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Why Use Kiln Dried Logs?

As the joy of a log fire in the winter is rediscovered by more and more of the UK year on year, it’s important to help newcomers to the log fire lifestyle understand how to make the most of it. We’re often asked why people would kiln dry logs before burning them, and it’s always asked by people who’ve ever never experienced a fire built with kiln dried logs or who don’t know that they have.

What Makes Kiln Drying Effective?

Each log, when cut, has a different level of internal moisture content. Logs with more moisture burn less cleanly – they put out little or no heat, black the glass on the window of the stove, and can even ‘tar up’ chimneys and flues with thick liquid which in time sets and can cause potential chimney fires. They’re also much harder to light as you are simply trying to light wood covered in water. Kiln drying is a process designed to minimise moisture content in the logs you burn. It’s a force drying process, and can last anything from 12-16 days depending on the moisture content of the wood. While there are those who like to dry their own wood – Lars Mytting, author of Norwegian Wood, writes in his wonderful book about Norwegian families who dry their carefully-cut logs in the oven, snatching time that isn’t used by cooking; as he notes, it can give the food prepared in that oven a smokier flavour – finding the time to do this well, keeping an eye on the process, avoiding oven fires, and checking your results can be difficult. One of the other great benefits of kiln dried logs is the fact that all living creepy crawlies have been removed from the wood so the wood can be stored inside without fear of infestation etc. and the reason why many people choose to use the wood as a decorative statement in the living rooms with stacked logs. Just as important, kiln dried logs are ready for burning immediately, no matter when in the year they’re bought. You can rely on them to burn smoothly immediately on arrival or having been stored for some time. Needless to say, this is a considerable advantage over logs that require drying or seasoning when ordered.
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