Chopping logs efficiently

If you chop up logs, you’re not only trying to get them to a size where they’ll fit into the stove or burner, you’re also aiming to speed up the drying process.

Most people use their axe to slice the logs into pie shaped slices. That’s what I’ve been doing for years, If you buy logs already split, they’ll come in that shape. For obvious reasons wood cut in tis way is called quarter sawn.

But the scientific literature will tell you that logs which are plain sawn will dry more quickly. This method involves making one chop through the middle of the log and every other cut is parallel to the original. Both approaches require the same effort and the same number of cuts. 

A little geometry confirms that logs cut plain sawn will display a greater surface area. In theory that should make them yield up moisture more rapidly. But what will happen in practice?

I have decided to find out. I took a poplar log, cut it in two and chopped one plain sawn and the other quarter sawn.

The eight pieces were weighed and put into a solar kiln where they are drying.

The results I will publish in due course. 

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