Over the course of this short firewood buyer's guide, I hope to help you be far more informed.
In this part I want to cover the option that we consider to be the best value firewood available (and is our best seller by a ratio of nearly 3:1) and give some explanation why.
Larch is, in our opinion, the best "bang for buck" firewood available.
Although a softwood, it is the best quality softwood available.
It has a great calorific (energy) density (actually improved gram for gram over hardwood due to the relatively energy-dense resins). See the table below where European larch is shown as the highest energy density of all species tested.
This table is obviously not the whole story, as the bulk density of larch is less than hardwoods, but it does allow it to compete on a more even footing.
It has fantastic drying properties, it will drop it's moisture content below 17% without kiln-drying (vital with the current pressure to reduce stove emissions, more detail here on stove emissions. Whenever you can drop moisture content in firewood, you get a higher net energy production, as less energy is required to evaporate the water.
So these 2 burning qualities are then supported by the pricing advantages:
Larch is plentiful, quick growing and much lower priced. It also comes into us in much more efficient log sizes; good diameters and very straight.
This allows our production team to process more quickly, making savings that we can pass on to you.
So you can see why we recommend our Ready to Burn Larch for most situations. We have it available in both a 10"(25cm) or 8"(20cm) length.
Seasonally, we also have a unique offering where we sell larch in a "semi-seasoned" state, this is called our semi-seasoned larch;
After felling, this product is dried for many months in the forest, and then in our yard.
By the time we go to process it into firewood logs, the worst of the moisture has dried out. This allows us to supply this product to you, fresh off the splitter (and therefore at very low cost) but with a moisture content around 30%.
Now, the real advantage of larch comes to the fore; after splitting and delivery to you, the logs will only take 6-8 weeks to lose that last bit of moisture and get down below the 23% moisture content required for normal burning.
Should you store them in a good quality log seasoning area (which we will talk about in a future installment), within 3 months they will get to 17% which is below even kiln-drying moisture levels (20%)
These properties of larch, allied to it’s high burning quality, make it, in our opinion, one of the best firewood species out there.
In the next article we will cover the other wood species and types.