What Is Seasoning Wood?

Getting Wood ready for the fire

There are two key ways to prepare your firewood for a modern wood burning stove, they can be placed in a modern commercial  Biomass fired kiln where  careful monitoring  with  specialist equipment is needed to reduce the moisture in as little as 12-16 days to the required level, but it is a very expensive option.

Seasoning wood is simpler, though it takes much longer. It’s often treated as a two-step process.

Fresh Felled to Air Dry

Fresh felled wood can have a moisture content of up to 75% -over half of the weight of the wood is water. At that level, you can’t even get the wood to burn. If you could you’d be dealing with much more smoke and mess and little or no heat would be produced as you would simply be boiling water not creating heat.

When seasoning wood, it needs to be cut to the required length and stacked carefully in the air but sheltered from the elements over a long period of time – possibly two - three summers normally. But for dense hardwoods like Oak/ Beech this can take up to six years as the product is so dense and difficult to dry but well worth the wait to create the perfect log.

Wood like this is called ‘air dried’ and it’s at this point that the wood’s considered “seasoned” but the issue is what is the moisture content, a simple purchase of a wood log moisture metre will allow you to be in control and understand whether the wood is ready or needs a further period of time to be fit for purpose. All wood needs to be tested and showing below 20% on the inside so we recommend you spilt the log and test across the grain to be sure that it is ready to burn.

Choosing the right wood for you

If you check our Hardwood Logs page, you’ll see that we offer wood as seasone, and kiln dried – kiln dried is already ‘perfectly dry’ and ready to use straight away.

If you’ve got a log pile, wooden log store, or other outdoor covered storage, we suggest ordering seasoned or even partially seasoned wood in the spring or summer when it is the lowest price then stack the wood in the store where it can breathe easily and over a period of time the moisture will reduce to the required level.

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