No doubt, you’ve noticed quite a disparity in the prices of wood logs at your local wood supplier or stockist. Did you know that in a wood burning stove, a stove is only really as efficient as the wood that it burns? You can have the fanciest of stoves which provide certain efficiency above others of course, but even then their maximum efficiency cannot be achieved without usage of the ideal fuel.
The ideal fuel for a wood burning stove, of course, is wood – but not all wooden logs are created equal. Like the trees they once were, each one has its own characteristics which affect just how much heat you’ll be able to get out of them as well as how long they’ll last. Based on this, some wooden logs are more expensive than others.
Which wood is the best to pick for your wood burning stove in particular? What can give you the longest lasting burn? What can provide the best value for money? The first thing you’re going to want to puzzle out is what exactly is the difference between hard and soft woods. Hardwoods such as ash, beech, oak and elm wood are trees take quite a long time to grow. Therefore, the wood of these trees is much more dense and much more heavy than the wood of others, and therefore will weigh a lot more when held in your hand.
Keep in mind that weight cannot determine whether you have good or bad wood. This is because wood in itself isn’t ready to burn from felling. Wood logs need to be dried for around a year in order to become usable, and unseasoned or “green” wood tends to be heavier, because it is saturated with water. Fortunately, you can recognise a hardwood by loose bark which you can peel with your fingertips, as well as a darkened colour. The outside of the wood should be split, as well.
Finally, no matter how much money stands to be saved, it’s vital that you don’t burn manufactured wood, or wood products such as old furniture, plywood, chipwood, and of course MDF – as they do contain varying toxic chemicals. The same applies to painted wood – paint is certainly not intended to be inhaled – so be aware of what you’re burning!