Jump to content

Firewood general

Recommended Posts

Afternoon all,


I've been wondering about firewood recently, and I have few questions for specialists like you. I have read something about it but sometimes I'm finding contradictory informations.


Let's start from easy one: What is the best/most popular type of firewood? Ash?


As I understood moisture content should be under 20% to be considered as good?


When I get really confused is measurement, sometimes I see 1m3, sometimes cubic metre and sometimes kg.

Can someone explain me how it works, because I see different prices.

I've checked few local suppliers, gumtree and ebay/amazon and prices there vary.


what is a good price for 1m3, cubic metre and lets say 100kg of Ash(moisture content 18%).


Where is the best place to buy firewood because I see on gumtree muuch more lower costs of firewood than compared to ebay for example, why ?


I'm placed in Greater Manchester area.




Edit: Hope I will start some nice discussion in order to summarize and set in order basic knowledge about firewood because this topic interested me.


Edited by ellmal

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes ash is probably the most popular. Mainly because it has low moisture content when first cut so if sellers dont properly dry their wood ash will look the best. Properly dried oak and and beech take some beating IMO.


Below 20% would be excellent but below 25% will just fine. Moisture content is best taken from a freshly split face and not the end of a log which can give misleading figures.


1 loose cubic meter (1m3) of logs seems to be becoming a standard measurement. It simply the loose logs should take up a space 1m x1m x1m. If sellers are selling in bags be aware there are many different sized ones from 0.65m3  to 1.5m3 and probably everything in between. Beware of the guys selling a tonne of logs in a builders bag (0.65m3). These bags dont dry logs and will weigh nowhere near a tonne.


Not seen anyone selling by weight but a dry 1m3 of hardwood  logs should be in the region of 350kg


Price per m3 is variable but seems to go from £75 - £120. 1m3 for £120 pounds of dry logs will be better value than £75 worth of soggy rubbish.


Where to buy? Sorry not my area but word of mouth tends to be a good start.

  • Like 5

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

In general all hardwood firewood will burn well as long as it's dry. Softwood is ok to but will burn quicker so you'll want to pay a bit less. Ash is the traditional favourite but that's mostly because it's easy to process and dry rather than its burning (although that's fine to). 


Less than 25% moisture will burn fine, less than 20 is ideal and will be more efficient. 


As above m3/cubic metre is the best way to buy, try to avoid buying by the kg or worse a ton bag which is rarely accurate.  


Apart from the really cheap stuff being sold price will vary hugely and won't necessarily reflect quality. Finding a reliable and consistent supplier is the main thing. 



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The first reply was a  very good answer..

I would only add that whilst mostly firewood is sold by volume, and the dry weight of various woods varies widely, hardwoods generally being more dense than softwoods, and since the burning(calorific) value is actually remarkedly consistent per kg of dry weight, most common hardwoods will outperform most common Conifer/softwoods volume for volume.


Dry Softwood/conifer is perfectly good firewood, for burning in a stove, if priced/bought correctly.

I only burn conifer/softwood, and have done so for 20 years without issue.



I wuz till typing while others were posting!

Edited by difflock
  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Worth saying aswell, that if you are buying right now moisture content doesn't matter so much as you can dry it yourself - you need to build a good log shed!!

  • Like 3

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Firewood can be a dark art sometimes, what you buy, how much, moisture content, wood type and so on. There are some good answers here.


I'll add a bit more to your picture of firewood.

Typically it is sold by volume though by weight would be easy, if you buy wood at 20% moisture content and 25% moisture content you might get the same volume but the second lot will be heavier,,. yet you could get the same amount of heat from both (if they were both then dried to the same moisture content)


If you have 1kg of dry oak, it will have pretty much the same energy as 1kg of dry pine. However the pine will be a larger lump of wood - it is less dense.


 2 pieces of wood with the same dimensions, the denser (typically hardwood) will burn for longer than the less dense (lighter softwood). So burning softwood you have to add more fuel more quickly than hardwood to get the same heat output.


Less dense wood (softwoods) will burn quicker and release the heat quicker (in my experience) - so if you want a hot fire to heat a room quickly use softwoods, for a sustained heat use hardwoods.


And for these reasons people prefer hardwoods over softwoods.


But since hardwoods are prefered by many.. they are sold at a premium. There are tables online with the energy contained in each wood. Ash is good, if I could I would burn hawthorn all day. Some wood spit but in a stove this is OK, the sparks are contained (older tables might say which woods spit). You won't always get a supplier specifying what the wood is. Fruit trees are generally good


Now when it comes to volume, there is no standard. Buy coal and you get 50kg sacks - all legally controlled weights - firewood has a random quantities - m3, ton / builders bag, load, trailer, weight and so on making direct comparison harder. It is often sold as 'hardwood' or 'softwood', but again since some woods are denser than others one batch you might get more heat than the next, (then there is a mixed bag - a bit of both).


I'll let others tell you the benefits and pitfalls of buying kiln dried, seasoned, dried or otherwise.


You might have to do a bit of trial and error with your wood supplier because there are so many variables -but you will get one who is honest and delivers a consistent product at the right volume and price.


Gumtree / ebay splits into 2 camps  those that make a living from the firewood - more expensive - and those that have a tree cut up in the garden to get rid off (cheaper). Often the cheaper will describe the wood as 'a tree' and no more details (assume then its softwood)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

And of course the premier wood for burning is the fabled Black Walnut, worth an absolute fortune, and often offered on such sites a Gumtree or Ebay.

but I digress !

  • Haha 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some great replies here.  I would just add to what was said before.  It can be a minefield choosing who to shop with but a referral is always a good route.


Prices vary all over the country but as a rule of thumb the most expensive seem to be the ones with flashy websites who sell online in crates.  Not quite sure how they manage to get the money they charge with many being twice the price of the going rate

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not quite sure how they manage to get the money they charge with many being twice the price of the going rate

Because marketing BS is more important the product., and customer can boast about there specially imported crates of  latvian kiln dried wood at dinner party. 😛

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Featured Adverts


Arbtalk.co.uk is a hub for the arboriculture industry in the UK.  
If you're just starting out and you need business, equipment, tech or training support you're in the right place.  If you've done it, made it, got a van load of oily t-shirts and have decided to give something back by sharing your knowledge or wisdom,  then you're welcome too.
If you would like to contribute to making this industry more effective and safe then welcome.
Just like a living tree, it'll always be a work in progress.
Please have a look around, sign up, share and contribute the best you have.

See you inside.

The Arbtalk Team

Follow us


Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.