When shopping around for firewood, a lot of customers ask if the firewood is seasoned or dry, but forget to ask about the quality. The two essential ingredients to a fire that burns hot and burns long, is firewood that is well-seasoned (moisture content under 20%), and high quality firewood. You can control how well-seasoned your firewood is by buying early enough to finish the seasoning yourself. But, supplying high-quality firewood is up to your dealer!
High quality firewood is solid and free of rot, cut to consistent length and free from excessive debris. If the firewood is too dry, it may already have rot in the centre. This wood lacks density and burns far too fast. You want clean wood. You are paying for firewood, not for debris. Your firewood should also, be a consistent length because it needs to fit in your firebox, and because it is difficult to stack firewood with varying lengths.
So how do you ensure that you are receiving high-quality firewood? When shopping around, your firewood dealer should allow you to see the firewood before you purchase it. If it is not feasible for you to make the trip to their location, you can ask a few questions over the phone.
You should ask when the wood was cut down and then split. This will give you an idea of how well seasoned it is. Then you will know whether you need to finish seasoning it yourself. It will also give you an idea if the wood is too far gone. For example, pine that was cut two years ago will most likely be too dry and burn too fast. Or, if birch sits more than a year before being split, the centre of the logs may already be rotting.
Next, ask your firewood dealer how they load and deliver their firewood. Are they loading dirt from the ground and all the bark that has fallen off along with your firewood? Or do they have a system in place so that when your wood is dumped on your driveway it is firewood and not everything else? Hand loading, or a specialized equipment will prevent excessive debris in your firewood.
Lastly, ask your dealer what length the firewood has been cut to. There is no sense in receiving firewood for an 18” firebox when your firebox only holds 15”. Is the firewood length consistent? What do they do with the end pieces from the log that don’t match the length of the rest of the firewood? Are these overly short or long pieces included in your delivery? Or will you be receiving firewood that is consistent in length so you can store it properly?
Providing you with high-quality firewood is up to your firewood dealer. A little bit of homework on your part can ensure that you are receiving high-quality firewood every time!