sawn planks are stacked under cover and spaced with wood stickers. Lots of free-moving air and a little time should do the rest.
The apocryphal rule of allowing a year of seasoning for every inch of thickness is not, I have found, particularly helpful – a moisture meter however is indispensable. This ash, for instance, is at about 30% moisture content. By June next year, it should be at a useable 20%.
It’s no coincidence that folklore acknowledges ash as the finest of firewoods and this is probably due to its very low initial water content. However, ‘low initial water content’ doesn’t sound quite as poetic as:
‘Ashwood wet and Ashwood dry
A King may warm his slippers by’