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Tools and Tips for Wood Burning Fires

A wood-burning fire is a great option this time of the year, serving as an instant warm-up while adding a sense of enjoyment and relaxation to your day. But before you make yourself cozy around the fire, it's important to understand how to properly use a log splitter and prepare for your fire.

Selecting and seasoning firewood

  • It's best to use seasoned wood with a moisture content level of 20% or below.
  • Seasoning firewood usually takes 6 months to 2 years, depending on the type of wood, to properly dry out and be ready for use.
  • Avoid using treated wood, which can release harmful chemicals when burned.
  • Before cutting or selecting firewood, decide which type of wood you want to use - softwood or hardwood. This will help you determine how long it will take to season the wood. Generally, softwoods, such as pine and fir trees, take between 6-12 months to season and burn quickly. Hardwoods, such as birch and oak trees, take up to 2 years to season, burn slowly and produce more heat.

Using a log splitter

  • Always read and understand the operator's manual before using any machinery, and be sure to wear gloves and protective eyewear when operating a log splitter.
  • Before you start to use your log splitter, make sure it is placed on flat, dry and solid ground. It's also important to always block the wheels to prevent unintended movement and lock the beam into the horizontal or vertical position.
  • Logs should be pre-cut with square ends and free of any branches and limbs before the splitting process begins.
  • When it comes to log splitting tips, place rough cut and split wood on separate sides of your log splitter to create an efficient and timely process.

Storing firewood

  • Store firewood on a stacking rack or in a location free of moisture and off the ground, but be sure to not store wood inside your home to prevent termites.
  • Leave a small gap in between the firewood and the wall you are stacking it on. Doing so will help create needed air circulation and let any moisture escape. If storing outside, cover firewood with a tarp to prevent exposure to rain or snow, but keep the bottom free for airflow and drying purposes.
  • Plan ahead as to how you'll be using your firewood (heating home, bonfire, special event, etc.) to help estimate how much wood you'll need to collect and store.

 

The Dirt from Troy-Bilt®, January/February 2014

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