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Help a brother out- compressed fire logs

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by jlinder, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. jlinder

    jlinder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Oregon
    Hi Gents,

    Been lurking a long time here. We recently had an Avalon Rainer insert installed in the fireplace a year ahead of schedule. Long story but I had purchased the stove almost two years ago because the deal was just too good to pass up. Anyways now I have this stove installed in my smallish older home and it's been keeping us warm for the past month.

    My problem is I had the stove installed but didn't have enough dry cord wood to feed it. I now have a little over 3 cord split and stacked for next year but that doesn't help me now. I'm hesitant to purchase any wood because most of what I've found isn't truly seasoned.

    I've read a lot on here about the North Idaho and Home Fire logs. Based on what I've read the NIEL are superior but the closest supplier is 1+ hour away. I did find the home fire pressed logs and the blazer energy logs nearby. The blazer logs make good heat but only for a short time. Based on what I read the home fire logs would be comparable to the NIEL so I picked a few up to try.

    Tonight was my first experience with the home fire logs and I'm disappointed compared to the blazer logs. So far I haven't been able to get my stove over 500F since starting cold.

    Am I missing something? I was ready to drive the hour plus for a pallet of the NIEL but now I'm reconsidering. Is there a trick with these logs ie you can only get good heat when adding to a warm stove? Anyone have experience burning only these compressed firelogs with using cord wood?

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  2. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    3,890
    Loc:
    Central Mass
    The quality of the logs (and bricks) make a big difference, we have threads on this quite often so if you put compressed logs or bricks into the search function you'll probably get a ton of hits.
    I woudl think you being in the PNW could get seasoned wood a bit easier than us in the east since you guys burn mostly softwood, am I wrong in that thinking?
  3. jlinder

    jlinder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Oregon
    Thanks. I have searched a read everything I could find about the fire logs, that's why I was surprised at the poor performance of the home fire logs. Cord wood is readily available but most of it was cut this summer so not truly seasoned.
  4. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,908
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    It might be worth searching out a source of pallets. They are often dry enough you can mix in some semi wet cordwood and do just fine.

    Matt
  5. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    You may have to burn "not so dry" wood this year.
    It burns, just not as well as 1 & 2 years seasoned.
    Like said , mix in some dry stuff (pallet, scraps if you can) but burn the wetter stuff
    hotter & check / clean the chimney monthly.
    If you buy some wood & it's not dry enough, it will be for future years, you may get lucky
    and get a load of decent wood. :)

    You burn what you got, seasoned or not ;)
  6. Elderthewelder

    Elderthewelder Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Messages:
    644
    Loc:
    Everett, Washington

    IMO the Homefires burn a little cooler (but last longer) than the N.I. I have burned both items from a cold stove using superceaders to get them going, The N.I. logs take alot longer to torch off than the Homefire, but they well throw out some heat, I do not know what my stovetop temps are when I use them though

    I prefer the N.I. over the Homefire , but that is just my opinion, I do wish the N.I. had a flat bottom though

    I really like to use either log on a hot bed of coals the best, and / or use them in conjunction with cord wood. If I were you I would get a moisture meter and check that wood you have had stacked over the summer, it may be close enough to being burnable, what kind of wood is it?
    mix it in with some N.I. logs, you can break apart the N.I. logs into smaller pieces with a hatchet

    I just picked me up a 3rd of a pallet of N.I. logs to help me get longer burn times during the colder months with my small insert

    [​IMG]
  7. XJma

    XJma Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    98
    Loc:
    MA
    Hey man, I'm on my first year with my own Avalon Rainier as well, and love it! Wife and I grew up burning...I always was a helper but just did what I was told until now, haha.

    Anyways, how are you taking stove temp?? Top/front of stove?? I have an insert as well and a magnet thermometer on the angled top/front (Rutland is the brand, not sure if you guys would have that on the left coast or not?). I have a 1200sq.ft. cape that is with an un-heated (prior to the wood stove) sun/mud room that puts it more in the 1400sq.ft. range. Insulation, questionable at best :), thank you 1925 building practices. Not to sound rude but I may be in a little better wood situation than you, but still not ideal. I had ~2 cords of oak rounds that I had accumulated, but before I actually could afford the stove that I want/needed, it sat there in a pile in rounds. Now I know better!! I've used two different pressed sawdust logs with success, but have had better luck with a mix of real wood and the pressed stuff. Was lucky enough to get 1.5 cords of decent oak and maple, and luckily some of my oak rounds (some of them were split, but mostly rounds) are decent enough to burn well. Stack your stuff and check it!! I also learned from this site that dead standing evergreens are good for getting things going and getting temps up!

    Before the wood stove, I used to keep the house at 60-62ish all winter long when we were in the house, 55 otherwise. Now she gets pissed when I run the stove at 500!!! So, in this rookies opinion (which may not even be worth a damn, but I'll stand corrected if someone corrects me) I think you should be fine if you can get a good burn and keep it in whatever temp range above 250 or so and keep it there for an extended period of time so that it can pump out some heat.

    Don't crank the blower, especially when you're just getting it going and not so much coals, it will just cool the fire more quickly, or so it seems to me. I like keeping it between 7-8 o'clock for the most part. Keep experimenting with what you've got, you'll find a way to make it work!

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