Types of wood
There are several types of wood that can be used when firing a campfire, each with its own unique properties. When you have knowledge of these qualities, you can light fire more consciously and have more fun with your fire. The drier your firewood is, the longer you can stoke with stock of firewood. An important part of the fire mentality.
Whichever firewood you choose, it has to be dry. Moist wood gives much less heat: a large part of the energy is used exclusively for evaporation of the water. Green, freshly cut wood can contain up to 50% humidity. 20% humidity is a maximum, 12 to 15% is better. The thermal value of wood at 15 % humidity is about 4,1 kWh/kg. Sapwood, that is what the young wood is immediately called under the bark, can contain up to 75% water. So drying your firewood properly is very important.
The differences between firewood of various tree species are minor, provided that the wood is well dry. The thermal value of 100 % dry wood ranges from 5,1 kWh/kg for oak to 5,3 kWh/kg for pine and birch. Damp firewood gives off a lot of smoke and very few flames. In addition, it gives much more soot formation that can drop off in your chimney.
Storage of firewood
Felled living wood must dry for at least 2 years. With some experience, you can assess the drying stage by weighing the logs on the hand: the drier they are, the lighter they are, and the brighter the sound when you bump them into each other. The conditions for proper drying are not always ideal. Get the most heat out of your firewood by taking into account the following points:
- Divide your firewood well into handy pieces, so it dries better and you can use it directly or process it with a hand axe.
- Best is if the firewood can dry in a well-ventilated garage or barn.
- The firewood must at least be sheltered from rain, so at the top covered or covered and preferably without overhanging trees or roofs that can drip rainwater onto the wood.
- Do not pile firewood on a wet surface, otherwise the moisture will be sucked out by your wood.
- Place old pallets under your firewood, so the wood can also be aerated at the bottom.
- Let the firewood aerated the firewood well through the wind. Choose the windiest spot and leave openings in the wood pile here and there by once placing a block in a different direction
Unusable wood is wood that has undergone chemical treatment. This is unsuitable firewood. The wood causes toxic gases and burns badly. You should think of wood from telephone poles, sleepers, chipboard or painted wood.
Please note! Not only can treated wood spread toxic fumes, there are also types of wood that contain toxic substances themselves. For example, when burning wood from the larch common in our environment, toxic fumes are released! This wood is therefore not suitable for a campfire and certainly not for a fire to cook on.
Woods and their properties
- A deciduous tree with soft wood, has a very high heat-giving power, but burns quickly. Use it to light the heat or re-create it.
- Recommended firewood: it has a high heat-giving capacity, dries quickly and occurs to a sufficient extent. Quickly dry after sawing and gorges. It rots quickly and then loses its heat-giving power.
- Excellent firewood, but it should be stored – unlike other types of wood – in an uncapped place for two years, so that the rain can remove the tannin; then it must be kept in a sheltered place for another one or two years before it is allowed in the fireplace.
- Good firewood, gives a lot of heat.
- Fine, but rare firewood. Smells pleasant and burns regularly. Es burns even if it is a bit wetter still good.
- Burns well, just a little fast. The smell that comes off is very sharp, so not always recommended.
- Beech, fruit tree wood
- This is excellent firewood, but rare.
- Burns only when it is dry properly, therefore difficult to get on.
- Easy to get on, so good to start a fire with.
- Burns fast but good. The one-year straight dead branches are ideal as a production material.
- Conifers (Pine, Spruce, Larch and Cedar)
- Give a lot of heat, but burn quickly and crackle sparks; the resins they contain pollute the chimney.
- Soft deciduous trees (Linden, Willow, Chestnut, Poplar)
- Lime, willow, chestnut tree and poplar burn poorly and give little heat. When burned, it gives an unpleasant smell. Not recommended for your fire, then.
Green = Suitable heating wood / Orange = Less suitable heating wood / Red = Unsuitable heating wood
Note: The woods marked with orange and/or red are assessed as less suitable due to a relatively high ash and particulate matter emissions, or because they gas too quickly in a conventional stove where the risk of high incendiary wood gas being emitted is high, or contains many resins that emit relatively large soot-forming compounds, or where too many odour substances are released during combustion that are generally perceived as unpleasant
In an ideal world, we use dead standing birch wood for our camp and cooking fires.