There are so many different types of wood available to burn, so what do you choose?
Firstly and most importantly, the wood you choose should be well seasoned and have a moisture content of under 20%. Ideally it should have been seasoned for approximately 18 to 24 months. An easy way to tell is: well-seasoned wood should make a ‘clack’ sound rather than unseasoned wood that has a ‘thump’ sound. If you burn wet wood with a high moisture content there will be a much greater creosote build up in the chimney and in your stove (your glass will no longer be clean!). Wet wood also provides much less heat.
Secondly, hard wood is generally recommended to burn over soft wood. Hard wood comes from slow-growing deciduous trees and produce a greater heat output. It is better to use soft wood as kindling as it catches light quicker than hard wood.
• Ash Widely regarded as a great burning wood, with low smoke and an excellent flame which provides plenty of heat, as well as being readily available wherever you live in the UK and Ireland. If you create your own log lengths then Ash is very easy to saw and split as it has less awkward knots than some other hardwood.
• Beech Makes a good log which burns well. However because of its high water content it can take much longer to season than most other log varieties.
• Oak Generally considered one of the very best wood fuel logs and therefore much sought after. However it must be seasoned for a long time – at least two years. It burns fairly slowly with nice flames and produces an excellent long lasting heat even when only the embers are left.
• Pine Common resinous softwoods which need to be well seasoned. Usually acquired as joiners off-cuts which have already been kiln dried and therefore they will make good kindling. Burns fast with a bright flame, however because of the high resin content excessive use could eventually cause problems in the flue system with oily and sticky deposits. Better to mix with other woods and do not burn slowly.
• Sycamore and other Maples Makes a good wood fuel log, burning well with a moderate heat output and good flame.
• Willow Even when very well-seasoned Willow produces poor slow burning fire wood with little flame.