How to Choose the Best Wood For Your Fireplace
31st August 2019
We try hard to make our blogs as practical and interesting as we can. That means we need to talk about design and function and we even get to talk about aesthetics and how great a fireplace is as the central focus in your home. The one topic we rarely cover is firewood and what type of wood you should use for your open or freestanding fireplace.
If that’s a bit remiss of us we’re sorry. As fireplace specialists in Sydney it’s certainly something that we discuss with our customers as a matter of course. Hopefully we can correct the error in this blog and inform you for the remainder of winter and winters to come.
It’s an important subject and it should be something that you spend a bit of time considering and sourcing. Don’t just find a piece of timber and throw it on the fire. That’s a bit like using the cheapest ethanol petrol on your car. You save in the short term but long term it costs you. The wood you use can positively or negatively influence the longevity of your fireplace and the safety of you and your family and friends. Even if you have the best wood burning fireplace on the market, it won’t be able to work effectively with moist or immature timber.
Softwoods or hardwoods?
It’s not that simple because each has different species with different properties. Softwoods burn faster with hotter and more impressive flames. But just because the flame of a softwood is hotter doesn’t necessarily equate to more warmth. Some softwoods have more oil than hardwoods which increases the heat output but not for long. Hardwoods are dense and warmer because they burn more slowly and consistently.
Like a fine wine, you should season your wood
A freshly cut tree is full of moisture and will need to be cut, split, stacked and stored in a well ventilated storage spot for about 12 months before it is ready to burn. It makes sense that a softwood will be more easily ignited than a hardwood. But it doesn’t necessarily depend on the density of the timber but more on how dry the timber is. Conifers (cone bearing trees) are easy to ignite but they have chemicals in their structure and are best not used as your main source of firewood, if at all.
The best timbers
If you are looking to purchase and store some long lasting fire logs for the season ahead we suggest you purchase River Red Gum. Of the timbers you will encounter in NSW, it has all the attributes that make it the best wood for an indoor fireplace. Make sure you learn to stack and light your fire for safely and effectiveness. If you’re not sure of anything drop in and say hi or give us a call. We can give you a few tips or send you some information to help you get started.