ever wanted to
know about Firewood.
Hardwood or Softwood. Hardwoods tend to give more heat and less smoke
a long, hot burn; which equates to less Creosote, the culprit in many
fires. But if you enjoy cutting Firewood and loading the Wood Burner,
if you want to warm up the cabin in a hurry; then Softwoods may be just
right for you.
about 1/3 of a Cord. Equal to 1/3
ton of coal in weight and heat output (about 8 Million BTU's)
It may be best to cut Firewood
when the trees have shed their leaves. Chances are that the sap has
down to the Roots. That should make it lighter to handle and
quicker to dry or "season".
Seasoned firewood develops checks
or splits which radiate out from the heart as hands on a clock.
gathered one winter should be adequately seasoned and ready to burn the
Be aware that longer pieces take
longer to season. Wood cells are like a bundle of random straws with
ends. It is from these cut ends that most drying takes place, rather
from the sides. So, removing the bark aids drying only minimally.
Hardwoods are commonly available,
easy to split
order of BTU output.
These have a
Trees are not commonly available,
but may be found at many
A cord measures 2 feet deep X
4 feet high X 16 feet long, or any configuration
that equals 128 Cubic Feet.
A cord of Hardwood weighs from 1 to 2 tons.
BTU's: A cord of most Hardwoods
produces heat in the same range as a ton of coal
(about 21 to 25 million BTU's).
Weight equates to BTU's more than volume does;
A pound of seasoned Hardwood
produces about the same BTU's as does Softwood.
has more total surface
area to catch fire, so it burns quicker and hotter than unsplit
A Log may burn for a day or more, but if you split it into toothpicks,
it may burn in 10 minutes and release all of its BTU's quickly. It may
also stack tighter which would give more weight and consequently,
more BTU's per cord.
Healthy living trees produce compounds
which protect them from insect and Fungus damage, much as humans
immunities. A cut, broken, or uprooted tree loses this protection and
soon attacked. Depending on
the species and
local conditions, a living tree can decompose (Compost)
in as little as
What to look for.
for large photos.
The left image
firewood with tight bark,
recently cut and has not had time to
dry out (Season").
image shows well seasoned
characteristic radial checks, and loose bark.
The right image
which has passed its prime,
and should sell
for much less than the center
It has been
attacked by bacteria or fungus that cause rapid deterioration,
and can no
longer be sold at normal prices.
The "checks" are the spot
you want to hit with a splitting Axe
or where you put a splitting Wedge.
Some of the splitting has already been done for you.
If you want a
spectacular fire; these firewoods make lotsa sparks:
Hemlock, Chestnut, Tamarack,
Larch, Spruce, Red/white Cedar, Yellow Poplar.