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Season your firewood in 6 steps:

If you don’t season your wood correctly then you’ll spend more time trying to burn water than actually heating up your home. Here are some quick tips on seasoning designed to help you get the most from your firewood.

What kind of wood?

As a rule of thumb, soft woods will take less time to season than hardwoods. However, as our last blog explained – hardwoods can be well worth the wait. Logs with a higher calorific value will burn for longer than other, leaner types of wood.

Most logs tend to be at a fairly low level of moisture after eight months of seasoning, but hardwoods such as Oak may require anywhere from 12-24 months in order to season well.

It’s important to remember that not only will well seasoned hardwoods burn longer than soft types; but they also provide a much cleaner burn – lessening the danger of a creosote build-up.

Stack

Take advantage of the warm weather in the summer months. Gather your wood whilst the moisture content is at its lowest. Stack it in a position which will get plenty of wind and so prevailing winds will blow straight through. UK weather is unpredictable but if you stack your wood at the right time and in the right way then you can be sure it will have a chance to dry off.

Splitaxe

Once you’ve begun the drying process, the next step is to chop your wood. This sounds difficult but there are ways of cheating, as this video demonstrates.

By splitting wood into chunks you will maximise their exposure to air and speed up moisture loss. Don’t leave your logs too long though, as It is recommended that you chop your wood down to around 17 inches to fit in most stoves.

Store

Avoid bringing wood into your home, they harbour all manner of creepy-crawlies so unless you like ants, you should keep them stacked at least 10 meters from your home. Be sure to stack them off the ground so-as no moisture is sucked up from the earth.

Cover

You should always cover your wood. The bark of a tree acts as a moisture sealant so by splitting it you allow the wood to dry quicker. However, without their bark, logs are more susceptible to rain and humidity so they need to be covered horizontally, allowing the ends to poke out and to release water.

Check for moisture

Once you think your wood may be ready to burn, there are a few different methods you can try to be certain.

· Look for cracks in the wood and see if the bark falls off easily.

· Knock two pieces of wood together and see if they make a “clunk.”

· Judge the weight – green, unseasoned logs well be noticeably heavier than seasoned ones.

· You can always cheat and use a reader which will give you an accurate reading of moisture levels

Alternatively

Although chopping, stacking and burning your own wood can be incredibly satisfying; it’s not for everyone. To save time you can always consider purchasing already seasoned logs from a reputable supplier.

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