Woods To Warm You Well

For those of us lucky enough to have wood or multi-fuel stoves, we can lessen the impact of fuel prices by collecting our own wood!

The roaring fire” by philippawarr is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


If wood is seasoned it will be lighter in weight and colour. It will likely be cracked at the ends. This is all good – it means it’s ready to burn. Most woods need seasoning for 5 months or more if they are cut fresh.

Ash is the exception to this rule. It’s so dry inside, you can burn it green if you have to.

Storm Damaged Century old white ash tree (Planted by Olmsted)” by mightyjoepye is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


If you are buying the logs, check whether they are hardwood or softwood by digging your fingernail into the end of the wood (the cut bit!). If your fingernail sinks in, it’s very likely to be softwood from fast growing trees. If it doesn’t, it’s likely to be hardwood.

Hardwood burns for longer and burns hotter. This is why it’s more expensive. Beware of those passing off softwood logs as hardwood!

NW Honor MI 1913 Great view of Horse Drawn Skids – Sleighs of HUGE HARDWOOD LOGS view shows Saddlery Harnessses Carriages Wagons and Farm Implement Business and others Benzie County2” by UpNorth Memories – Don Harrison is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


The old adage ‘warms you once, warms you twice’ rings very true here! You will be at least as warm as the burning wood makes you by the effort you are making to saw and axe it up!

You will need!

Greenwood saw/ Timber saw/Chainsaw

Long handled axe

Wheelbarrow/bike trailer/other receptacle

pallets/wood shed

TIP: Branches with a diameter of more than 15cm are an absolute bejesus to saw through manually. For these, use a chainsaw. (Unless, like me, you are the owner of an excitable 8 year old who finds chainsaws rather too exciting.)

Sawing Logs, Aksum” by Rod Waddington is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


These babies will warm you all winter long. Regardless of whether you have pulled or not!

OAK – just make sure you’re not pinching someone’s prize forestry tree.

HAWTHORN – this purple-bark wood burns hot as coal and lasts almost as long.

ASH – burns well even when green (still damp)

CEDAR – burns with an amazing scent

CHERRY/APPLE – lovely scent and burns well

The Famous Cedar Tree, Lebanon” by Paul Saad is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


These will also burn well, but don’t last as long. They’re better for starting a fire.

PINE – spits a bit, so be careful. The resin in it makes it good for getting a fire going in wet weather.

WILLOW – not the best firewood, but it will do. Burns through very fast.

GORSE – a pain (literally) to harvest. A good tinder though.

BLACKTHORN – ditto above.

January Gorse” by Julie (thanks for 10 million views) is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


ELDER – this gives off poisonous fumes when burned!

me with elder blossom – great for cordial. Not for fires!

This is what is looks like!

Elder bush” by LaLina is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Best of wooding luck you lot!

Who would like me to do an article on using an axe with wood?

xx Hedgewitch Kat xx

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