Firewood

019eab898aaa7ecdee985d45dfa9a19eb56c107cd2We do Firewood a little differently than most.  In the early days I quickly learned several lessons on quality control from the best teachers, my customers. People want dry, clean wood that has been neatly split into uniform pieces.  Also, Nobody wants to be shorted on a face cord, ever.  Here is what we’ve been doing for the last dozen years or so:

Freshly split wood is stacked in a pile for several months.  The initial loss of moisture happens here, the pieces will actually shrink and the pile will get shorter.  We found that proper aging in a pile like this is uneven and takes too long, so we move the wood to our racks.

If we have time, the wood can sit here in a new pile, loosing some more moisture and getting closer to its final size.

IMG_0281Eventually the wood is stacked by hand in these face-cord sized racks.  We allow for final drying and any volume lost to the criss-cross at the ends by stacking the semi-dry wood 4-6″ higher than 4′ .  If you stack green wood, it will almost always fall over when the pieces shrink.  Our racks are spaced so that air can move freely between the rows and they sit on a bed of fresh wood chips to permit drainage.  The wood stays here until the moisture content is below 20%, usually well below.

When an order for delivery comes in we hand-load the seasoned and pre-measured firewood onto a truck and take it to the customer.  Those chips we spread months earlier are easily knocked off the bottom row of wood so it all goes into the truck, without any extra mud or frozen debris.   To accommodaIMG_0284te customers that come to pick up wood, whole face cords can be loaded directly from the drying racks if they are accessible, or from our “dry-goods” covered loading area with color-coded and labeled racks that are either half or quarter face cord.  In the summer these racks are kept outside in the sun to make room for bagged product in the covered loading area.

Finally, because we do generate some scrap from the splitting process, we offer kindling to our yard customers on a self serve basis.

free kindling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firewood Questions

Do you sell kindling?

Bundles of kindling are available for purchase.  Customers who pick up firewood (minimum 1/4 fc) may pick through the scrap pile for free.

How do I know I’m getting a face cord? Also, what’s a face cord?

In this area, a common measurement is a face cord, measuring 4′ x 8′ x 16″.  A full cord is a stack that measures 4′ x 4′ x 8′.  We also offer half face cords (4’x4′) and quarter face cords (4’x 2′).

face cord diagram

Our wood is pre-stacked in face-cord sized racks, where the wood has been aging in the sun and wind.  We tightly cross stack the ends of the racks so the stack wont fall over, and compensate for any lost volume by increasing the height by about 4″.   When you stack it at home it will measure 32 square feet (4′ x 8′)

Our half and quarter face cords are sold directly from steel racks of the correct dimension.  These are now kept under roof when our “dry-goods” area switches from mulch to firewood in the fall.

 

 

 

How should I store my firewood?

Outside, elevated from the ground and covered on the top.  We only sell firewood that has been dries to under 20% moisture, but it will only get better if you allow it to continue to cure properly.  Damp wood stored in a snug garage will stay damp.  Here is a picture I have to share01dba554048f96cdc5afa53297c7e6db56b7d543cf.

On a recent trip to New England, I saw these buildings everywhere, though maybe not as nice as this.  When I pulled into this customer’s drive with a load of firewood I had to ask, and sure enough he had just moved here from the East.  In true Yankee fashion, he frugally used left over building material and makes good use of the structure in the summer months as well.

Not all of us have the room for a woodshed so racks are a good choice for most.  Home depot offers a quick and easy rack system that you put together with 2×4’s.  Set this up on stable ground and add a cover and your wood will be nice and cozy.

We make our own heavy gauge steel racks for our customer loading areas, and by request have been offering them for home use, new and used.

What type of firewood is best?

Are you primarily using the wood for:

  • Heat?  Hickory or Oak have the most btu’s.  Less flame but more heat = fewer trips to the wood box.
  • Fireplace?  For quick pretty fires start with Mixed Hardwood or maybe Cherry.  If you want a longer lasting fire add Oak or Hickory as needed
  • Backyard Fire?  Mixed Hardwood or whatever you have on hand.
  • Cooking?  We supply Hickory, Apple, & Oak in face cords, bundles, & chunks.  We also have Hardwood and Mesquite lump charcoal as well as all natural charcoal briquettes (competition grade, but competitively priced)
  • Decoration?  We occasionally stock white birch, but more commonly see river birch.

A nice description of Illinois hardwoods, compiled by the University of Illinois Extension,  is reproduced here.