Whether you only occasionally use wood in a stove, or you rely on it to keep your dwelling warm and cosy, it’s good to be clear on what is the best wood to use. Often producers sell firewood with minimal information, so it can be challenging to discern what is the best option for you, especially if you have recently installed a wood burner to your property.
In this post we will talk through some of the factors which will help you decide what is the best type of wood for your needs.
Hardwood or softwood?
When you call the co-op the first thing we will ask is whether you want hardwood or softwood. So let’s start by getting clear on what we mean by that.
Hardwood loads from the coop will contain firewood from trees such as Ash, Willow and Oak, that grow slower with more dense rings within the tree. Hardwood firewood is known for burning for longer but can be harder to establish a fire with. Hardwood tends to be heavier but also is more expensive to buy.
Softwood is from our Douglas fir or larch trees. This grows much faster and is therefore less dense wood. Softwood tends to be lighter in weight. It lights much quicker than hardwood and it burns hotter and faster. Softwood is also a cheaper option.
Often people ask us whether using softwood or hardwood is better? The answer is neither; it depends on your needs. Some people prefer to have a mix of both in stock, as this allows them to start a fire easily with softwood, then move onto hardwood to sustain a well-established blaze. In some uses, such as for cooking food, a hotter fire created by softwood is better.
When trees are first felled they are referred to as green or unseasoned wood. Wood burns best with low moisture content. In order to achieve this we season all our wood for two years, which means it is stored undercover in long lengths. Over time, the wind and sun dry out the wood which creates better firewood.
When a customer orders wood for burning we ask them what length they need, we then cut and split the wood to match the need. Although the wood should be ready to burn at this point, once cut and split, if kept under cover it will continue to dry.
We always recommend people buy wood well in advance of when they want to burn it, as demand increases for us in cold weather. But more importantly, cutting and splitting firewood in the summer months will help further reduce moisture content – this means you get better quality wood and will use less of it.
As with most things in life, it pays to be organised! If you’re in need of a wood store give us a call, as we can also supply these to help keep your timber dry.
Wood burns best with low moisture content – we achieve this through traditional seasoning.
Size of firewood
We also ask what size firewood you need when you order from us, so we can work out what is the best option for your needs. Our machines will cut wood from 25-50 cm as standard – we can also cut to 20 cm for a small additional charge. Why does this matter? Because if you get wood in too big pieces they may not fit into your burner or stove, leading to more work for you to get them down to size.
If the pieces are too small for your size of burner you may find it more work to keep the stove topped up and burning steadily. In general, we would recommend the largest size that fits in your burner comfortably, as this enables pieces as big as you can take, which will burn slowly and efficiently.
We grow, fell and season our firewood in Ffynone woods, north Pembrokeshire, West Wales.
We offer a delivery service locally which is free within 7 miles to deliver to most places in Boncath, Crymych, Llanferynch, Newcastle Emlyn, Glandwr, Hermon, Cardigan, Eglwyswrw and St Dogmaels. There is a nominal fuel charge for locations beyond this.