Buying in logs in the summer time

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firewood
firewood

Ordering seasoned logs in the summer helps keep the moisture content down. With time, seasoned logs can get down to the same moisture content as kiln-dried logs – at a much cheaper cost than kiln-dried logs. One of the many benefits to buying your wood in the summer is the price of the wood logs. Not a lot of people require wood to burn in their stoves during summer. As a result, demand can be lower. Also, the price of the logs can also in turn be lower too. This can prove to be a win-win no end and a very wise idea when it comes to planning ahead for the winter months.

If you think that ordering kiln dried logs is the preserve of the cooler months, think again! In fact, firewood plays an increasingly prominent role in helping us to bring the indoors out during the summer. An increasing number of our customers choose to buy firewood in the summer and for some very good reasons. An obvious point here is that the air is drier. Also, the logs will be in better condition well before burning the logs in the colder and more wintery months.

Don’t just wait until the winter months

Unfortunately, most of us wait for the first cold snap of autumn before buying a load of seasoned logs and the laws of supply and demand will dictate that we’re going to pay a premium: too many people chasing a limited resource. Availability of logs last year was particularly bad, probably due to gas prices and concern over gas supplies. This has come around again given the war being seen now out in Ukraine.

During times seen with a peak demand, a supplier’s description that their logs are ‘seasoned’ is also open to interpretation. This can range from being a bit moist to downright sodden. If the moisture content of the logs you buy is not down to around 20% to 25% a lot of the heat will be wasted evaporating the water in the wood. This is very bad for you and bad for the environment. The logs that don’t burn well will generate more smoke and nasty particulates. If you’ve ever witnessed your neighbours pointing at your chimney stack and tutting, this is what they will in turn be pointing at so this is where and how it is wise to choose and buy your logs in the most careful manner.

Whether you have an open fire or a wood-burning stove, the key to a crackling flame at the maximum heat and lowest possible cost to you and the environment is to buy your logs early and make sure they dry during the best possible time – the summer months. If you have the option of getting hardwood such as beech or ash it’s worth considering as it burns more slowly than softwood though it is more expensive and it also takes a lot longer to season.

Seasoning your logs

The best way to season logs is to use a purpose built log store that will keep the logs off the damp ground and protect them from the elements (yes, it rains in the UK in summer) but at the same time allows air to flow around the logs to dry them.

Drying starts from the outside of a log and moves towards the centre so you need to keep as much of the surface area of each log exposed to the air flow. You can certainly help here by stacking the logs to leave air gaps between them. This is quite easy to do with quarter-sawn logs which is how they’re typically supplied. Bear in mind that good log stacking is like dry-stone walling: it takes time, it’s back-breaking but it is total absorbing and enjoyable once you get into it.

Kiln-dried logs are the best

Kiln-dried logs are the best type of wood fuel to burn for fires. Having been cut and dried, they contain very little moisture. Kiln dried logs contain 20% or less moisture. This makes the wood easy to burn and helps it burn cleanly with less smoke and spitting. Dry logs are also much easier to store as there is less opportunity for further damp, rot or insects to get inside. Choosing kiln dried logs is one of the most carbon-effective wood fuels you can get, and is the best choice for indoor and outdoor fires.

Bagged kiln-dried logs

If you don’t have fires too often, you might choose to purchase bulk bag kiln dried logs, especially if you don’t have a dedicated weatherproof log store or woodshed for keeping logs in. Our bagged kiln dried logs are supplied in hard-wearing plastic bags of woven polypropylene. This tough material is waterproof and thanks to the woven structure, they are very sturdy, making them less likely to rip or tear and let damp in, while allowing breathability to prevent the wood from sweating or swelling while stored.

This type of bagged kiln dried firewood is often referred to as a ‘dumpy bag’. Kiln-dried firewood in dumpy bags are also a unit of measurement. For example, you could order 4 dumpy bags of kiln dried logs from your local supplier and you’d get roughly the same amount of wood in each bag. Dumpy bags are great for repurposing too. You could take them back to your log store and get them refilled each time, saving on new bags, or repurpose them for use in building and construction, or even for holding your recycling.

In detail

First, look at where you want to store the bagged logs. Is it on a patio, gravel or grass? Is it next to a shed or outbuilding? Does the area where you want to store them regularly have puddles or is it prone to holding water? Consider getting some wooden pallets and laying those down before you store the log bags. The pallets lift the bags off the ground and stop puddles forming around the base. This prevents water from getting into the bags and ruining the wood. You could also get some old bricks and create small feet or chocks to rest the bags on. Just make sure they stay put and properly support the bags.

To add to this, you need to make sure your logs are protected from rain, damp and frost. Most bagged kiln dried firewood in dumpy bags do not have a top cover, so you need to add something to keep the wet from getting into the wood supply. If you’re able to store your logs against a wall, fence or building, you could create a tarpaulin roof. Make one that stretches across and anchors to the fixed structure. Make sure it’s tied down securely. Also, make sure the water can run off rather than gather in the middle. For logs stored on pallets, you could also tie tarpaulin or plastic sheeting to the pallet with bungee ropes. Just pull it over the top of the bag. Then secure it tightly to the pallet to keep your wood store dry and snug.

Overall

No matter how you choose to store your firewood, always select kiln dried firewood. Do so from a reputable supplier to guarantee a safe, clean burn. It will be able to generate that lovely warm and cosy feeling you get from a fire. This can also prove to be the cleanest way to also warm your home too. This is in the sense that you will be burning much cleaner smoke. Also, you will be doing so in a manner that is better too for the environment.

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