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Where Should I Buy My Firewood?
Posted: 8th November 2016
Have you just installed a new wood burner? Are you confused about what type of wood you should be buying and where is the best place to purchase it from?
In this blog I thought I would help demystify some of the terms used and help you to make an informed purchase.
Softwood v Hardwood – To get straight to the point, if you have a wood burning stove you can use either hardwood logs or softwood logs or even a mix of the two and if you have an open fire we would recommend hardwood logs. This is primarily because softwood logs can be sparky and are therefore unsafe for use in an open fire. You can find out more about the difference in hardwood and softwood logs here.
Seasoned v Unseasoned - If you are looking to burn your logs straightaway you should look to purchase seasoned logs. If you are able to purchase logs in advance and store them for use at a later stage, you can save some money by purchasing unseasoned or green logs.
Net bags, bulk bags or trailer loads – Purchasing small bags of net logs from the local garage or DIY store is the least economical way to purchase your firewood. The chances are that you will also be buying softwood that will burn quickly when hardwood would be a better option.
If you are burning logs regularly it is far better to purchase them in bulk. Even if you are only lighting your wood burner on the odd midweek evening, at weekends and a fair bit over Christmas you are still likely to get through about three cubic metres of logs over the winter.
Historically firewood merchants would deliver a trailer load of logs and just tip them up into your driveway. The only problem with this is how to know the exact quantity of logs that you are buying. If you purchase this way, make sure to ask for the dimensions of the trailer and to work out how many cubic metre it holds (length x breadth x height). Remember your load won’t be right up to the full height for transportation.
In recent years the move has been towards getting your firewood in a bulk bags. This approach is good in that is avoids having the mess of bark tipped onto your driveway. Generally the vehicles delivering bulk bags have a small crane so that you can get your bags unloaded as close as possible to your log store.
As with trailers, you need to check the size of the bulk bags. They come in various sizes usually up to 0.8m3. If your supply says describes it as a one tonne dumpy builders bag this will be one of the smallest bags on the market. Please be aware that it will not equate to a tonne of wood. Firewood logs are sold by the volume rather than by weight. This is because the wetter the wood, the heavier it is. If a firewood merchant is trying to sell you wood
How dry are the logs? – This is really the most important piece of information you need. It is often referred to as the moisture content. Any water in the timber has to boil away before the wood will burn, and this will reduce the net energy released as useful heat. You should look for firewood with a moisture content of 20% of less. Kiln dried logs have become ‘fashionable’ in recent years but you will pay more for them. Take a look at our blog on the benefits of air dried logs v kiln dried logs.
Where are the logs coming from? Is the woodland sustainably managed, and reasonably local? So much wood sold online these days is from Eastern Europe. It can travel up to 1500 miles to get here and is likely to have a long supply chain that means they pass through several companies before arriving in the UK. It is impossible to know the provenance of the wood.
It is better to purchase wood from suppliers that select their firewood from sustainably managed, British woodland. In other words, the trees used are removed to ensure the ongoing health of the forest or woodland.
If you purchase firewood from Tayside Forestry you can be sure of the following:
- Your firewood will have come from a sustainable source
- Your firewood wood will be below 20% moisture content , be dry and ready to burn
- If you buy hardwood logs, you will get hardwood logs and if you buy softwood that's what we will deliver
- Your firewood wood will be seasoned
- Your firewood wood will have come from estates in Tayside within a 50 mile radius of the farm
- Your firewood will never be short delivered on the volume of wood that you purchase