Understanding Your Firewood
Wondering what firewood to purchase this winter? The Firewood Company takes a look at the different woods on offer and what are the best woods to burn for your fireplace.
For the average fireplace lover, choosing the right wood for the right situation is something that is not considered. Understandably, just getting the woodshed stacked to the brim is of the utmost importance regardless of the firewood on offer, or how much burn time, and heat their firewood choice may produce.
Choosing a selection of softwoods and hardwoods will give you the best performance and heat from your fireplace this winter. At The Firewood Company, we suggest a mixture of 80/20 selection of softwoods and hardwoods.
Softwood vs Hardwood? What’s the difference?
Softwoods are perfectly suited for starting your fire and getting it to produce a good amount of heat. As hardwoods are a lot denser than their softwood companions, they can be difficult to light and need to be placed into a roaring fire. Hardwoods will burn for longer and produce more heat. It is paramount that the fire is already well-lit before adding any hardwood to the mix. Hardwoods tend to be more expensive than softwoods, however, they produce much more heat and will keep your fire burning for longer, meaning less wood.
When lighting your fire, consider staring with a softwood, then adding hardwoods once the fire is lit. This will give you ample burn time. If you are wanting your fire to burn all day, hardwoods are a must. Your softwood supply will quickly diminish if you are burning for long periods.
Some woods are also not suitable for open fireplaces (the ones without the doors). It’s vital you check what woods you are adding to open fireplaces as some woods, such as Macrocarpa, are notorious for sparking and crackling and could pose a safety issue.
Pine is a very popular and common softwood for most households during winter. Pine is a wonderful fire started and advised for all kindling purposes. As a softwood, pine is much less dense and will burn quickly. Meaning if you are loading your fire up before you go to bed, it will not be surprising if the fire is completely out when you wake early in the morning. If you are in the habit of re-loading your fire during the night, this may not be a problem. However, if you are wanting your fire to burn slowly during the wee hours of the morning, there are better options available to keep your fire going and keep the heat consistent throughout the night. If you are only burning pine, your wood supply will also quickly diminish.
Old Man Pine
Like its younger version, Old Man Pine is also a softwood, but due to its age and resin content, it does burn a little longer than pine alone. These trees can be 30+ years old. Old Man Pine is also very easy to light, making it great for kindling and getting your fire roaring. It is slightly denser than pine it can last longer during the burn season. Due to its high tar and resign properties it can produce heavy smoke.
A great all-around quality softwood. Douglas Fir does produce a good amount of heat and burn time, but as it is also a softwood, it will not perform as well as hardwoods when it comes to the length of time it will burn. Like its softwood cousins, it’s great for kindling and starting the fire, plus it’s easy to split.
Gum is the most common and favoured hardwood variety for use in fireplaces. Being much denser than pine or any softwood it produces an impressive heat and long burn time. Having a good stock of Gum and ensuring you only add this to your fire once it is well-lit will provide you with ample heat and long burn times. Gum is not suitable for kindling or adding to a fresh fire. It will need a nice hot, roaring fireplace to work its heating magic.
Similar to Gum, Macrocarpa is a wonderful choice for fireplaces in the winter. It is also a hardwood and produces impressive heat and long burn times. However, it is important to remember that this particular wood is well known to crackle and spark meaning it is not suitable for open fireplaces. The Firewood Company only recommends Macrocarpa being used in closed wood burning systems.
Needing wood? You know who to call!