While most wood can be used as fuel for a fire, the differences in the type of wood make some unsuitable for long term use in stoves. It is best to get to know the kind of wood you’re buying so you can protect your wood burning stove as well as your home from any problems.
Factors to Consider
Soot – some wood, even when sufficiently dry, will still produce a lot of soot due to its tar and sap. This makes these kinds of woods unsuitable for wood burning stoves since they will produce too much smoke and soot which can clog up pipes and chimneys.
Heating Value – often, different wood will have different densities and other properties. Look for wood which is denser and does not have sap or tar. Hardwoods like oak are great for burning since they are heavier and can produce more heat as compared to a same size wood of different type.
Dryness – this is achieved by seasoning the logs. Seasoning generally means drying out the wooden logs until it is reasonably dry. Seasoning gets rid of the moisture so the wood can burn easily.
Soft vs. Hardwood – softwood such as pine, usually have lots of resin and sap which can make it produce smoke and soot. They can burn quickly if properly seasoned, but the resin can cause problems due to pollution. Hardwood has low resin content and is usually much more dense, so it burns clean but very slow.
- Ash – easy to handle and split into smaller pieces, and produces a good heat output which lasts for a long time.
- Oak – provides plenty of heat and lasts long. It can take a while to season them. Usually two years to get the best amount of heat.
- Sycamore – provides a moderate amount of heat and lasts for a good time.
- Yew – burns quite slowly and produces good heat.
Wood You Must Watch Out For
- Pine – while it burns fast and has a nice scent from the pine resin, it should be just used as kindling since it can produce a lot of smoke. It does burn bright and fast so it can be great as a starter.
- Poplar – produces a lot of smoke
- Spruce – can be sparky when lit and produces smoke.
Buying or DIY
Most wood can be bought in cords, and can be had for about $150 to $300 depending on the type of wood, the seasoning it has undergone, and the location you are in. Buying cords of wood can be more expensive but it will save you the trouble of seasoning and splitting wood.
Doing-It-Yourself is sometimes an experience many cabin owners want. But it will take plenty of time and effort. So it will be best to acquire the knowledge first, especially if you don’t have experience in using firewood.