Nic Snell Certainly wood

Guest Blog by Nic Snell, Managing Director of Certainly Wood

wood for wood burnersAs we continue to move through a difficult period in terms of wood burning and some of the negative press that it’s receiving, there is a lot going on within the industry to ensure that wood burning becomes part of the solution rather than a perceived problem. After all, it must be remembered that if everyone is so keen to make our country carbon neutral and in doing so, reducing fossil fuels, then surely using a truly sustainable and renewable fuel must have a strong argument for support?

The wood that you put into wood burners is just as, if not even more important, than the stove

So, whilst the Stove industry is working hard to improve the efficiency of stoves with the new range of EcoDesign stoves (which are significantly more efficient than open fires, or even older stoves) and the industry is looking to take efficiencies beyond these levels; the wood that you put into wood burners is just as, if not even more important.

Here at Certainly Wood, where we pioneered the kiln drying of firewood in 2005, long before anyone had even dreamt of rapidly drying wood in kilns, we process up to 18,000 tonnes of British kiln dried logs, which we source from a 100-mile radius of our base in Hereford.

We pride ourselves on our British firewood at a time when more and more is being imported from Eastern Europe from countries such as Latvia and Estonia. The imported wood can be quite good quality but it is mostly silver birch species which burns about 25-30% faster than our British hardwood which is mainly oak ash and beech. It’s one of my frustrations within the industry that there is presently no legislation in place to make suppliers declare the origin. I think it’s vital, but for some reason, importers don’t seem to agree!

Our wood comes from good woodland management

All our firewood comes from natural thinnings and whilst some people think that cutting down trees is bad, that’s just not true when it comes to good woodland management. When creating woodland, trees are initially planted close together, then as they grow and mature, they need to be thinned after about 10 years so as to allow space and light for the bigger trees to grow on and ultimately mature into valuable timber. Part of the process therefore is to remove the thinner weaker trees and that is what we use for firewood.

We then process the lengths of timber which we call cordwood, cutting them into short lengths (approx. 25cm) and then pushing them through a splitter. They then go over a grader and into cages which get placed in the kilns for approx. 50-60 hours bringing the moisture content down from circa 60% down to below 20% for the ultimate efficiency in burn quality. All our wood is registered under the Woodsure Ready to Burn certification scheme which guarantees the moisture content below this level. This provides a clean burn with no blackening of the stove glass or sooting and tarring of the flue of chimney and provides maximum heat output.

To find out more about what wood to burn in your stove ask one of our experts at The Fire Engine, or take a look at the Certainly Wood website here 


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