Kiln Dried Logs Q & A

Q: What are kiln dried logs?

A: Kiln dried logs are firewood which have been artificially dried in a kiln down to a moisture content of 10-15%. Usually they are dried at 60-70°C in a 7-10 hour cycle. The purpose is for them to burn hotter with a higher longer lasting energy and less residual moisture.

Our suppliers have a very unique and efficient drying system. Their kilns are fired on their own wood waste at a much higher temperature than the average kilns with the assistance of solar panels and the use of fans to circulate hot air. This process can dry wood in 50 hour cycles each time. To give you an idea of the moisture content removed, each batch of firewood weighs 18 tonnes going in, then by the time the kiln drying has finished they weigh only 12 tonnes. That's six tonnes removed, and a third of the original weight removed in total!

Q. Why should I buy kiln dried logs?

A. Kiln dried logs will always cost more than seasoned logs, but the benefits are considerable. With the moisture content being dried down to below 20% they will be ready to burn straight away and will therefore be very easy to light. With the logs being so dry they will generate a greater heat output of 4-5kWh per kilogram and you will use far less kiln dried logs in a modern Ecodesign wood burning/multi-fuel stove, plus once you've established a solid base you can lower the oxygen intake for a slower longer lasting burn.

There is also the added bonus of a clean burn which will reduce sooting of the stove glass and sooting and tar accumulating in the chimney flue - cue to an inexpensive chimney sweep invoice!

Q: Does the government ban on the sale of wet wood apply with kiln dried logs?

A: No, the government ban on the sale of firewood above 20% moisture in quantities smaller than two cubic metres won't apply with kiln dried logs as they are Woodsure Ready to Burn approved and suitable for Smoke Control Areas. The reason why this ban has been implemented is to combat air pollution.

Q: Are your kiln dried logs hardwood or softwood?

A: Our kiln dried logs are a mixture of ash, beech and oak hardwood. Hardwood is denser - they burn with higher energy and last longer than softwood logs. Kiln dried softwood logs are easier to light and burn brighter with a rapid high heat output. However, twice as much softwood will be required to produce the same lasting heat!

Ash hardwood can dry quite quickly and is considered one of the best firewoods - burns very nicely with a bright flame.
Beech hardwood is a dense species which includes a smooth bark, burns with a bright long lasting yellow flame.
Oak hardwood also is very dense and is the best firewood in the UK when dried/seasoned properly. Oak requires more air to maintain a good burn but once at its optimum produces a very good long lasting heat output.

Q: Where are your kiln dried logs from?

A: Our firewood are sourced from sustainable British woodland in estates local to Certainly Wood. Our firewood are sourced only from trees that are felled as part of the natural thinning process by well managed forestry. The removal of these trees provides more light for the remaining trees to grow efficiently.

Q: How are kiln dried logs seasoned and processed? 

A: Tree trunks removed as part of the natural thinning process are left in the forest for the first stage of the seasoning process for a few months. They are then delivered for processing at a sawmill to be cut into smaller sizes of logs. Once the processing stage is complete the logs are then placed into bins for the second stage of the seasoning process for as much air drying as possible before going into the kilns.

Q. What size are your logs?

A. The standard size is 25cm (9.75 inches.) The diameter range is 5-15cm (2-6 inches.) The packed volume of a small bag is around 0.025m3. We can also supply 35cm or 45cm size logs (subject to availability) for delivery in bulk bags.

Q: Will your logs fit in my wood burner?

A: Almost certainly! Our standard sized logs will fit in 99% of all wood burners and multi-fuel stoves. If you have a small wood burner, our Blazeaway Long Burn Logs are ideal for small stoves, whist Flaming Logs offcuts are also suitable for the smaller size.

Q. How much does your wood weigh?

A. You should always buy wood by volume and not weight as the wetter it is the heavier it will be. An equivalent amount of kiln dried wood is likely to produce over four times as much heat as wet/poorly seasoned wood and 50% more heat than semi seasoned logs, therefore kiln dried wood represents far better value for money.

Q. When is the best time to buy firewood?

A. The best time to buy firewood is in the summer months. Emptying your bulk bag and stacking your firewood on dry, light summer evenings is a lot more pleasant than slogging away on dark winter evenings in the rain, snow and fog! Most suppliers offer better prices during summer.

Q. How much firewood will I need to order?

A. This varies greatly and depends on a number of factors such as the size of your property, house insulation, stove efficiency, usage and the weather. If you own a small well insulated home with an Ecodesign stove, you will require a lot less firewood than a large home with poor insulation and an inefficient stove. We've drawn up a guideline -

For occasional use (1-2 fires a month) - 10-20 small bags of Premier Logs will likely be enough to see you through the year. For better value for money, order a 1.2m3 bulk bag to last you a couple of years.
For one fire a week - a 1.2m3 bulk bag of kiln dried firewood will likely be enough to see you through the year.
For 2-3 fires a week - a 1.6m3 bulk bag or two 1.2m3 bulk bags at a quantity discount deal should be a sufficient supply to see you through the year.
For regular use (a fire every night from October to April) - order two 1.6m3 bulk bags for a quantity discount deal if you have the storage space.

In an average year you are likely to use 3-4 cubic metres of kiln dried firewood. You will use significantly more seasoned firewood to achieve the same heat output. If you own an Ecodesign wood burner, the importance of premium quality kiln dried firewood becomes even more significant as you will likely only require 1.5 to 2 cubic metres.

Q: How should I store my logs?

A: The ideal place to store your firewood is in a dry and airy environment such as your garage or shed - AVOID damp storage areas which lack air movement! If none of these mentioned options are available to you then you may wish to invest in a wood store to help protect them from the rain, preferably one with vented sides. Alternatively, you could store them off the ground (ie on a pallet) and shelter them underneath a waterproof tarpaulin.

Q: Could I just leave my firewood inside the bulk bag?

A: We don't recommend this outside unless sheltered underneath a waterproof tarpaulin because the bulk bags are showerproof not waterproof. Bulk bags stored inside a garage will be fine, but if you have the storage space we recommend you stack your logs in a dry environment in order for your logs to receive sufficient air flow.

Q: What if my logs get wet?

A: Don't worry if they get a bit wet, give them a few days to air and their quality shouldn't be affected. If you've left them out in the rain for a few days then once you've given them a few days to dry you are likely to need to get a solid fire base going first, but they will definitely burn well enough on a fire that is already hot enough. Kiln dried logs are sealed to the core to prevent further moisture from getting inside, so will remain dry internally as long as they are not left saturated over a prolonged period of time.

Q: I don't wish to commit to a bulk load yet. What are my options?

A: Our kiln dried logs are also available in smaller easy to carry sized bags. You can also choose from smaller offcuts in the Flaming Logs bag which offer a more affordable option or compressed woodchip Blazeaway Long Burn Logs which are ideal for small stoves.

Q: Which is better quality? Firewood in large bulk bags or firewood in crates?

A: We will naturally say you get better quality kiln dried firewood in large loose filled bulk bags. Our 1.2m3 and 1.6m3 bulk bags are filled all the way, giving you more premium quality ash, beech and oak logs for your money. Firewood in large bulk bags above a cubic metre is far more likely to have been sustainably sourced in the UK and will include the Grown in Britain tree logo.

Kiln dried firewood in crates is of reasonable quality, but they will almost certainly have been imported from Eastern Europe with no trace of sustainability. The firewood will usually be birch or alder wood, which burns up to 30% faster than our kiln dried logs and there is also the risk of bringing harmful tree pests and diseases into the UK.

Furthermore - declared stacked volumes in a crate can often be exaggerated. Firewood loaded in a 1.2m3 crate might not completely loosely fill a 1.2m3 bulk bag.

Q: How can I tell if my firewood is seasoned? 

A: A good indicator is to bang two pieces of wood together. If the wood is seasoned it will give a hollow sound on impact, if unseasoned or too wet it will give a dull thud! If you're unsure, check the logs for deep cracks running through the grain and a darker look - if they possess these then they should burn fine. On the other hand, unseasoned wood will look brighter and still have a fresh sap smell. For convenience you could invest in an inexpensive wood moisture meter for an instant reading. Test all sides of the log - if you get a consistent reading of around 20% you should be good to go. Be aware however, that the cheapest moisture meters are not always accurate!

If you are looking to season your own firewood, a dry and airy shelter with vented sides or a wood store are ideal for storage. Seasoning time depends on the type of wood, usually two years - you will want at least six months of seasoning time for softwood logs and for finer cuts of oak hardwood you will want to allow around three years of seasoning time. On average you could require as much as 6-9 cubic metres worth of storage space to ensure you have an edible supply all year round.

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