Heating With Wood - Pt 4

Posted on 9th March, 2011

Learning to Buy Good Firewood ...


Buying firewood for the first few times can be frustrating. There are no regulations for firewood quality, no price controls and little accuracy in trade descriptions. Buyers with little experience usually take what is given or available and sometimes they do not get a fuel that performs as expected. Some aspects to be aware of include:

  • Ask to see the wood first – don’t buy 'blind'
  • Wood species – some species are not as desirable as others (*see below)
  • Moisture content – is the wood green or wet?
  • If unseasoned, do you have adequate storage space to let it dry for up to a year?
  • Size – will the pieces fit in your firebox without further cutting or splitting?
  • If it needs to be cut or split – it should be cheaper, but this is a very physical process unless you have a chainsaw or a large circular saw; and a powered log splitter
  • Units sold – is it being sold by the bag or trailer load – if so what size are the bags or trailer?
  • Compare prices and try to calculate volume for comparison - is delivery included?
  • If buying for the first time, buy small quantities until you can judge quality, quantity and prices for yourself. This will come with experience.
  • Will the seller have more of the same or is this batch just a one-off 'clear-up'?

* There are various old country rhymes for remembering the burning

qualities of different wood species –

here are two versions: Firewood Rhymes


Learn the rhyme that you like best and put it to good use!


Any questions? As usual - just ask for advice.


'Bye for now,




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Comments (4)

Hi Les liked the rhyme for what wood to burn...first time I have been here on this blog impressive keep it up
les....last time we met at Morella's there was some talk of maybe operating as acollective to purchase some falen trees (from Forestry or whwereever ) to cut up for our own use . Any more thoughts on that...harry
Ireland generally has very little in the way of energy resources... Potentially, its farmland could be growing vast quantities of energy fuels. There is an all-Europe, EU Grant that should be very attractive to farmers but seems to be taken-up very little. In the UK, it is called the 'Farm Woodland Premium Grant Scheme'. It requires that 1 hectare of farmland should be planted in blocks of not less that 0.2 hectares (about a 1/4 acre) with a minimum dimension of 20 metres.

If 10 No 0.2 hectare blocks are planted, roughly following north-south hedge lines, they will equally distribute the shade and intercept the westerly winds, so creating microclimates, within which crops will grow better, yielding perhaps 20, 30 or 40% better than when they are not sheltered and on maturation of the trees s/he has a lump sum! A further advantage is that there will be an annual grant payable on the planted trees, equivalent to a conacre rent, for a period of 15 years! In current parlance, it is 'a no-brainer'! and the yield will be greater (as if s/he has acquired more land). If this was to be done, it would be a real revolution...
Sounds like excellent advice, Les and thanks for alerting those of us who are not regular visitors to your (impressive) website. Just one thing - where are Pts 1,2 and 3?