Direct Stoves News
So you’ve made the decision to have a wood burning stove installed in your home, and let’s face it, nothing says ‘home’ quite like a real fire. The cosiness of a wood burning stove cannot be denied, but once you have chosen which stove is right for your home, you have another decision to make – which wood to use.
If you are of the opinion that wood is wood, you are far from alone, but when it comes to burning, each wood (and there are a myriad to choose from) has its own properties; from scent, burn time, amount of smoke, and even how much crackle it produces.
How Can You Tell if Wood is Seasoned?
There are a few things to look for when you are searching for seasoned wood. If the logs make a dull thudding sound when knocked together, as opposed to the much clearer ‘clacking’ of well-seasoned wood, then it is probably not as dry as it needs to be.
Another way to tell is if the bark comes away easily from the outside of the log. If the wood is dry the bark will be easily removable – unseasoned wood will not yield it quite so easily.
If you think there can’t be that much difference between dry and wet wood, you would be wrong. A well-seasoned wood will produce approximately 50% more heat than its damper counterpart.
So, with that said let’s look at which woods are best, and why.
What Types of Wood Can I Use and Which Should I Avoid?
Ash is considered to be one of the best woods to burn. It creates a nice steady flame and produces a good heat output. Theoretically, it can be burnt when it is still green, but its performance will be compromised and this is not generally recommended.
Another two very good woods for use in a stove are Hawthorn and Yew. They both burn slowly and produce a lovely, steady warmth.
If you are looking for a wood with a good heat output combined with minimal smoke, then Thorn is an excellent choice.
If spitting and sparking are a concern, Apple might be a good option, although it does result in smaller flames. To offset that, it does burn slowly and steadily, so while it is not at the top of the list, it is not far below the best.
When Cherry is well-seasoned, it is a great wood for stoves. Cherry is a slow burner and produces a steady heat.
The mighty Oak, as a dense wood, is extremely slow burning and produces a small flame. However, it needs to be seasoned for at least two years in order for it to give its maximum performance.
Maple, Hornbeam, Pear, and Plum are all excellent alternatives for using in a wood stove, although Pear, in particular, needs to be very dry. However, they are all very good burners.
For anyone considering using Elm, it is worth noting that the way it burns can be unpredictable, depending on its moisture content. To counteract this as much as possible, Elm should be seasoned for at least two years. In addition, it can also be a slow starter, so it might be necessary, if using Elm, to start your fire off with a better burner, such as Ash.
So now we have looked at the best woods to use in your stove, let’s ‘branch’ out into the lesser-used woods, and why they’re not the best choice for your burner.
Holly, while producing a reasonably good flame, also burns quickly and is not a very good source of heat. For best results use wood which has been dried for a minimum of 12 months.
A wood which is probably best avoided if at all possible is Willow. Even when well-seasoned it struggles to burn, so it’s really just not suitable for a wood burning stove.
Linda Firth from consumer website, LoveMyVouchers.co.uk, added, “We have tried several different types of wood in our stove, but Willow was definitely one of the worst burners. We cut several large branches of our Willow tree and stored them in our woodshed for months to dry them out. The wood never really fully dried and struggled to burn. I much prefer to use Yew now.”
Laburnum should also be avoided at all costs! Not only does it not burn well, but it produces a huge amount of smoke.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire might conjure up images of cosy winter nights, but Chestnut wood is more likely to have you shivering when it’s cold outside! Although it won’t choke you with smoke like Laburnum, it is a very poor burner, with small flames and minimal heat production.
A word of warning should be given about Eucalyptus, Larch, and Firs (including Pine). Although some of them can produce a good heat output, these woods can all cause a build-up of sap in the flue, which, if left unchecked, can cause a fire. The risk can be reduced by ensuring the woods are well seasoned, but this is probably one of those times when it is best to err on the side of caution, especially when there are so many other great woods available.
Reputable kiln dried logs supplier, Certainly Wood, have put together a useful compare the market guide showing the origin, species, average log length, and internal and external moisture content of their products compared to those of other suppliers.
Using an inferior wood in your stove is like using sunflower oil in a Ferrari – you just ‘wooden’ do it! Choose your wood wisely and you’ll be rewarded with warmth, comfort, and great value for money for many years to come.
Why choose a Burley balanced flue gas stove? It seems everyone would like a wood burning stove, but sometimes it's just not convenient. They are a labour of love and must be cleaned regularly and fed often. Some manufacturers have been offering gas-powered versions of their wood burners for a while now, but these still need a traditional chimney in order to work. What about those without chimneys? Until now they've had to choose something else or continue to dream.
Burley Stoves have spotted this gap in the market and are soon to launch a range of balanced flue stoves. Based on their famous Firecube range of tank-proof(!) wood burners comes the new Symmetry Balanced Flue gas stove.
No Chimney needed, just an external wall for the flue exit.
The Symmetry is a 3.2kW contemporary style stove with a choice of coal or log fuel beds and an 80% efficiency rating.
The Burley Symmetry balanced flue stove is available to pre-order now from Direct Stoves for delivery in August 2017, contact our sales team for more information and to order.
The new Charnwood Arc is a revolutionary stove, efficient and clean burning, it exceeds the forthcoming Ecodesign standards and has Defra approval for use in smoke control areas.
This smart, contemporary stove looks fantastic; it has gentle curves and subtle details such as the stylish fuel retainer, recessed door handle and air control lever; perfectly matched with Charnwood's patented Quattroflow® air management system for user-friendly operation. The Arc can burn wood, or smokeless fuel thanks to it's adjustable grate, externally controlled by a lever, nicely positioned to the side.
As a convection stove, the Arc has panels around it that perform a dual function. Firstly they heat the air around the stove much more quickly; cold air is drawn up from below the stove heated between the stove and the panels and released into the room. Secondly, the panels give the stove a much-improved distance to combustibles making the Arc an ideal free-standing stove, whether you choose the low option or the taller log store model.
As you might expect in a Charnwood stove from Direct Stoves, the Arc has a 10-year guarantee and is available in 8 Colours: Matt Black, Almond, Gunmetal, Brown, Bronze, Blue, Forest Green and Pewter.
Best of all the Charnwood Arc is now available in two outputs 5kW for small to medium sized rooms and a new 7kW model for larger rooms and open plan areas.
Another hot find at the Hearth & Home 2017 exhibition was this new Mendip Ashcroft Defra stove, designed and built in Britain at Mendip's Somerset factory.
The Ashcroft is a 5kW wood burner with Defra approval for smoke control areas and also exceeds the 2022 European directives for emissions and fuel efficiency.
No word on pricing or if there'll be colour options yet, although we think this contemporary, unfussy design looks great in matt black.
Mendip are continuing their commitment to the environment in 2017 and are donating £10 for each stove sold to the Woodland Trust, the UK’s leading charity championing native woods and trees.
Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust protects ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable. They restore damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life and plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.
As soon as we have the full details on the Mendip Ashcroft Defra Stove we'll update this page, but for presale enquiries or more information on any stove contact us or visit our showroom.
On our recent visit to the Hearth & Home 2017 exhibition, we spotted this new offering from Belgium stove manufacturers, Franco Belge. The Franco Belge Vicky stove is a 5kW wood burner with Defra approval for use in smoke control areas.
Vicky also meets the Ecodesign 2022 directives for low CO and particle emissions, higher efficiency and improved fuel standards.
The Franco Belge Vicky wood stove is a beautiful, understated little burner that will keep you warm for years to come.
Vicky is attractively priced at £869, and we'll update this page as soon as we have more news on availability and a sale date.