A GUIDE TO FIREWOOD
To follow up our last blog post on a Guide to Axes - we thought it might be beneficial to go over some firewood basics! Again, Gaylon uses a wood burning stove and fireplace at his property, so learning these pieces of information have been crucial to him as he heats his home and kitchen - especially during the winter! Picking out the right type of wood is just as important as properly seasoning and stacking.
Let's start with some basics. You've probably heard the term CORD. Well a cord is roughly 128 cubic feet of wood or a stack that is 4 feet long, 4 feet tall, and 8 feet deep. Since wood doesn't stack perfectly together, a cord is usually 70-90 cubic feet of actual wood with lots of air space in between the pieces. However, there's an art to even stacking the wood! Be sure to inspect cords properly if buying from someone else.
The next thing you need to know is different types of wood hold different heat values. A cord's heat value is roughly how many gallons of heating oil does that 128 cubic square feet equal to. A high heat value type of wood has a heating value of upwards 200-250 gallons of heating oil. These types of wood are Beech, Apple, Ironwood, Mesquite, Hickory, Oak, Maple, and Birch.
When buying flooring, you've probably come across the term Hardwood versus Softwood. Hardwoods are more expensive due to their compressed nature. These woods burn hotter and longer, but they're more difficult to catch. Softwoods are easier to get burning and make for great fire starters.
If you decide to buy a cord of wood, be sure to buy from local sources. Taking wood especially across state lines is frowned upon as that leads to the spreading of different tree diseases and harmful pests.
If you decide to harvest wood for yourself, be sure to start early. Wood normally has about 50% moisture if not seasoned (or dried) properly. Seasoning takes 6 months, so starting off in early summer or late spring is a must. Additionally, it's a lot easier to split wet wood than dry, so doing it after a rain is always a good idea.
To dry the wood out, be sure to lay flat in the sun where the breeze and rays can reach it. Keep it out of the rain and avoid stacking until the fall once it's been seasoned. Be sure to also keep wood off of the ground as to avoid molding and rotting.
Greenwood is anything over 25% and should be avoided when feeding a fire. You'll know the wood is still green if the steam bubbles or hisses when burning. Well seasoned wood should be darker on the ends and have splits and cracks in it.
We hope you learned something new from this blog and get the chance to use some firewood this winter! With the temperatures we've already experienced in Oklahoma, we've been stacking plenty of wood ready to go for our own fireplaces. Having the proper firewood not only helps heat your home more efficiently, but also avoid nuisance steam, maintains your fireplace or stove better, and prevents rotting or moldy wood.