Ordering and storing firewood now

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Eliza10

New Member
Aug 31, 2020
35
Northeast USA
We just had our new (used) stove installed)! The saga of that, and my questions and all the helpful answers are here: https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/please-help-us-pick-a-used-stove.182077/

Neither my husband nor I ever had a wood stove before, but I am now preparing to order our first wood.

In the above-linked thread, pkennyp2339 and brazilbl gave helpful suggestions on buying wood, and I will copy them here:

brazilbl :
"The experts are right, dry wood is key.

Look into pressed wood logs (North Idaho Energy Logs) for this first year as you get situated on your wood pile. They are wonderful, putting out a lot of heat per log. Buy a pallet which will contain 240 logs.

I had the wet wood situation and someone recommended pressed logs. There are other brands, but these logs come highly recommended. "

pkennyp2339 :
"If your really gun hoe on installing a woodstove for this season, please allocate at least $500.00 into compressed wood blocks for burning, one of the things you can do right away is buy (1) ton of bricks which equal approx 1.2 cords of wood, then on black friday or cyber monday take advantage of the sales and buy another 2 or 3 tons, (tractor supply) runs a pretty nice black friday sale on redstone fuel bricks, but there also might be deals at homedepot / lowes (they're still relatively new to carrying those products and personally I think the mark up is quite high for them) lumber yards, outdoor supply companies, and stove shops also carry different brands of these, you just got to call around and see whats available.
Redstone bricks from tractor supply are pretty middle of the road in quality, there are worse, and there are better products, some have geographic restrictions due to shipping costs. Since you have a smaller home, I would think you would prob burn about 3.5 cords a full season in a newer epa style stove, also if you do have semi dry wood you can mix the blocks with the wood, but I think its highly unlikely that you'll get enough dry cord wood to mix with compressed wood blocks, so figure 3 pallets worth for your first season.
Start cutting, splitting and stacking now for next year, generally oak takes a minimum of 2 years to hit prime moisture content of 18% around our parts, so try to find more maple, birch, ash and cherry. A cord of wood measures 4ft wide x 4ft high x 8ft long of 128cu ft. "

_______________________________________________________

I plan to get a combination of 1) bricks or pressed wood that they mention as well as 2) some allegedly seasoned local firewood. If there is anything I should look for in looking up local firewood (I plan to look at FB Marketplace and Craigslist)*, please tell me.

We are completing final stages of our shed build, a small shed with an upstairs which is mostly empty. One side of that upper room will be for our granddaughters to sit at a simple counter we made by windows and make art (we'll see if the space heater keeps it warm for their occasional play days here) but most of that small room is empty, and I wonder if we could store pressed wood there? The balloon construction shed is open to the workshop/storage below, and I do not want bug problems in either place, but perhaps it would good for the pressed log storage?

As to other wood, I was looking at internet ideas for easy wood storage contraptions. My husband is handy, but we want to keep it simple for this winter.

I need to act fast. I start a temporary position a teacher ready to ahve a baby any day now, then I will be so busy it will be difficult to put thought and action into this. I will be out this afternoon taking care of other things.

____________________

Additional question! can anyone recommend a chimney sweep kit for our 6" chimney liner pipe? I hope maybe amazon or someplace that will mail it out just as quick. I am not trusting waiting too long in case of another or a worse covid shutdown, that is why the hurry).


*I tried the firewood guy our chimney guy referred to me but he didn't answer my text, though I will try calling this time.
 
Last edited:

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,680
South Puget Sound, WA
The best logs are Northern Idaho Energy Logs (NIELs) and HomeFire Prest-Logs. What you want to get are densely compressed logs. Avoid the low-compression, flakey logs that fall apart easily.
There are also many good compressed sawdust bricks. These are available under several names. BioBrick and ECO bricks are good. Tractor Supply sells Redstones which are decent.
For firewood, there is kiln-dried wood. Just be careful and ask questions before buying. Some is just quickly baked to kill bugs. Ask how they bake it and what is the average moisture content inside a split log after baking.
 
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kborndale

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2008
301
LI
Buy the supposedly season wood and a moisture meter. Check the wood you just bought and see that it most likely is not ready to burn. Stack that wood for use next year. Buy compressed logs for this year.
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,406
NE Ohio
If you can find someone selling Ash firewood you stand a decent chance of getting something burnable now...if not, then by next year for sure.
Look at Soot Eater for the chimney cleaning...
 
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Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,377
Fairbanks, Alaska
You will probably want a moisture meter. You don't need the $400 one for the carpenters aging mahogany to make heirloom casework like grandfather clocks. You want the $30-50 one with two pins sticking out one end, runs on a nine volt, for firewood.

When you are evaluating a split of cord wood, split it in half and stick the pins into the freshly exposed face, parallel to the grain. That's your moisture content. If the pins are in free air, the meter should read zero. If you put the pins in a puddle of spit in the palm of your hand, it should max out, usually at 35+% MC rapidly.

I agree with a previous poster, all of us on this website can buy seasoned wood, the problem is getting seasned wood delivered. Most of the "seasoned" wood I have seen for sale was seasoned this morning with bar oil and 2 cycle exhaust and generally measures 35+% on delievery, when measured as above on the freshly exposed face.

In general users here pay a little bit less for green wood and season it ourselves to either save some money or have dry wood to burn, or both.

In the northeast you got a million billion different tree species growing. White oak, red maple, blue ash, black locust, blah blah blah.

I do agree bringing in a year's worth of ash is a good idea. Right now it is plentiful and inexpensive because of the beetle. Also, from reading about it here, it should be ready to go Sep 2021 if you get it split, stacked off the ground and top covered before March 17, 2021 give or take. Alternative, birch. I have access to seven different birch species up here. Split, stacked off the ground and top covered birch is usually ready to go with one full summer of seasoning time on it.

I would also advise that you buy some wood from each of your local vendors, just to see what you get. Ask for ash if they have it of course, but I like buying a little bit of wood from any new vendor on the block just to see if they rip me off or not. When you get a delivery, stack it carefully and measure the stacks to see if you got full measure or not. Cordwood is very cheap, humping splits is hard work, but a business name is either priceless or not.

To fit one cord of wood into a single load on a pickup truck without breaking the rear axle of the truck requires 2 wheels and tires at each rear corner, and stakes around the sides so the wood can be piled much higher in the bed than factory. If a truck shows up with one wheel under each corner and the seller is delivering a "full" 4x4x8 foot cord your index of suspicion should be very elevated, with your moisture meter in your hand and your money still in your pocket. When you get each of the sellers on the phone tell them you will be checking the moisture content yourself with your own meter before you pay for the load or allow it to be dumped in your driveway. Reputable sellers won't flinch the first time, but will expect to have earned your trust for the second delivery.

Welcome to the jungle, I agree you should bring in some biobricks or engineered logs or etcetera this year.
 
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Reactions: thebaron23
Aug 10, 2018
24
PA
Agree with above comments, a $30 moisture meter is well worth it. Learn how to use it, poke the tips into wood split in last 24 hrs for accurate readings.

CSIA has some very good, short videos on the subject of dry and seasoned wood. What is sounds like and what it looks like, etc.

What Seasoned Firewood Should Sound Like:


Why you don't want to burn wet wood:


Firewood purchase tips/buy now for next season:
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,406
NE Ohio
I do agree bringing in a year's worth of ash is a good idea. Right now it is plentiful and inexpensive because of the beetle. Also, from reading about it here, it should be ready to go Sep 2021
Dead standing Ash trees usually have some (top half) of the tree that is dry and ready to burn right away...so if a person bought 2 years worth of firewood (Ash) in theory you could get 1 years worth that is ready to go now...and the other half for next year if CSS now.
 
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Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,377
Fairbanks, Alaska
Dead standing Ash trees usually have some (top half) of the tree that is dry and ready to burn right away...so if a person bought 2 years worth of firewood (Ash) in theory you could get 1 years worth that is ready to go now...and the other half for next year if CSS now.

I have read that here a few times, have no personal experience, and don't doubt you. However, I have read over and over and over here beetle killed ash is ready to go with one full summer of seasoning on it. I do have experience with birch and spruce but absolutely defer to all y'all that have personal experience with Ash.
 

nahiker

New Member
Nov 29, 2019
7
Maryland
I haven't used the compressed wood but I order 3 cords + what I cut down .75-1 cord. I don't use Craigslist or anything like that you want quality wood. 3 cords where I am is $800 - $1000. I use local firewood companies only. Call them and ask how long they season it and how they measure the cords. When you stack it know how much your storage can hold, personally I've found a cord sold does not equal the amount a cord should take up. Storage should be open on at least one side to let the wood dry after snow/rain.
 

Dix

Minister of Fire
May 27, 2008
6,419
Long Island, NY
Welcome to the forums, Eliza !! Always nice to see another Sistah here ;)

You've gotten some very, very, good advice here.

I can only add, to keep your eyes out for pine, it seasons fast, burns quick, but will get you through when you are home.

Again, welcome to the forums !!!
 

brazilbl

Burning Hunk
Aug 24, 2017
115
El Dorado County, CA
With the baby coming, what you can do now will really help when the baby arrives - at that point planning is replaced with day-to-day baby care!
You seem to have a lot of put in place. If I was in your situation, I would plan on getting by with compressed logs, bio bricks, etc. right now. Worry about your cordwood later as the risk of getting undried wood is too great, unless you have a family member who sells logs... If you can score some dry wood to add to your inventory this year, great.
North Idaho Energy Logs can be bought by the pallet (roughly $350 for the pallet). The pallet contains 240 pressed logs, with each log producing about 1.5 - 2 hours of heat per log. You don’t have to worry if they are wet and wont burn - dry as a bone and these logs saved me a couple years ago when I was new to this.
If your husband has a genetic predisposition to scrounging, there are plenty of places that need to get rid of loading pallets (made of pine), that can be broken down and used as fuel/kindling.
 

gggvan

Member
Dec 6, 2012
121
NIELS are great! I went through a whole pallet. They don't light easily from a dead start though, get some fatwood sticks, dry camp wood kindling sticks. I wouldn't waste time with bricks anymore.