question about wood and compressed logs

beermann

Burning Hunk
Jan 16, 2017
248
canada
So I've estimated that next year ill likely used 5-6cords of wood to offset the cost of my new stove and install. However I live in the city an storing 5-6 cords in my backyard is possible but not practical. Buying a bundle I can get $50/cord or buying seperate $50-$70 face cord. Not including delivery and I'd have to split it and stack it myself.

I have seen manufactured logs sold in boxes, each log is 2.5lbs, 10 per box, 2-3hr burn time with proper venting for $4.50 and On sale I can get them for $3.90 for a box of 10 and an additional 15% off any order over $150 which Is really nice..... Anyone have experience using compressed sawdust logs.

The main draw for me is I can buy them as needed, no mess, no storage, already dry and I can get them delivered if needed. 1000 logs would cost me around $450 before tax. On sale it would cost $390 before tax and I would get an additional 15% off anything over $150 so I can make 2 different orders and get 2 seperate discounts and my total would be around $332 before taxes for 1000 logs (100boxes)

This price is incredibly cheap when compared to other logs ($19-$25 for 6-8 slightly heavier logs)

Facto logs at rona http://www.rona.ca/en/logs

Would anyone care to to a burn test and video to ease my curiosity? I can only find one video on these logs but the user had not explained if he closed the damper or anything. He got just over a 1hr burn with 1 log.

A lot of rambling sorry. My main questions are, has anyone used this brand before, do you have any burn video's. Sounds like a good and easy deal to me, what are your thoughts.
 
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Beer Belly

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2011
2,162
Connecticut
I've thrown a couple in when my wood supply was short, wasn't impressed. I did use them as a supplement to wood that wasn't quite seasoned, and that worked pretty well.....just my experience with Bio Bricks.
 
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beermann

Burning Hunk
Jan 16, 2017
248
canada
I've thrown a couple in when my wood supply was short, wasn't impressed. I did use them as a supplement to wood that wasn't quite seasoned, and that worked pretty well.....just my experience with Bio Bricks.
Thanks. What about it didn't impress you. Burn time heat output?
 

Attaboy

Member
Jan 2, 2017
173
The great white north
I have used them along with cord wood for many many years now, I use them in the morning mostly to heat up the chimney quickly or when atmospheric conditions cause poor draft as these are extremely dry and they throw an incredible amount of heat, however the different brands are not all the same, far from it, in my experience the ones with holes in them are not as good as the ones I am using now, 2 years ago purchased a skid of them and will probably finish them all this year.

Caution:

- I have never found any that last the so-called 2.5 - 3 hours, (normally 1 - 1.5 hours max.).

- Never use more than 2 at one time, you will understand why when you do burn them.

- They burn extremely hot and clean.

- Although many brands looks the same they are not the same.

- Do not leave them in a humid damp area as they will start crumbling and turn back into sawdust (keep them 6'' off the concrete and allow air circulation).

- They are sold based on BTU's generated that throw a very high quantity of heat, not there flames emitted or other factors of standard cord wood.

This brand is what I am using presently and definitely the best of the best I have ever used ( size 2&5/8'' x 10'' is what I am using ) :

http://www.buchespfs.com/AnHome.html
.
 
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bcrtops

Feeling the Heat
Nov 14, 2016
276
NW Oregon
I am not familiar with these particular products, but have been "playing" around with 3 of the products available in the greater PDX metro area.

As to burn times, etc. & how long they last.
  • A ton of wood is a ton of wood, no matter the species. A lb. = a lb., & will give you the same btu's assuming the moisture level is the same.
  • The burn time is related to the compression of the sawdust log. The higher it is compressed (density), the more it will burn like a hard hardwood. The less it is compressed, the faster it will burn & the less coaling you will get from the same lb. of compressed product.
  • The compressed products moisture content varies from 6-9% depending on the manufacturer. The drier they are the more btu's you'll get out of the same lb., but this is not a significant difference. Their extravagant claims of being equivalent to 1-1/2 to 2 cords of firewood is based purely on moisture content (firewood @ 20% moisture), and using some light weight, not highly condensed wood, such as a true fir or pine for their "cord."
I have considered giving a review of the HomeFire vs. NIELS vs. the BearBricks. However, it really boils down to -- all things being equal -- the best deal is the cheapest price per ton. They just burn different, so if you require overnight burns, for example, you would prefer the usually more expensive, denser products. Don't get caught up in the species of the condensed wood as it makes no difference if it is a hardwood or a softwood, a lb. = a lb. period. The level of hardness of the product just determines the rate of burn, not the btu's per lb.

Note: folks think, when looking at burn charts of wood species that it is all about the species you are burning. It is NOT, but rather about the weight & density. A cord of dry, 20% moisture, white fir may weigh 2000 lbs. A cord of Oak, dry @ 20% moisture may weigh 6000 lbs. There will be 3x the btu's in the oak & it will burn longer, i.e., have a longer coaling stage because of its density. The white fir will burn a lot faster. A lb. = a lb. in relation to released btu's. (Just an example, guessing at the dry wood weights)
 

beermann

Burning Hunk
Jan 16, 2017
248
canada
I am not familiar with these particular products, but have been "playing" around with 3 of the products available in the greater PDX metro area.

As to burn times, etc. & how long they last.
  • A ton of wood is a ton of wood, no matter the species. A lb. = a lb., & will give you the same btu's assuming the moisture level is the same.
  • The burn time is related to the compression of the sawdust log. The higher it is compressed (density), the more it will burn like a hard hardwood. The less it is compressed, the faster it will burn & the less coaling you will get from the same lb. of compressed product.
  • The compressed products moisture content varies from 6-9% depending on the manufacturer. The drier they are the more btu's you'll get out of the same lb., but this is not a significant difference. Their extravagant claims of being equivalent to 1-1/2 to 2 cords of firewood is based purely on moisture content (firewood @ 20% moisture), and using some light weight, not highly condensed wood, such as a true fir or pine for their "cord."
I have considered giving a review of the HomeFire vs. NIELS vs. the BearBricks. However, it really boils down to -- all things being equal -- the best deal is the cheapest price per ton. They just burn different, so if you require overnight burns, for example, you would prefer the usually more expensive, denser products. Don't get caught up in the species of the condensed wood as it makes no difference if it is a hardwood or a softwood, a lb. = a lb. period. The level of hardness of the product just determines the rate of burn, not the btu's per lb.

Note: folks think, when looking at burn charts of wood species that it is all about the species you are burning. It is NOT, but rather about the weight & density. A cord of dry, 20% moisture, white fir may weigh 2000 lbs. A cord of Oak, dry @ 20% moisture may weigh 6000 lbs. There will be 3x the btu's in the oak & it will burn longer, i.e., have a longer coaling stage because of its density. The white fir will burn a lot faster. A lb. = a lb. in relation to released btu's. (Just an example, guessing at the dry wood weights)
Very helpful info. Thanks.
 

drstorm

Burning Hunk
Aug 19, 2016
118
Northeast PA
I'll chime in on this also.
I have a new catalytic stove this year and some not so seasoned wood.I have been heating almost exclusively with compressed sawdust logs/bricks.The cheapest in my area are at the Tractor Supply stores,they are branded "Eco bricks".
They come in 20lb wrapped packs,3 or 6 to a pack depending on what the individual store has.
I prefer the 6 packs for the ability to handle and they also seem denser.
I won't repeat any of the facts others have already provided,they did a good job with the technicals.
I store them on pallets in a fairly damp basement without any noticable effect on burn quality.They can be bought for 2.49 to 3.49 per 20lb pack on the whim of the TSC store pricing lords.
Good,dry hardwood burns hotter in my experience,but you can fit many more btu's in the stove with the sawdust logs.Wood is less dense and takes up more space.
I like them and plan on using them along with seasoned wood as I move foward as long as the price point is in the same ballpark.
Yes they are more expensive than wood,but they are consistent.
Super bowl time now but if you still want a video I can try and do one this week.

Oh,and on a medium low burn with no fans running I have achieved a 53 hour burn time.
This was packing the stove with about 75lbs of the bricks(Blaze King mode stove)and not necessarily heating for that long,I was just able to rake enough coals at that point to add fuel without needing to restart.I expected a cold stove as I was away for the weekend.
 
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Attaboy

Member
Jan 2, 2017
173
The great white north
I have used them along with cord wood for many many years now, I use them in the morning mostly to heat up the chimney quickly or when atmospheric conditions cause poor draft as these are extremely dry and they throw an incredible amount of heat, however the different brands are not all the same, far from it, in my experience the ones with holes in them are not as good as the ones I am using now, 2 years ago purchased a skid of them and will probably finish them all this year.

Caution:

- I have never found any that last the so-called 2.5 - 3 hours, (normally 1 - 1.5 hours max.).

- Never use more than 2 at one time, you will understand why when you do burn them.

- They burn extremely hot and clean.

- Although many brands looks the same they are not the same.

- Do not leave them in a humid damp area as they will start crumbling and turn back into sawdust (keep them 6'' off the concrete and allow air circulation).

- They are sold based on BTU's generated that throw a very high quantity of heat, not there flames emitted or other factors of standard cord wood.

This brand is what I am using presently and definitely the best of the best I have ever used ( size 2&5/8'' x 10'' is what I am using ) :

http://www.buchespfs.com/AnHome.html
.
Should have mentioned above that I do not use any of the referred to as large '' Overnight logs or bricks '' those probably burn 3-4 hours possibly more, the 2&1/2'' to 3'' logs that I have always used never last more than 1 - 1.5 hours max. no matter what brand I have tried, the longest burning are the ones I presently have on hand.
 
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Tegbert

Feeling the Heat
Sep 15, 2016
401
Arlington Wa
Being in a new house and a new stove all my wood I have now is too wet. We have been heating exclusively with NIELS and homefire prest logs.

Personally I prefer the NIELS.

With the prest logs I can get 7-9 hours of heat but at the end of that the stove top temp is at 280 or so but I can get new logs to light relatively easy. Downfall is I have to plan it just right as if I load the stove when it is cold it uses up 3 logs in a couple hours. So I have to make sure I get the temp up and reload before bed so It can last that long. I have loaded 5 in my stove and never had an issue with over firing but that was a cold stove and needed the extra to get the temp up. My stove 2.15 cu ft so that may play a part too. Always go with the manufacturers recommendation first. I never have loaded more than 4 on a hot stove. The prest logs are nice cause they stay in charcoal like form throughout the burn unless you break them up on reload. And they have a flat spot on the bottom to help prevent rolling around a big plus in my opinion.

The NIELS I feel put out more heat for less. And keep the secondaries going longer. I only really used two at a time and an occasional 3 on a cold stove. They take a bit longer to light compared to the prest logs. Because of the fact I only used two at a time it is cheaper for me to use NIELS even though the homefire ones are cheaper. But like someone said earlier they need a dry location. I had mine in my shop and had a couple that started falling apart and expanding from moisture. Wether it was the humidity in my shop or the store I bought them from got them wet. The prest logs do better here. Also these are round and can roll very easy. But they can be broken in half thirds or whatever you need the prest logs in not sure can without cutting them.

I'm not sure how long the NIELS will burn for but I did have about the same reload schedule as I do with the prest logs. But I was using the stove wrong and wasn't getting the full potential I could out of them. They might do better when I pick up another pallet here in a week.

All in all I got ahold of 4 little splits 17" long at 15% maybe 1/4 full in the stove and they performed better than the prest logs and probably NIELS too. So I can't wait to use my stove when the wood dries. So I would try to figure out a way to store and dry wood. But I understand that space is limited.


Lopi Rockport
 
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Beer Belly

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2011
2,162
Connecticut

Treacherous

Minister of Fire
May 13, 2010
1,012
WA state
wirelesstag.net
I decided to pick up a pallet of --->

http://www.homefirelogs.com/about-our-logs

Instead of --->

http://www.northidahoenergylogs.com/energylogs.php

this winter... nothing wrong with NIEL but wanted to play more with the Prest Logs this winter. I can't state comparatively for heat but previous testing in my Endeavor a couple years back found they lasted longer than the NIELS and did burn hot with lots of secondaries. I may be back to NIELS next winter but we will see how this winter goes. NIELS definitely have a substantial price advantage over Home Prest Logs.

I don't burn as primary source but usually toss in one for overnight fires or heating up the near freezing cabin on arrival.
 

bcrtops

Feeling the Heat
Nov 14, 2016
276
NW Oregon
I played around with these 2 options & "Bear Bricks" last winter.
I was so impressed with the NIELS (the Homefires are way too expensive in my area), that I purchased a pallet of them this fall.
Our use is this:
Overnight burns -- they just really hold the fire. I can put one NIEL on the coals with one extra-large split or one large 6-8" log & there will always be lots of coals in the AM left to restart a good fire. This is like 1/3 a full load in the T5! We have 2 seasons plus of firewood ahead & we like them so well for this purpose that we still bought a pallet! Perfect for shoulder season & work well during the real cold spells as well. We don't use them during the day, just a single one on at night with a large split or round. (Freezing weather, 1 NIEL with 2 large splits or rounds for over night burn).

Edit: We did buy a pallet of the "Bear bricks" last winter, as I got a good deal on them. They are just "OK". They work well during the day & the wife likes them, as she likes to keep a smallish fire going -- just throw on one or two "Bear Bricks" with a small split or two --works well. However, they do not coal up, as they are not as compressed as the NIELS. When they reach the coaling stage, they are, basically, sawdust coals. Lb. per lb., the btu's are there -- they just burn differently.
 
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Treacherous

Minister of Fire
May 13, 2010
1,012
WA state
wirelesstag.net
bcrtops: I've had similar experience as I have burned NIELS since 2012 IIRC. My parents starting in 2013 started using NIELS in their old fire dragon for overnight burns. They have been sold ever since. My Prest log test test may be one winter but will see how it goes. I got a deal that was basically a wash between them and NIELS so that is why I was open to testing.

EDIT: I have never burned Madrona but straight fire logs gives me a sense of what that would be like.

EDIT2: bcrtops: The dog in your icon looks like my childhood border collie. He had less white but brought back memories as the smartest and devoted dog I ever had.
 
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bcrtops

Feeling the Heat
Nov 14, 2016
276
NW Oregon
EDIT2: bcrtops: The dog in your icon looks like my childhood border collie. He had less white but brought back memories as the smartest and devoted dog I ever had.
He is actually an Aussie, bred as a miniature, but grew too large for breeding -- so we got him. He looks almost exactly like our previous Border Collie (once in a lifetime girl she was). We had 3 BC's at one time -- love all the herd breeds -- but, they can be challenging. Yes, indeed, BC R Tops!
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,577
South Puget Sound, WA
I've picked up a small batch of Homefires and NIELs for a retest in the T6. Will try them out when it gets cold.

I tested several solid fuels back about 10 yrs ago in the Castine. It will be interesting to retest in the bigger stove.
https://www.hearth.com/talk/wiki/Northern_Idaho_Energy_Logs/
https://www.hearth.com/talk/wiki/home-fire-prest-logs/
https://www.hearth.com/talk/wiki/biobricks/
Ohioburner did a nice test on ecobricks here:
https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/woodstock-ideal-steel-ecobrick-long-burn.152955/
 
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freddy

Member
Jan 23, 2008
80
Portland, Oregon
I am not familiar with these particular products, but have been "playing" around with 3 of the products available in the greater PDX metro area.

As to burn times, etc. & how long they last.
  • A ton of wood is a ton of wood, no matter the species. A lb. = a lb., & will give you the same btu's assuming the moisture level is the same.
  • The burn time is related to the compression of the sawdust log. The higher it is compressed (density), the more it will burn like a hard hardwood. The less it is compressed, the faster it will burn & the less coaling you will get from the same lb. of compressed product.
  • The compressed products moisture content varies from 6-9% depending on the manufacturer. The drier they are the more btu's you'll get out of the same lb., but this is not a significant difference. Their extravagant claims of being equivalent to 1-1/2 to 2 cords of firewood is based purely on moisture content (firewood @ 20% moisture), and using some light weight, not highly condensed wood, such as a true fir or pine for their "cord."
I have considered giving a review of the HomeFire vs. NIELS vs. the BearBricks. However, it really boils down to -- all things being equal -- the best deal is the cheapest price per ton. They just burn different, so if you require overnight burns, for example, you would prefer the usually more expensive, denser products. Don't get caught up in the species of the condensed wood as it makes no difference if it is a hardwood or a softwood, a lb. = a lb. period. The level of hardness of the product just determines the rate of burn, not the btu's per lb.

Note: folks think, when looking at burn charts of wood species that it is all about the species you are burning. It is NOT, but rather about the weight & density. A cord of dry, 20% moisture, white fir may weigh 2000 lbs. A cord of Oak, dry @ 20% moisture may weigh 6000 lbs. There will be 3x the btu's in the oak & it will burn longer, i.e., have a longer coaling stage because of its density. The white fir will burn a lot faster. A lb. = a lb. in relation to released btu's. (Just an example, guessing at the dry wood weights)
NEILs are the best. I get a pallet every year to supplement my various species. 2 logs mixed in will give me enough after 8 hours to throw on some doug fir without re-lighting easily. Not bad with a .09 cu ft firebox. It is only on occasion that I can burn that long with natural hardwoods. Around here, Oak/Locust is way more expensive than NEIL's. About every other year I can find some Locust for free but with the labor involved, it doesn't seem worth it anymore..;)
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
4,386
07462
I'm also going to join the fun and buy a couple packs of what ever lowes home center has and test them out. I do like the Redstones from TS, but I like to test what's geographically in my area just incase someone needs a good recommendation.
 

RobbieB

Feeling the Heat
Feb 19, 2017
290
Central CA
The local Ace hardware store buys a pallet of the North Idaho Energy Logs every winter and sells them for a dollar each as a favor (way cheaper than their packaged 6 packs) and I tried some last year and they work great. I cut them in half as they expand as they burn and a half fills my small fire box nicely. Slow starting but a lot of heat and burns a long time.
 

bcrtops

Feeling the Heat
Nov 14, 2016
276
NW Oregon
Just a word of caution here:
Do make sure you buy 100% wood compressed logs/bricks for a wood stove.
Some of the compressed products have paraffin &/ or other additives in them as binders/burn agents These products are not for a stove, but for open fireplaces or outside use only.

Locally, the HomeFires, the NIELS, & Bear Bricks are 100% wood products. The burn logs in grocery stores & the other outlets often are not appropriate for wood stove burning.
 

WoodyIsGoody

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2017
1,437
Pacific NW Washington
The local Ace hardware store buys a pallet of the North Idaho Energy Logs every winter and sells them for a dollar each as a favor (way cheaper than their packaged 6 packs) and I tried some last year and they work great.
Do you think they are selling singles for a dollar as a favor to the customer or as a smart marketing strategy to introduce more people to the product and increase bulk sales?
 

bcrtops

Feeling the Heat
Nov 14, 2016
276
NW Oregon
Do you think they are selling singles for a dollar as a favor to the customer or as a smart marketing strategy to introduce more people to the product and increase bulk sales?
That is a "favor" , & cheaper than most pallet pricing here locally. Some old-timey hardware stores do things like this for their loyal customer base. Not enough profit to pay for the handling & floor space. I managed to get a pallet for $.93/log, but that was with a Sr. discount & using a gift card that was $100 purchased, good for $120 in store.
 

Treacherous

Minister of Fire
May 13, 2010
1,012
WA state
wirelesstag.net
The NIEL pallets in Ellensburg area are in the $260 range for the 240 log pallets. Knudson Lumber in Ellensburg used to give a $20 or $30 discount if you ordered a pallet early. Not sure if they do that anymore.

The Home Fires come on pallets of 380 logs and I think the are around 5 lbs a piece versus 8 lbs for the NIELS
 

freddy

Member
Jan 23, 2008
80
Portland, Oregon
The NIEL pallets in Ellensburg area are in the $260 range for the 240 log pallets. Knudson Lumber in Ellensburg used to give a $20 or $30 discount if you ordered a pallet early. Not sure if they do that anymore.

The Home Fires come on pallets of 380 logs and I think the are around 5 lbs a piece versus 8 lbs for the NIELS
$280 for 240 here. It's the only wood I buy though and I use them only for overnight burns so they last me all winter. May need to become an independent dealer...?
 

bcrtops

Feeling the Heat
Nov 14, 2016
276
NW Oregon
$280 for 240 here. It's the only wood I buy though and I use them only for overnight burns so they last me all winter. May need to become an independent dealer...?
Check with Coastal Farm..
Not a normal stock item (never shows online), but your local store may carry them on occasion. The Cornelius store has them, but not always -- you have to call & check. (The Cornelius store just calls them "Energy Logs").
10% Sr. or Veterans discount on Tuesdays.

Wilco Farm stocks the HomeFires, but they are very expensive, even by the pallet.