Firewood Buyer’s Guide Part 4: A Quick Guide to Firewood Seasoning

In the last post we talked about the implications of kiln drying, smokeless zones and burning dry wood.

So, if we have space and don’t want to pay the higher price for kiln dried wood, what are the best tips for successful log drying/seasoning;

Seasoning of firewood can be defined quite easily as “drying”. The reference to the “seasons” is old fashioned. Logs can be dried in ambient air around your house, or in the garden or in your house.

Logs need to be relatively dry before burning or your fire will waste heat just evaporating the water before the logs will burn, and as previously discussed, will burn cool, so not completely combusting all gasses and creating more tar and smoke.

In most cases, the best way to dry logs is to place them in a part of your garden area, that gets the maximum wind and/or sunlight. The greater the air flow, the faster the drying rate. Also the warmer the air and the logs, the faster the drying rate.

Logs lose most of their internal water through the ends, so you should stack your logs with their ends outwards and facing the wind. Getting airflow through, under and around the pile is vital. Set your stack up on pallets and keep it slightly away from any walls. It only needs a very basic rain cover, as logs do not reabsorb much moisture once the core is dry. The image below is a good example.

I am often asked whether logs can be dried  successfully in a garage. This is a quite strong no. Unless you leave the doors open, there is just not enough airflow to successfully dry logs, especially those towards the rear of the stack. The same goes for cellars. In fact some older garages do not have damp proof courses installed and can be quite wet with moisture rising up through the floor.

A clever trick, if you have the time and inclination, is to set up an internal buffer storage in your house, it could be behind or beside your fire or in any spare place within another room such as a utility room or airing cupboard. If logs can get a few weeks inside a house, it makes a huge difference to their burning properties. (they appear to warm up, as well as losing any surface moisture).