Season Your Own Logs

How To Season Your Own Wood

Whether you are wanting to save some money or simply pursue a hobby, learning how to season your own wood can be an incredibly useful skill. With felled wood containing up 75% moisture, freshly split logs will often be impossible to set alight. Even where it does burn, freshly split wood is a highly inefficient source of heat. This is because much of the energy produced by your stove is lost boiling the excess water present in the logs. Aside from being an inefficient heating source, unseasoned wood also produces much more smoke than dried firewood, leading to blackening in your stove or other heating system over time.

All of our wood for seasoning is sold in adherance to the Defra Clean Air Strategy. For more information on the Clean Air Strategy click here

Logs Direct's Season Your Own Wood

Logs Direct offer crates of season your own wood in 1.2 cbm crates and bags. These are amazing value and contain a mix of hardwoods including ash, alder, birch, beech and oak. Find out more about our season your own wood below:

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Do you need to cover wood to season it?

When it comes to seasoning your firewood, the clue is in the name. For the wood to be properly dried out, it should be exposed to the elements to release moisture. Tarpaulin should only ever be used with caution during periods of prolonged rain or snow.

Why is covering firewood not always helpful?

While it may feel intuitive to cover your firewood to keep off any potential rain, much of the moisture of the logs is trapped when tarpaulin is used. This is because, without any air getting to your wood, tarpaulin can create condensation which means that moisture is unable to escape.

How can I cover logs safely?

During prolonged periods of snow or rain, you may decide that covering your firewood is the sensible option. Should this be the case, we advise that only the top is covered and that this is done loosely so that the ends of your logs can stick out and let moisture escape.

With bark trapping much of the moisture in, the open areas of firewood are the most important area to be left uncovered. Once weather permits, uncover your firewood again so that they can continue drying out.

Why do you need to season wood?

When wood is felled, over half of its weight is residual water. This water is trapped within the wood in two ways: as ‘free water’ and as molecular water. Free water is the first to evaporate, as this is the moisture that would usually flow throughout the length of the tree in narrow long tubes.

Once the free water has evaporated, the moisture content of the wood will be around 30 percent. After this point, water begins to leave slowly from the cell walls of the wood. This is where the lengthy duration of seasoning comes in. Over long periods of time this moisture will eventually leave the wood, causing visible shrinking and cracking as it reaches an ideal moisture content.

For optimal burning, firewood should usually be seasoned until its moisture content is less than 20 percent. It is not impossible to burn firewood with a higher moisture content but this can be a tricky process that requires constant attention and will likely give off large amounts of smoke that contains blackening tar and creosote. 

How can you tell if wood is seasoned?

The process of seasoning firewood can often take long periods of time and varying widely dependent on the size of the wood, the tree species, and local climate. There are, however, some common ways that you can quickly determine whether your logs are nearly ready for heating:

Cracking

Once molecular moisture has started to leave your logs, there will be signs of what are called ‘checks and splits’. These are simply cracks that begin from the radius of centre of the logs. This is because, as moisture leaves the structure of the log and it shrinks, gaps begin to form across its fibers. Cracking does, however, begin fairly early in the second stage of the seasoning process so this is simply the first sign that your firewood is nearly ready.

Sound of the wood

While there are plenty of subtle visual clues when it comes to seasoned wood, these can vary across different species of tree due to their varied characteristics. The sound that two pieces of wood make when banged together, however, will always change significantly no matter the type of wood. Wood that still holds moisture will always make a duller sound while seasoned wood will sound hollow.

What is the fastest way to season firewood?

Should you be planning to season your own firewood, unless you are doing large amounts at a time, you will likely want your seasoned wood as soon as possible in time for heating season. Here are a number of fairly simple ways in which the process can be sped up:

  • Split log – with the bark of a tree being there to protect its moisture, exposing as much of the wood beneath the bark to the air will release water faster.
  •  Uncovered timber – exposing your logs to the sun and letting them breathe will allow the drying process to happen as quickly as possible.
  • Stack loosely – in the same way that covering up your timber with tarpaulin can trap heat and moisture, so does stacking your wood too closely. For larger amounts of firewood, consider stacking them in a number of rows rather than one huge stack.
  • Partially seasoned wood – if you are buying hardwood logs and are hoping to season your wood in as short a timeframe as possible, we recommend buying partially seasoned logs. This will still result in savings while cutting down the amount of time required to season your wood.

How long does it take to season firewood in the UK?

For most wood stored properly and not exposed to a large amount of moisture, firewood usually takes at least 6 months to season. Hardwoods, however, can take up to 2 years to season due to their density. This does, however, rely greatly on the weather, species of wood, and size of the timber. That’s why it is always best to err on the side of caution when you are wanting to season your own wood.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about any of our timber or how to begin seasoning them yourself, call our team on 01524 812476 or visit our contact page.