Category Archives: Wood

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How to light a fire

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There are two popular methods for lighting your fire, in this tip we are looking at the Traditional Method. Thanks to hetas.co.uk for the illustrations

 

What you need:

Newspaper or firelighters

Kindling (small pieces of dried wood)

Larger logs

 

What to do:

Crumple two sheets of newspaper into balls roughly the size of a cricket ball and place them in the hearth. You could also use two firelighters, which have a steadier burn rate

Place your kindling in a triangular tent over the newspaper or firelighters

Place two larger logs either side of your kindling tent

 

Carefully light the newspaper or firelighters which will ignite the kindling and then the logs are the heat increases. Once the fire is burning well you can regularly add more logs to keep it going.

 

 


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Where should I stack my wood?

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Although it may be very attractive from an interior design point of view, the best place to stack your fire wood is not neatly piled up next to your stove. This can be very dangerous and there have been cases of the stacked firewood igniting!

In Oct 2018 a house fire occurred in Dorchester due to logs being stacked too close to the wood burner.

Your wood burner’s operating instructions should give a minimum distance for combustible materials, but we would advise at least 3 feet.


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Why should you use dry firewood?

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Whilst it is true that any wood will burn, it is advisable to always burn dry firewood. Wood that hasn’t been dried still has water in it and a lot of energy (heat) created by burning is wasted in turning that water to steam. The benefits of properly dried firewood are:

 

  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Increased heat output
  • Easier to light
  • Less smoke
  • Less soot deposits

 

You can dry your own firewood or buy a branded dry firewood, such as Ready to Burn

Read How to dry your firewood for more information


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How to dry your firewood

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It is possible to dry your own firewood. The process takes at least one year and preferably two for maximum efficiency. You will need a supply of suitable wood (read What is the best type of wood to burn?) and a weather proof wood store.

The wood needs to be cut and stacked in a completely water proof environment. If you do not have the correct facilities ensure you buy seasoned wood from an accredited supplier. The best kiln dried wood has a water content of less than 20%.


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What is the best type of wood to burn

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Wood has been the natural choice for fires since the first caveman lit a flame, but there are many types of wood, so which is best

Apple – Burns slowly and produces a pleasant scent

Ash – Produces a steady flame and good heat output

Beech – A great wood for burning, with great heat

Birch – Burns quickly, but produced good heat

Hawthorn – Traditional firewood with a slow burn

Horse Chestnut – Better in stoves than open fires, as it can spit, but strong heat output

Oak – Small flame, but very slow burning

Robina – Slow burn and strong heat, but can produce an acrid smoke

Thorn – Steady flame and very strong heat without excess smoke.

 

Don’t forget that any wood you use needs to be dried properly, read How to dry your firewood