Seasoning logs, what do we mean when we use the term “seasoning logs”? Basically it means drying the logs out so they have a moisture content of below 20% which is the recognised upper level for moisture content.
If you burn wet logs you won’t have a very good fire because most of the heat in the fire is being used to evaporate the moisture in your logs and furthermore, this will also play havoc with your flue as it will slowly bung it up with a coating of tar!
As you may have already read on our pages there is a process to preparing your logs ready for burning, assuming you are starting with felled trees. You would start by cutting the logs to length and splitting them, the next stage is to store them so the seasoning process can commence.
You may have heard the term “kiln dried” in relation to wood for log burning, this means that the logs have been dried in a special kiln which accelerates the seasoning (drying) process which is great for a commercial log supplier. But for the home user this is an over kill and makes no economic sense either!
Basically you need to store your split logs in a well ventilated place, preferably with a waterproof roof. The idea is to let your logs dry naturally by making use of the sun and the wind. We will discuss various types of log store on the log store page, they don’t need to be anything fancy and if you can turn your hand to a bit of simple DIY you could build your own.
As a rough guide, based on my own experience I can dry my softwood naturally and have it ready for burning over the duration of a spring and a summer. Usually I go up to the yard and start my log cutting and splitting in February and March and get it stacked in the log stores as soon as I can. This way I can benefit from any sun and wind as soon as possible. As for hard woods like Oak, I really cannot say how long it would take to season to below 20% moisture content as I have no experience with hard woods.
So there you have, a barebones guide to seasoning logs!