Wondering what seasoned firewood entitles or how you can season your own wood? The Firewood Company takes a look at how you can ensure your wood is perfectly seasoned and dry ready for the winter burn.
Everyone knows it – wet wood is not an option on a freezing cold winter's night. That smoldering, spitting lump of wood, slowly smoking away as you dump endless amounts of paper over it, is not only frustrating, but it is also not practical. Wet wood will not produce good heat or keep you and your family warm. It will produce ample smoke, possible swear words and a chimney in desperate need of a clean. So how do you ensure your wood is perfectly dry and ready for the cold season? And what does seasoned wood actually mean?
Seasoned wood is a long and well-thought-out process. It’s all about the drying time and different woods require different seasoning. Chopping a tree down just before winter, stacking it, and burning, will not suffice in producing good quality firewood. If you are wanting to season wood yourself, it’s important to remember the process takes time – a lot of time, particularly for hardwoods.
Hardwoods like Gum takes time to season. In fact, it can take anywhere from six months to a whopping two years to correctly season and allow it to burn correctly for fireplaces. There are a number of things to take into consideration when seasoning your hardwood including; moisture content, the climate you live in, the quality of your stacking, and if the wood is covered or allowed to season naturally. It’s also a good plan to check the moisture content of your wood every six months before burning.
The great news is your hardwoods can be stacked outside. Meaning you do not have to take up space in your woodshed for these types of woods. You can easily stack them alongside your woodshed in a warm, windy area. Leaving you extra wood for your softwood storage.
Hardwoods should be correctly stacked for drying. Ensure your wood is kept in a warm place where it has access to full sun and wind. Stacking your wood with enough space between each log to ensure good airflow will also help dry your wood and season it correctly. Poorly stacked wood will retain moisture and not season well. Hardwoods can be stacked outdoors and during warmer months consider popping a sprinkler over the wood every couple of days. The water on the outside of the log will pull the moisture from the inside to the surface to dry in the sun. Also, consider covering during heavy downpours of rain with a tarpaulin and removing this during warmer days, or those with only a slight sprinkle of rain.
How to check the moisture content of your wood?
You can check the moisture content of your wood in a few ways including;
Bang two logs together, dry wood will make a hollow sound.
Check logs for mould and fungus that indicate a sign of moisture
Purchase a wood moisture meter
Washing up liquid test (see below)
Softwoods, such as pine, need to be protected from the rain as they can act like a sponge and absorb water easily - rendering them useless come burn time. If you are considering seasoning softwoods it’s a good idea to do this in a well-covered area that still has access to wind and sunshine. Many softwood seasoners also advise ensuring your woodpile is elevated off the ground to prevent moisture from entering the bottom of your stack. Old pallets work wonderfully for this purpose and can be easily found and recycled for this reason. Again keep your stack nice and loose to ensure easy airflow – the old rule of thumb applies here also – allowing space big enough for a mouse to run through the entire wood stack is a good plan of action.
Washing up liquid test
Pop a small amount of dishwashing liquid on one end of your firewood log. Blow heavily into the other end. If the wood is dry, little bubbles will appear on the far end.
Seasoning wood takes time, patience, and practise. Luckily there are so many wonderful firewood suppliers (cue The Firewood Company) that do all the hard work for you – well except the stacking! We also provide kiln dried options to ensure you have a dry stack of wood every burn. Purchasing wood during the warmer months is a great way to get organised well ahead of time, stack your woodshed more efficiently, and ensure your hardwoods are well seasoned for the winter months.
Happy seasoning firewood lovers!