All woods burn better when seasoned and some burn better when split rather than as whole logs. In general the better woods for burning that you are most likely to come by (including non-native species) are:
Apple and pear – burning slowly and steadily with little flame but good heat. The scent is also pleasing
Ash – the best burning wood providing plenty of heat (will also burn green but you should not need to do this!)
Beech and hornbeam – good when well-seasoned
Birch – good heat and a bright flame – burns quickly
Blackthorn and hawthorn – very good – burn slowly but with good heat
Cherry – also burns slowly with good heat and a pleasant scent
Cypress – burns well but fast when seasoned, and may spit
Hazel – good, but hazel has so many other uses hopefully you won’t have to burn it!
Holly – good when well-seasoned
Horse Chestnut – good flame and heating power but spits a lot
Larch – good for heat
Maple – good
Oak – very old dry seasoned oak is excellent, burning slowly with a good heat
Pine – burns well with a bright flame but crackles and spits
Poplar – avoid all poplar wood – it burns very slowly with little heat – which is why poplar is used to make matchsticks
Willow – very good – in fact there is growing interest in biomass production of coppiced willow as a fuel
Facts on Wood to the Environment
Unlike the burning of fossil fuels like coal, gas or oil, burning firewood releases no more greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide) than would be produced were the wood to simply rot on the forest floor. If we are responsible in the ways we grow, cut, and burn our firewood, wood burning can actually be a good choice for the environment.
Wood is a renewable resource, which means that it can be replenished by nature in a period of time that is compatible with our human use. Provided they are cared for and managed properly, our forests can be a perpetual source of fuel, unlike gas, oil, and coal, which are being depleted at a rate far faster than the millions of years it took nature to make them. On the smallholding it is up to us always to plant more trees than we cut down, and if we buy logs from a wood merchant, to make sure they come from a sustainable source.
Benefits of Burning Well-Seasoned Hardwood & Softwood
So what is seasoning? Essentially it is making wood fit for burning – by reducing its water content – usually by leaving it for a period of time in the right conditions. All wood contains water. Freshly-cut wood can be up to 60% water, while well-seasoned firewood generally has 20–25% moisture content. Well-seasoned firewood is easier to light, produces more heat, and burns cleaner.
If you try to burn green wood, the heat produced by combustion must dry the wood before it will burn, using up a large percentage of the available energy in the process. This results in less heat delivered to your home, and gallons of acidic water in the form of creosote deposited in your chimney. This can eat through the chimney lining and cause significant damage. The problem is that as wet wood burns slowly, with little heat, the chimney flue does not get a chance to warm up. There is little draw (air moving up the chimney) which doesn’t help the combustion, and the flue remains a cold surface on which the creosote condenses. Dry wood will burn hot – heating up the flue, creating a fast draw, and shooting the smaller amount of vapours out of the chimney before they get a chance to condense.
We Kiln Dry Our Wood! What Is That?
A kiln is a thermally insulated chamber, or oven, in which a controlled temperature regime is produced. Uses include the hardening, burning or drying of materials.
Specific uses include: To dry green lumber so that the lumber can be used immediately and drying wood for use as firewood.
Our Kiln is Solar Powered. This means we are helping to reduce Global Warming. It also means that we can charge cheaper prices for you as well.