Buying Advice

What is kiln dried firewood?

Kiln drying wood is one of the most effective and quickest ways of removing moisture from wood so that it can burn cleanly. The result is wood that has a decreased weight, has better insulation properties and has had infestations and fungal infections removed. It is therefore much better fuel for your fireplace or stove and will give a hotter and longer lasting fire.

The process involves batches of wood being placed into the kiln with plenty of air circulating around them. The kiln is heated usually with a gas furnace and is ventilated to control the humidity and to extract the moisture that has come from the wood. Fans are used to circulate the hot air to get the most effect results. Industrial kilns are generally made of metal and will have compartments that are thermally insulated.

Each type of wood will be kiln dried for a different amount of time to take into account the thickness and moisture content of the raw material. Specialists have devised the very best processes and drying times for the various species to ensure that the method uses the least amount of energy.

Kiln drying is more effective than air drying because it can be completed at any time of the year without variable results, there is more control over the level of moisture removal and the wood retains its integrity due to the ability to control the process. Overall, kiln drying is a great way for you to get wood that will burn perfectly without the variability you may have found with other types of air-dried wood.

Why we recommend kiln dried?

When deciding on the best wood for your fire you have probably heard that kiln dried logs are the very best. But do you know why? Read on to discover the benefits of kiln dried wood and why it makes the very best option for your fireplace, stove or log burner.Your kiln dried logs will have a very low moisture content of usually less than 20% and this means that they are:

●      Easy and very quick to light due to the lack of moisture. Even without kindling you should be able to get your fire started in no time.

●      Long lasting - in fact kiln dried logs will last around three times as long as logs that are unseasoned.

●      Easy to transport. Kiln dried logs are lighter as the moisture has been removed. You can therefore easily carry them into your home.

●      Hotter than other woods. You can get a roaring fire that will give off a higher heat than other types of fuel.

●      Easy to use in all types of fuel burners including stoves. Log burners and open fires - even BBQs.

Hardwood logs vs softwood logs

You may think that one load of firewood is very much like another - you put it on the fire and it burns. But in reality there are many different types of firewood and each will have its own special characteristics. These may mean that it burns more cleanly, for longer or is easier to store. When choosing it is important to understand the difference between hardwood and softwood.

Hardwood

Hardwood is generally considered to be the better wood for open fires, BBQs and log burners as it will burn for longer - meaning you don’t need to top up the logs nearly as often. But why is this? 

Hardwood is very dense and therefore already has a lower moisture content and a strength than you would find in softwoods. This means it burns without as many sparks or as much smoke. But there is more to it that just this. Hardwood also burns hotter giving you more thermal units per wood delivery than you would get with softwood. Hardwood will take longer to dry out which is why the kiln drying process is especially suitable for this type of wood.

Softwood

Softwood include trees such as pine and cedar and fir and are often evergreens. These grow much more quickly than hardwoods like oak or ash and give a less dense piece of wood with a higher moisture content. It will also contain more resin which can mean it will burn hot and fast with lots of crackling and sparking.

Softwoods are ideal for kindling as they have this fast burning quality and they will leave behind very little in the way of ashes, but this makes it hard to relight a fire if you don’t watch over it. A softwood fire will go out quickly, but this can make softwoods good for short term fires such as campfires or BBQs where you want a good strong flame.

Which to choose

Overall a hardwood is best as a long term fire option in log burners and open fires - especially if it has been kiln dried to achieve a low moisture content. However if you want a short term and hot fire try a softwood.

What is sustainable forestry, sustainable forest management

When you buy your kiln dried logs for your fire you may question where the logs came from and whether they are sustainable. In fact for many people, the ecological impact of their fire is of great concern. A log fire is actually a great choice when it comes to using less energy (especially in avoiding coal fired electricity) but if you choose wood that is sustainable you are lowering your carbon footprint even further.

Sustainable forest management involves the principles of maintaining and balancing the ecological, economic and socio-cultural aspects of wood production. Wood producers who adhere to these principles are aiming to manage their forest to preserve it in the long term. In some ways the nature of their business and this need to be sustainable may seem like they conflict, but actually sustainability ensures the long term viability of their business and keeps people employed in the long term.

For our customers the fact that their kiln dried logs have come from a carefully managed sustainable forest means that they can be sure that the wood they are burning has come from a forest where farmers are adhering to the criteria set up by their country and have been internationally recognised. This may include planting programmes, careful choices of where and how trees are felled and the lowest possible impact on local people and wildlife.

You can check and see if the wood you are buying has been sustainably farmed by seeing if it has been correctly certified. In the UK the main certification bodies are the PEFC and FSC.

About kiln dried Ash hardwood logs

Ash hardwood has long been chosen for burning in open fires and log fires as it has all the characteristics that make it an ideal fuel. We use kiln dried ash logs because we recognise these qualities and only want to offer the very best to our customers. Ash kiln dried logs offer the following benefits:

●      Ash has low moisture content even when freshly cut, so it can be burnt even at this early stage, but it is best when kiln dried to a moisture level of less than 20%.

●      Ash is grown as part of a sustainable forest and is very plentiful worldwide - this makes it ideal for burning. It is the third most common species of tree in the UK and is relatively fast growing compared to some other hardwoods.

●      As a hardwood, ash is long burning and will give hot flames with very little sparking.

●      Ash will split easily without splintering making it ideal as a firewood or as kindling - but also for making tools or furniture.

●      Once most of the moisture has been removed ash logs will be light and easy to carry and store.

About kiln dried Birch hardwood logs

Choosing the right type of wood to burn in your fire depends on a number of factors including how hot you need your fire to be and what type of fire you have. Birch kiln dried logs are an excellent option for almost all applications and will give you a good roaring fire in no time. For the benefits of birch fire logs, read on:

●      Birch trees are usually smaller in size than some other hardwoods and grow relatively quickly - this means they are easily harvested and replanted in sustainable forests.

●      You can spot a birch tree by its bark which is grey or white with a peeling papery consistency.

●      The heat produced from birch is slightly lower than that from ash, but it reduces to coals that last a long time - giving good residual heat.

●      Birch is best when it has been split into smaller pieces as too much bark on any one piece can lead to sparking.

●      If kiln dried, birch can reduce the moisture content down to less than 20% making it ideal for most fire types. It is best kiln dried as it can take a long time to dry in the air.

●      Birch has a lovely scent when burning making a great choice for firepits and BBQs.

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