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Does Kiln Dried Wood Smell?

Why Kiln Dried Wood Smells the Way It Does

Jonathan Hill |

The aroma of wood has been a part of human life for millennia. From the smoky scent of a campfire to the fresh, earthy smell of a newly felled tree, these smells are deeply embedded in our senses. But what about kiln dried wood? Does it have its own unique scent? Or does the kiln drying process rob it of its aromatic qualities? Without further ado, let's dive into the olfactory world of kiln dried wood.

The Nitty-Gritty: Does Kiln Dried Wood Smell?

In simple words, yes, kiln dried wood does have a smell. However, its scent is slightly different than that of green (not kiln dried) wood. The kiln drying process, which involves heating the wood in an industrial oven to reduce its moisture content, can alter the wood's natural aroma. While green wood has a fresh, sappy smell, kiln-dried wood often has a drier, more subtle scent.

The smell of kiln dried wood is often described as "clean" or "woody", with some people comparing it to the smell of a wood workshop. It's less pungent than green wood, but still distinctly "woody". This smell can be more noticeable when the wood is burned, releasing a pleasant, warm aroma that many people find comforting and homely.

Why Kiln Dried Wood Smells the Way It Does

The reason for the change in scent is due to the kiln drying process. The high temperatures used in the kiln cause the sap and other volatile compounds in the wood to evaporate. This is why kiln dried wood often has a less intense smell than green wood, which still contains all of its natural saps and oils.

Kiln dried wood's smell can also be affected by the type of wood. For instance, kiln dried oak has a different scent than kiln dried pine or cherry. Each wood species has its own unique set of aromatic compounds, which contribute to its distinctive smell.

The Benefits of Kiln Dried Wood's Smell

One of the main benefits of the smell of kiln dried wood is that it's generally less pungent than that of green wood. This can make it a better choice for people who are sensitive to strong smells. Furthermore, because kiln dried wood burns more cleanly and efficiently than green wood, it often produces a more pleasant smell when burned. This is a significant factor for many people when choosing firewood, especially if they plan to use it indoors in a wood-burning stove or fireplace.

Apart from this, using kiln dried wood for your firewood needs can bring numerous advantages. This includes a higher heating value, less smoke, and reduced chances of creosote buildup in your chimney. All these factors contribute to making kiln dried wood worth it for many homeowners and businesses.

When Kiln Dried Wood Might Not Smell

There are instances, however, when kiln dried wood might not smell. This usually happens when the wood has been stored for a long period and hasn't been properly sealed. Over time, kiln dried wood can lose its scent, especially if it's exposed to elements such as moisture, sunlight, or extreme temperatures. So, if you're storing kiln dried wood, it's essential to keep it in a cool, dry place and protect it from the elements to preserve its smell and other qualities. If you're wondering whether kiln dried logs can get wet, check out our detailed guide on the subject.

The Bottom Line

So, does kiln dried wood smell? Yes, it does. While the scent may be different and less pungent than that of green wood, kiln dried wood still maintains a pleasing, woody aroma that many people find appealing. Whether you're burning it in your fireplace, using it in a woodworking project, or simply storing it in your shed, you can enjoy the clean, subtle scent of kiln dried wood.

Remember, while the smell of your firewood might not be the first thing you think about, it can significantly affect your wood burning experience. So, the next time you're shopping for firewood, don't forget to consider the smell of the wood, along with other factors like its burn duration, heat output, and cost. To help you in making an informed decision, feel free to explore our comprehensive guide on how long should firewood season and the advantages of kiln dried wood.

Remember, the best firewood is not just about the heat it generates but also the olfactory experience it provides. So, enjoy the warmth and the distinctive aroma of kiln dried wood in your next winter gathering. Happy Burning!