Jump to content
Woodworks

So what's going to happen to the firewood market?

Recommended Posts

13 minutes ago, spuddog0507 said:

yes done my best to get some customers to buy in the summer monthes by offering then the timber at reduced rates through may june  july and august but not many seem to bite ? why i dont know, may be its as they are going on holiday and havent got the money or its money they dont need to spend untill  the wood is really needed ? and trying to get some of them to change from just hardwood to either a 50/50 mix or just move to softwoods like larch and douglas  seems like a major task, they  tell me softwood is crap but when i do then a delivery the log store is half full of cut up pallets and fence posts which they tell me burn really well but a bit quick, i have left a small bag of larch with a few customers and asked then to burn it on its own and then i get phone call , them logs you left i used them last night they where fine burnt well plenty of heat and no ash what where they , larch i replied and this is a customer that has told me for years that softwood is crap now got him converted to 1 50/50 load and 1 load of larch/douglas ,

Larch makes great firewood, I had loads in a few years back which were very well seasonned though.  A few lengths came in last year which I milled up to clad the garage with. Its lovely stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To answer this question  I typed "kiln dried logs" into Google and up popped my answer.  Its obvious to see there's so many companies now offering nationwide delivery of imported kiln dried logs.

However, not everybody wants to take a day off work to wait in for a kerbside delivery of extremely expensive wood that they've got to move from the street to their log store.

This is one of our massive USP's. Many of my established customer drop me a text saying can you drop me some logs. I confirm delivery day, they leave the gate open, I deliver the logs and they pay me straight into the bank.  I haven't even met some of my customers. When I put my price up to £90 a load (cubic meter approx) they didn't even sniff. I've actully sold more logs this year than ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Backpain said:

To answer this question  I typed "kiln dried logs" into Google and up popped my answer.  Its obvious to see there's so many companies now offering nationwide delivery of imported kiln dried logs.

However, not everybody wants to take a day off work to wait in for a kerbside delivery of extremely expensive wood that they've got to move from the street to their log store.

This is one of our massive USP's. Many of my established customer drop me a text saying can you drop me some logs. I confirm delivery day, they leave the gate open, I deliver the logs and they pay me straight into the bank.  I haven't even met some of my customers. When I put my price up to £90 a load (cubic meter approx) they didn't even sniff. I've actully sold more logs this year than ever.

£ 90 - is that for Hardwood ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Backpain said:

To answer this question  I typed "kiln dried logs" into Google and up popped my answer.  Its obvious to see there's so many companies now offering nationwide delivery of imported kiln dried logs.

However, not everybody wants to take a day off work to wait in for a kerbside delivery of extremely expensive wood that they've got to move from the street to their log store.

This is one of our massive USP's. Many of my established customer drop me a text saying can you drop me some logs. I confirm delivery day, they leave the gate open, I deliver the logs and they pay me straight into the bank.  I haven't even met some of my customers. When I put my price up to £90 a load (cubic meter approx) they didn't even sniff. I've actully sold more logs this year than ever.

NOW before you all shoot me down, my thoughts on kiln dried logs from over the water are a big NO for me the reasons why are as a island nation we used to be fairly free from diesiese both amongst animals and plant life but as time goes on we seem to have more and more issuses  first of all we have lost a lot of our larch trees due to pytothera , the first case in the UK was in the southwest not that far from that big green house called the eden project, where we imported all these fancey plants,shrubs and trees from abroad then pytothera is found in the SW then spreads up through wales the northwest and up the west coast in to scotland , i for one spent over 2 years felling to waste infected larch and what a waste of good timber that was, so did that come from the eden project ???? i did raise the issie with the FC and they said they would investigate , and then we have that other great invention called the channel tunnel linking use to mainland europe and then we get this thing called ash die back that first appeared in the SE so did that come through there ? both great projects under that great leader toss pot Tony Blair , so back to importing kiln dried logs what will be the next big tree diesese we bring in to our country ? as there will be one, so for me its a no on importing logs sorry but just my thoughts.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, spuddog0507 said:

NOW before you all shoot me down, my thoughts on kiln dried logs from over the water are a big NO for me the reasons why are as a island nation we used to be fairly free from diesiese both amongst animals and plant life but as time goes on we seem to have more and more issuses  first of all we have lost a lot of our larch trees due to pytothera , the first case in the UK was in the southwest not that far from that big green house called the eden project, where we imported all these fancey plants,shrubs and trees from abroad then pytothera is found in the SW then spreads up through wales the northwest and up the west coast in to scotland , i for one spent over 2 years felling to waste infected larch and what a waste of good timber that was, so did that come from the eden project ???? i did raise the issie with the FC and they said they would investigate , and then we have that other great invention called the channel tunnel linking use to mainland europe and then we get this thing called ash die back that first appeared in the SE so did that come through there ? both great projects under that great leader toss pot Tony Blair , so back to importing kiln dried logs what will be the next big tree diesese we bring in to our country ? as there will be one, so for me its a no on importing logs sorry but just my thoughts.

I actively try to educate all the customers not to buy kiln dried for all your reasons and all the other environmental reasons everyone knows about.

There are only 2 positives about kiln dried wood. 1 - It burns well (some claim too well) and 2 - It makes money for those who import it.

In order to be able to buy it you need the finances available and many smaller businesses are unable to finance the purchase. You also need the access for an arctic and equipment to handle. Those 2 factors combined knock out the majority of the smaller businesses.

A business close to me has given up selling kiln dried.

Customers are beginning to realise the only difference between kiln and air dried is that air dried is far better value. 👍

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a fan of importing wood because of the disease risk and I think the carbon footprint is too much (although that's debatable because of the quantity in containers) but I don't think kiln drying is an issue. 

 

It's been discussed plenty of times but we can produce 'kiln dried' much cheaper and quicker than the vast amount of space needed for air drying. 

 

Especially if the new laws come in our climate is too damp to airdry so using about 7% of our wood to dry the rest seems an obvious solution to make a better quality, well priced product. 

 

Air drying is great in smaller quantities and other areas but it will vary between businesses. I don't think of either option as better or worse, we should be promoting dry and sustainable wood rather than worrying about drying methods. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Importing Kiln Dried is the main issue - that could never be justified.

 

The thing is we have been air drying wood for thousands of years, so I would say it's working quite well. We all know any fire / woodburners can running at an acceptable efficiency with wood at 25% MC. The original HETAS Woodsure certification supported this and still does accredit producers as such. Then a bunch of bureaucrats after 57 meetings decided to move the goal posts - One such meeting went like this :"Oh look, it says here in these 3 woodburning stove manuals, you must only burn 100% hardwood at under 20% MC, so it must be right . Let's put 20% in that box then, that should be alright".

 

So here we are faced with another fiasco like the RHI, Biomass power station subsidies and all other so called renewable energy initiatives - going backwards.

 

Wether the latest MC controls ever become law who knows and only the buying public can decide if small firewood business are able to survive economically.

 

Should an Act be passed there will still be hundreds of thousands of Tree Surgeons, Farmers etc. selling firewood from green to dry and that will never change.

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing also mentioned about imported kiln dried logs is where they are actually coming from. I’m not a great believer that, particularly in certain parts of the world, they’ve been produced from renewable and sustainable sources.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the hardwood market, would their be an mileage in setting up stands of fast growing coppice willow or hybrid poplar? I know that they aren't as favourable as denser hardwoods, but then you also don't have the resin issues (which can make handling unpleasant) of some softwoods and you get a nice bed of embers from both. Short rotation willow coppice will produce as much as 36 dry tonnes per hectare per year, which would equate to about 70 wet tonnes. That's on 15,000 cuttings per hectare which is a planting density that is extremely tight. Even if you halved the number of cuttings and lost 50% of your yield (as the yield figures are for whole tree chipping, rather than using only the stem for logs) you're still producing 70 cubic metres of salable logs per hectare per year. 

 

If I was harvesting something like that, I'd look to find something like the branch logger that would maybe take up to 150mm. Fix that to the front of a custom machine (that can straddle the coppice stools) with a rotating drum log cleaner feeding into a hopper. The branch logger processes the stem in a few seconds, the cleaner gets rid of most of the rubbish and the hopper is full of fairly tidy hardwood logs, ready for bagging. 

 

70 cube per hectare per year means a financial return of £6-8k per hectare per year (depending on local market. Could be run as a self sustaining business with 10 or more hectares. You'd be able to use really low quality ground too. 

 

Apologies for the rambling, I just like brain storming these things.

 

Reference: https://eservices.ruralni.gov.uk/pdfs/divbus_ideas/Biomassmk2.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Big J said:

For the hardwood market, would their be an mileage in setting up stands of fast growing coppice willow or hybrid poplar? I know that they aren't as favourable as denser hardwoods, but then you also don't have the resin issues (which can make handling unpleasant) of some softwoods and you get a nice bed of embers from both. Short rotation willow coppice will produce as much as 36 dry tonnes per hectare per year, which would equate to about 70 wet tonnes. That's on 15,000 cuttings per hectare which is a planting density that is extremely tight. Even if you halved the number of cuttings and lost 50% of your yield (as the yield figures are for whole tree chipping, rather than using only the stem for logs) you're still producing 70 cubic metres of salable logs per hectare per year. 

 

If I was harvesting something like that, I'd look to find something like the branch logger that would maybe take up to 150mm. Fix that to the front of a custom machine (that can straddle the coppice stools) with a rotating drum log cleaner feeding into a hopper. The branch logger processes the stem in a few seconds, the cleaner gets rid of most of the rubbish and the hopper is full of fairly tidy hardwood logs, ready for bagging. 

 

70 cube per hectare per year means a financial return of £6-8k per hectare per year (depending on local market. Could be run as a self sustaining business with 10 or more hectares. You'd be able to use really low quality ground too. 

 

Apologies for the rambling, I just like brain storming these things.

 

Reference: https://eservices.ruralni.gov.uk/pdfs/divbus_ideas/Biomassmk2.pdf

We very nearly planted willow, got as far as ploughing the field but the other local growers dropped out so we couldn't justify getting the harvester here.

 

I can't remember the figures now because it was a long time ago but it was something like 5 years of growth then harvest every other year using a pellet maker.

 

With the wood price going up it would be much more profitable now.

  • Like 1

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

About

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.