Firewood Tips: Best Wood for the Fireplace

29 March 2011 In The Woods

best type of wood for a wood stove
Burning quality firewood keeps the family warm and extends the life of the chimney stack. So, what is the best type of tree to use for a wood stove or fireplace?

Best Types Of Firewood

Wood choices are limited to the location of the cottage. Hardwoods, which are the best types of wood for the wood stove, are ideal. However, most of the top species are found south of cottage country.

Cottage owners who are not as far north will likely have better wood on their properties.

Top Firewood Choices for the Wood Stove
Oak, maple, elm, beech, and cherry are your top choices. They all have a high density when dried out and produce long-lasting coals.

Aspen (poplar), cottonwood, ash, and birch are the next best choices and are found in more northern climates.

Avoid using any of the conifer trees for your wood stove firewood. The pine sap will collect on the inside of the chimney stack and could eventually cause a chimney fire if it gets too hot.

Firewood Preparation

Burning the best type of wood is important but you also need to burn wood that is properly seasoned and the right length.

How Long Should Firewood Be Seasoned or Aged?
Firewood that is too new or too old is not desirable.  Fresh-cut wood is too green and must be allowed to sit for 12 to 18 months. The amount of time required depends on the thickness of the wood and the weather conditions. The wood must have sufficient time to dry out and become properly seasoned.

Why is it bad to burn green wood?
Burning green wood is inefficient because all of the energy of the fire gets used up to boil off the moisture that is in the wood instead of producing heat for the cottage. Green wood is also very difficult to light.

Burning wood that has been sitting for more than 2 or 3 years is also inefficient.  Much of the wood will be rotten or eaten by insects and will produce very little heat.

What is the Best Firewood Cutting Length?
The best length for a firewood log depends on the size of the wood stove or the fireplace. The ideal length for most wood stoves is about 18 inches.

The thickness of the log is also important. Any log that is thicker than 10 inches should be split in half or quarters.

Firewood Books
Here are two good books which will be useful for both beginners and seasoned wood cutters.

Go to the Wood Stove Maintenance page.
Go to the Chainsaw Maintenance page.
Go to the Bonfire and Campfire page.