Log burnerists. Kiln dried Ash, Beech or Oak?

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  • Log burnerists. Kiln dried Ash, Beech or Oak?
  • benz
    Member

    I’ve generally been buying kiln dried Birch from home bargains, but also have a small stock of seasoned and seasoning Beech, Scots Pine and Larch. It is generally about 15>20% water content but I’d like it to season a bit further.

    However, I also fancy having an immediately burnable stock.

    So…experiences of burning Ash, Beech or Oak?

    I had some Sekelbos which was fantastic….

    johndoh
    Member

    No idea. I just get stuff and burn it – whatever is in the bag (and never bother with kiln dried) or whatever I have laying around (old pallets for kindling, trees/bushes cut down from the garden etc.

    Assuming you have a good installation and an efficient stove I would say that any suitable seasoned wood will burn well.

    jimjam
    Member

    So…experiences of burning Ash, Beech or Oak?

    All burn great if seasoned correctly. Ash will take the least amount of time (and can be burnt green) but it does benefit from drying out. To my mind oak burns a little slower, and beech takes a little longer to season but I can’t say I’ve timed them in any scientific way.

    All make great firewood. Saying that, even stuff that is supposed to be rubbish can be brilliant if seasoned correctly. I think a lot of the conventional logic around firewood is from open fire use.

    jonah tonto
    Member

    Beech is my favourite but needs 18 months split to season, and it’s a bugger to split. Oak next best and is ready after a yr.

    kormoran
    Member

    Drying wood in a kiln to burn is ridiculous. Where’s the energy coming from to run the kiln?

    thecaptain
    Member

    All hardwoods are pretty much the same IME, more dense means more heat per volume but the differences aren’t huge. Once you get to softwood or ancient bog oak it’s a different story but even then it all burns fine so who cares. If it’s dry it will burn well and if it’s wet it’s shite.

    sharkbait
    Member

    Ash is pretty epic (certainly wouldn’t bother kiln drying it) and oak is surprisingly ‘average’ – takes a looong time to dry.

    Oak next best and is ready after a yr.

    not in my experience – doesn’t seem to burn any better than other woods.

    dantsw13
    Member

    If you want a quick supply, consider willow. It gets a bad rep as it’s very wet, but it dries to <20% in 2-3 months.

    I get free access to it from the cricket bat manufacturers in my village- its most of what I burn, topped up with a bit of foraged silver birch and oak. It’s much less dense than hardwood but burns really well

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Subscriber

    Kiln dried is completely pointless, unless your log store is completely sealed off to the environment.

    jimjam
    Member

    Nobeerinthefridge – Member

    Kiln dried is completely pointless, unless

    Unless your business is selling firewood and you need a faster way to season wood.

    jonah tonto
    Member

    The Firewood Poem

    Beechwood fires are bright and clear
    If the logs are kept a year,
    Chestnut’s only good they say,
    If for logs ’tis laid away.
    Make a fire of Elder tree,
    Death within your house will be;
    But ash new or ash old,
    Is fit for a queen with crown of gold

    Birch and fir logs burn too fast
    Blaze up bright and do not last,
    it is by the Irish said
    Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
    Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
    E’en the very flames are cold
    But ash green or ash brown
    Is fit for a queen with golden crown

    Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
    Fills your eyes and makes you choke,
    Apple wood will scent your room
    Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom
    Oaken logs, if dry and old
    keep away the winter’s cold
    But ash wet or ash dry
    a king shall warm his slippers by.
    -lady Celia Congreve

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Subscriber

    Unless your business is selling firewood and you need a faster way to season wood.

    I’m pretty sure the OP isn’t in the business of selling timber, just a hunch…. 😆

    dashed
    Member

    My experience of oak is a) it takes ages to season – a year plus, so if cut one winter / spring then won’t be ready until 18 months later b) it smoulders without much flame so is best burnt with a mix of other woods.

    I love beech – I find it splits very easily, except the knotty bits but that’s standard for most woods.

    Ash is definitely the best though – splits like a dream and will burn green but definitely better seasoned.

    jimjam
    Member

    Nobeerinthefridge – Member

    Unless your business is selling firewood and you need a faster way to season wood.

    I’m pretty sure the OP isn’t in the business of selling timber, just a hunch…. [/quote]

    I’m pretty sure he is considering buying some from someone who is. Also, just a hunch.

    +1 for the kiln haters.

    Why would you do it… just why

    benz
    Member

    Kiln dried = assurance of ability to burn straight away v delivery of potentially variable moisture content from whatever local supplier(s) happens to have then potentially having to store immediately unusable wood.

    I’ve seen some real damp sh!t being delivered to some of our neighbours which they then need to season themselves taking up their fixed storage space.

    Kiln dried stored under cover in well ventilated storage area so no direct exposure to rain, etc but it will pick up a certain amount of moisture from the atmosphere.

    I’d prefer to burn at < 10% moisture content than 20% moisture content too.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    kormoran wrote:

    Drying wood in a kiln to burn is ridiculous. Where’s the energy coming from to run the kiln?

    there are a couple of massive solar farm near here that alledgedly can’t push all the energy they generate into the grid so the excess gets used to run wood drying kilns.

    I bet they still get paid subsidies as well.

    Premier Icon lesgrandepotato
    Subscriber

    I did ask this before, the energy for the kilns is waste energy from another industrial process on the stuff the inlaws buy.

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    I have indulged in Kiln dried Hardwood ash (builders bag @ £85) for decorative purposes in a couple of indoor log stores, had too much so have burnt some of it and it is always very good, burns hot, easily and for a long time. Also bought from same supplier quality air dried mixed, which burns hot and easily, but quite fast (builders bag @ £65). In my outdoor log store and what I generally burn in the stove is local dried tree surgeon waste which could be anything, generally burns less hot and is more difficult to ‘manage’ in the stove, but cheap (builders bag @ £30).

    neilnevill
    Member

    Kiln dried doesn’t guarantee final moisture content so isn’t a guarantee of quality.

    Wood absorbs water from the air, although slowish. Something dried to say 10% would take few months (dry, covered outside log store) to get to about 18% . I pick 18% as that’s where it ends up, or down to if air dried, or there abouts. End point depends on stores relative humidity and temperature, so UK winter conditions give about 18% , wetter in damp or cold areas, drier by a few% in the summer.

    Oak gives up it’s moisture slowly.

    Denser means more energy and specific calorific content varies little between species, although softwood with more lignin actually has slightly higher specific calorific value, but not by much, and given the density of hardwood stuff like Oak, ash and beech are some of our best woods for fuel, about half as much energy again as soft of the same volume….. So long as it’s dried…. Soft dries easily, hard takes longer

    neilnevill
    Member

    With kiln dried there are assume weird things going on, not really driven by ‘wanting to dry and sell fast, not store for ages’. Alot comes in bulk from Eastern Europe where it may not be felled to UK sustainable practices, and is kiln dried so it’s exportable (bugs are killed). So with drying and transport it’s co2 contribution can be very high. UK produced stuff if often dried using a pellet feed boiler and the money made is the rhi (sustainable grant on running the boiler), the wood is almost irrelevant!

    pistonbroke
    Member

    Probable useless info but olive wood can be burnt immediately, burns hot and lasts ages. It also helps if you live in a valley 20km x 8km which is 90% olive groves. We also only need the fire for 3 months of the year.

    Premier Icon granny_ring
    Subscriber

    Ash every time.

    timber
    Member

    Everything burns once dry, some stuff gets there quicker. Kiln dried will assume the humidity of where it is stored, so kept in a shed with seasoned air dried timber = negligible difference.
    RHI payments definitely make kiln dried a viable business and can have hedge wood ready in short time, quick money all round.

    Wet woods will tend to give up their moisture readily, stuff like willow and alder, can be ready to burn quite soon and do fine in burners, but not so well in open fires. Burners have improved combustion considerably.

    Sell everything and burn everything at home, common factor is dry. You are just burning/releasing the energy and that is more dense in some logs, that energy is fixed at the point of felling until rot sets in, it is most efficiently released when dry. Seasoned / dried wood is only as dry as your storage.

    sharkbait
    Member

    Ha – well having said this about Oak

    doesn’t seem to burn any better than other woods.

    My supplier (a tree surgeon) has just phoned to ask if I want about 6 tons of Oak for £90 delivered.

    Obvs I said yes.

    Pics to follow after delivery tonight (apparently the trunk is about 4′ in diameter!)

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    ash (builders bag @ £85)

    Is that a ton bag or like one of those thigh high builders bags you get sand cement etc in and can pick up and put in the boot? If it’s the small one that is astounding, tragic and hilarious at the same time. I shall have to tell the old man there’s thousands of pounds decomposing in his garden.

    jimjam
    Member

    The smaller ones you are referring to are probably barrow bags (though they may have other names). I can drag a “ton” bag of seasoned softwood about, so it’s obviously not a ton.

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    Is that a ton bag or like one of those thigh high builders bags you get sand cement etc in and can pick up and put in the boot?

    I think they’re around 1m cubed and called a ‘large dumpy bag’, maybe. I worked it out at 30p a log, so about 285 logs in a bag. you wouldn’t get one in the back of a car, but would in a T5 or pickup.

    sharkbait
    Member

    ^^ About .7m3 apparently.

    dorsetknob
    Member

    Living next to a farm I get a mixture of hard and soft woods, all burn on a log burner but if you’re burning unseasoned just remember to sweep the chimo more often.

    neilnevill
    Member

    Ton bags, builders bags, dumpy bags, cube bags…. They are a cubic yard. 0.9m X 0.9 X 0.9 so 0.73 m³. However they do stretch and grow with use. Loosely tossed the actual wood (not air ) content is variable but likely about half, compared to about 2/3rds for tightly stacked. So about 0.37m3 of actual wood. A hard wood like oak or ash, at 20% MC has a specific gravity of about 0.7-0.75. So about 270kg of wood.

    neilnevill
    Member

    Good deal shark bait!

    Find a good tree surgeon and befriend them. My tree surgeon friend texts me when he has nice wood, keeps it aside for me and last week delivered to me. I’ve tried to pay, tried to give him beer/wine/chocolate… He won’t take it! Currently got about 20m3 CSS and another 4 or 5 to be done….. Think I need more! 😈

    Painey
    Member

    Reading this with interest as we hope to get a log burner installed in the next 12-18 months. I’m also about to have a tree surgeon friend fell a mature hornbeam in our garden, I’ve asked him to chop it up for us so we can use it in a couple of years. I presume that should burn well too?

    neilnevill
    Member

    Horn beam is excellent (according to my brother who has 20+ years experience, one of his most favourite-ist, I’ve never had it though) It will only dry slowly until split.

    pistonbroke
    Member

    A chap we know who works for the forestal turned up today with a tractor and trailer full of olive tree logs. We’d asked for about a tonne to start us off this winter until we start to prune our own trees. Seems something got lost in translation as he delivered 1800kg. Never mind we can keep it for next year. Our woodburner is our only heating but it never gets really cold here, it’s only fallen below freezing twice since we moved 2 years ago.

    neilnevill
    Member

    Some of my favourites.
    Holly – a very dense softwood, same as Oak almost. Dries easily and lights and burns well, a doddle to split

    Sycamore is easy to split, dries fast burns ok but it’s not a dense hardwood at 0.6 specific density

    False acacia, aka robinia psuedo acacia. I’ve a couple of m³ of this and am looking forward to trying it. The Americans call it black locust and rate it very very highly. It’s about as dense as Oak but is soooooo easy to split is laughable….I even split some rounds with my kindling hatchet!

    Leyland cypress. It’s actually a fairly dense soft wood at 0.55-0.6 and being a soft wood it dries fast and lights easily

    Yew – incredibly dense softwood. Depleted uranium in a stove. HOT!!!!

    Premier Icon welshfarmer
    Subscriber

    Problem with Oak is that, although it burns hot, it needs a lot of oxygen. Hence it is a great firewood for an open hearth, but is much less suited to a woodburner which tend to operate on the lowest air-feed setting for most of the time. In my experience the best all-round woods for a woodburner are ash and hawthorn. Sycamore and Alder can also be used to good effect if quick heat is needed after lighting, but they don’t have much staying power.

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    NeilNevill can you do the maths on a ‘cage’ (loosely tossed) for me please? :-). local Tree Surgeon price is now winter prices so large dumpy bag of mixed = £38, cage of mixed = £65. No idea what a cage is or it’s dimensions?, he tells me it’s loads cheaper, but only with “oh, it’s like two dumpy bags.ish plus a bit, sort of thingy, there abouts”.

    neilnevill
    Member

    Could a cage be an ibc? Bet it is. They have 1m3 volume I think….. Google says 2 common sizes, 1040 and 1250 litres. You can do the maths from there.

    schrickvr6
    Member

    We had a load of chestnut last year, it burns really well and long with a bluish flame but it’s a total pig to split. We’ll burn pretty much anything and just scavenge what we can, I don’t see how paying for logs can be economical. Edit: have got a big pile of cherry as well which is great, just chuck a log on now and again for a bit of flavour.

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