Don’t get burned when purchasing firewood
Many people burn firewood to warm their homes or add some ambience to a cozy get together. If you are lucky enough to own land, you might be able to cut your own. Otherwise, you probably purchase your firewood from a firewood vendor. Firewood is always sold by the cord or in multiples of a cord, since this is the only legal way to do so. A cord is 128 sq. ft. of wood; a stack that is four foot high, by four foot wide, and eight foot in length. In addition to the price per cord, a firewood vendor should also list whether the wood is cured or green. If you need to burn the firewood immediately, you should select cured firewood; if you can afford to let it cure for 4- 6 months, then green firewood is acceptable. The vendor should also list what type of firewood they are selling— oak, locust, or mixed firewood. Not all firewood is created equal, so you should select the firewood that bests serves your need and budget. You should also ask the vendor how the material is delivered. Normally, the vendor will drop the wood at your residence. There will probably be an additional charge if you ask them to carry it onto a porch or deck, or stack the firewood.
Well then, how do you know whether or not you got a good deal with your firewood? The first thing you can do is stack the wood and see how closely it resembles a “face” cord. You can also handle the wood before it is dumped to see if it is cured or still green. Green wood is heavier and has a dull sound when hit against another piece, has a cool or wet feel to it, and typically has distinctive colors or odors. Cured wood, on the other hand, is lighter, drier to the touch, has a crisp sound when stuck (like a baseball bat,) and is usually gray or dull with little odor to it. You can also educate yourself in wood identification so you’ll know if you are getting the oak firewood for which you paid a premium. If the wood does not look right, you should not accept the delivery—just make sure you do so before the vendor unloads it. There are many good firewood vendors, so once you find one, continue to support them with your business.
Article by FCFCDB
Page header photo credit: frederick.forestryboard.org - David Barrow
Nature note for 10/31/20