After ski before fire.
One of the treats of skiing is being around fireplaces. We all enjoy them but very few of us have them. The most important factor in easily starting wood fires is having a supply of seasoned wood.
Fortunately, that is one amenity The Wisconsin Skier International Headquarters has, both locations. Not only do I have fireplaces I have wood fireplaces. As I have noted before, wood fireplaces add a little extra ambiance gas and electric fireplaces can not add.
Starting a wood fire is not difficult, but it is harder than flipping a switch. The most important thing to starting a wood fire is to make sure you have well seasoned wood. Seasoned wood is critical for a number of reasons, some of those reasons while distinct are related.
Seasoned wood is easier to start!
Seasoned wood starts quicker, requiring less kindling and tinder. You do not want to burn up all of your tinder and kindling right away, especially the kindling. Tinder is easily obtainable and is a major reason I subscribe to the local paper, you did not think I read their dribble did you?
Seasoned wood is not just easier but SAFER!
Another reason and it is related to the first one is the issue of creosote. A fire that starts quicker develops a draft faster driving the smoke up through and out the flue more quickly. This gives the creosote in the smoke less chance to condense on the flue — lessening the risk of chimney fires.
Seasoned wood burns more quickly and hotter which of course warms you up more quickly and that is the main goal.
What is seasoned wood?
Seasoned wood is wood that is cut, split, and has spent significant time outside. I have never seen anyone mention a set amount of time, but the rule of thumb I use is one year. That is the best, you cut, split, stack, and then let it season for one year. If you do that then you can be sure the wood is ready for burning.
You do not have to completely shelter the firewood from the elements. Rain and snow may get on the wood but it will continue to dry and season. Of course, if you can shelter it go ahead and do so, but know it is not necessary.
Signs of seasoned wood
- The bark is coming off
- The wood is grayish in color
- Radial Cracks appear on the ends
- You know the wood has been outside for at least a half-year or more
Once your firewood is showing the above signs (and appears like it does in the image) it is completely ready to burn.
Do you have a wood burning fireplace?
How about you? Do you have a wood burning fireplace? How do you get and store your wood? Any suggestions for folks out there?