Firewood Tips and Tricks

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The 40-60 degree fall days in Oct and Nov are perfect times to get your firewood ready for those cold fireplace days.  We can buy firewood and get it delivered directly to our homes; convenient.  Ease of use should stop there.  Firewood splitting and racking/storage at your home is essential to getting the most of your firewood.  "Getting the most out of your firewood" means that your will efficiently burn your wood with the most consistent heat with the least amount of smoke possible.  Well ordered burning of firewood is important to both your enjoyment of the crackle in your fireplace and the safety of your smokestack.  Below are some tips for proper firewood stacking and fireplace use.

4 Ways To Improve Your Firewood
1. Stack wood in a single row, out of the shade, with enough space between the pieces to allow air to pass through. This exposes more wood to sunlight and breeze, which helps dry it out faster.

2. When stacking, use a crisscross pattern to make pillars at each end for stability. They act as bookends for the wood in the center.

3. Before splitting wood on a stump, secure an old tire to the top of the stump. After you split the wood, it will lean against the tire instead of falling to the ground.

4. Cut cords shorter than you think (around 14 inches long), split them smaller than you think (3 to 6 inches wide), and vary the size of the splits. The logs will be easier to carry, and the fire will be easier to build.

Stacking Firewood

When it’s time to stack and store your wood, use a crisscrossing technique, alternating between vertical and horizontal directions as you build a pile. When you’re done your firewood should look like the early stages of a Jenga game—just make sure you pull pieces from the top in this instance. This stacking technique creates a more stable woodpile and it also allows the wood to breath, which is important to ensure it stays dry.

Season the Firewood

Sometimes you won’t have the luxury of storing your wood for months before you need to use it, but when you’ve got the time to season it properly, it’s worth the wait! Ideally, firewood should be dried out for about 6 months before tossing it in the firepit or woodstove for use.

6 Signs Your Wood Is Well-Seasoned
1. It doesn't smell like wood. Most of the woody scent you get is caused by moisture.
2. It's dull in color. Seasoned wood should look gray.
3. It's not heavy. Water makes up as much as three-quarters of the weight of a green piece of wood.
4. The ends have cracks. As the wood dries out, it becomes more brittle.
5. The bark is missing or comes off easily. When the moisture goes, the bark usually goes with it.
6. It sounds hollow when you hit it against something. (Probably best if that something is another log.)