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Wood burners and their fuel

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Dod101
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Wood burners and their fuel

#262514

Postby Dod101 » November 6th, 2019, 9:36 am

I hope this will be an appropriate Board for my queries. Following on from the exchange about installing a woodburner in a flat, I am currently floundering a bit with my supplier(s) of logs. I live in a semi rural area of Scotland where there is no shortage of suppliers, but the quality and reliability is not very good. I currently get supplies in the standard builders' bags of 90cm*90cm*90cm and they have the advantage that they can slot straight into my garage (to where there is easy access). A cheaper alternative is having a delivery of a trailerload, simply dumped on my driveway. Good exercise on a cold winter's day to stack them but a time consuming pain in reality.

Both lots of logs are claimed to be air dried for at least 3 years and they certainly burn well enough, but they are of mixed hardwood and some of them burn better (depending on one's definition, more slowly or faster) than others. Particularly the bags, have a lot of what I would call 'dross', that is small bits of wood which can mostly be used as kindling but not all.

Now I have come across suppliers who will deliver in crates which can be slotted straight into a garage with no mess, and often, as in the case of logsforsale.co.uk, we can specify the actual species of log, oak, ash etc. Has anyone tried them? Delivery is free except to some remote areas of Scotland. Apparently an hour or so from Edinburgh is their definition of 'remote'.

I have a big woodburner which I have on most days from now on for about 4/5 hours per day.

I would welcome opinions/views.

Dod

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262547

Postby redsturgeon » November 6th, 2019, 12:31 pm

I have not had experience of these crate suppliers and I am in the fortunate position of having had two very large trees felled three years ago so have a decent supply of beech and sycamore. In the past when I have had loads from local suppliers I have experienced the variable quality of the wood and understand your issue, it is certainly much better to know what wood you will be burning and to have a consistent supply.

All I would suggest is to try to find one decent local supplier and stick with them...the fuel miles of long distance deliveries of log would bother me.

John

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262549

Postby ReformedCharacter » November 6th, 2019, 12:33 pm

Dod101 wrote:I hope this will be an appropriate Board for my queries. Following on from the exchange about installing a woodburner in a flat, I am currently floundering a bit with my supplier(s) of logs. I live in a semi rural area of Scotland where there is no shortage of suppliers, but the quality and reliability is not very good. I currently get supplies in the standard builders' bags of 90cm*90cm*90cm and they have the advantage that they can slot straight into my garage (to where there is easy access). A cheaper alternative is having a delivery of a trailerload, simply dumped on my driveway. Good exercise on a cold winter's day to stack them but a time consuming pain in reality.

Both lots of logs are claimed to be air dried for at least 3 years and they certainly burn well enough, but they are of mixed hardwood and some of them burn better (depending on one's definition, more slowly or faster) than others. Particularly the bags, have a lot of what I would call 'dross', that is small bits of wood which can mostly be used as kindling but not all.

Now I have come across suppliers who will deliver in crates which can be slotted straight into a garage with no mess, and often, as in the case of logsforsale.co.uk, we can specify the actual species of log, oak, ash etc. Has anyone tried them? Delivery is free except to some remote areas of Scotland. Apparently an hour or so from Edinburgh is their definition of 'remote'.

I have a big woodburner which I have on most days from now on for about 4/5 hours per day.

I would welcome opinions/views.

Dod

I get logs delivered on a pick-up truck during the Spring\Summer and they provide most of our heating throughout the Winter. They are green and often newly felled when I get them, the majority is Sycamore. I stack them very tightly against a wall over the Winter and in the following Spring move and stack them for drying and when they are dry enough put them under cover in a well ventilated store. Although it may sound counter-intuitive I find that the wetter they get during the Winter the quicker they dry out in the following Spring. The only exception I find is very dense oak from the heart of the tree (which I don't get very often), that may take another year or two to dry. I did some very rough calculations a few years ago and reckon we get through c. 6.5m3 each year. That costs me about £500.

According to logsforsale.co.uk that quantity would cost c. £1200. At the moment I don't mind the exercise and the fact that my back garden looks like 'log city' for a few months a year, but I daresay that I'd be prepared to pay the extra when I get too old to comfortably manage the workload.

As I haven't tried them myself I can only suggest that you give logsforsale.co.uk a try, personally I'd go for an equal proportion of Ash and Oak which is probably the best combination for burning. The price given that they are kiln dried seems fair to me.

RC

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262550

Postby dspp » November 6th, 2019, 12:36 pm

Dod101 wrote: a time consuming pain in reality.

I have a big woodburner which I have on most days from now on for about 4/5 hours per day.

I would welcome opinions/views.

Dod


The reality is that you have to accept that woodburners are a time-consuming endeavour in reality.

You can alleviate it to a certain extent by massively overpaying for townie-curated-log-in-a-box-delivery, but you do have to put a certain amount of effort in even with that.

If you just want to sit in a warm house with no effort, then run central heating on oil/gas/electric. If you want a wood-burner then first decide chips/pellets vs logs, and then accept the consequences.

(I run 5-log burners for my GF and I source from forest, cut, transport, split, dry, stack it all my self. And I've been doing this since I was 10-years old and had to do a barrow load a week of sawing & storing as part of my chores.)

There is no short cut. Unless you go down the pellet and/or chip route and even that has consequences.

regards, dspp

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262553

Postby Laughton » November 6th, 2019, 12:53 pm

I get mine from https://www.luxurywood.co.uk

I used to get them delivered loose from a local supplier. Claimed to be dry stored but they had a fairly high damp content and didn't bur all that well. Those from luxury wood are really dry. Very happy to continue getting them from there.

I usually buy two crates at a time. Last year must have been fairly mild as I think I have enough to last through this winter as well. They come on a pallet so as long as you can get a lorry close to your garage and the ground/drive is OK for a pallet truck then they should be good to place exactly where you want.

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262558

Postby richlist » November 6th, 2019, 1:02 pm

We are fortunate in that we have our own woodland behind our formal garden. This provides us with more than enough timber for our log burner.....which is not large and is used to supplement other heating around the property. I don't need to cut trees down, I just wait for the odd storm or windy night when I find a tree or a large branch down. We cut these into 3 or 4 foot lengths and store. They are then cut into logs and stored for another 2 years. I quite enjoy cutting them up and it's fresh air and good exercise.

A log burner + solar panels + winter fuel payment = a very small heating bill.

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262601

Postby Dod101 » November 6th, 2019, 3:38 pm

dspp wrote:The reality is that you have to accept that woodburners are a time-consuming endeavour in reality.

You can alleviate it to a certain extent by massively overpaying for townie-curated-log-in-a-box-delivery, but you do have to put a certain amount of effort in even with that.

If you just want to sit in a warm house with no effort, then run central heating on oil/gas/electric. If you want a wood-burner then first decide chips/pellets vs logs, and then accept the consequences.

(I run 5-log burners for my GF and I source from forest, cut, transport, split, dry, stack it all my self. And I've been doing this since I was 10-years old and had to do a barrow load a week of sawing & storing as part of my chores.)

There is no short cut. Unless you go down the pellet and/or chip route and even that has consequences.


Yes I am well aware of all of that having used my wood burner for the last 12 years or so. I am just getting increasingly frustrated with local suppliers. What you call the massively overpaying townie curated log in a box delivery is by all accounts very efficient and if as I can I can specify the species it seems to me to be a good arrangement. I was simply asking if anyone had any experience which I could plug in to.

have no interest or time to do the full thing myself and in any case there comes a time in life when one cannot. I prefer to use my spare time in my garden.

Dod

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262602

Postby Dod101 » November 6th, 2019, 3:43 pm

ReformedCharacter wrote:[I get logs delivered on a pick-up truck during the Spring\Summer and they provide most of our heating throughout the Winter. They are green and often newly felled when I get them, the majority is Sycamore. I stack them very tightly against a wall over the Winter and in the following Spring move and stack them for drying and when they are dry enough put them under cover in a well ventilated store. Although it may sound counter-intuitive I find that the wetter they get during the Winter the quicker they dry out in the following Spring. The only exception I find is very dense oak from the heart of the tree (which I don't get very often), that may take another year or two to dry. I did some very rough calculations a few years ago and reckon we get through c. 6.5m3 each year. That costs me about £500.

According to logsforsale.co.uk that quantity would cost c. £1200. At the moment I don't mind the exercise and the fact that my back garden looks like 'log city' for a few months a year, but I daresay that I'd be prepared to pay the extra when I get too old to comfortably manage the workload.

As I haven't tried them myself I can only suggest that you give logsforsale.co.uk a try, personally I'd go for an equal proportion of Ash and Oak which is probably the best combination for burning. The price given that they are kiln dried seems fair to me.


Thanks RC. I will try logsforsale next time and I was thinking of specifying the Ash/Oak mix. The price is good I think, certainly judging by what I currently pay for loose bagged logs, which are air dried. I used to buy a couple of loads over the summer and stack them in my log store which is not located in the best position for convenience so gave up on that but as a back up supply I may do this again next summer.

Dod

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262625

Postby Golam » November 6th, 2019, 5:01 pm

Have many years experience of word burning. Both in open fires and in stoves. So, from my experience, ash is the stuff. Ash, ash,ash.Cleaner burning and better burning than other hardwoods. As I am sure you know, leave softwoods alone.
Ash will burn wet but would leave tar within your chimney. In fact three timbers burn when wet = Ash, holly and hawthorn.

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262634

Postby genou » November 6th, 2019, 5:38 pm

Golam wrote:Have many years experience of word burning. Both in open fires and in stoves. So, from my experience, ash is the stuff. Ash, ash,ash.Cleaner burning and better burning than other hardwoods. As I am sure you know, leave softwoods alone.
Ash will burn wet but would leave tar within your chimney. In fact three timbers burn when wet = Ash, holly and hawthorn.


You have support on Ash - http://www.skyline-sooty.co.uk/history-poems

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262654

Postby tikunetih » November 6th, 2019, 8:19 pm

To get around the consistency issue and reduce the manual work, I largely switched to burning briquettes/heat logs in place of logs, as being a manufactured item they come with a set and extremely low moisture content, and because of their shape also stack and store in a very space efficient manner.

It's important to use the really dense ones formed under huge pressures rather than the lightweight crumbly ones, although I use some of the latter when starting a fire (between kindling and the heavy stuff). In the past I've bought mainly from some of the discount stores (Aldi, Home Bargains, B&M Bargains), clearing them out if/when they stocked a high quality one, but you can buy palette deliveries also. Lots of options.

I use multi-fuel stoves, so also often (usually) combine burning a bit of timber (for some flame pattern in the evening) with a lot of either a smokeless fuel or a non-smokeless(!) fuel, specifically Oxbow Glow, which once glowing nicely and with the stove filled up can last for hour after hours (or overnight) without attendance. No use in a smoke controlled zone, clearly, but it's actually very clean looking (soot free) and produces almost no visible smoke (the smoke just smells a bit like 'caps' in a kid's toy gun). It's also very cheap for the heat output produced, and low ash.

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262681

Postby JoyofBricks8 » November 7th, 2019, 2:35 am

My old man lives in a fairly remote and wild part of Wales. His preferred solution for firewood: an alarm clock, a tide table, a small trailer, an electric chainsaw, and a largely deserted beach. Many early mornings (when the tide allows access) will see him combing the beach for driftwood. Probably illegal, but no one has attempted to stop him yet, probably because he is there at the crack of dawn, and he doesn’t mind the weather.

He doesn’t seem to get through vast amounts of wood per winter, a 3 or four full trailers will cover his needs. His burner is one of these super-efficient modern things, which makes quite a difference, I understand. He habitually stacks the wood up around his cottage under the eaves to dry: he says it all adds to the insulation value... Fully expecting him to perish either in a house fire or having severed an artery chainsawing a knotty bough on a lonely predawn strand.

It seems to keep him happy anyway, in a primal hunter-gatherer way.

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262708

Postby dspp » November 7th, 2019, 9:02 am

JoyofBricks8 wrote:My old man lives in a fairly remote and wild part of Wales. His preferred solution for firewood: an alarm clock, a tide table, a small trailer, an electric chainsaw, and a largely deserted beach. Many early mornings (when the tide allows access) will see him combing the beach for driftwood. Probably illegal, but no one has attempted to stop him yet, probably because he is there at the crack of dawn, and he doesn’t mind the weather.

He doesn’t seem to get through vast amounts of wood per winter, a 3 or four full trailers will cover his needs. His burner is one of these super-efficient modern things, which makes quite a difference, I understand. He habitually stacks the wood up around his cottage under the eaves to dry: he says it all adds to the insulation value... Fully expecting him to perish either in a house fire or having severed an artery chainsawing a knotty bough on a lonely predawn strand.

It seems to keep him happy anyway, in a primal hunter-gatherer way.


Indeed, and I do the same in some places. It will burn salty though so best not to expect too long a life of the hot metal parts.

As far as I know he is not doing something illegal as he is on the foreshore and not doing it for profit or commercial gain. This link is for Scotland https://www.scotlawcom.gov.uk/files/721 ... rep190.pdf but I think it is similar in all the UK at present.

Ash is indeed the ideal thing. But a mix of pine and hardwoods will also do provided common sense is applied and the chimney swept periodically.

regards, dspp

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#262734

Postby ReformedCharacter » November 7th, 2019, 10:52 am

Golam wrote:Have many years experience of word burning. Both in open fires and in stoves. So, from my experience, ash is the stuff. Ash, ash,ash.Cleaner burning and better burning than other hardwoods. As I am sure you know, leave softwoods alone.
Ash will burn wet but would leave tar within your chimney. In fact three timbers burn when wet = Ash, holly and hawthorn.

I've no idea why anyone these days would want to burn 'wet' wood. Wet or unseasoned wood burns inefficiently, wasting time or money and produces more pollution. The reason Ash is favoured is because it has a low moisture content when it is a living tree so it can be burnt green but better - like any wood - to season it. It is also a fairly dense wood which is good if you are buying by volume not weight. Softwoods are fine to burn although some may spit on an open fire. If you don't believe me, go and ask the many N. Americans and Canadians who burn tons of it in their log stoves and who have to take the business of keeping warm pretty seriously. They also take care to properly dry their wood which is easier to do than the UK, because despite having colder Winters the climate is generally drier.

Woodburning stoves have been gaining a bad reputation recently and I'm not too surprised. The chap who supplies me with logs told me last year that some of his customers like wet wood because they can put it on top of their coal fire to 'slow it down'. That will increase the pollution generated by both coal and wood :( When I told this tale to my chimney sweep, he said that some of his customers like to place a 'lumper' that is a large damp piece of wood on the stove last thing at night so that the fire 'keeps in' overnight. More unnecessary pollution.

Apart from the pollution aspect it's in my interest to burn the stuff efficiently because it costs less financially, costs less in labour and keeps the chimney in good shape.

RC

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#263251

Postby toofast2live » November 9th, 2019, 4:38 pm

Not available here but in my place+in Spain we use olive trees wood. Marvellous stuff and cheap as chips over there. Well dried eucalyptus is also good as long as it is VERY dry.

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#263262

Postby redsturgeon » November 9th, 2019, 5:12 pm

toofast2live wrote:Not available here but in my place+in Spain we use olive trees wood. Marvellous stuff and cheap as chips over there. Well dried eucalyptus is also good as long as it is VERY dry.


Ahhh olive wood. I was on Koh Samui a couple of years ago and went to this Italian pizzeria where they had a wood fired oven. Great pizza weird Italian owner who insisted on serenading us with his organ!

He was bemoaning the fact he could not obtain olive wood which he used to swear by in Italy for his pizzas.

John

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#263396

Postby johnstevens77 » November 10th, 2019, 9:19 pm

We have had our log burner 6 years now and never bought any wood. Before it was installed, I started collecting green wood, cutting and splitting it and stacking under well ventilated cover to season. Our first two winters we burned the rafters from our roof after having a loft conversion done, plus a lot of timber sourced (with permission) from roadside skips. We had a pickup truck of green logs given to us as backsheesh for a job done in the garden. Then we had our two large oak trees tidied up and the councill worked on a 150 years old ash and another large oak on our property boundary and the workmen gave us the timber.Five houses in our street/neighbourhood have been renovated and I got the timber from them, one only this week. Last year a neighbour cut down some trees and again we had the timber. Also, we live very near to a builders merchant and I am frequently in and out for DIY materials for maintenance and projects on the property, they have lots of off cuts that they are only too happy to give me. For the logs, I only burn wood at less than 18% humidity, they usualy take 3 years to season. And we had a water leak a couple of years ago which ruined the engineered wood flooring in three rooms which is slowly being used for kindling. I estimate that we have 4 years of logs and sawn timber seasoning or ready to burn.

john

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#263417

Postby richlist » November 11th, 2019, 2:43 am

Sounds like you are burning large quantities of softwoods. Hopefully you are getting your chimney swept/ inspected annually.

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Re: Wood burners and their fuel

#263599

Postby johnstevens77 » November 11th, 2019, 10:41 pm

richlist wrote:Sounds like you are burning large quantities of softwoods. Hopefully you are getting your chimney swept/ inspected annually.


Thanks for your concern and have no fears, the flue is swept every year and the sweep is always pleased with it's condition. I should add that we always maintain a high temperature during the first 15 minutes as recommended by the installer. It is generaly alight from 4pm, unless we have someone for lunch or tea when it might be on all day, and the last log goes on at 8pm, mid October to about end April. Depending on the weather here on the East Devon coast of course. Although retired, we are active and if cold during the day, (the CH goes off at 9am), we layer up with thermals.

john


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