Firewoodtrackworld – collection and seasoning etc

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  • Firewoodtrackworld – collection and seasoning etc
  • Having never owned a house with an open fire (on a house for that matter) I am somewhat excited to finally have both!

    Regarding firewood – the previous owner has left me a little and some coal, which probably won’t completely see me through the winter however its a good start.

    How long after felling should you split and start the drying process?

    I only ask as the there is quite a lot of timber from a (non-evergreen i think) tree that was felled at my work about 6 months ago and left to lie in 1-2′ diameter up to 2′ lengths. Its all sned’d(sp?) but has been left in leaf litter so is a bit damp and has the occasional fungus on it but I have split a couple of bits and its not started rotting down. I’m just wondering it splitting and stacking / drying over summer for next ywinter would be worth trying?

    Im hoping the answer is yes as there is about half a transit vans worth…

    EDIT: Feel free to recommend me an axe as I now have legitimate reason to buy one! 😀 😀 😈 😆

    Premier Icon footflaps

    I cut down a Sycamore in Feb this year and am burning it now without any problems.


    get yourself one of these

    for logburner with flue you’re looking for wood with less than 20% moisture in it to burn efficiently and limit soot/tar build ups. sounds like that pile would need splitting/cutting up and drying out for a year or two (depending how small you chop it). but don’t worry if its got a bit of moss/mould on it, you just don’t want to waste time with rotten wood. as for open fire pretty sure you can burn whatever – my girlfriends dad burns allsorts he brings back from the woods

    i’ve got some logs i ‘found’, split them and they have 20% moisture reading so gonna burn it straight away (pine of some sort – no idea what mind)


    I would say yes and get a maul not an axe!

    Well i’ve chuck a few of the largest lumps in the van and its all pretty solid so I’ll split some and see what its like.

    Cheers for any advice re: burning stuff! as its all new to me. Also a ‘wood grenade’ sounds like it should be bought for the name! 😆 😈

    Premier Icon unklebuck

    I know a guy in Stourbridge that’s pretty cheap for bulk deliveries of smokeless fuel who I’ve used for the last few years (assuming that’s near where your new place is). Will look it up when I get home.

    As long as you have a bed of hot coal you can chuck almost anything on an open fire, but:

    It can make some nice popping and crackling noises, throwing red hot fragments of wood onto your flooring as it does so. Stovists miss out on the excitement of trying to get to said hot embers before your carpet starts looking like someone has been stubbing ciggies on it.

    You can cause tar deposits in the chimney, which are hard for your chimney sweep to remove.


    Re sparks and burning bits on the heath mat.
    It will take many years but eventually you will be able to lick your fingers whilst diving across the room to flick the embers back into the fire without burning said fingers.
    Develop the habit of picking up all free wood the second you see it before some one else does.


    Soon you’ll be driving around looking at trees wondering which ones will be coming down in the next high wind. Anyway, ash is imo simply the best if you can get it. Burns well even when green and even better when seasoned. It’s lovely to split too.

    Regarding tools I’ll probably get flamed or accused of creating some sort of snobish elitist niche (within a niche) but I would avoid buying fiberglass handled cheaper tools like the ones linked. In my experience they all break, the resin around the head cranks, leaving the head wonky and loose, and since they aren’t designed to be repaired or re hung you might as well bin them. Get yourself a nice Gransfors Bruks or Wetterlings (or a Husqvarna). They are so much nicer to use, and just fantastic tools that are worth looking after and maybe even passing down to your kids.

    Mauls are designed for busting huge logs, often seasoned or even frozen. A splitting axe is a much more nimble and effective tool unless your dealing with gigantic stuff. And a splitting wedge is almost as effective as a wood grenade but has the added versatility of being able to split trunks open for trail building etc.

    Cheers Buck that would (wood) be appreciated, I’m meant to be in a smokeless zone so shouldn’t be burning too much real wood anyway but I’m sure some will sneak on!

    Cheers for the Recomendations Jimjam, those do look lovely, though unfortunately having just bought a house the budget ones are about all I can stretch too for the time being. I do usually adhere to the ‘buy cheap buy twice ‘ adage however I just don’t have the money currently, maybe in a couple of years when I’ve learnt how to do it and won’t just instantly ruin them…


    we start of with some kindling and maybe some dry stuff then bung anything on it, some stuff spits and fizes but mostly all works ok.



    Cheers for the Recomendations Jimjam, those do look lovely, though unfortunately having just bought a house the budget ones are about all I can stretch too for the time being.

    You can still pick up Husqvarna branded axes relatively cheaply. By all accounts they are factory seconds from Wetterlings or Hultafors. So still high carbon Swedish steel with hickory handles. The quality can be somewhat variable mind. I got my dad one for xmas last year and I wasn’t overly impressed with the way it had been hung, and the finish on the handle wasn’t great. Bit of sanding, some boiled linseed oil and polish and sharpening the head and it looked great.


    I’d second the fibreglass handled stuff. Ours broke in less than a year but the hickory handled one has been great ever since. That’s chopped up a huge amount of wood.

    We use a moisture tester to test but all our wood has been seasoned at least 12 months. I have wood in our store that will have been seasoned for over 18 months by the time we burn it next winter.

    Premier Icon burko73

    Get it split and stacked against a south facing wall with some sort of cover on top only. It’ll prob be fine. I tend to stack with the split side facing up and get a tin sheet on the top. Any mould on it will dry up and burn as well.

    I’ve got a husqvarna splitting axe but it’s no match for a bahco splitting maul. The mcp version here:

    I’d second the avoidance of the cheapo fibreglass super mauls. They are too big and heavy for all day use. These have great reviews as well:

    Also, Google splitting with a tyre or something.

    We used to use an old tyre screwed with coach bolts to a massive ring of timber. Put your firewood (in ring form) into tyre, chop it to bits, then you can pick the whole lot up with your arms and chuck it in the wheelbarrow/ trailer/ Woodstore as none of it will fall on the floor. It’ll revolutionise wood chopping ( until you get a commercial grade hydraulic splitter or processor….)


    Another vote here for a real maul with a wood handle. Somebody bought me a fibreglass one and the head worked loose within half a dozen blows so I took it back and paid the few pounds extra for a proper one.


    Oh, and if you are getting wood from people who chop down trees, the pieces that are where branches joined the trunk can be really difficult to break up. We have 7 or 8 lumps just sitting there because they refused to split under concerted attacks with a big maul.

    I’ve bought a couple of log bombs and tested them on one piece, splits them nicely. Well worth it, cheap too although you’ll need a sledgehammer.

    Premier Icon geoffj

    Fiskars X25 or X27 for me.
    Seasoning time depends on many factors, but you should always try to cut and split as soon after felling as possible.
    Ash is ok, but overrated because of that bloody poem – burning it green wastes a lot of energy as well as potentially damaging the flue.

    This book isn’t perfect, but it’s an interesting read –
    The Wood Fire Handbook


    Been splitting wood by hand for 40 years. Totally fail to see any difference between fibre glass and wood for shaft apart from the latter eventually snapping by the head where eventually erosion does the damage. Mauls are great but not in nice splitting stuff as they throw the chunks too far away which means moving your feet to pick up the bits. Keep an axe handy. Ex WD ones are fine. Anything touch like joints etc just gets the saw through, it’s quicker.

    Premier Icon Stoner

    I too fail to see the problem with fibreglass mauls, Ive been using a Roughneck one for a few years now with no problems. Sure Id love a hickory one, but the roughneck was very good VFM.

    As for david47 s link to the stovesonline firewood grading list, I take a little umbrage with that. I think their ranking system is biased to the lazy perhaps. Poplar, my wood of choice, is ranked 1 out of 4. Common misconception seems to be its a wet, easy rotting wood. That’s a lazy view I think. Yes it’s is not a dense wood, but Im burning 13-15% dried split logs that make for as high an efficiency burn as you could hope for. Poplar cord is easy to manhandle, upto 10yr old it will split just by looking at it aggressively. In a windy undercover store it will dry in <9months once split to 4-5″. I also like to burn willow too. Maybe Im just contrarian.

    Big ol’ poplar standards arent suitable for burning as they are a git to split.

    Premier Icon geoffj

    that bloody poem

    Beechwood fire burns bright and clear
    If the logs are kept a year.
    Store your beech for Christmastide
    With new year holly cut beside.
    Chestnut`s only good they say
    If for years `tis stored away.
    Birch and firewood burn to fast
    Blaze too bright and do not last.
    Flames from larch will shoot up high
    Dangerously the sparks will fly.
    But ashwood green and ashwood brown
    Are fit for a Queen with a golden crown.
    Oaken logs if dry and old
    Keep away the winter cold.
    Poplar gives a bitter smoke
    Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
    Elmwood burns like churchyard mold
    E`en the very flames are cold.
    Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread
    So it is in Ireland said.
    Applewood will scent the room
    Pearwood smells like flowers in bloom.
    But ashwood wet and ashwood dry
    A king may warm his slippers by.

    I prefer this version

    Welly boots will stink and smoke,
    Pallet wrap your flu will choke
    But tyres treaded or tyres bald
    Will keep away the winter’s cold.

    Burning tapes and DVDs,
    Will cause your ecofan to seize.
    A gallon of petrol in the grate,
    Will put you in a terrible state.
    But tyres white or tyres black,
    Will warm your aching back.

    Plastic bottles, tubs and spoons
    Your neighbours will complain of fumes
    But tyres old and tyres new
    Will finish them off with acrid plumes.



    Yes, the stuff will burn. How long to season will depend on species.
    Split it, get it off the floor,covered and allow it airflow in a sunny spot, should be good in a year (species dependent, oak for example likes longer)
    You will learn which species do and don’t spit, from experience it seems to be softwood and willows. A big expendable rug in front of the fire will cure immediate worries. Be wary of Lawson Cypress though, that could make it 10′ from the fire when it spits, but burns like rocket fuel.

    Splitting maul for the initial breaking, they have a handle for removal unlike grenades, seen customers with 2 wedged in a block that we have had to cut out. I prefer the wooden handles, spent a long time smashing stuff with sledgehammers when I worked for a marquee firm and no one liked the fibreglass ones as they had odd flex and rebound tendencies, we could drive in harder with wooden handles. My maul at home is a cheapy, my one at work is one found in a woods that we clearfelled, 15 years after it was last thinned.

    Out of interest I do have a mesh fireguard on the fire – do they actually stop much of the spitting – it looks quite fine mesh?

    I think I might just buy some cheap ones for now and see how much splitting I do myself, as I don’t know if I’ll be able to source a lot of firewood myself or end up having to buy in, especially as I recently lost a close friend and resident !local friendly tree surgeon’. If I end up doing a lot then I might invest in one of those fancy looking Swedish numbers!

    I’m not entirely sure what species this is but I’ll see if it splits and what it looks like. I’ve got a couple of wire fronted covered ex-aviaries which have been cleaned out and I think the previous occupant was using to store wood. So I might stack it in there until I can arrange something better.


    “Out of interest I do have a mesh fireguard on the fire – do they actually stop much of the spitting – it looks quite fine mesh?”

    they do prevent the spitting – they also do a great job at preventing heat coming out ….. so you will take it away to let the heat out …. adn with that comes spitting.

    IMO for an open fire i would be using smokeless coal.

    I suspected that might be the case Trail_rat! I guess it’s there to be put in front of the fire when you go to bed etc.

    I will be mostly burning smokeless coal and other smokeless fuel as I’m in a smoke free zone, and I do have some coal already, but the odd log on the fire is always nice 🙂

    Premier Icon stu170

    Open fire here, use coal and whatever wood I stubble across. Currently working through some sort of evergreen that came down in some high winds. Not a tree spotter so no idea what it is. But I do know that it was sawn and chopped on Sunday and was burnt last night no bother. Was very wet, left the split logs stacked in front of the fire for around 4 hours,chucked on an went a dream, keep the rotation going so no need to stack and store. I even chuck on unsplit. There isn’t a science to it really. Get the fire hot with coal and anything will burn on it

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