HOW TO STORE FIREWOOD?
Learn how to store firewood at home. Wood is an increasingly popular fuel due to its sustainability and the popularity of wood burners. In this article on how to store firewood in summer, we are sharing some key information on how to buy and use firewood during summer in preparation for winter wood burning.
The best possible way to speed up the natural drying process is to make sure the tree is cut up into log lengths, typically 25cm, and then split length-ways producing logs about 5-15cm in diameter exposing the inner flesh of the wood”
Once split and ready to start the drying process, the logs need to be stacked in the right conditions. A wooden, slatted log store is the best, ensuring it has a roof and the logs are off the ground. The log store can be put against the house or allow airflow from underneath and through the front and sides.
Logs should be stacked neatly on top of each other and can be up to 3 logs deep in store, so a depth of about 80cm is about right. If the store is placed in a very exposed site where driving rain could soak the logs, you should consider a weather shield cover the front.
You also need to consider what species of wood you have stored. If it’s a dense hard-wood, such as oak or beech it is probably going to need about 2 years of drying in the store, but if it’s ash or perhaps silver birch, then it could dry in about 12-18 months.
If you have access to your own wood from fallen trees in the garden, or from a friend, you will need to be storing enough logs for about 3-4 cubic meters per year. This would be the average usage of a modern wood-burning stove, used as secondary heating in your home.
The following are examples of legal units of measurement for use when selling bulk firewood in Canada:
- The stacked cubic metre (stacked m³), which is 1 cubic metre (about 35.3 cubic feet) of neatly stacked firewood, including wood, bark and airspace.
- The cubic foot.
- The cord, which is 128 cubic feet or about 3.6 stacked cubic metres of firewood, including wood, bark and airspace.
Measurement Canada recommends that the use of the cord as a unit of measurement be eliminated, as it is largely misused by people selling firewood. For example, some sellers use illegal terms such as “face cord“, “stove cord”, “apartment cord”, “furnace cord” and “short cord” to refer to a quantity smaller than 128 cubic feet when selling bulk firewood. These and other similarly worded terms frequently lead to confusion about the actual quantity of firewood being sold.
To avoid any confusion about the amount of firewood purchased or sold, Measurement Canada recommends the use of the stacked cubic metre when purchasing and selling bulk firewood.
Finally, and most importantly how do you know when wood is ready to burn? A moisture meter is the easiest way to check and these are now readily available in the market. Take one of the logs, perhaps from further inside the store, measure the moisture on the split face, across the grain, then take an axe to split it down the middle, then measure the fresh cut face. Measure a few places and take a rough average of the readings and as long as it’s below 25%, then it’s ready to burn! Alternatively there are a few ways to check that wood is dry – when cracks become visible on the ends of the log and begin to open, and when you bang two logs together; they should make a nice hollow sound.
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