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Softwood and Hardwood Logs and Briquettes for your Wood Burner

logs for wood burner

[fsbProduct product_id=’5467′ size=’150′ align=’right’]So where do you go to get your hardwood and, softwood logs or briquettes for your wood burner if you can’t prepare them yourself?

You must have seen the piles of netted logs and kindling at your local garage alongside the sacks of coal. Convenient and easy yes, but the prices vary widely and keep in mind that you can burn your way through one of those nets of logs in as little as 48 hours! The same goes for the briquettes, they may feel reassuringly heavy when you pick them up, but they will soon be ash!

You will see a similar situation at garden centres too, they are local, have a captive audience and can therefore price their products accordingly, beware you will most probably be paying a lot more than you need to to.

Try a local producer for your hardwood and softwood logs and briquettes first

Both the garden centres and garages will be buying their hardwood and softwood logs and briquettes in from a local supplier. At much lower prices than you would pay and then they will be marked up for sale. [fsbProduct product_id=’5415′ size=’150′ align=’right’]My advice to you is regard the garage or garden centre as your “emergency” source. Look for a local firewood producer first and then if you don’t have one go online to Amazon or Ebay.

If you are really lucky you will have a firewood producer in your area who will happily deliver bulk loads to you at a very good price. He most probably supplies the local garages and garden centres too who then mark his prices up.

Fortunately for you a lot of firewood producers are now offering their products on line platforms like Amazon and Ebay at very competitive prices and they will deliver your softwood and hardwood logs and briquettes too. The online platforms are great for the buyer as you get a vast range of choice and for the most part convenient delivery too. For the sellers or suppliers of the hardwood and softwood logs and the briquettes it’s cut throat. They all have to keep their prices and delivery options very competitive if they want your business.

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Electric Chainsaw – Corded Chainsaws

the electric chainsaw is available from many different manufacturers

Electric Chainsaw

the electric chainsaw is available from many different manufacturersThe Electric chainsaw, also known as a corded chainsaw is the type that you plug into your mains outlet. In that respect they are limited because mains power is not available everywhere you might find logs! For these situation there are alternative models, like the petrol and cordless or battery operated types.

Now we have mentioned the biggest drawback of the corded chainsaw, we should look at the positives. Especially just how quiet they are in comparison to their petrol powered counterparts. This has to be an essential consideration if you live close to other people, on a housing estate for example. Your neighbours will soon get upset with you if they have to listen to a loud petrol chainsaw when they are trying to relax in their gardens. In this case the cordless chainsaw could also be used without creating undue noise.

[fsbProduct product_id=’1535′ align=’right’]Another upside of the corded chainsaw is it’s weight when compared to other types of chainsaw. This variant is quite a bit lighter because it doesn’t have the weight of a 2 stroke engine, fuel or batteries. Being lighter in weight makes it easier to use for prolonged periods, like when you have a pile of logs to cut down to size.

Some people think that electric chainsaws are under powered, some are low power while other are almost as powerful as their petrol driven models. It all depends on what you want to do with your chainsaw. If it’s just light pruning or cutting up pallets, then a low power saw would most probably suit you. However, if you have firewood logs or trees to prune or bring down then you have to look at a more powerful model. Normally the wattage of the electric motor indicates how powerful a chainsaw is.

These days most electric chainsaws are essentially “tool less” meaning that you don’t need a set of tools to tension the chain or change the chain. Whereas on older models you would need a spanner and screwdriver for such tasks. In fact a lot of chainsaws no automatically tension the chain so you don’t have to worry about it. This McCulloch is a nice example of a modern electric chainsaw.
One more thing to think about with an electric chainsaw is how far will you be from a mains outlet. If you are a long way no doubt you will need an extension lead. Make sure you use one that has the correct current rating for your your saw. You should also be connecting through an RCD Circuit Breaker to protect yourself in the event of an accident.

We have a good range of Electric Chainsaw from many different manufacturers in our shop which you can browse in the Electric Chainsaws category.

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Stove Top Fan

stove top fan

stove top fanA Stove Top Fan Increases the Usable Warmth from your Wood Burner

The Stove Top Fan is the answer to the question that many wood burner owners ask themselves![fsbProduct product_id=’2317′ size=’300′ align=’right’] The question, why isn’t the whole room warming up, it’s only warm around the wood burner? The reason for this is that heat convects from the source, meaning it rises, in this case up to the ceiling. The warm air drops down as it begins to cool but it’s not as warm as you might like it to be.

So how does the Stove Top Fan help to fix this problem then? As your burner heats up the fan will start to spin, this pushes the hot air out into your room before it has the chance to convect upwards to the ceiling. Meaning everyone in the room benefits from the warmth from your stove.

The Stove Top Fan runs for free

What, the stove top fan has no running costs at all? Yes that’s right, you don’t need an electricity supply or batteries to run this baby, it generates it’s own electricity through heat differential. The fan sits on top of your stove, this means that the base of the fan is hotter than other areas of the fan assembly. About half way up the fan there is a semiconductor that uses this heat difference to generate a small amount of electricity, enough to spin the fan. As your stove top gets hotter the fan spins faster, shifting more warm air into your room. You can find a more in depth explanation on these fans work in this wiki. And here’s a short video showing a stove top fan working

Types of Stove Top Fan

[fsbProduct product_id=’2362′ size=’300′ align=’right’]There are many different types of fans on offer, they all work from the same basic principle, ie, shifting the warm air into your room and using that heat differential to generate electricity to spin the fan.

Some have a single fan with two, three or maybe four blades, others are a multi fan construction, meaning they have two fans in the same structure. This would lead you think that because there are two fans they will shift even more warm air, this might well be the case, I don’t know as I don’t have one of this type of Stove Top Fan.

To help you choose the right Stove Top Fan for you, we have a good selection of these stove fans  in our Log Burning Essentials shop.

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Log Stores for your Firewood

Log Stores – self build

Log stores, should you buy or should you build your own? In this article I want to take a look at just how easy it is to build your own Log Store which will not only keep your firewood dry but will also help with the seasoning process.

I have built a few logs stores myself over the years, they are just simple structures made from wooden pallets which are always in plentiful supply and most of the time you get them free.

Tip: always try and get all your pallets the same size if you can, it makes life a lot easier.

To build a basic open fronted cube from pallets you will need 5 pallets, 1 for the base, 1 for the roof, 1 for the back and 2 for the sides. In addition to this you will need some ply or OSB to use on the roof and some felt or waterproof material.

It’s easy to build your own Log Stores

View of one of our pallet log storesI have always made at least “double” log stores which require a few more pallets, in fact you will need 8 pallets for a double store, 1 extra for the roof, base and back wall.

As you can see from the pictures it’s relatively simple to construct once you have all the materials to hand.

Start by finding a level base, then lay your base pallets on top of bricks or blocks to raise them off the ground, I would advise placing bricks at each corner and done the middle of each pallet to support it properly.

Now you can start adding the back of your log store by screwing or nailing a pallet along the back edge of you base pallets, I find right angled brackets are useful to hold things in place.a clear view of the construction of our log stores

Next you can fit the sides, again by screwing or nailing the pallets to the side edge of you base pallets and also fixing them to the back wall pallets too.

All you need now is your roof, which should be sloped either forward or backwards, the choice is yours.

Putting a Roof on it

To get this slope you could remove the bottom slats and blocks from your pallet at one or end so that when you place the pallet on the top of your log store it slopes. Or you could leave the pallet intact and just use some extra bits of wood fixed to the top of the pallets that make your back wall, this will make your roof higher at the back than the front.

a good view of the back and roof of the log storesOnce you have your roof pallets fixed in place, all you need do now is fit some ply or OSB board over your roof pallets and nail it down, this will give you a firm base to attach your roofing felt too.

Finally, if you want your new logs store to last at least a few years, you should give it a generous treatment of wood preservative. I would say do this annually after you have emptied your log store and before filling it again.

Now, all that’s left for you to do is go and split some logs are start stacking them in your newly built  log stores!

I also wanted to give credit to the guy who gave me the inspiration to build my log stores:

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Log Cutting and Splitting Tips

suspenda sheet from the cieling and it will stop the mess from the saw spreading

This post is a follow on to those Log Cutting and Splitting Tips I shared in my last post, I just wanted to expand on them a bit and I also have better photo’s now to help better explain.

The first of the Log Cutting and Splitting Tips – Containing the chainsaw mess

Log Cutting and Splitting Tips - suspend a sheet from the cieling and it will stop the mess from the saw spreadingSo the first tip was a way of preventing all the saw debris (sawdust and chips) going everywhere when you are log cutting. I do a lot of my cutting in mythe sheet is ctaching the mess from the sawing garage and the debris from the chainsaw used to go everywhere. This was a real pain to clean up after I had finished as it got into all the nooks and crannies.

To overcome this situation I had the idea of making a screen to prevent the problem. The solution was simple as you can see from the first picture, it’s simply an old tarpaulin suspended from a bit of washing line with pegs. As long as it touches the floor it will do the job. As you can see, all the debris is stopped from spreading by the screen you have put up. You could even set up it so it forms three sides. This would catch all the mess even better and make cleaning up so easy – might try that next time!

Makeshift table to save your back

Log Cutting and Splitting Tips - log splitter with makeshipt tableThe second tip I shared was making a makeshift table to stand next to your log splitter. Mine is made from a few saw horses and a sheet of old ply wood makeshift table full of logs, saves bendinglaid across them. As you can see from this picture, it’s the same height as the log splitter and works really well when you are splitting big rounds. Generally I find this set up helps to cut down on a lot of the lifting and bending I used to have to do.

I am sure as time passes I will find some more log cutting and splitting tips I can share, or maybe you have some tips you can share?

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Log Collection – first of 2017

I did my first log collection trip of this year, a week or so earlier than originally planned. The weather was just so good and I had spare time so I thought why not. This was intended to be just a recce trip to see how much wood was available so I didn’t take my chain saw with me.log collection, many of these logs were just the right size

there are many larger logs available for collectionThe trip was well worth it, there are logs in abundance of all shapes and sizes, so I set about loading up the car with logs that were easy to lift and carry and in the and in the end got a good car full.

Once I got home I got it all unloaded into the garage to take the weight off the cars suspension and then left it at that.

Next day I got the electric chainsaw out to cut the logs to length for our wood burner.

 

Ndust sheet suspended from above to catch debris from sawow here is a little tip for you to stop the sawdust going everywhere. Put a piece of old washing line across your garage and hang an old groundsheet or dust sheet with pegs from it so it touches the floor. Set up your sawing so that you are facing the hanging sheet, now as you start sawing you will see that the sheet catches the sawdust and chips as you are sawing preventing them from going all over the place.

Sawing done, time to get the log splitter in position and get those logs split and stacked outside so they can season during the warm months to come.

 

log splitter with table behind itYou will notice I have a table set up on one side of the log splitter, this is just a couple of saw horses and a piece of old ply wood laid across them. This is  a great back saver as it cuts down of the amount of bending and lifting you have to do. For example when you split a round in half, you can roll one half onto your makeshift table and continue to split the other half. Keep you wheel barrow close to hand and you can just throw your split logs into it as you make them.

log stores partially fullSo all in all the first log collection of the year was well worth it, gave me about 12 wheel barrow loads that have started to fill the logs stores.

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Firewood for the coming winter

Logs at the yard

It’s the middle of March now and time to be thinking about getting the firewood in for next winter, the outside log stores are empty now and they need to refilled with logs so they can season (dry out) during the warmer months.

Check the Tools you use for making your firewood

Logs at the yard ready to be made into firewood
Logs at the yard

So jobs to do, service the chainsaw and sharpen the chains, give the log splitter a thorough check over and perform a test run to make sure there are no hydraulic oil leaks anywhere and make sure everything is working as it should. It’s also a good opportunity to give the outside log stores another coat of wood preservative as they are all empty at the moment.

Firewood logs loaded in the car
Logs loaded into the car

Then in early April I will head over to my friends yard and start cutting his felled trees into manageable sizes. Lengths of 12 to 14 inches are good for our stove. I do this cutting up at his yard for two reasons, the first being that petrol chainsaws are noisy little beasts and they can easily upset the neighbours, and secondly smaller pieces of wood are easier to load into the car. It’s always tempting to pick up a larger piece, but then you get that warning twinge in your back and you realise it wasn’t such a smart idea after all!

firewood ready to be splt and stacked
firewood ready to be spit

Once the car is full we come back home and unload and then set about splitting the logs. Once they are split that are stacked in the outdoor log stores. This usually takes me around ten trips up to the yard to completely fill the log stores so it is time consuming, but enjoyable work.

Now let nature take over

Now it’s up to mother nature to do her work by giving us lots of sunshine and a gentle breeze which are ideal condition for drying out logs. I usually find that 5 to 6 months is ample to dry out all the logs outside as it’s all softwood If it was hardwood you could easily double the drying time.

By mid September we should have good stock of seasoned firewood all ready for whatever the winter decides to throw at us. If you want to learn more about how I process my firewood you can read my Introduction to Log Burning for Heating your Home
[fsbProduct product_id=’762′ size=’300′ align=’left’][fsbProduct product_id=’1112′ size=’300′ align=’right’]

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