The Cold Facts About Firewood PDF Print E-mail

Stacking firewood is both an art and a science. There is something dignified and beautiful about a good stack of wood and it's practical, too.

Did you know that it's more important to have firewood cut and split to the right size and properly dried than it is to have hardwood? While the best wood for burning has fueled many a debate, the truth is that your best to use whatever is plentiful in the area, easy to split and doesn't have sticky sap.

All wood, regardless of species, has the same amount of energy per pound. Different species only vary in density. The heat output (BTU) of wood is directly proportional to its density when air-dried. A cord of hardwood is considerably heavier than a cord of softwood; therefore hardwood has more heating potential.

Oak and Maple have long been favoured in North America, but their value for other uses has made it too dear to burn. Softwood makes good firewood, it just takes more of it to do the same job- but it's also less expensive and easier to handle than hardwood. The most important thing about heating with wood is that it must be dry.

Properly seasoned wood has a moisture content of 20% or less and anyone who's tried to burn wet wood knows the problems you can run into. Stacking your wood properly will help to continue the drying process and reduce the growth of molds.

Five Steps To An Awesome Wood Supply

1/ cut your pieces 2" shorter than your firebox
2/ split your wood to about 6" for a woodstove and about 9" for a wood burning furnace. A six-pound wood splitter's maul is the perfect tool for splitting because it can be swung easily and velocity is the secret to splitting.

Now your wood is ready for some serious drying.

3/ pile your wood, off the ground (used pallets are a good base) in a single row, exposed to the sun and wind, about 4 feet high (four cords will extend about 100') If you pile more than one row, leave airspace between them
4/ if possible, get your wood early and let it dry all summer
5/ store your wood in a shed. If you don't have a woodshed, you might pile it on a porch or under the eaves. Completely (sides and top) cover the entire stack with waterproof tarps or plastic

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