Seriously thinking about giving up on burning wood

Am I expecting too much from kiln dried logs?

  • Yes

    Votes: 4 25.0%
  • No

    Votes: 12 75.0%

  • Total voters
    16
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branchburner

Minister of Fire
Sep 27, 2008
2,755
southern NH
Cost of hardwood timber now suitable for logs is approx £60 per tonne delivered and thats before you start processing it into logs.
For many of us in the US, trees are like weeds... neighbors want you to get rid of them. So in some areas it's really labor and transport (and the obvious expense of the capital equipment needed to process) that we pay for here, and not so much the wood itself.
 

branchburner

Minister of Fire
Sep 27, 2008
2,755
southern NH
I dont really understand this UK premium for hardwood as all the Scandinavian countries use softwood and turn their noses up in respect of hardwood.
Virtually nobody in the northeastern US sells softwoods as firewood, but many of us do burn them, as the wood is given away free by those who consider it "garbage wood."

But wouldn't hardwood naturally command a premium if sold by volume, due to greater density and thus greater weight/BTUs for a given volume?
 
Yeesh, thankful I'm not paying that for wood. I can sympathize, having moved from the West Coast of Canada where wood could frequently be had for free, to the prairies where it's a bit harder to come by. Even the wood for our steam engines has to be "creatively scrounged" and then a lot of labour put in for splitting/stacking/etc.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,146
Fairbanks, Alaska
buy a quality product guaranteed to be less than 20% MC for £100 per cubic metre they will go to a "cowboy" wood supplier and pick up a couple of "builders" bags at £60 a bag then moan because the timber wont burn because its 35-40% MC.
How many kilos of 20%MC wood in a 1 cubic meter bag that costs 100 pounds?

Just curious, I would like to compare it to oil fuel at 40 pence per liter.

I burn both fuel oil and wood myself. 40 pence per liter ~ $2.77/ gallon I can relate to, I paid $2.35/ gallon at my last oil fill... last year I paid $3.85/ gallon when prices were highest.

Really just curious, I understand fully yours is a different market. In general Americans can buy properly seasoned firewood and more or less break even compared to spending on other fuels. To save significant cash in general in the US we have to buy green wood and season it ourselves...

Thanks
 

FionaD

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2013
363
Scotland
How many kilos of 20%MC wood in a 1 cubic meter bag that costs 100 pounds?

Just curious, I would like to compare it to oil fuel at 40 pence per liter.

I burn both fuel oil and wood myself. 40 pence per liter ~ $2.77/ gallon I can relate to, I paid $2.35/ gallon at my last oil fill... last year I paid $3.85/ gallon when prices were highest.

Really just curious, I understand fully yours is a different market. In general Americans can buy properly seasoned firewood and more or less break even compared to spending on other fuels. To save significant cash in general in the US we have to buy green wood and season it ourselves...

Thanks
It's a good point Poindexter - and I think you're getting close to the reason so many woodstove owners (those who have to buy all their wood) over here burn merely to add some extra comfort to their living rooms on the chilly nights, whilst using central heating as their main heating. It's why so may folk over here have tiny, tiny stoves that take maybe three 9" logs at a time....

Having said that, oil central heating is more costly over here than gas.. most people heat with gas. Now I'm confused though.. You guys over there call what you put in your cars 'gas' ( we call it petrol) so what do you call gas as in gaseous substance tha comes in pipes to heat homes!?! An' I thought I was getting pretty good at talking American :cool: Anyway, we're pretty rural here and don't have gas in the area, so oil is the next best option.

Back to your point... Someone else might be able to figure out the per kilo/per BTU costs of wood vs oil... All I know is that, in the coldest months (Dec, Jan, Feb) I used to fill the oil tank almost monthly @ around £500 / $750 per tank load. Now, in the same months, I spend about £200 a month on wood to heat the whole place. A little of the wood I burn is free, as I have enough space to CSS a small % of my own... not much, about two hours per day is free wood

What I thought I 'knew' before I had my stove was that (apparently) a Jotul F3 would take 7 hours to get trough a full load of wood. I know ... laughable right? But it's in the manual and that is the info that buyers have to go on... And of course the folk who sold me the stove backed that up. Working on that basis, wood was going to be a great saving, becuase I also reckoned I could heat my whole cottage if my stove was ripping.

The latter is true, the former of course is not. Sometimes I can last four hours without reloading. Mostly it's two. Any ways, it's still a considerable saving.

I'm not blaming the kiln-dried wood producers for the cost of their wood though. If you own lots of land here it likely means you're pretty rich and not interested in firewood production. If you don't own lots of land, you have to buy your wood from those who do.

As I've said many times in this forum.. I really envy the availability of space and free wood for so many folk over the pond... But I still think that wood and especially Eco bricks (which are way cheaper than logs and consistently reliable) are a good option if you learn how to burn.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,146
Fairbanks, Alaska
H You guys over there call what you put in your cars 'gas' ( we call it petrol) so what do you call gas as in gaseous substance that comes in pipes to heat homes!?! An' I thought I was getting pretty good at talking American :cool:
"Natural Gas" is the stuff that is piped to houses. It is liquefied for shipment, so LNG or liquified natural gas. We also use a lot of propane for outdoor cooking grills and so forth.



FionaD said:
Someone else might be able to figure out the per kilo/per BTU costs of wood vs oil...
yup, looking forward to trying it myself.

Also, does anyone know how many pounds in a "tonne". I see above green logs are available at Pounds 60 per tonne.
 
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ddahlgren

Minister of Fire
Apr 18, 2011
555
SE CT
A tonne is a metric ton about 2204 lbs. and a tad of fractional change. Oak is well over 2 per cord and pine much less and a poor way to sell wood as it encourages to sell wet heavy wood that meets the spec and little heating value.
 

Logsnstuff

New Member
Dec 2, 2015
2
Perth
We are up in Perth plenty bags of hardwood which have been in a polytunnel store for 18 months to 2 years now. problem you have with many Scottish merchants is they think timber is seasoning if it's just stacked up unsplit and they can process to order and as you have found it doesn't work. you are welcome to come to our yard and look the logs over or place an order and test them before offloading to see if your happy to accept.

Logsnstuff.com
Perthshire
 

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Logsnstuff

New Member
Dec 2, 2015
2
Perth
The cure for suppliers with wet wood is to buy a year (or two, in lands of sideways rain) in advance. The cure for having no space to store that wood is to lease some... or to move.

As for HETAS, their standard of 25%, rather than the 20% suggested by stove makers and other regulatory bodies, is unacceptable to my mind... and I think I'll take a minute to contact them and tell them so.
stove makers also tell people not to burn softwood and timber upto 25
Hi all, thanks for all your thoughts and suggestions. Many of which I have considered over the past year or two and had to add to the 'not really feasible' list and some of which I haven't completely thrown out, yet.

Yes... Heating oil dropped by almost 50% here in the UK - it's now down to around 40 pence per litre, which I think translates roughly into $2.77 per gallon.

...And Yes, heating cost is a factor, but it's less about money for me and more about preferring not to go back to burning oil or coal because I want to do my bit for the planet in as many ways as possible. It goes without saying how important that is.

I think my main complaint is 'the con' that's taking place over here. Burning wood is sold mightily in the UK as the best way to heat, for dozens of really good reasons I heartily agree with... And that's why I spent almost £5000 (approx $6500.. a typical cost here) on the stove and installation. But the reality is that the modern stove industry is in its relative infancy over here, so few wood sellers here know, or care enough about properly dry wood and few burners question the wood they buy because they don't know how to burn in stoves.

Branchburner... I'd LOVE you to ask HETAS about the discrepancy between their recommended MC for firewood and what stove manufacturers recommend and let us know what they say. I plan to ask them again too. And You know what? I am starting to feel to strongly about this that I might even think about starting a website.. My 'inner activist' is stirring.

In the meantime, it's decent eco bricks, which I can buy at almost wholesale price from a co-operative here in Scotland that was probably started by others who feel the same as me.

But I will keep up the hunt for that elusive dry wood that is just a small carbon footprint away. In fact, I've just discovered that a family just over the hill have set up a kiln and plan to start selling kiln dried wood.. I see they already have been accredited by HETAS, guess I may as well have a chat with them - and take my moisture meter. And so it goes on. Rinse and repeat.
remember kiln dried wood is not carbon neutral

A one kilogram log of wood offsets carbon dioxide emissions by 1.65 kilograms.

1kg (wood) x 0.45 (carbon content) x 3.67 (CO2 / C) = 1.65kg CO2 reduction. This result gives an idea of how important trees are to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and why it's a bad idea to use them to dry your logs.

Thats 1.65 tonnes of CO2 for every 1 tonne of wood dried in a kiln V's 0 for air dried logs.
 

ddahlgren

Minister of Fire
Apr 18, 2011
555
SE CT
It is also the reason that burning any trees that are not a part of responsible forest management a bad idea as well. If you want CO2 to go down find a way to replant the millions of acres of forest clear cut.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,146
Fairbanks, Alaska
I'm not blaming the kiln-dried wood producers for the cost of their wood though. If you own lots of land here it likely means you're pretty rich and not interested in firewood production. If you don't own lots of land, you have to buy your wood from those who do.
I'll drop an email to Duke Richard down in Selkirk (he is also chieftan of Clan Scot) directly after I get some poly on the kilns I have in mind. His eldest is looking at a murderous tax bill in another 20 years or so, I would think generating some cash flow off the odd idle acre would be a win-win. The home page for the estate lists green energy as one of the main thrusts for investment.

badge2.jpg
 
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sean b

New Member
Oct 19, 2015
79
Central PA
It is also the reason that burning any trees that are not a part of responsible forest management a bad idea as well. If you want CO2 to go down find a way to replant the millions of acres of forest clear cut.
For my part, 100% of our firewood comes from trees that have fallen naturally. Their scrubbing days were over long before I fired up my trusty old Stihl.
 

ddahlgren

Minister of Fire
Apr 18, 2011
555
SE CT
For my part, 100% of our firewood comes from trees that have fallen naturally. Their scrubbing days were over long before I fired up my trusty old Stihl.
Then I personally commend you for being a responsible wood burner!
 
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