Kiln-dried oak has been a popular choice of firewood for decades, but what is it about oak that makes it so popular? To answer this question properly, we’re going to look at it from several different perspectives and break down exactly what makes different types of wood, like oak, good firewood for wood-burning stoves.
Which Wood Makes Good Firewood?
Let’s start at the top. Whether you’re talking about firewood or wooden furniture, all the different types of wood in the world fall under one of two headings: hardwood or softwood. Yes, you might think ‘wood is wood and all wood burns’, but you might be surprised to learn that not all the wood burns the same. Oak, for example, is a hardwood and considered to be excellent all-round firewood. On the other hand, Pine is a softwood and has a very particular niche, namely outdoor campfires that you want to ignite quickly and burn brightly. Like most things that burn bright, however, it also burns fast.
In short, hardwoods and softwoods burn at different temperatures, have different densities, burn for different durations, and so on. Some wood, especially if it’s wet wood, will burn slowly, produce a lot of smoke and have a low heat output, leaving resin on the walls of your chimney flue and wood-burner itself. This is not a good firewood.
Generally speaking, hardwood burns hot and relatively steady, producing more heat and leaving minimal ash. What makes oak good firewood even amongst other hardwoods is that it has the least pitch and sap and is clean to handle.
So Oak’s A Good Firewood, But Are There Any Downsides?
Well, it has to be said that on average hardwoods are slightly more expensive than softwood. Also, you might find clinkers, a hard and stony residue, in the leftover ash.
While its cost may be slightly higher, what oak definitely delivers is value for money. You see, what makes kiln-dried oak good firewood is that it’s denser than the other species, has a much thicker bark, and burns longer than other firewood species. It is also a lot heavier than other hardwoods, so while it might take slightly longer to build up to temperature, it generates amazing heat once it does. Oak firewood also has a lovely aroma, it is long-lasting, and the logs are usually slightly larger than softwood logs.
What Kind Of Wood-Burning Process Are Oak Logs Best For?
If you spend a lot of time at home and rely on your wood-burning stove to heat the house, kiln-dried oak is perfect and exactly what you should be looking for. This is because oak offers a longer burn time with more heat output than any other readily-available firewood on the market. Oak logs are great for intense wood burning, as they burn with the high heat output and last between 2 to 3 hours. Lastly, due to its very high density, kiln-dried oak firewood has a high calorific content and lasts much longer than other wood fuels.
How To Burn Oak Logs: Safety First!
As oak logs have a high heat output, do not overload your burner. It’s best to start with smaller logs, kindling and get the fire going first, then wait and see how your wood burner responds to it. After you can add more if needed, the oak logs light and burns with a small flame first (use our Natural Firelighters for easier fire starting experience). Once established oak logs will produce more heat, last longer and need far less tending to.
Video by @ourhome.no23