What size wood to you burn?

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
553
Champion, PA
Im curious what size wood you all use in your stove for hotter fires, overnight fires, or just in general?
Being totally new to this, I really dont have an idea. My manual states 2-3 inches is consider a larger piece but that's as it pertains to the next step after a kindling fire start. So I highly doubt they think 2-3 inches is a large piece..
Those are what I would consider my smalls, in my wood pile. Medium for me would be around 4" and larger would be 5-6.5. I do have some that is larger than 6.5.
I figured I would be burning mostly medium splits throughout the day and then popping larger pieces in at night.
 

Todd

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
9,786
NW Wisconsin
I use a wide assortment of 2-8”. Little ones are good for filling those little gaps when you need a full load.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GrumpyDad

EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
1st consideration is that the wood fits in the stove. Second consideration is it dry?

Don’t motivate a questionable 1st consideration by slamming the door into it.

All else will work itself out given airflow and time.
 

Rob_Red

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2021
376
Southern New England
I’ll echo what was said above, first and foremost it needs to be truly dry wood. With that being said my stove will accept a max of 16” long splits and for a long overnight burn I’ll use 6” + wide pieces.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,580
Philadelphia
It varies more with my mood when I'm splitting, and the size of the rounds or how well the wood is behaving, than my actual heating needs. Big rounds tend to be split into bigger chunks (eg: 6"+ square), because they wear me out, and I just want to get thru them. Smaller rounds keep me in a better mood, and thus might get split into 6" x 3" wedges, before stacking.

If you're trying to get wood to dry faster, then smaller is better, or more specifically... more surface area per volume ratio. But those of us doing this awhile usually have enough stacked, that dry time isn't really an issue.

If you have the right stove, the size and shape of what you're putting into it doesn't affect burn rate or behavior. But having a range of sizes is very handy for getting the maximum amount of wood packed into the stove. Start with the big, fill in around it with the small, when loading.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sixer

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
553
Champion, PA
Well my pieces will fit and they are dry. Im more thinking about the size of the actual split width wise.

I have a wide assortment, that's for sure. I think this will allow me to target any size piece I might fancy because I usually load up about 3 dump carts full of wood and stack that into a rack I have on my back deck. It's about a face cord in size, maybe 2/3 to 3/4 of one.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,279
South Puget Sound, WA
This depends on the firebox size. We burn mostly 4-8" splits in the 3 cu ft Alderlea and 2-3" splits in the little Jotul 602. When we had the Jotul F400 we burned 3-6" splits.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,208
Long Island NY
17" long splits. Variable in size - as Ashful says it depends on how the splitting goes. 2" to 7"

I don't keep big splits for overnight. I mostly run longer than 12 hr but shorter than 24 hr burns. So in the evening I play stove tetris and stuff it full. That means a few large ones, and a few smaller ones - think of concrete: gravel, smaller gravel, sand, cement. That size distribution gives a good packing.

Then during the day I have these reloads that need to tide me over 6-10 hrs to the next big reload in the evening. Odds and ends, uglies (knotty pieces) etc. go in there - anything that does not allow to play proper stove tetris.