Best Firewood for Wood Burning Stoves
Essentially the only firewood to burn in a Stove, is dry firewood. Less than 20% moisture. This is the optimum moisture content, anything less is too dry and has a reduced heat output. Definitely forget about damp or wet wood it will destroy your stove, clog up your chimney and the money you think you saved will be wasted.
The type of Stove you have, will also have an effect on how well the wood you use burns. Be careful what you buy. You need a Stove which can take a reasonable amount of logs, a good size of logs (8-10inches) with a powerful draft and airwash that can be opened or closed. There is no point buying a stove that only takes 6-7 inch logs as most firewood producers don’t have logs this small. Surefire Wood can produce smaller logs but only on request with a couple of weeks lead time.
In terms of which type of wood to burn, we source local, native woods, and we have lots of experience with different species of wood.
One of the most popular is Birch. Some people love Birch. Birch is a hardwood yes. However, it burns much like softwood, hot and quickly. Ideal for putting out that quick burst of heat after a long day at work. You can heat a room in 15 minutes then turn your draft down. Perfect. Birch is popular as many importers and supermarkets, promote it successfully as a hardwood. However, the reality is it burns much the same as softwood and we should be burning softwood instead.
Softwoods such as Pine are plentiful throughout these Isles, cheaper than Birch, as well as renewable, and of course maintain employment in UK/ Ireland rather than importing from Eastern Europe. We should really know better by now but attitudes are slow to change. Other hardwoods that should also be avoided are Alder and Poplar. You are basically paying hardwood prices for softwood!
Another plentiful wood in the British Isles is Larch. Larch is the opposite of Birch. It is essentially a super softwood (dense and heavy) similar to hardwood. It, however, will only be plentiful for a short period of time as Larch disease has essentially wiped out entire forests. Get it while you can.
If you think Softwood burns too quickly then try some dense hardwoods. Hardwoods like Ash, Beech and Oak are the best. Although slower to light than softwood, once they get going they last much longer.
Ash and Beech are popular native species, however, some people don’t like Oak! Oak is heavy and dense and some people can’t get it to burn. Some people think it’s unseasoned. However, it simply takes a well-lit fire, essentially kindling and a few lighter, smaller logs to first to get the embers glowing. Add your Oak logs and Oak will last longer than any other wood.
Most people’s choice of Hardwood is Ash. It is easy to light than Oak, long lasting and puts out excellent heat. However, like Larch, Ash has been hit by disease brought in from imported seedlings from the rest of the world. Ash Dieback disease has had a devastating impact in the United Kingdom and Ireland. New plantings have ceased. It will be plentiful for a while but difficult to imagine huge Ash forests again in these islands.
Beech is another excellent choice of Hardwood. When kiln-dried it will burn for longer than Ash, while it is easier to light than Oak. It is in good supply and thankfully free from disease.
Sycamore is another hardwood popular in the UK/ Ireland. Although less dense than Ash and Beech, it will last longer and put out a higher heat output than softwoods.
At Surefire Wood, we try to mix our different hardwoods together and our different softwoods together, giving the optimum mix of dense and easy lighting logs.