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Choosing the best types of firewood to burn in your wood stove or fire pit can play an important role in how much heat the fire generates.
After all, even though all firewood may be similar in appearance, not all firewood is created equal.
The density of the wood and the moisture content are the two most important factors that will dictate just how much heat, or BTUs the fire will produce.
If you plan on burning the firewood in a fire pit or fireplace, you might also want to choose a species of wood that creates less smoke and fewer sparks, which will make sitting around the fire more enjoyable.
Whether you plan on buying your firewood this year, or cutting it yourself, let's look at a few ways to make sure your firewood is dry, easy to light, and ready to create a hassle free fire that everyone will enjoy.
No matter what species of wood you choose, the best firewood is seasoned.
Seasoned firewood contains 20 percent moisture content or less, allowing the wood to light easily, burn hot, and create little to no creosote.
Wet firewood will not burn.
In fact, it will sizzle and smoke and cause you a lot of unnecessary problems, including the build up creosote on the interior walls of your chimney.
Seasoned firewood starts with the proper cutting, splitting and stacking of the wood.
Learning how to stack firewood or how to split firewood the best way to make sure your firewood is seasoned isn't hard, but there are a few tricks that will make sure the wood dries as fast as possible.
When stacking firewood it's important to elevate the wood off the ground which reduces the chances of the wood soaking up ground moisture, and it also reduces the chances of insects or rodents living in your firewood stack.
To stack the wood, building your own DIY firewood rack is a great, low cost option for storing firewood.
You don't have to be an experienced builder though to make your own firewood rack.
In fact, it can be as simple as creating a cinder block firewood rack out of a few pieces of scrap 2x4's and some cement blocks.
The amount of firewood you use in a year is important because you'll want to make sure you have enough wood stacked to get you through the winter.
This is why understanding firewood measurements is important.
For example, depending on where you live, firewood measurements might be described as a face cord, bush cord, full cord, or simply a cord, making you confused as to just how much wood you're buying or burning.
To keep things simple, there's only one official measurement, which is a cord of firewood that measures 128 total cubic feet.
The wood can be stacked in any dimension, but typically the stack is 8 feet long x 4 feet wide x 4 feet tall, totaling the 128 cubic feet.
Depending on the species and the individual tree itself, firewood can be really easy or really hard to split.
For example, elm firewood is very hard to split, especially with a maul or splitting axe.
The wood is very stringy and basically likes to rip apart as opposed to splitting.
Is ash good firewood to split?
Ash is considered one of the best all around types of firewood and it's one of the easiest hardwoods to split due to its straight grain.
If you love splitting wood by hand, ash should definitely be at the top of your list, plus with a heat value of 23.6 million BTUs per cord, it will heat your home on even the coldest winter nights.
The BTU rating for firewood can vary between the specific wood you're burning.
For example, a dense hardwood like oak will provide more BTUs than a softwood like pine.
Do you want to know which types of firewood give off the most heat?
Check out our best firewood to burn chart!
Now that we've determined that the best firewood to burn must be dry, let's talk about wood used in a fire pit.
I love sitting around a campfire.
Whether it's at a rustic campsite in the middle of the Porcupine mountains or simply in my own backyard, a good campfire on a cool fall evening is hard to beat.
Which types of firewood create the best firewood for a fire pit?
Personally, I like to use softwoods to start the fire then add hardwoods because they burn hot and give off a nice bright flame.
Is cedar good firewood for a campfire?
Cedar is one of the best sources of kindling available.
The oil inside the wood is very flammable, making it simple to light with a single match.
However, oil pockets inside the wood cause the fire to pop and spark a lot, which can be hazardous for people sitting around the fire.
If you have a bunch of cedar, just use it to get the fire going and then add in some other types of firewood to maintain it.
You should never burn plywood in a fire pit or other types of building materials because they probably contain glue or other chemicals to prevent decay.
These chemicals can be released in the air, which are harmful to breath especially if you have asthma or other health conditions.
Also, you definitely don't want to burn building materials if you plan on cooking over your campfire.
Both oak and maple create great coals which are perfect for warmth or a campfire meal.
Whether you're looking for the best smelling firewood to use in a campfire, or a dense hardwood that will burn all night in your wood stove, there's a lot of different types of firewood that will fit your needs.
Just make sure the wood is stacked and allowed to dry out before you burn it and you'll enjoy countless nights of amazing fires.