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Firewooddan

Roundwood prices

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It's down to marketing and public perception.
Instead of selling mixed softwoods.
How about "premium larch"
Etc?
Gives an opportunity to educate consumers when they ask.
Especially if it's 10% cheaper.

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The problem with softwood is with current prices it can't be sold much cheaper than hardwood and while it's fine to burn, and I love processing it, it's getting harder to recommend something that doesn't last as long when the price gap keeps closing.

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5 hours ago, gdh said:

That's a reasonable price, especially for a single load and about what we're paying in mid Wales. 

 

The wood price has been increasing steadily for the past 10 years and demand means it's very unlikely to drop regardless of Brexit.

 

I work on 1.8cube per ton but depending on species, log length etc it can be a bit either way. It's the equivalent of 2 90x90x90 builders bags.

But a 90x90x90 bag is about 0.73 cube...

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8 hours ago, Alycidon said:

Agreed,   Forestry Comm figures show that six out the seven hottest burning timbers are softwood, whats not to like.   Yet last year despite having ample stocks I did not sell any soft at all,  none.   

 

A

I think its well known that softwood burns hot, but also for a short period of time. Whilst Im not against softwood per se Id sooner not bother with it unless its free. As Lars Mytting suggests Softwood is for the kitchen. :D 

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18 minutes ago, trigger_andy said:

I think its well known that softwood burns hot, but also for a short period of time. Whilst Im not against softwood per se Id sooner not bother with it unless its free. As Lars Mytting suggests Softwood is for the kitchen. :D 

The speed at which is burns is largely down to air control. Keep ontop of that, and it burns more slowly than some hardwoods. 

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Just now, Big J said:

The speed at which is burns is largely down to air control. Keep ontop of that, and it burns more slowly than some hardwoods. 

Yes, I guess so but the same can be said for hardwood. Control Hardwood and it will burn much longer than controlled softwood. Depends on the Softwood of course and whats being described as Hardwood. Birch can/will burn faster than some dense softwood. I'm getting hardwood in the round for £30 a ton just now, Oak, Birch, Beech and Ash etc. At that price its just not worth me bothering with managed softwood, unless it was free, which it often is. :D 

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2 minutes ago, trigger_andy said:

Yes, I guess so but the same can be said for hardwood. Control Hardwood and it will burn much longer than controlled softwood. Depends on the Softwood of course and whats being described as Hardwood. Birch can/will burn faster than some dense softwood. I'm getting hardwood in the round for £30 a ton just now, Oak, Birch, Beech and Ash etc. At that price its just not worth me bothering with managed softwood, unless it was free, which it often is. :D 

Fair enough. Prices like that don't exist around here and would barely cover the harvesting costs. 

 

The lower density of softwood (typically 10-20% less, though BTU output is only 10% down due to higher resin content) is offset by the much more rapid processing. When I had a firewood processor, we could do a cubic meter of softwood (with 20-35cm roundwood stock) in 4 minutes. It's very rare to find hardwood that processes that quickly.

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Just now, Big J said:

Fair enough. Prices like that don't exist around here and would barely cover the harvesting costs. 

 

The lower density of softwood (typically 10-20% less, though BTU output is only 10% down due to higher resin content) is offset by the much more rapid processing. When I had a firewood processor, we could do a cubic meter of softwood (with 20-35cm roundwood stock) in 4 minutes. It's very rare to find hardwood that processes that quickly.

I sometimes process for a mate. Softwood was awesome. Id be filling 12-15 1.5 cube bags a day. Does not sound much but Id have to feed the bed and drive the bags around to the drying shed too. Nice and straight and few issues. Hardwood is a bugger, but at home Im using a Splitter I build myself. 

 

But you can play around with the figures quite easily and from country to country. Softwood in Scandinavia is much more dense than in the UK due to the slow growing conditions. But a quick look at any chart will put Beech and Oak at 700-900kg/m3, Scottish being somewhat more dense than European Id assume?  European Redwood at 570kg/m3 Spruce at around 400-700kg/m3 and Scots Pine at 510kg/m3. Thats a significant difference. 

 

Yeh the price is stupid low, Im stocking up on all I can get my hands on. :D 

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4 hours ago, doobin said:

But a 90x90x90 bag is about 0.73 cube...

Those measurements would be if it held completely square. By the time they're heaped and stretched you get more in.

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28 minutes ago, trigger_andy said:

I sometimes process for a mate. Softwood was awesome. Id be filling 12-15 1.5 cube bags a day. Does not sound much but Id have to feed the bed and drive the bags around to the drying shed too. Nice and straight and few issues. Hardwood is a bugger, but at home Im using a Splitter I build myself. 

 

But you can play around with the figures quite easily and from country to country. Softwood in Scandinavia is much more dense than in the UK due to the slow growing conditions. But a quick look at any chart will put Beech and Oak at 700-900kg/m3, Scottish being somewhat more dense than European Id assume?  European Redwood at 570kg/m3 Spruce at around 400-700kg/m3 and Scots Pine at 510kg/m3. Thats a significant difference. 

 

Yeh the price is stupid low, Im stocking up on all I can get my hands on. :D 

When green, softwood is often as nearly as heavy, or as heavy as hardwood. A notable exception is hornbeam, which sinks in water. UK hardwoods aren't that slowly grown due to mild winters and ample rainfall. Dry ash and oak are around 650kg/CM but larch can easily be 550kg. Not a huge difference. 

 

When running a firewood business, you have to factor in that storage equals cost and the much longer drying time associated with hardwoods costs a great deal, and that often offsets the lower retail cost. Couple that with the much more rapid processing and you've an attractive proposition. 

 

In an ideal world, I guess I'd burn an 80/20 softwood hardwood mix. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with 45 cubic metres of ash for the next two winters! 😄

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