From Chopping To Burning
Sitting in front of a cozy fire takes some prep work. Follow these steps to have a handy supply of seasoned wood, ready to burn in your family’s fireplace, wood stove or fire pit. From chopping to storing, lighting and burning, you’ll be in-the-know about everything you need enjoy the dancing flames and welcome heat of a roaring fire.
Curing And Storing Firewood
Chopping and burning your own wood is a great way to clean up the yard, save on the heating bill, get exercise and bring warmth and tradition into your home. Here is some helpful information as you begin to gather wood for the winter months (or even next year’s woodpile).
Properly cured, or seasoned, firewood burns best. It burns hotter, cleaner and more efficiently than unseasoned “green” wood. Green firewood can cause the buildup of creosote in your flue, increasing the risk of a chimney fire.
If your wood is not dry, you should:
- Neatly stack the wood in a rack, cover it and store for 6-12 months
- Make sure air can get to the wood, but that the wood is protected from rain/snow
- Split the wood as it will season faster than whole logs
You’ll know your wood is fully cured when you see checking and cracking on the ends and loosening of the bark. Seasoned wood is less aromatic than green wood.
Following these simple guidelines will ensure the you always have a large stockpile of usable firewood when you need it. Your ready-to-burn wood stash will come in handy whether you a stuck in a power outage or enjoying a nice family gathering around the hearth. You’ll even have a supply for your outdoor fire pit!
Safety Precautions For Wood Cutting
Cutting your own wood can be a great way to enjoy some outdoor time and get exercise, but safety should always be your top consideration.
Take these precautions:
- Familiarize yourself with your chainsaw and the manufacturer’s safety guide with its tips for safely felling trees and cutting logs
- Never cut wood alone. Or at least, let someone know exactly where you will be and what time you expect to be done
- Always wear properly fitted clothing (no loose sleeves), heavy-duty boots, gloves, eye protection and chainsaw chaps
- Take frequent breaks, stay hydrated and if you begin to feel tire, take a break.
Follow similar safety guidelines when splitting your wood and soon you’ll be enjoying a cozy, roaring fire.
Start A Roaring Fire
Fire building is a skill that has been honed from the dawn of time, from cave men to the fire enthusiasts of today.
Here are some basic tips to get your started:
- Have the proper wood. Dense wood (oak, ash, hard maple) burns slower and longer, giving off more heat. But lighter woods are fine if you want to replenish the fire more often
- Start our quick-lighting Fatwood fire-starter – always keep a ready supply as it’s the easiest way to light a fire. Just two sticks does the job!
- For other kindling, loosely crumple some newspaper and criss-cross some pieces of kindling so the air can flow freely
- Place 2-4 slightly larger pieces of wood on top and light the Fatwood or kindling.
- When the wood starts to burn, add 2-3 more small pieces
- Add larger wood as the fire burns hotter, and if it starts to fail, quickly add additional kindly to get it going again
Getting The Most Out Of Your Fire
Before you begin a fire, follow these helpful tips to keep your family and home safe:
- Stack firewood pieces carefully so they will not roll out as the fire burns down
- Make sure all combustible materials (kindling, gloves, newspaper) are at least 3’ away from the fire
- Use a long-handled poker or tongs and protective gloves when adding/positioning firewood or stoking coals
- Have your chimney inspected and clean by a professional at least once a year
- Make sure you have a fireplace screen to protect from sparks and rolling logs
- Never use lighter fluid or gasoline when starting a fire
There’s nothing better than enjoying a crackling fire on a cold winter’s night, especially when you have family and friends to share the warmth. Follow our quick and easy tips above and you’ll always be prepared to enjoy a cozy fire in no time.