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Popular Firewoods For Starting Fires

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By Author: Michael Foley
Total Articles: 17
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Firewood trees have provided humans with a way to control fire since ancient times. Gathering kindlings and logs from them made it possible to make fires for security, warmth and a means to cook our food. Before the industrial revolution, our firewood was gathered using axes and saws. But with the arrival of modern technology, we now have log splitters to perform the task for us. Today, it's now fairly common to find a log splitter for sale on the internet. We have come a long way from crude sawing and hacking to sophisticated wood splitting via machines.
There are many different varieties of firewood. Each has its unique aroma, texture and burning efficiency. They are generally classified as either softwoods or hardwoods. Softwoods are less dense than hardwoods and are generally lighter. They burn quickly and emit more smoke. This makes them more fitting for outdoor use such as camping fires, bonfires and outdoor grills.
Hardwoods are slow-growing species with a far denser wood consistency than softwoods. Their woods have darker colors and they burn at a slower rate. These are the perfect firewood for cooking, fireplaces and for creating long, lingering fires. Let's go over brief descriptions of popular firewood in each classification.

Pine: A great choice for kindling and starting a fire as they are easy to light and burn quickly. While it's burning, it emits a remarkably pleasant aroma. But due to its high resin content and knotty wood structure, it can be rather challenging to split it by hand. Additionally, it generates a great deal of smoke, so it's recommended to only use this wood outside. Go for seasoned pinewood to make cutting easier.


Fir: This evergreen wood is a fantastic choice for firewood as it produces high heat, burns well and produces only a fair amount of sparks. Its straight-grained features and knot-free wood structure make it one of the easiest firewood to split. Make sure you wear thick, protective gloves when splitting fir because its wood is quite splintery.


Cedar: The most distinctive characteristic of this wood is its spicy, distinctive scent. It's also a good fire-starter like pine since it is easy to light and generates hot flames. Splitting is moderately easy, whether it's green or dry. It takes about nine months to properly season cedarwood. This will also help lessen sparks and crackles from happening. It does burn off fairly quick and produces a good amount of smoke. This makes it more suited for outdoor usage.


Oak: Possibly the most well-known and common of the hardwoods. It has a very clean burn, making little to no smoke and produces long, steady fires. But you might not want to smoke your food with it because oak has a sour, vinegar-like smell. It takes about three to four years to properly season oak due to its high density.


Birch: Barks from this hardwood are great fire-starters because of its similarity to paper. It burns well, dries easily once split and releases a moderate amount of heat. Several birch species emit a sweet odor when burned, somewhat similar to incense. It has a quick seasonal time, becoming ready in about a year or less as long as it's split and stacked as soon as possible. On the downside, it's more susceptible to rot faster than any hardwood species. That is why after cutting, it's very important to stack it immediately.


Ash: Burns very cleanly without any smoke, neutral aroma and only a few sparks. Additionally, it provides a sufficient amount of warmth. This makes it a yearly favorite for wood-burning in indoor fireplaces and stoves. Since it's a hardwood, they are more expensive to purchase than softwoods such as pine and fir. They can also be difficult to split since they don't often grow in a straight manner.

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