Not all firewood is the same. This may appear obvious, but as much as the price varies, so does the quality. It can also be a bit of a thankless task. Most people buying it consider it to be overpriced, whilst those producing it can sometimes be guilty of complaining at the considerable labour and transport costs involved for such a poor return. I produce firewood for several reasons, I try to look at the big picture and not complain too much about it!
My firewood starts at £160 for a full load of mixed coppiced logs.
Why buy locally coppiced hardwood firewood
- It is low carbon fuel, not quite zero carbon but very close
- Burning firewood in combination with a well insulated house makes sense economically
- It saves greenhouse gases (people who burn firewood don’t burn as much fossil fuels)
- It helps us in our long term aim of restoring the woodland back into a traditional coppice rotation
- I process it all by hand with chainsaw and splitting maul, it is excellent exercise and saves money on gym fees!
Tips for buying firewood
Buy locally, preferably from a coppiced woodland. You’ll be supporting the local economy, cutting your carbon footprint and helping sustain the coppice industry which in turn benefits the woodland and local wildlife.
Buy by volume, not by weight. If you ask for a ton of firewood, it is likely that unscrupulous sellers will give you green, unseasoned logs. You’ll be buying a lot of water. If you are quoted for a ‘load’, ask how much volume the load is and compare it with another supplier.
Ask what species of wood you will be getting. There are some species which stand out as being good firewood and some not so good. In general however, most coppiced hardwoods contain about the same calorific value, but, their burning characteristics may vary; oak will burn slower and longer than birch, but birch burns hotter and brighter. If you have an open fire I would recommend burning oak. My mix of coppiced wood will probably contain at least some sweet chestnut, a great firewood on it’s own, but it does have a tendency to spit embers therefore I really only recommend it for stoves or boilers.
Most importantly, buy dry well seasoned logs, ‘green’ freshly cut logs will be difficult to light, less efficient as more of the energy they contain is used to ‘burn’ the water off and they will clog your chimney or flue with soot and creosote.
Think ahead, order your firewood early and store it in an open sided dry shelter, you’ll want the wind to get at it, but not the rain. It is a fact that winter comes around every year so make sure you order in good time. Everyone will be after dry seasoned logs in November and December, but if you leave it until then you are more likely to get unseasoned freshly cut logs from unscrupulous merchants looking to cash in on a shortage of firewood.
Prices are all for standard 8″ logs, delivered to your driveway or nearest convenient location, Please contact me with any special requirements for different sizes. If you would like them stacked in your woodshed or other location, I charge £20 an hour, it would be rare for a full load to take more than an hour to stack.
What is ‘a load’?
A typical ‘builders bag’ which you might buy bulk purchases of sand or gravel in usually holds 0.61 cubic metres. My 8ft x 5ft trailer is 2.5m x 1.5m x 0.37m = 1.4 cubic metres. Therefore a full load of my firewood = 1.4/0.62 or almost 2 and 1/4 x the volume of a builders bag.
Well almost….. actually in common with just about every other firewood merchant in the country you will be getting a ‘thrown’ load. That is, processed firewood which is’ thrown’ into the back of a trailer, pickup, builders bag or whatever. It could never be described as 1.4 cubic meters of solid wood because of all the ‘dead’ air spaces between the logs. This is just how firewood has always been sold, and the reason why when you stack your logs neatly and close together in your shed or storage space which you know to be exactly 1m x 1m x 1m or 1 cubic metre, the wood which you purchased and were told was a cubic metre, does not fill that space entirely!
I always try minimise this loss by heaping the trailer as high as I can safely do so, but it is something you should be aware of. Use the volume quoted as a guide to compare with other deals, not an exact representation of the amount of solid wood you will be getting.
The firewood I sell has all had at least two summers seasoning. This may not be entirely necessary for some species, for example alder, birch, even oak seasons quite quickly under the right conditions, but as I mostly mix all my hardwoods together I think it is far better to leave for at least two summers. I season it by loosely throwing it into pallets which are protected from the rain, by an old recycled poly tunnel. Notice that the pallets are stacked in such a way as to allow the air to circulate through the centre of the stack, and also the tarp protecting it from rain does not reach the ground, but has a gap along the edges to allow the air to flow all around.
I also don’t have a great deal of it compared to some firewood producers who buy in large amounts of uncut cord wood, process it mechanically with expensive machinery and sell it on. I only sell the surplus I have once I have finished coppicing, so once it’s gone, it’s gone! I am more interested in providing a top quality product at a reasonable price to customers in my local area, utilizing the resource and helping to restore the ancient woodland.
My delivery area is based around my regular journeys:
Rye, Hastings, Peasmarsh, Bexhill and Eastbourne. Unfortunately I probably would not be able to deliver outside of this area unless I was making that journey anyway, contact me if this is the case and of course if you do order early the chances are greater that I will be in your area at sometime before you really, really, really need it!. If not I might be able to recommend another supplier of sustainable coppiced firewood closer to you, or you could checkout the Woodlots Directory, a good online repository for local coppice workers and their products, or firewood.co.uk, an excellent source of more detailed information about all things to do with burning firewood.
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