Wood Fuels Guide

It is a sad fact that there is an awful lot of rubbish being sold as firewood these days.

With gas and oil prices going through the roof in recent years, there has been a huge increase in sales of wood burning stoves, and a corresponding rise in the number of "firewood merchants" setting up to supply their owners.Many of these outfits are genuine, but unfortunately there are quite a few out there who have just seen this as a chance to make a quick profit by selling anything they can get their hands on, often within days of it being cut down. There is also an opinion among many new owners of wood burning stoves that firewood should be cheap, "because it just grows everywhere", and so they will look for the cheapest price they can find and buy on that basis. These are the people who are most likely to be disappointed.

Producing and selling good quality firewood is not a business that is going to make anyone rich in a hurry! Buyers who think the price is high "for stuff that grows everywhere" should take a moment to consider how the wood got to their doorstep.

With firewood, you often get what you pay for.

HARDWOOD OR SOFTWOOD?

Both hardwoods (oak, ash, beech, alder etc) and softwoods (larch, spruce, pine etc) make excellent firewood. It's an urban myth that softwoods are no good - in fact in many European countries where they are way ahead of us in wood burning circles, they use softwoods almost exclusively. Softwoods do burn faster than hardwoods as they are less dense, and have slightly less energy on a log for log basis, so generally command a slightly lower price. Some places sell softwood as "heat logs" and hardwood as "long burning" but they are both excellent fuels when properly seasoned. There are very few woods that do not make reasonable firewood when properly dried, and a seasoned softwood log is always much better than an unseasoned hardwood one.

BUYING FIREWOOD

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Customers need to have their wits about them when buying wood!

Some sellers will advertise "a tonne bag of logs", meaning the bulk bags used in the building trade to deliver one tonne of sand or aggregates to site. These bags are great, but bear in mind that you'll never get anywhere near a tonne of logs in one. It's best to avoid buying logs by weight, as this encourages people to sell wet wood which is of course considerably heavier than well dried stuff - you can get water out of the tap much more cheaply! (Briquettes on the other hand are almost always sold by weight as they are consistently a very dry product - much drier than natural logs).

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