Warm room with feet in socks in front of a cozy log burner filled with kiln dried logs

Tips and Tricks for a Cozy Fire

There's nothing quite like the warmth and ambiance of a perfectly lit fire, especially on those cold winter nights. But creating a crackling, lasting fire isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. It requires the right type of wood, proper storage, and good technique. Let's dive into some expert tips to ensure you have the perfect fire every time:

1. Opt for Low Moisture Wood

When sourcing your firewood, pay attention to its moisture content. This is the most important thing, for ensuring that your fire not just lights well, but ensuring it burns hot enough to warm the room and keep emissions low (see here for more details).

The lower the moisture, the easier it will be to ignite. Here at the Log.club, we pride ourselves on offering kiln dried firewood that have moisture levels consistently below 20% even in the centre of the wood. We even go the extra mile, reducing the surface moisture to around 10%. This ensures our wood lights up quickly and efficiently. In fact, our freshly kilned wood can be ignited without the use of firelighters or kindling, simply using smaller logs and some brash.

To avoid the pitfalls of damp firewood, consider purchasing a moisture meter. This tool will help you determine the wood's moisture content and gauge its burning efficiency. Don't accept wood from your supplier that has moisture greater than 20%.

Remember, wood with a moisture content higher than this can be quite challenging to light. Always seek wood with the Woodsure quality certification to ensure you’re getting a prime product.

Pro Tip: Some suppliers ensure that their driest wood is at the top of the bag that they ship to you, especially if it is air cured / seasoned rather than kiln dried. So delve a little lower if you can and check for wetter wood lower down in your delivery.

We welcome all of our customers checking our log moisture levels and holding us to account on what we say we do.

2. Proper Storage is Crucial

Whilst it might seem obvious, where and how you store your firewood can significantly impact its burn efficiency. Many home owners don't take this into consideration as much as they possibly should.

Getting your latest delivery from log.club fresh from our kilns and then storing it outside in the rain is sort of defeating the object!

Aim for a dry storage location, easily accessible for both deliveries and trips to the hearth. If kiln dried wood is left exposed to the elements, it will re-absorb ambient moisture.

Storing your wood in a garage, outbuilding or shed is always preferable to an outside store, regardless of how fantastic it looks!

Pro tip: Subscribe and save to ensure you always have the driest wood and don't have to concern yourself with keeping large volumes dry for a prolonged period.

If you are short on space and want to ensure you have assurance of supply, and the best pricing. Then regular delivery of single pallets using our subscribe and save, will resolve this challenge for you. It's the main reason we do it, to ensure you always have the driest wood, have adequate supply and don't take up most of your indoor storage space with lots of pallets of wood.

Pro tip: Always store a small batch indoors, especially if you plan on lighting a fire soon. A large wood basket with a couple of days worth of logs kept near to your fireplace is ideal.

Fill the wood basket in daylight to save going out to the woodshed after dark and remember that an open fire will burn around five times more than a wood-burning stove.

4. DIY Seasoning? Ensure Proper Airflow and Sunlight

If you're looking to season your own firewood, the key lies in air movement and sunlight. Store your wood in a dry spot with ample air circulation, ideally facing southward. It's the combined power of warmth and air movement that wicks away moisture most effectively. Keep adequate amounts indoor once dried to 'finish off' ensuring the wood is as dry as it can be. Clearly we recommend kiln drying it, but combining your own DIY cured wood alongside kiln dried logs can be an effective use of waste wood.

5. Be Cautious with Offcuts and Treated Wood

While wood offcuts can be incredibly dry and efficient burners, exercise caution. Steer clear of wood with paint, as burning it releases noxious chemicals. Similarly, avoid wood treated with chemicals, like certain fence posts, to ensure a clean, safe burn.

6. Crafting the Fire: Preparation is Key

Before setting your fire, clear the stove of most of the residual ash.

Pro Tip: Leave a blanket of ash 3cm deep and make a slight saucer sized depression in the middle where the kindling will go.

The ash is brilliant at holding the very first embers and will help the fire to get going more quickly – it will also protect the inside of the woodstove prolonging its life.

With dry wood (less than 20%) at your disposal, newspaper and cardboard can easily kickstart your fire. However, always opt for naturally coloured cardboard, free from inks or glossy finishes. Such materials can release chemicals during combustion, compromising the air quality in your home.

Ideally more natural materials are used. Such as small dry sticks split to 1-2 cm diameter. These can be supplemented by fallen sticks and branch wood gathered during country walks – pine cones make especially good kindling. Just ensure any kindling is dried well ahead of use to ensure it ignites easily.

Pro Tip: Place a large log to the back of the fire and a smaller log to the left and right of the fire. You now have a log lined enclosure to light the fire, with an ash base.

Place the material you will first light in the space you created in the ash and arrange several sticks of kindling on top. Have a couple of the smaller driest split logs, say 5-10cm diameter, ready to place on top of the kindling once you are sure it has lit. With a wood stove have of all the air vents open and maybe the door just slightly ajar.

7. Hot, Hot, Hot

Pro Tip: Get the fire burning really well for 30 minutes or so to warm the chimney and get the stove up to working temperature. This should be circa 200 deg C  if you have a stove thermometer.

Then, slowly close the stove air vents to the extent that you have rolling flames above the fire, but not now burning quite so vigourously. The burn will now slow down, but the heat level will be maintained. Feed your fire one or two fresh logs when the burning logs are half embers. Depending on the size of your stove 5-6 log.club logs should be suffice for a whole evenings warmth.

Ultimately setting a great fire, is far less about how the wood is positioned in the stove although it helps; or how much kindling or fire lighters you use. It's all about dry wood, which will light easily in whatever orientation, with little help from kindling if dry enough. It will burn hot, so you don't have to waste wood getting the fire going hours before you want to occupy a room. Kiln dried softwood from log.club will get the fire up to temperature in a jiffy!

Armed with these expert guidelines, you’re now equipped to create a roaring, cozy fire with minimal hassle. Whether you're curled up with a book, spending quality time with loved ones, or simply soaking in the warmth, ensuring you use and handle your firewood properly can make all the difference. Happy burning!

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