Learn Everything You Need to Know About These Common Firewood Terms!
You would think that firewood would be simple. It’s just wood, right? Then you hear terms you’re unfamiliar with like cord, seasoned or pellets.
If you’re frustrated, we understand! Unfortunately, there’s a lot of jargon within the firewood industry. What do all of these terms mean?
This guide will give you a crash course on 23 terms related to essential firewood topics, including:
- Firewood Production
- Types of Firewood
- Firewood Types to Avoid
- Fuel for Campfires
- Firewood Cuts
- Measurements of Firewood
- Firewood Storage
Plus, we’ll even throw in some related terms along the way! So, are you ready to learn about kiln-dried firewood, barkless wood, face cords and more? Let’s get started!
3 Terms Related to Firewood Production
There’s a lot more to making firewood than just cutting the tree down. To get the best firewood for your chimney or firepit, the wood must first go through a drying process.
Here are three terms you should be familiar with related to that drying process:
- Green Firewood
- Seasoned Firewood
- Kiln-Dried Firewood
Below we’ll take a closer look at each of these terms.
What is Green Firewood?
“Green” refers to wood that is freshly chopped lumber. In other words, not the wood you should use right away until it has dried out.
Green wood contains a lot of moisture that produces smoke and not enough flame, making for a depressing fire. Mold and moss in fresh-cut wood will also produce harmful emissions when burned.
To increase its quality and performance, you must first dry the firewood. There are two ways wood can be dried: seasoning and kiln-drying.
What is Seasoned Firewood?
Seasoned firewood is wood that has been air-dried for an extended period. It’s usually cut, split and dried out in the elements for a few months or multiple years! This traditional process reduces the moisture in the wood to a low level so that the wood can burn more easily.
Because of all the variables that come into play when seasoning wood, you may find some downsides. For example, mold, moss, pests and too much moisture can infiltrate the wood as it dries outside.
As a result, the wood is often not as dry as it could be for the most efficient fire. To burn efficiently, the wood’s moisture level needs to be at or below 20%. However, the seasoning process often only dries wood to 20-30% moisture.
What is Kiln-Dried Firewood?
Instead of drying outside in the elements, kiln-dried wood dries in a huge kiln that reduces the moisture lower than 20%. This process lowers the moisture of the wood much more effectively than seasoning. Therefore, if you want the best bang for your buck, kiln-dried firewood is the way to go.
Kiln-dried firewood also has many benefits. For example, you’ll never have to worry about pests, mold or lots of smoke in this wood. This is because the kiln-drying process kills mold, mildew, moss, bugs and pesticides, making for the most pristine wood you can get. The wood also produces very little smoke and creosote, which is healthier for you and the environment!
Moreover, kiln-dried firewood is much easier to use than seasoned wood. Because of the low moisture, it’s simple to light. So, you’ll get a fire that lights fast and burns longer and hotter! It’s also cleaner and smells better than seasoned wood.
Here at Lumberjacks, we specialize in premium kiln-dried firewood for cooking, camping or relaxing by the fireplace. We only sell kiln-dried wood because we want the best experience for our customers.
3 Terms Related to Types of Firewood
Did you know that some types of wood burn better than others? One type of wood might also work better in your fireplace than your fire pit.
Let’s take a look at three firewood terms that are important for determining the best type of wood for you! These terms include:
- Manufactured Wood
What is Hardwood?
Hardwood comes from trees that lose their leaves in the autumn. Because these trees are very slow-growing, the wood is very dense. The density of hardwoods will give you a fire that lasts longer. However, this also makes the wood take longer to dry out in the elements.
Hardwoods are great for heating your house and fueling your stove. If you’re looking for a long, lingering fire for your fireplace, you’ll want to pick a hardwood.
Some of the most common hardwoods used for fires include oak, birch and hickory. At Lumberjacks, we offer birch, hickory, oak and cherry as options for your firewood.
What is Softwood?
Softwood comes from evergreen trees, which don’t lose their leaves. Some common softwoods are cedar, pines and spruces. These trees grow a lot quicker, making them less dense than hardwoods. They are also very light and dry out a lot faster than hardwoods.
Because of their lower density, softwoods ignite easier than hardwoods but also tend to emit more smoke and fizzle out quickly. Softwood is great to start a fire, but you’ll want to combine it with hardwood to keep the fire going. You’ll also want to avoid using it indoors because it can be smoky and messy to use.
Hardwoods are better overall for any fire. That’s why we at Lumberjacks only use hardwood for our kiln-dried firewood.
What is Manufactured Wood?
Manufactured wood is kiln-dried wood chips or sawdust that has been compressed into logs, bricks or pellets. This type of wood usually consists of recycled wood, making it sustainable.
People often use brick or pellet-sized manufactured wood as an alternative for cooking logs. The small pellets work well for cooking or smoking in pellet stoves or grills, like a Traeger. The wood sometimes comes in various flavors so you can have different tastes in meats and vegetables.
3 Types of Firewood to Avoid
To get the best fires, you need the best firewood. You won’t want to just toss in any log you see lying around. The results can be disastrous if you do!
To avoid catastrophe, be sure to steer clear of these types of wood:
- Green Wood
- Treated or Painted Wood
- Non-local wood
Let’s take a quick look at why these woods are harmful.
Why Should I Avoid Green Wood?
Like we mentioned before, green wood has way too much moisture. All the fire’s energy is focused on evaporating the water in the wood. Because of this, it will produce a lot of smoke and burn inefficiently.
Why Should I Avoid Treated or Painted Wood?
Using treated or painted wood can release toxic chemicals into the air that are harmful to your health. Therefore, if the wood has paint or stain on it or contains any dyes, you should never burn it.
Why Should I Avoid Non-Local Wood?
It’s best practice to always get your wood locally. If the wood comes from a far-off geographic location, then it’s best to leave it there.
Using non-local wood is the number one way to introduce invasive insects or diseases to a new environment. One infected log can put an entire forest at risk!
Fortunately, kiln-dried wood can be transported anywhere because pests and mold are removed in the drying process.
2 Firewood Terms Related to Campfires
Nothing enhances a camping trip quite like a roaring fire! Here are a couple of terms to be familiar with when trying to make your campfire the best it can be:
- Kindling Wood
What is Tinder?
Tinder is any wood or dead vegetation that you can light with a spark and is usually thinner than your pinky finger. This can be bark, dead leaves or dry pine needles. Because it lights easily, it is best to use it to start a campfire.
What is Kindling Wood?
Kindling wood is a broad term, but it usually means anything larger than tinder but smaller than logs. The most common example of kindling wood is a bundle of tree branches. These branches can be as small as your pinky or as thick as your wrist. You can use kindling wood to start and feed a small fire or help a big fire continue to burn.
5 Firewood Terms Related to Cuts
Not all firewood is cut the same. Smaller cuts of wood light faster, but won’t burn for long. On the other hand, larger and thicker cuts will burn longer and hotter. Let’s look at five different cuts:
- Whole Firewood
- Split Firewood
- Standard Cut Firewood
- Longer Length Firewood
- Barkless Firewood
What is Whole Firewood?
Whole firewood logs have been cut into pieces but haven’t been split into smaller pieces. The logs also still have bark around the entire exterior.
It takes a lot longer to dry whole logs because the bark protects trees against moisture loss. Whole logs are also very difficult to light and produce less heat than split wood. However, they do burn longer than split firewood.
What is Split Firewood?
Split firewood is cut into multiple pieces from a log. Firewood producers often cut slit wood into half, third or quarter pieces.
One of the benefits of split wood is it dries faster than whole wood. The wood also produces more heat and is easier to light. For these reasons, we at Lumberjacks always split our wood before kiln-drying it.
What is Standard Cut Firewood?
The industry standard for firewood length is 16 inches. When you think of a log of firewood, you’re probably visualizing a standard cut. Here at Lumberjacks, our kiln-dried firewood is always cut to 16 inches.
What is Longer Length Firewood?
If you have a larger fireplace or fire pit, you may want to get firewood with a longer length. This firewood is cut longer than the standard 16 inches.
Longer length can provide a longer burn time and more heat. However, it’s only worth your time if you have enough room in your fireplace or firepit for the larger logs.
What is Barkless Firewood?
Barkless wood is seasoned or kiln-dried wood with the bark removed. Removing the bark helps to have a faster drying time, fewer bugs and mold, and less ash to clean out of your fireplace.
Bark serves as a protective barrier for a tree, similar to skin. The bark holds in the moisture and helps to keep pests and mold out. Unfortunately, bugs and mold often like to make their homes within the bark. Removing this barrier allows the wood to dry quicker and prevents pest infestation.
3 Terms Related to Firewood Measurements
Firewood measurement has a language all its own, which can be difficult to understand if you don’t know it. The most common measurement terms you will hear are:
- Full Cord
- Face Cord
Let’s take a closer look at each of these measurements:
What is a Full Cord?
Most people in the firewood industry agree that a full cord of firewood measures 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, or 128 cubic feet. This is a lot of wood!
Typically, a cord of wood can last 8-12 weeks. Buying a cord or two could warm your house for the entire winter! If you plan on using your fireplace every day or every few days, a cord is the most optimal amount for you.
Other terms for a full cord are a bush cord and running cord. An order that measures more than a full cord is sometimes referred to as a sheldon cord. There is no exact measurement for this term.
You might also hear the terms half cord or quarter cord. A half cord is exactly half of a full cord and measures 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 4 feet deep or 64 cubic feet. A quarter cord is exactly ¼ of a full cord and generally measures to be 4 feet high by 6 feet wide by 16 inches deep or 32 cubic feet. The exact measurements depend on the company you’re getting the firewood from.
What is a Face Cord?
A face cord is typically ⅓ the size of a full cord usually measuring at 4 feet by 8 feet by 16 inches or around 42 cubic feet.
A standard full cord is 4 feet deep, which usually consists of three stacks of 16-inch-long wood. However, the face cord is only one stack deep, making it approximately 1/3 the size of a full cord. The term “rick” also means the same thing as a face cord.
During the fall, it’s nice to go outside and have a campfire every once in a while. A face cord would be the perfect amount for the season.
What is a Firewood Bundle?
While there’s not an official measurement, bundles usually consist of 4-6 logs of firewood. You’ll usually be getting .75 cubic meters of wood.
Bundles are perfect for one-time uses, such as the occasional campfire or sitting around a yule log for Christmas. Some companies offer bushels, which are just multiple bundles. One bushel usually equals 4 bundles. So, if you were to purchase 2 bushels, you’d be getting around 32 logs of firewood.
4 Firewood Terms Related to Storage
Now that you know what kind of wood to get and how much, let’s talk about terms related to wood storage. We’ll be going over:
- Pallet and Tarp
- Firewood Rack
- Log Store
- Storage Shed
Fortunately, wood can be stored inside or outside! Storing it properly will ensure that you get the best use out of your wood. Here are some of the best ways you can protect your firewood.
What is the Pallet and Tarp Storage Method?
Using a pallet and tarp is pretty self-explanatory. You would use a pallet to keep the wood off of the ground and secure a tarp over the top to keep it dry, but not too tightly to ensure airflow. This is the cheapest and simplest way to cover your firewood.
What is a Firewood Rack?
A firewood rack looks like a shelf with metal beams across the bottom to keep wood from touching the ground. Racks are ideal for both indoor or outdoor storage.
What is a Log Store?
A log store is a roofed enclosure for your woodpile. It’s important to keep one side open to allow air and sunlight on the wood to stay dry.
What is a Storage Shed?
Using a storage shed is the best way and most complete way to protect your wood. You’ll just want to keep the firewood off the ground in the shed in case water seeps in.
Need More Terms Defined? We Can Help.
We hope this guide helped you learn more about the world of firewood. There are a lot of things that come into play when picking firewood for the most optimal experience.
Now that you know a lot about firewood, it’s time to start burning! If you’re interested in getting the best wood, we are ready to help.
At Lumberjacks, we sell high-quality kiln-dried firewood to take your fires to the next level. Please give us a call today at 815-337-1451 or visit our product page to learn more about our luxury firewood!