Fact – it’s best to dry out logs for household fires by ‘seasoning’ them, otherwise, most of the energy is consumed by evaporating the moisture instead of keeping you warm. What you get is very little heat, lots of smoke and a build-up of creosote in your chimney.
The drier your wood is, the cleaner the burn will be.
Here at RopesDirect, we’re no strangers to log fires and seasoning timber. In fact, we claim a little expertise in this ancient art! And we also stock high-quality, really cheap, blue polypropylene rope, which is an essential purchase if you wish to store the wood correctly.
So to help you prepare for the cold autumn-winter nights, here we’ve created a beginner’s guide on how to season wood quickly and successfully.
5 steps to season firewood
Step 1: Plan ahead
It can take six months or more for most firewood to reach its optimum dryness, and the key to success is to maximise its exposure to sun and wind. Mind you, we’ve let some resinous pine season for three years just to be on the safe side. And at the other end of the scale, it’s not considered bad practice to burn Ash logs green (without seasoning) if you need to. Ash is the only UK wood you can do this with.
It’s also important to choose an ideal spot for storage. Try to identify a location in your garden that is protected from the rain, whilst also benefiting from lots of sunlight. And make sure there’s plenty of space for air to circulate.
Step 2: Chop the wood ready for storage
Chopped wood will dry out much quicker than large logs. Therefore, it’s a good idea to cut your firewood into smaller pieces. The ideal size for you will depend on the size of your wood burner. But generally, each piece should be no more than 15-20cm in diameter and 40cm in length.
You should also think about how much time you have to season the wood. If you’re behind schedule and have less than six months for drying, it may be worth chopping each piece a little smaller.
Step 3: Stack correctly
Air circulation is an essential part of the seasoning process – and to promote rapid drying, it’s important to stack your logs correctly.
For example, you’ll need to stack the wood so that it isn’t sitting directly on the ground or right up against a wall. This will be very easy if you have a woodshed. But if not, a pallet or two lengths of timber can be used to create a dry raised platform and allow air to circulate freely underneath.
Try not to pack the logs too tightly together. And if you don’t have any side supports, stabilise each end of the stack by turning the wood 90° clockwise with each layer.
It’s also worth keeping in mind, bark acts as a lid on moisture. If the wood has been split, stacking it with the cut end facing out – towards the atmosphere – will therefore encourage the wood to dry faster.
Step 4: Cover the stack with a tarpaulin
To protect your stack from any poor weather conditions and additional moisture, you’ll need to cover it up with a piece of heavy-duty tarpaulin.
This will ensure any rainwater (or snow!) simply runs off the edge, without soaking the wood underneath. To maintain coverage, it’s important to tie the tarpaulin down using blue rope, such as that available at RopesDirect. However, be sure to keep the ends of the stack uncovered, so that air can continue to circulate and moisture is still able to escape.
Step 5: Leave the stack for six months or more
The last step is to be patient. Before adding logs to your wood burner, always check them for dryness.
Wood moisture meters are available to buy online for a relatively low price. But a simple test is to knock two pieces of the wood together. If you hear a ‘ring’ rather than a ‘thud’, then it’s probably dry. Alternatively, check the ends of each log for radial cracks. These are usually a good indication that it has fully dried and is ready to use.
Stock up on blue rope and start seasoning
If you’re looking forward to using your cosy wood burner this winter, now is the perfect time to get organised and ensure you have a plentiful supply of dry, clean firewood.
Our blue rope is available to buy by the metre – as well as in bulk reels and coils – for an affordable price. And with plenty of stock in our warehouse, it’s ready for immediate dispatch and could be delivered to your home address the next working day.
So why not stock up on this ‘seasoning wood’ essential and get started? Chop up some wood, stack it up, and secure it down with our blue polypropylene. And if you use our products for this purpose, be sure to leave a review and send us a photograph of your wood stack. We always like to see our ropes in action and would love to hear your feedback.