How long does it take to dry 2" branches?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by meandmytwodogs, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. My neighbor just topped his apple tree and gave me a pretty nice stash of sticks in the 1 1/2" to 3" diameter. I figure on cutting these into chunks and drying them out. Or should I let them dry first before cutting? I'm thinkin I should wash them before drying. Any thoughts on long they need to cure?
    Thanks for the help.

  2. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Wash? Hmm... never heard tell. Cut them in 3" thick discs and use in 3 months... keep airflow around them and keep 'em dry. Stack on smoker top during a smoke for faster results.
  3. monty

    monty Master of the Pit Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A sure fire way to tell is to watch for cracks to appear on the surface of the wood. This is called "Checking".

    If you cut into chunks now the drying process will be enhanced and much faster.

    Whether the pieces are a foot long or 3X3 chunks, watch for the checking. That is the indicator if a seasoned wood.

  4. coyote

    coyote Master of the Pit

    Richtee - Monty

    great info. learned something new checking..and I like the idea of cutting into 3" circles.that will work for (Kyote). I have been out there with the spliting maul every other day. time to fire up the stihl and make disk..
    that would fit into the coal basket a lot better.
  5. monty

    monty Master of the Pit Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey, guys!

    Very soon, when the berries are eaten by the local fauna, I will be dropping a large number of young cherry trees. Mostly "choke" cherry. The average diameter will go fron 2 to six inches. I will drop them with the leaves still green and wait till the leaves have dried and fallen off and thus having taken a whole bunch of sap with them.

    I will then cut them all into disks and just pile them up under a rough shelter which I will erect. As soon as the checking appears I have a wickedly large source for cherry smoking wood. And no soaking necessary.

    The reason I have to drop them is due to their incursion on my power line. I have 243 feet from the road to my power pole by the cabin. And the cherry tees are taking over the "run" from the road. There are a few other species like yellow birch and maple. The smaller maple will also be put in the smoker pile and the yellow birch will be put in the "keep warm" pile for the wood stove.

    Because of construction here and time constraints I will not be able to use much right away but I will not have to pay for smoking wood next year! Unless I want a bit of mesquite or hickory which are readily available and reasonably priced.

    So, good luck with the apple wood, cut it into disks and have fun with it! BTW, well checked disks can be whacked with a hammer to create smaller wedge shaped pieces allowing more wood to be put in the smoke tray.

  6. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When you cut into disc's, do you save and dry the saw dust also?
  7. monty

    monty Master of the Pit Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    When I cut smoking wood into discs I am using a chainsaw that produces chips, not sawdust. Sawdust is the fine wood by product from a table saw or a skilsaw. This saw priduces chips.

    I most usually spread a tarp on the ground and gather the results of the cutting. The chips are fine enough to be used immediately but it is good to let them season a day or two in the sun.

    If you are producing sawdust then I would advise you to use it between chunks and do not overdo the sawdust. It can flare up and make things nasty in a hurry!

    Hope this helps!
  8. coyote

    coyote Master of the Pit

    i find that most the bar lube stays with the saw leavins.???
  9. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree with that, and if it gets down to that, then ya got more issues than meat price![​IMG]
  10. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I used to agree with the checking of the wood, problem with that is i cut a ton of Cherry and Hickory this past spring, sitting on racks in 3 foot lengths x 8 - 10" dia.
    They were checked as heck within the first month.....not even close to dry yet!
  11. waysideranch

    waysideranch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    First off you don't wash wood. Second you let all would dry 12 months if you can. There is no way you are desparate for this wood. When cutting firewood, we cut for the next year not this year. Get in a routine and go get next years smoke. Have some patience. My god you smoke for 12 hours what 12 months.
  12. 1894

    1894 Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Kinda betwixt the last two posts. Bubba , 3' lengths , 'specialy 8" - 10" diameter will take a year or so to dry because of the length. If you split those you will speed things up a little by having the inside parts exposed instead of the bark all the way around so just the ends dry [​IMG]
    For chunks though, 3" - 4" rounds will dry pretty quick so the checking on each end means they are dry a couple inches in from each end which covers a short round.
    Same princible with the 2" branches , shorter lengths will dry faster and splitting them in half will speed things up as well.
    Just my $.0002

  13. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have had the same experience... I don't use shavings/chips, but I saved some for a bud for foil pouch grilling. Mistake... fortunately I was there for the trial, and smelled the lube right away [​IMG] NOT pretty a'tall.
  14. superdave

    superdave Smoking Fanatic

    I've got a variety of fruit trees and pruned a lot of 2" branches this past winter. I started cutting discs the other night on the table saw and was surprised that the wood wasn't dryer. I filled 3 - 5 gallon buckets with 1" thick X 2" diameter plugs. If I'd had the guts, I would have tried ripping them too but my thumbs are important to me. Hopefully they will be ready in another month.
  15. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Eh- pop 'em with a hatchet or "hand axe" in certain areas of the counrty ;{)
  16. white cloud

    white cloud Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well now that is a thought that never occured to me. Glad I havn't cut up this apricot wood I'v got. I should check into getting an electric chain saw for smokin wood, but then again I don't know if the bars are lubed on them, I imagine they would be.
  17. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Seems the oil mainly collects on the chips, WC. It IS a good thing to be aware and not over-oil a chain if you have a manual oiler, but few saws have that any more.

    I sometimes use my power miterbox too.
  18. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Lee, the two lectrics I got both have oilers on em! A sawzall works good on smaller stuff to, then split the rounds with a Estwing Ax. Ifin left as whole limbs it can take quite a bit ta dry out ifin ya aint in the dessert.
  19. white cloud

    white cloud Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Oh yeah. My sawsall that I never think about or use fer much. Thanks for the tip..........tip.

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