HARDWOOD OR SOFTWOOD?
Hardwoods (Angiosperms) are any broad-leafed, deciduous trees, such as Oak and Ash, while softwoods (Gymnosperms) are conifers including Western Red Cedar and Redwoods. Not all the wood types in each species conform to assumption though, with willow being a very quick to burn wood, and yew being a very hard wood.
If you are wood in a stove, hardwood is better option as it burns slower. The density of softwood is also about half that of hardwood, which usually results in it burning twice as quick, but softwood burns hotter quicker and is good for getting the fire going.
DRY WOOD IS ALWAYS THE BEST WOOD
Irrelevant of the type of wood you opt on to use in your stove, it is important that the wood is dried before you burn some people call this seasoning. Wood that hasn’t been seasoned correctly or at all wastes the majority of the energy created whilst burning in removing water from the wood, creating steam and wasting heat.
Freshly processed wood can contain a high water content of between 65-90%. Depending on the species, we would recommend that wood is seasoned for at least a year, some potentially two years before burning, usually the softer wood types with higher sap contents. Some species can be used “green”, usually ash can be burned the same day as being felled or removed.
As a way in saving money you can buy freshly cut cord wood, or tree Surgeons waste and dry out your own wood in a log store. If you are contemplating this, please ensure to split the wood as soon as possible as some woods shrink whilst drying and go as hard as concrete. Some people offer kiln dried or barn dried wood which has a moisture content of less than 20%, this is achievable by you as the end user by simply storing the wood correct and pre-split ensuring the wood is stored off of the floor.
WHICH TREE IS BEST FOR ME?
While all woods burn better when seasoned, in general the best woods for burning in your stove are the ones you are most likely to come across. Here are our recommendations:
Apple – Burns very slowly with a small to medium flame size and produces a nice scent.
Ash – Considered one of the best woods for burning, it produces a steady flame and strong heat output, and ca be burnt without seasoning.
Beech – Burns similar to Ash, although needs to be seasoned correctly.
Birch – Produces a strong heat output but can burn quite fast, but is great for getting the fire going.
Hawthorn – A very traditional firewood which is very heavy, it has a slow burn and strong heat output.
Horse chestnut – Best kept for stoves as it can spit. It produces a good flame and strong heat output.
Oak – The density of the wood produces a small flame and very slow burn, this will keep a fire going all night until the morning, so ensure the fire is extinguished before you go to bed.
This is only a quick list of the most used woods in Hardwood wood sales by tree surgeons or forestry estates.
If you are an avid supporter of the environment and believe in true renewable energy then before you buy any wood check the region first. Most tree surgeons sell wood as a bi product of their work, but some log companies specifically decimate forests to produce their product. So please ensure the wood has been sourced responsibly.
How much should I expect to pay for wood.
Wood prices fluctuate massively through the UK with some people charging £170 per m3 for high quality grade seasoned loose Oak only loads, with others charging £50 a m3 for loose split mixed loads of hard and softwoods. People also sell netted bags, you see these on garage forecourts and garden centres for around £4 – £6 per bag. We here at Bristol Tree Services charge between £60 and £120 per loose m3 and £3.50per netted bag. As you will also know people also sell bio logs, but the production value of these makes them not very environmentally sound.
Wood for smoking
Also as tree surgeons we produce wood chip with is suitable for smoking, we also small bags of chip for people who smoke, please contact us for more information.