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What types of wood can I burn on a woodburner?

You can burn ANY type of wood on your fire – as long as it’s dry and not treated.

CAN I BURN PINE / CONIFER / WILLOW / POPLAR / SOFTWOOD ON MY WOODBURNER?

Yes, of course you can, as long as it’s dry and you meet any local regulations (smokeless zones etc). You may have heard that some types of wood cause “tar” or “sap” problems in chimneys, but it’s not true.  ALL wood needs to be burned at a high enough temperature in order to burn off the ‘volatile’ gasses from the resins and tars locked up in all wood types.

‘Softwood’ tend to be less dense than ‘hardwood’, so you might need around 20% more softwood to get the same heat output. A kilo of softwood will give about the same heat energy as a kilo of hardwood but because it’s less dense it will take up a bit more space in your store. Pine and conifer is not so suitable for open fires as they tend to spit and spark.

It’s important to use dry wood. It should contain 20% moisture or less. Logs should not be too large – 5 inches wide (125mm) will give the best result. Using large logs to make the fire last longer tends to lower the burning temperature. This wastes the unburned fuel gasses up the chimney and causes unnecessary air pollution. Log size is important as it dictates the all important surface area to volume ratio, which in turn dictates the rate at which the flammable gasses are vapourised from the surface of the wood. This surface area / volume ratio is why a big log burns with less flame and why kindling burns furiously.

STORING / DRYING YOUR WOOD

Stack logs so the air can get at them. If you cut and split your own logs, try to do it when the wood is fresh cut (sometimes called green) as it’s much easier on you and your tools. Once split, you have greatly increased the surface area of each piece and it will dry much faster.  Logs need to be properly stacked, not heaped in a pile. A well ventilated log store with open sides and a roof on it is the best situation.  You should be able to achieve moisture content of 20% or less in 6 to 12 months if your logs are the right size and properly stored. Beware of the word seasoned, it means nothing in reality. The only important consideration is the moisture content.

A moisture meter is a really useful tool. Aim for 20% moisture or less.  To test the moisture content of any log, split it first and then test the split surface. See our useful video below. The Burnright website has lots more useful woodburning information  www.burnright.co.uk

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