If you need to select and cut up your own firewood, then it’s important that you choose the right kind of wood and cut it up properly. In this guide I’ll take you through the complete process and explain everything you need to know.
Weight – Properly seasoned wood is generally light, especially if it’s a softwood. Hardwood will be heavier, but you’ll be able to tell the difference.
Feel the Wood – One of the simplest ways to identify dry wood is just to feel it. It should feel dry and hard. If you’re dealing with small branches then they should be very brittle. If it’s bigger blocks of wood then take 2 pieces and knock them against each other. If they’re dry then you’ll hear more of a “clunk” and feel more vibration in your hands. If they have a lot of moisture then the water will absorb the vibrations, so they won’t make as much noise and you won’t feel the vibration in your hands to the same extent.
The Look – Wood that’s seasoned and dry will be cracked and shrunk. When wood loses moisture it shrinks in size and cracks start to form. It’s quite a distinctive look and once you’ve seen a couple of pieces of very dry wood, you’ll know exactly how it should look.
Once you’ve got your wood you’ll need to store it for the winter. The last thing you want is to do this incorrectly and end up ruining your wood. You need to store your wood in a dry, secure area. You definitely don’t want to store it on the ground, since it’ll absorb moisture from the ground over time.
Here’s a few options for storage :
- Firewood Covers
- Storage Sheds
- Special Firewood Boxes
Now that you’ve selected and stored your firewood, the next step is cutting it up so that you can burn it and heat your home. There’s something very satisfying about chopping up your own firewood. First, you’ll need a wood splitting maul or axe. I recommend a light maul because it’s much easier to swing fast, hard and accurate.
You place your log on a flat, hard surface, preferably something like a tree stump. Have a look at your piece of wood and look for cracks. You want to strike in line with the crack. Don’t try to split it in the middle, as this is actually much harder to do, aim towards the crack and nearer the outside.