Efficient Fuels: How to Choose the Best Type of Firewood

What’s the best way to build a fire when you’re low on wood?

Starfire setups work well when you don’t have a lot of fuel, but want a long fire that burns through the night.

Large split logs will work best. Position the logs to create a five-star point in the fire pit. As the logs begin to burn down, you can let them slide down into the star’s center.

Of course, before you can build any fire, you’ll first need to find the best type of firewood. What kinds of firewood will give you the best burn? Read on to find out.

Getting the Best Burn Time

As you start looking for different types of firewood to feed your fire, you’ll notice that some cost more than others. What exactly makes certain types of firewood better for burning than other types? It’s all going to come down to two main factors: water content and density.

The more water content a piece of wood has, the more trouble it will have burned. Alternatively, dry, dense firewood has a nice smooth burn.

Dry wood will give you the best burn time overall. You’ll also find that the denser and dryer the piece of firewood is, the more heat it’ll be able to produce.

Finding the Best Type of Firewood

Along with the water content and density, the type of wood you choose also matters. While certain types of firewood are the best for getting a delightful smoky aroma, other woods work great for grilling meats.

As you search to find the best kind of firewood, you’ll need to learn about soft vs. hardwood. You can use sites like https://www.buyfirewooddirect.co.uk/, to compare the prices of each option.

Typically, you’ll do best by purchasing a blend of wood types. Instead of sticking to fast-burning or slow-burning logs, have a little bit of diversity.

When you combine the different types of wood together, the results can be amazing. You’ll have a fire that lights easily, but doesn’t fizzle out within the hour.

Different Kinds of Softwood

If you’re working with a tight budget, you’ll be happy to know that softwood is the cheapest best type of firewood you can buy. We suggest starting with a nice bundle of fir.

You’ll find that fir has a nice smooth burn, and it’s easy to find. All it takes is a quick online search, and you’ll find all sorts of vendors selling softwood like fir.

Overall, softwoods tend to leave finer ash when compared to hardwoods. You also find that your software options will burn much faster than any hardwood options.

Here’s a shortlist of the different types of softwoods:

  • Cedar
  • Fir
  • Hemlock
  • Pine
  • Redwood
  • Spruce
  • Tamarack or Larch

All of the woods on the list above are types of softwoods, but they each perform differently in the fire. Remember that not all softwoods are equal, so it’s worth your time to shop around a little bit.

Think about what you want the wood to provide, and then look for the exact type to deliver. For instance, cedar is a great fire starter.

Cedar Tips

Did you know there are 4 different families of cedar trees? Each type of cedar tree has its own unique advantage when it comes to starting a fire.

For instance, true cedar is perfect when you’re getting ready to light the fire. True cedar burns quickly and has an inviting aroma. However, it’s not recommended to burn cedar all by itself.

Pockets of cedar oil can create harsh shooting sparks and embers. To keep things safe, it’s best to only use a couple of logs of cedar, and choose a hardwood for the rest.

Different Kinds of Hardwoods

Do you want a long, hot burn time? Then it would help if you looked into getting hardwood firewood.

Here’s the shortlist of some of the best hardwoods:

  • Ash
  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Cottonwood
  • Ironwood
  • Elm
  • Apple
  • Cherry
  • Mesquite
  • Beech

Hardwoods will give you the most heat, and they’ll burn for the longest time. Depending on the type of hardwood you choose, you can get a lot of sap or a little sap.

Another thing to consider is the amount of pitch that the different types of hardwood bring. If you have your heart set on hardwood, expect to pay more.

Hardwoods cost more than softwoods on most occasions. You’ll also have to put in a little more work when it comes time to clean up. While softwoods produce lovely soft ash, hardwoods create a more stony residue.

How Is the Wood Stored?

Are you going to be buying your firewood from a local store? Then you’ll have a unique advantage.

When you can see, smell, and touch the firewood, you’ll be able to pick out the best pieces. Pay close attention to how the seller is maintaining their firewood.

For example, it would help if you first looked at where the firewood is being stored. The best suppliers will store their wood in a dry, ventilated spot.

It’s perfectly okay for the firewood to be sitting outdoors as long as it’s fully covered. However, if the wood is sitting in an area that could be flooded, it’s probably not in good condition.

Inspecting the Firewood

You’ll also want to look at the color of the wood. Keep your eyes open for dark or gray-colored pieces. The darker and grayer the wood, the older and dryer it is.

Remember, you want old dry wood with the least water content. Try banging a few of the logs together. Do they sound hollow? Great!

Hollow-sounding logs have a fast burn time, but they’re great for keeping the fire roaring. It’s also a good sign that the wood is lightweight. The lighter the wood, the less water it’s holding.

Cracked ends are another indication of dry firewood. If you can find lightweight pieces that are hollow sounding and have cracked ends, you’ll be on the right track!

Try to avoid pieces that have too much bark on them. Instead, the pieces with the bark peeling off will be your best option. Bark contains a lot of moisture, and it can slow down the burn of your fire.

It’s also a good idea to try digging from the bottom of the pile. If you choose the newest wood from the top of the pile, it’ll probably be fresher.

While freshness is a great thing for food; it’s not a fantastic thing for firewood. The older the wood, the better it’ll burn. Old, dry, cracked wood is where it’s at.

Forage for Different Types of Firewood

Are you getting ready to go camping? When you set up for an extended camping trip, you’re probably not planning to bring a ton of firewood.

Instead, many campers enjoy trying their hand at foraging for firewood. To get the best results when searching for fire fuel, you’ll want to follow a few rules.

First, always look for a diversity of wood. Instead of setting your sights on hardwoods only or just selecting softwoods, get a blend of both.

The softwoods will ignite quickly, which is excellent for building a big burn. However, since softwoods burn fast, you’ll need hardwoods to keep the heart of the fire going.

Are you planning on roasting some food over the open flame? You’ll find that hardwoods create some of the best coals for cooking.

Having Enough Firewood

It’s also important that you plan your wood hunting time during the day. You should never go out into the woods at night since you won’t know what you’re picking up.

To play it safe, get enough firewood so that you won’t have to leave the campsite once it’s dark. An armful of firewood usually equals about 50 minutes of fire. If you plan on having a fire for 3 hours, go ahead and get 4 arm fulls worth of wood to be safe.

Don’t try to burn anything thicker than your wrist as far as thickness goes. If the wood is too thick, it’ll take too long to catch fire.

Did you find a big branch that you need to break up? Wedge one end of the branch into a forked tree. Then use the tree as leverage to bend the piece until it snaps.

Do You Need a Firewood Permit?

Depending on where you’re camping, you might need to obtain a firewood cutting permit. The United States National Forest is divided into 9 separate regions. You can check out the USDA website to get a complete understanding of each region.

Reach out to your national forest district office to ask if they require firewood cutting permits. You can also visit the park’s website directly and look for a passes and permits section.

If you find a link that says firewood permits or forest product permits, click on it. Depending on the region you’re visiting, you might have the option to buy a license through the mail or at the forest service office directly.

Sometimes firewood cutting permits are also sold at hardwood stores. If you don’t see any options for obtaining a permit, use the contact information on the website to call the forest service office directly. Typically permit for personal use will cost around $5 per cord.

What Is a Cord of Wood?

Do you know what a cord of firewood is? Cords are a way of measuring bundles. Bulk firewood is measured using cords.

You can buy a full cord, a face cord, or a rick. Each type of cord has a different amount of wood.

For example, a full cord is 128 cubic feet of wood. The measurement is 4 ft high by 8 ft long and 4 ft deep. Some places that sell firewood might say that they’re selling you a cord, but it’s really just a partial cord.

When a company sells a piece of the cord, it’s called a face cord. A face cord is 4 ft high and 8 ft long, but it’s not as deep as a full cord. A typical face card will only contain a third of the wood that a full cord has.

One way to determine if you’re buying a full cord of wood is to count how many rows of wood are stacked together. A stack of firewood with 3 complete rows of 16 firelogs is probably a full cord.

You’ll also hear sellers referring to their wood as ricks. Rick is a more slang term and can have a different meaning from spot to spot. However, generally speaking, a rick is the amount of wood that can be loaded into a pickup.

What Not to Burn

So far, we’ve been discussing the best types of woods to burn. But what about the things that you should keep out of your fire pit?

It can be tempting to burn anything that will produce heat. However, burning certain types of woods can put your health at risk.

Unfortunately, certain woods can produce harmful toxins, so you have to know what to look for. For instance, driftwood may look great, but it’s not suitable for the fireplace.

Anyone who’s ever tried burning driftwood will tell you that it creates a beautiful lavender flame. The problem is that driftwood also puts off dioxin, which is poisonous to humans.

You should also avoid burning any woods with the word poison in their name. Poison sumac, poison ivy, and poison oak can release irritants into the smoke.

Don’t burn pressure-treated lumber, such as particleboard or wooden pallets. Often pressure-treated lumber contains chemicals, and the fire can turn the chemicals into breathable toxins.

Source the Best Type of Firewood

Now you know how to buy or forage for the best type of firewood. Having a blend of hard and softwoods is the best choice.

Start looking for fire suppliers in your area or online. Don’t forget to save yourself some time and money by buying in bulk. Getting cords of firewood now means you don’t have to go out shopping later.

We hope you have fun sitting around your fireplace, and we’re here to help if you need more tips. Just take a moment to read another one of our articles or explore the rest of our website.