2. Learning about Firewood

JANUARY 15th, 2015 UPDATE: 

I am pleased to announce that we are now an ACCREDITED BUSINESS under the Nova Scotia Better Business Bureau as well as an ACTIVE MEMBER under the Firewood Vendor's Association of Nova Scotia also found under Access Nova Scotia.

Please check out what consumers say about my business and way I do things under the Nova Scotia Better Business Bureau under Customer/Consumer Reviews

WOOD ISSUE UPDATE May 28th, 2015. This noted below is very important to read. And once you do, take heed and DO THE MATH!

After receiving several calls this week about companies; and in general, wood sellers, some registered with the Registry of Firewood Vendors in Halifax and surrounding areas, and then after a conversation with Measurement Canada referencing the same, I am appalled at the response on the matter. Classified as being sold as a 'UNIT', this so called practice is way less than a proper cord by MEASUREMENT CANADA STANDARDS and Measurement Canada informs me that this is LEGAL, even though it is not a proper cord based on a STACKED CORD of 128 cubic feet. When I look at this, I see TWO STANDARDS here and sadly, YOU, THE CONSUMER, you are the ones being SCREWED ONCE MORE by the way of Government. We need CONTROLS - not people being allowed to change the rules or say, 'it is legal as long as the customer is told it is a UNIT or some other wording letting them know it is NOT a PROPER CORD, all in all, being sold 'LEGALLY LESS' than a cord and in the process of that, not using the words 'CORD or STACKED CORD' What the hell is wrong with people? And here I thought Measurement Canada wanted to make this an even playing field.

Having ONCE AGAIN checked Measurement Canada's site on Firewood, the following ARE NOT CONSIDERED AS LEGAL MEASUREMENTS pertaining to FIREWOOD. (Short Cord, Face Cord, Thrown Cord, Processed Cord (for which a UNIT CORD TRULY IS coming in between 85 to maybe 100 cubic feet), apartment cord and other amounts not listed and are TOTALLY ILLEGAL MEASUREMENTS in CANADA. So, my question is, why suddenly is Measurement Canada in Nova Scotia allowing this? In my books, it is allowing others a path to SCREW the consumer. So, be on your toes, always insist on a 'PROPER STACKED CORD AMOUNT, and above all, get your calculator out and do the math before ordering short cords as 'UNITS' or any other method of description. Remember, a guaranteed cord is 128 cubic feet. On a $300.00 cord, based on 128 cubic feet, that literally works out at $2.43 a cubic foot. On a 'UNIT'  sold, that becomes anywhere from $3.17 to $3.52 per cubic feet. So, WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF DOUBLE STANDARDS and GOVERNMENT. 



I Sell Tri-Maple Mix Hardwood cut & split @ $    .00 per cord.





What has happened below is very important to read when buying and burning wood in Winter.
I received an Email today, and on my return response sharing my home phone number,  a phone call from this person to me today, (December 24th/2013) who has had the misfortune  to buy wood without knowing about the 'Winter Frost Factor' in wood and by trusting the 'Bill of Goods' he was sold by the scammer.  Sadly,  a day before Christmas it was a startling revelation for the consumer learning that he not only had been taken, but had allowed himself to be the victim of  a dangerous scam that could have caused many problems for him and his family. As explained to me, having three small children and his elderly mother living with him, he was concerned of the smell he was experiencing while burning the wood. Simply put, he realized it was a danger and it was suggested he contact me. I am not a problem solver, but merely choose to try and educate people on the process of learning about burning wood and the issues that can be present when we look at taking short cuts by trying to save money while weighing the use of common sense and having others do our work for us.

There were many ways he went wrong. However, NEVER allow yourself to leave buying winter wood until the last minute. Finding the Frozen Moisture Content and the Frozen Water Content in wood is easy. The moisture probe will help, but the only sure method is by taking a piece of wood, peeling the bark off and then splitting it so that the center core of the growth rings are fully exposed. By doing this it will allow a simple test to be conducted. By using something as simple as a hair dryer or inside the home heat to expose moisture content, moisture content will be very noticeable. The moisture probe will do an actual probe and give a proper reading of the wood once the frozen content is exposed. If you have a stove going and is burning properly, place a metal grate on the top of the stove and place the wood face down on the grate within an inch or two of the top of the stove. You can tell within minutes if the wood is seasoned or not. Moisture beads will form and eventually drip on the top of the stove if the content is well about 25%. Remember, two important things here. 

(1) Liquid CREOSOTE formations can and most likely will form if the burn temp is below 700 degrees Fahrenheit. In the process of this, gases will become prevalent and can cause many breathing problems for under developed lungs in young children and create further problems for the elderly who may already suffer from breathing issues.

(2) Noticing any moisture formations or content will clearly show ONLY the immediate portion of the wood. This is only an indicator that the wood HAS MOISTURE CONTENT. Then you must consider the depth of the wood, thickness, density and size of the piece, and consider that there could be as much as a cup or more of moisture in that ONE PIECE alone. 

Under normal circumstances a cord of Green, Sap Cut or Spring to Summer Cut firewood will weigh approximately 5,200 to 5,400 hundred pounds or have what is commonly known as a 65% to 78% moisture factor in the ABOVE FREEZING TEMPERATURES. Properly seasoned, it will then weigh from 3,200 to 4,200 pounds depending on the type or types of firewood you may end up with. Remember, wood is a SOLID product, but moisture in wood is not considered a solid until it freezes. Looking at those numbers you will therefore be eliminating as much as 23% to sometimes as much as 30% of water or moisture from the wood. If not seasoned, remember this........upon freezing, everything expands. So it is with firewood. Also remember, some types of wood such as White Birch, Green - White and Yellow Poplar and lighter density firewood will contain MUCH MORE moisture and will lose as much as 40 to 50% of their weight upon drying. This then leaves you with a much lighter wood and low density wood that will burn two times as quick as Maple. On the other side of the coin, this can also create a much larger scale of frozen content.

The solutions are very simple. Avoid buying wood from sources that are not credible. You are asking to be burned. Buy only wood that is within proper BTU ranges of no more than 15% differentials if buying MIXED FIREWOOD. (eg - ) 30,000,000 BTU's on average to a cord of ONE TYPE of WOOD as MAPLE, 15% differential using three other types being Beech, Ash and Yellow Birch would be 4,500,000 BTU's in differentials. Mix Poplar with it, White Birch and some other softer hardwood, this would grow to as much as 40% loss factor and most likely you would STILL be paying a premium price if being scammed. It is important to remember, DIFFERENT COMBINATIONS of low rated BTU firewood takes the life away from TOP rated wood as MAPLE, Yellow Birch, Beech and Ash.

Avoid buying wood that has been SAP CUT or LEAF CUT (GREEN CUT from February/15th to December 15/ within the same year unless you are prepared to do the extra work and investing 20 to 30 weeks in dry time. On top of that, buying wood after October 15th that is sap cut from that same year if you are looking to burn wood safely is impossible to properly season to get moisture levels where they need to be. Proper cut off period to allow proper dry times on sap or leaf cut wood should be 8 to 10 weeks on the short end if the seasoning temps ARE NOT below 60 degrees Fahrenheit daily. At night, it should still range well about 50 for drying purposes. If not, the average fall time drying period would be in the range of 6 to 8 MONTHS to get moisture levels at safe level below 22 to 23%. Do keep in mind wood should be below 20% for safe burning. Remember, it takes time, work, proper weather, proper care and common sense to be wood wise and consumer wise. 

In life there are NO easy solutions. We try counteracting this by making intelligent choices by, and based on the facts that we get proper and clear direction in our search for the proper answers. As for what is right, and for what is wrong for the Property Owner, it is he, or she, who should be the one that is in charge of making the correct decision in life as by what his, and her family needs are.

Section #2 Summary:
(1) Understanding a few things about wood
(2) Is there Government Regulations and Protection for consumers
(3) Four simple rules about buying firewood
(4) Choosing the best firewood suited for my needs
(5) Firewood logic
(6) Learning the proper questions to ask
(7) Addressing simple questions
(8) Understanding BTU's and BTU Rating charts on wood
(9) Interesting Comparisons
(10) What I do bring to the table in experience
(11) Learning what different wood, density and bark look like
(12) Tips on Firewood and Burning
(13) Learning about the wood burning combustion process
(14) Some of the things I do at home pertaining to using wood
and tips on safe burning
(15) Learning about the different species of wood that I sell and use

(1) Understanding something about WOOD before attempting to BUY IT is essential:
Where does one begin here? I think the most important issue to address first is to actually KNOW WHEN THE WOOD YOU WANT TO PURCHASE HAS ACTUALLY BEEN CUT. I do not believe in quality being built and advertised in wood classified as MIXED VARIATIONS of HARDWOOD or FIREWOOD. For the consumer, smart money is to buy wood THAT IS ONLY CUT BETWEEN THE MIDDLE OF DECEMBER and THE MIDDLE OF FEBRUARY AND TO BE PRECISE ABOUT THAT INQUIRY BEFORE PURCHASING. This can easily be verified by the use of a MOISTURE PROBE. Winter cut moisture will be between 30% to 35%.

The reasoning behind this two month window is simple. THE SAP GOES TO THE ROOTS and does not begin to stir much before the middle of February. It is also important to know and understand that this is the only point in the life of the HARDWOOD tree that the natural moisture content is below 35% and runs more in the line of 28% to about 35% based on the density of the wood. However, you will still have to be on your toes because the Scammers and Cheaters do have the practice of Scamming and Cheating down to a 'T'. But the most important issue as yet to be challenged and observed in this updated site and the second site, is to actually help in learning who to trust and whom to buy wood from. If you choose not to and get burned, it will be no one's fault but your own.

Further to this, by purchasing Winter Cut Firewood from those times you end up getting drier wood overall. Getting drier wood from the beginning lessens the seasoning periods from 30 to as much as 75%. This can bring seasoning periods to as low as 3 to 4 weeks on some woods and trim others from 20 to 30 weeks or even a year, to as low as 6 to 10 weeks. With the moisture level so low, this also eliminates the breeding ground for insects and larvae that dwell on the added moisture. It is their food and haven for survival. 

It is important to remember that once the sap returns, the bud form and the leaves begin to appear. This is both a result of Spring and the avenue of moisture needed in the trees for that summer growth aiding in growth of healthy trees by producing leaves. This, therefore makes the tree at its wettest point and will remain that way up and until early December. AVOID BUYING wood cut in Spring, Summer and Fall if you want to safety burn it for the winter in the same season.  The difficult lesson to learn here is whom to trust when it comes to buying wood. Anyone can lie about the quality of wood, and believe me, most do. However, one of the surest methods to verify moisture content, age of cutting  based on the wood that is actually being delivered and proper truth is to clearly request the driver delivering the wood to probe several pieces of wood that you want tested. Should a driver or firewood seller carry such a device? They should. Remember, you do not know them and they are asking you to trust them and what they say as being gospel. Why should you? You don't know them - and they do not most likely know you. 

It is important to remember the main objective here. Simply put, it is to get you the best Winter Firewood, the Safest Firewood with the best BTU rating and the best overall package to keep you and your family warm, home safe and comfortable when the energy source you choose is used. Remember the most important lesson in buying firewood. It is important to remember that ONE BREED or ONE SPECIFIC KIND of FIREWOOD is the best and safest product to use. Mixing firewoods such as White Birch, White, Green and Yellow Poplar, Cherry Tree Wood, Apple Tree Wood, Maple of different kinds or species, Yellow Birch, Black Poplar and softwoods WILL ALL BURN together. However, the downside is simple. All wood is different so therefore all have different MOISTURE LEVELS and DIFFERENT BTU levels if used and burned together. EACH WILL NOT SEASON THE SAME AS THE OTHER NO MATTER WHAT THE MOISTURE CONTENT IS AT THE TIME OF CUTTING OR BURNING.

As for Mixed Firewood, and this is no different than getting a load of Kitchen Cut Wood (definition 10 inch to 13 inch cuts of wood) hoping to get good heat and those precious BTU's from it, you need to learn about wood before buying it from anyone. Simply put..... mis-cuts and staggered cuts are nothing more than a waste of good money - and yours at that. Short cording on loads of firewood delivered is another waste that guarantees that you have been scammed. When buying ANY FIREWOOD, a person should only consider ONE TYPE OF WOOD AND ONE SIZE CUT to burn as far as getting the best overall quality in heat, energy and BTU rating. What you have to understand about Mixed Firewood and Kitchen Cut Firewood is that IT DOES NOT BURN EQUALLY and will therefore be taking away heating energy and those important BTU's from any quality wood you may have with it. The best policy is to check quality based offerings on wood that is being offered for the PROPER EVEN CUTS for the USE INTENDED, Moisture Level, Wet Weight, Seasoned Weight, BTU Ratings and Density of the wood you are intending to buy. If the Density isn't there, neither is the overall quality or BTU value. It the cuts are small Kitchen Stove Cuts or Staggered Cuts, it is like ordering a cord of wood and getting the cord value at about 50 to 60% because of the smallness in size, the rapid burn rate and smaller cord when loaded and delivered. 

Remember, a deal is only a deal for the seller and not the buyer. Your best tool is to educate yourself before buying FROM ANYONE and make your education well known to the seller on and before taking the final delivery. If you end up with a truck load of Kitchen Cut Firewood; trust me, you have been had. It will be cut in smaller thickness by means of many splits and will give the appearance when dumped or on the truck that you are getting one heck of amount of wood. Unfortunately, that is 40 to 60% away from the truth of the matter. As for the cordage....that is only as good as the person selling it if he knows his product and is totally honest about his wood. If corded properly and sold to you for what the wood really is, the wood for the PROPER PRICE GOOD QUALITY, PROPER CUT and PILED CORD, you should get your money's worth. Again, if not, you have been conned and scammed by a Professional who has taken aim on the target you put out there.

(2) What does the Government in Nova Scotia do to protect us from the crooks?:
In my personal opinion - 'not a damn thing.' One of major problems in the Firewood Industry portion in Nova Scotia is the lack of Government Control and Enforcement. We will indulge this later in full. However; some of the instigators of the problems encountered is the advertisement of products by anyone and everyone without Proper Legal Business Names, Proper Business Locations, Proper Contact Information, Proper Phone and Email Contacts that are the openly used on Websites as Kijiji, Craig's List and other forms of Free advertisement. Sadly, when these fraudulent ads; and fraudulent ads is what they are, are installed, only the people who operate these sites are privy to the real identities and contact information. They have one concern and it is not you the consumer. Their job is to extract money for advertisement because they too are a business supported by means of selling goods. As for the Consumer, you have ABSOLUTELY NO PROTECTION or RECOURSE should any of this fail. Sadly, 95% does fail and people get burned daily because of the LACK OF CONTROLS.

(3) Four simple rules about Firewood:
When considering winter firewood, it is very important to know and understand four simple rules or guidelines. They are as follows:

(1) Avoid buying moisture bearing seasonal cut firewood when the run of SAP, BUDS or LEAVES are present or coming out of their winter dormant state. Most cutters and sellers cut and supply wood in the months between February and November. This being said, the sap and moisture content is at its full extreme flow, and wood will maintain as much as 75 to 80% moisture content in early Spring to mid-October and sometimes later depending on the temperatures and weather in fall. Learn from the chart in the next section showing the wet and seasoned moisture counts, and  take a hard look at the wood weights before indulging into that Winter Firewood Purchase. If you are buying moisture ladened wood, drying times on hardwood can take as much as a year or more based on the density and type of wood. In winter, wood will Freeze Dry but still maintain a high level of moisture that will MELT in warmer temperatures such as anything above 32 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit  If it is mixed firewood as discussed earlier, there is no telling how long it will take to get a safe level because of the differentials in wood. Furthering this, buying this type of wood later in the season WILL NOT ALLOW enough time to fully dry wood for safe burning.

(2) Avoid buying wood CUT OUT OF SEASON for immediate burning. Wood out of season is classified as SAP, BUDD and LEAF, and Cut between the months of Mid-February to December 15th when the moisture levels are the highest. People not having wood and dried to the necessary burning levels when it comes to moisture, can find themselves in a pinch come the late fall and winter. This is the tough one whereas for the consumer, it becomes a time when MOISTURE from Sap and Leaf cut wood will freeze within the wood. When this happens, and you are negotiating on buying wood after mid-November, you will become a pawn in a game of chess that YOU CANNOT WIN when this happens. Sap Cut wood with any moisture Content about 30% or more, freezes. It is mostly WATER combined with what becomes Sap Run Juice that DOES CREATE CREOSOTE. Remember, free water or floating water (RESTRICTIVE and BOUND WATER as defined in the next section) will always be in the wood no matter what the state, liquid or frozen, until it is properly seasoned. Buying wood from this date on is WASTING MONEY if it is NOT KILN DRIED or TOTALLY PRE-SEASONED. BE ON YOUR TOES. Sadly, wood delivered in winter will appear to be fairly dry due to the freezing of much of the water or condensed moisture within the wood. Most times YOU WILL NOT KNOW THIS and by the time you do, the moisture will not appear UNTIL YOU BEGIN to bring it in the house or BURN IT because of the fluctuation on temperatures. The worst scenario would be ordering and buying MIXED WOOD in WINTER that is not guaranteed ON PAPER OR BY CONTRACT, to be dry and with a moisture level below 30 to 35%. You cannot dry it enough to safely burn without incident. YOU ALSO CANNOT and WILL NOT be able to get your burn and flue temps anywhere near half what it needs to be. Therefore, you will create a major creosote problem and literally have no heat.

(3) Learn and understand the difference between all wood before ordering wood from anyone. Simply put, MIXED WOOD DOES NOT maintain the same level of heat output and BTU output as does one form of wood. This is because of the density of the wood, the content level of wood after the dry weight factor of the wood and the kindling temperature of the different types of wood when burned together. A type of wood with a quick kindling temperature WILL BURN QUICKER than a piece of wood with a higher density and higher kindling temperature. This will therefore create a MIXED BURN ATMOSPHERE in the stove that will NOT BE EQUAL. This can also increase smoke in the environment, more ashes and a possible build-up of creosote. 

(4) When ordering wood, understand number one, two and three. When addressing cordage, protect yourself and ask for a PROPER CUT, SPLIT and PILED CORD based on 128 cubic feet as set by Measurement Canada. To get that piled cordage ratio in proper cubic feet, and if the wood is loose tossed or loaded on the truck, unit or trailer, MEASURE the unit holding the wood before unloading if there are any doubts. Be sure the cubes on the INSIDE of the truck or unit will hold a loose wood count of 165 to 168 cubic feet per cord of loose tossed or conveyored wood. It is important to remember that it will take a minimum of 165 to 168 cubic feet of loose tossed or loaded wood to properly pile out to 128 cubic feet for a proper standard piled or laying cord ONCE CUT. ALSO.....avoid staggered cut wood with multiples of different cuts. This is because it is NOT IN YOUR FAVOUR when piled if the wood is cut beyond or under 16 inch cuts throughout.

Another important issue is to remember that if you burn a 16 inch piece of wood with an 18 inch and a 12 or 14 inch piece, you will end up having pieces of the longer wood left burning when you try to stoke up the stove. This will create more problems with lost heat, BTU's and proper burn. Also keep in mind, you should ALWAYS request your BLOCK ENDS, KINDLING SLICES and CHIPPINGS at no charge whereas it comes from the wood automatically when cut that you are buying. They belong to you and not the seller. BURN BLOCK-ENDS together and not with your  cut and split wood because of the sizes and density. It will give you more heat and burn slower than cut and split wood because of the density of the larger pieces. 

Which is the best wood suited for your needs? There are so many views on this topic it can be more than confusing. Here is some simple reasoning. It is important to realize that wood is not all equal. The idea of sitting near that warm hearth or stove, sure will take the chill out of the bones. Then again; so will a hot bath. It is important to remember that choosing the correct wood for your needs will be more economical in the long run. That is said based on your supplier knowing his wood and whether or not he cares about you as a customer by what he sells. For some, it is all about taking the buck and giving as little in return as needed. The issue then comes in to play on how he cuts it,  when was it cut, how he sizes the cuts, splits it, so that all pieces are not too large, too small, and/or, not split when they shouldn't be. This is compromised on the fact that many people sell and buy MIXED WOOD as the NORM. Some wood will burn well without splitting. Many larger pieces will also do the same. Still; this makes it more difficult to dry, more difficult to burn even with other species of firewood, and definitely a quicker method to getting Creosote build up in the chimney. One still has to consider the issue of BTU's in the wood you buy, and what the wood is capable of pertaining to the role of supplying heat. On the other side of the coin, do larger splits accommodate a different need? How is all of  these factors compromised by Mixed Wood?   

Consider the stove you are burning it in. Understand, that over filling the stove is both a waste of wood, heat, time and money. Some stoves; just like the wood, are designed for different heating purposes. As in my one stove, it is designed for heating up to 3,000 square feet of space. The other is suited for heating up to 1,500 square feet of space. In this case, how do I choose the correct wood? How do I choose the correct stove if I am new at this? How do I and which is the best way to consider wood as an option? For me, it is a combination of the correct wood, properly placed fans that function at a low amperage and RPM to circulate the heat. With that, I rely on the knowledge of years of wood experience that make these decisions easy. The other issue is deciding on how large of an area you want and need to heat. 

For me it was simple. Knowing wood, learning about wood, what it, and the stove is capable of, tells me that I am comfortable on burning two or three different types of wood. I use the Black Poplar and Hackmatac in the kitchen, being the smaller stove and not needing the stronger heat. I cut it larger so it lasts a bit longer. I usually put in one or two medium pieces with a small piece of round. I find it more than comfortable and lots of heat if I get countrified and want to cook. That way the wood burns easily and has air spaces between the wood for draw with the drafts open or closed. If I use Maple in the kitchen, I use one large cut, whereas it does last about 10 to 18% longer than the Black Poplar or Hackmatac. The faster the burn, the hotter the heat and less chance of Creosote build up. The faster the burn, the quicker the wood disappears. Slow the burn and you not only save wood, but you maintain a level consistency of heat. 

As for which wood is the best to buy, I try to stick with the Maple Family, Black Poplar, Yellow Birch and Hackmatac. In doing this, I never mix them on burning. When you consider the extra cost in the Maple and Yellow Birch; the Black Poplar and Hackmatac are more appealing being a bit cheaper. It is still a very productive product rating at about 87 to 90% of the Maple and Yellow Birch. If used and burned properly, the mileage is almost unnoticeable. As for question (c)  on the home page, it is simple----don't mix your wood. If you are burning two, four, and/or six cord and you want a different variation of wood, DO NOT BUY IT MIXED ON THE TRUCK unless you plan to separate it. THEN, WE KNOW YOU WON'T. You have to remember that processors and providers do make their money on MIXED WOOD.  Why? It is because of cut run wood is cheaper to buy because they have to agree to take everything including what we refer to as the 'trash cuts.'If you buy it mixed, then take the extra time, separate it and pile it by itself. I know that sounds like just too much work. WHY, you wonder?

This is a tough business and most out there will not choose to spend the extra money in requesting specialized cuts as ALL MAPLE, ALL YELLOW BIRCH or OTHER TYPES. Why not? It is a simple question to answer. When the cutter cuts the wood, he usually cuts it by the Acre, Cord or Lot. In doing so, he cuts for so much a straight cord as the wood grows, or by the acre, cord, or lot. However; unless there is a total stripping of the land by using a commercial harvester, most wood-lot owners will have a cutter THIN OUT THE TREES. This is so the other trees can prosper in faster and larger growth. In doing this, spot cutting is his main purpose. Unfortunately, 95% of the time is where a combination of the mixed wood will originate. Once done, and the wood is at roadside, he will scale and get the proper cord count. Then and only then will he make arrangements on sale and delivery. 

It is equally important to remember this piece of roadside logic. WHEN wood is sold ROADSIDE or from any cutter, it is gauged as a cord being 4 feet wide by 4 feet high and 8 feet in length. It too is how I buy wood for cutting. HOWEVER, the most important thing to remember is that once it is CUT, SPLIT and PROCESSED for selling to the CONSUMER, it no longer is consider a PROPER UNPROCESSED CORD. It then becomes an issue of a PARTIAL PROPER CORD of roughly 65 to 68% of a PROPER CORD. As the Math works out, that will work out based on 68% as being 83.20 cubic feet to 87.03 cubic feet of a TRUE and PROPER CORD as based on the CANADIAN SCALE by Measurement Canada of 128 Cubic feet. What that relates to in simple terms is you will be receiving about TWO THIRDS (2/3rds) of a PROPER CORD as piled by 128 Cubic Feet.  So, the fair question here is, WHO SHOULD LOSE? Should it be YOU, or the SELLER? Trust me, his margin is more than ample to give you the PROPER CORD that you are offering to buy. If he doesn't, he is SCAMMING and CHEATING YOU. There is no other way. If the word DEAL, SPECIAL PRICING, CUBES or any other terminology other than a PROPER PILED CORD in your yard comes about, you are being CHEATED. Learn to be smarter by learning the correct manner in which to ask for wood and make sure you are getting what you bargained to purchase.

What kind of wood is it?
Where did it come from?
How long has it been cut?
When was it cut?
Will you guarantee me this in writing?
What are the saw cut sizes?
What are the split sizes?
How much kindling is in with my wood?
Are my block ends and short cuts there?
Does much of this wood has the bark missing?
How is this cord measured in cubes?
Is it a 128 or 168 Cubic Foot Cord when delivered loose or less than a proper measured cord?
Will you guarantee me in writing how much wood I am getting?
Will you show me your license and vehicle permit so that I am protected and know whom I am buying from? And then----how much wood will I have when it is piled up?
Will it be a true cord based on Measurement Canada's measurement scale?
Will you guarantee me my cordage states that in writing?
Is it a mixed combination of different firewood?

These are things you need to know before you buy from anyone. Should you NOT ask these questions, and if you do and the other person on the other end of the phone or Email BAULKS at the inquiries,  this should be a clear indication of two things. First, they want your money without satisfying the questions asked. Secondly, you have to LEARN to be smart enough to walk away from what will be the beginning of a BAD EXPERIENCE for you.

(7) Addressing simple questions:

How do we address the topic of firewood qualities and its affect on you? 
Do you know what BTU's are, and how this can affect you when considering purchasing and burning wood?
What is the easiest way for me to get the best from my BTU's in my wood?
How will I know what is fair when it comes to me getting what is supposed to be delivered?

Many people email me and call me with mostly the same questions. 'What is the best firewood to buy?' It seems like an easy question. However, the answer can be complicated. My only response in reference to a simple answer is easy. Any wood that you feel you can comfortably afford as long as it is not Mixed Wood will get the job done. For efficiency, it is always the smartest move to purchase ONE SPECIES of wood to be burned by itself. Why, is usually the next question to which I reply, 'mixed firewood is a waste of money whereas you will loose about 25 to 35% in heating value because of the different burn ratios of the wood.'   

Since the only way to slow the burn rate on any wood is to choke off the draft, this encounters many other problems. Some are as simple as, 'burning wood too slow lowers the stove, the pipe and chimney temps below 250 degrees Fahrenheit creating creosote build up and possible breathing problems because of the improperly expelled gases.' This will also waste your wood because it is not producing heat. 

Actually, the idea of wood is to produce heat. Even burning wood will distribute an even based heat as well as safe and better burn pattern or ratio. As for what affect could that have on you is also simple. When burning, wood produces gases like any other energy product. The idea is to have a product that will burn efficient, burn safely and produce heat, and quickly expel those burning gases up the chimney therefore creating the safe household environment we expect. In the process of this, by burning one type of wood we increase the heat ratio by extending it for longer periods. We also lower the cost of the wood we buy by not wasting wood and having flash burns as created by mixed wood that does not burn evenly. On top of that, we will then get the best BTU rating overall possible by not mismatching the burn product. On top of this, we lower the possible issue of added expense by improper products for the needs we have. 

(8) BTU's:

Exactly what is classified as a BTU? The BTU is classified as the 'British Thermal Unit', and is the amount of heat energy required or needed to raise the temperature of one single pound of water by one degree. Wow....that was easy. It is a form of measuring the amount of energy that a fuel has, or that a heating device possess in the process of heat output. All combustible products have a BTU rating. In time, I will post these on different wood products. Nonetheless, and  for easy argument, dry wood calculates out at about 7,000 to 8,000 BTU's per pound depending on the wood and dryness of the product.

If you are wondering how this affects you, or what good this is, let us look at  it this way pertaining to cooking, or just plain utilizing the stove. Let us take at a simple container of water-----perhaps 1/2 gallon being about 4 pounds of water plus a bit. Place it on the stove (in a container so there is no confusion) at a bit warmer than tap cold at somewhere around 55 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Let us choose to boil it. So-----and knowing that the boiling point being 212 Degrees Fahrenheit,  we proceed. To accomplish this, and by using the scale as set out, we need to use about 600 BTU's to be successful in this feat or experiment. The question is------what do you get out of the wood that you buy and burn? Are you getting the best bang for your buck? Read on....there is much to learn without getting into physics. Remember this----not all wood will produce the same BTU rating or heat in the same time frame or way.


Where to begin is the tough one. This is because so many people are selling wood  and choose to sell a breed of mixed combinations due to deals and poor quality. I will attempt to cover as many of these as I feel important. It is important for you to be the sole judge on what wood, or wood type that you want to spend your money on. In all fairness to you, the consumer, if you choose to continue, or buy combinations of MIXED WOOD, you WILL NEVER get the benefit of knowing what GOOD WOOD is capable of when choosing wood as a heating source. It is important to  understand, learn and clearly know the wood weights of green and seasoned wood and BTU ratings when selecting wood for your home. Moisture content is serious business. It is equally important to remember that ANY WOOD that is FAIR to MEDIUM, or even AVERAGE RATED, is not considered in the good to excellent category in reference to getting the best bang for your hard earned dollars thru the lesser quality woods.

In the next section you will find a rating chart on Wood Weights, Values, Smoke Content and BTU Ratings. I chose not to add it in this section whereas I do think it fits better in the section where you will find it. For your own education, it would be a good piece of information to familiarize yourself with. Many of these are for wood we have here in Nova Scotia.

The following BTU PRODUCTION GUIDE is based on Laboratory testing of products (wood and other heat sources). Again, for comparable figures in electricity, propane and Natural Gas, please contact your supplier. They do have ratings and should be able to give you comparison data by BTU ratings to compare to the value of wood in dollars and cents. For what is written pertaining to wood, these are all based on PROPER 1 CORD HEAT YIELDS by SEASONED WOOD WEIGHTS and on ONE TYPE OF WOOD as named in the tests for that wood. Unseasoned Weights and Mixed Wood can cut these amounts anywhere from 35%, up to 50% per cord. As well, it is important to remember that a standard cut cord once piled should be equal to 128 cubic feet, or 168 cubic foot cut & split cord loose loaded before piling on average. This is not an exact science, but it will be close within a few percentage points.


Excellent to Very High: 1 cord= 21,000,000 to 25,000,000 BTU's. That ='s 200 to 250 gals. of oil. 

Medium:------------------- 1 cord= 17,000,000 to 21,000,000 BTU's. That='s 150 to 200 gals. of oil.

Low:-------------------------1 cord= 12,000,000 to 17,000,000 BTU's. That='s 100 to 150 gals. of oil. 

Sadly, the one cord calculated as low just above this sentence would be a fair assessment of mixed combinations of FIREWOOD. The loss factor is well in the range of the estimate we read about earlier and does range from between 30% to 42%. If you look and rate this to one cord of ONE SPECIES of wood being of the Maple Family, or a 3 Type of Maple Mix classified as Tri-Maple Mix being Rock Maple, Hard Maple and Silver Maple, the ratio differential in dollars and cents is virtually scary. Simply put, on Mixed combinations of wood based on an average cost of $240.00 per cord, the loss factor in heat is between 30 to 42% making the value of that cord of wood from $168.00 on the high side to $139.20 on the low side in comparison to an equal cord of Maple. So, are you really saving money while losing those precious dollars as they go up the chimney in smoke while helping out someone who is smarter than you BY YOU NOT DOING YOUR HOMEWORK? NO! On top of that, if the cord of wood you buy is not a TRUE CORD, this cost is even higher. This is why this Province and its elected officials need to REGULATE this INDUSTRY and PROTECT YOU - THE CONSUMER.

Please remember that these calculations are based on a STANDARD PILED CORD OF 128 Cubic Feet of  SEASONED WOOD THAT IS PROPERLY cut and split at 16 inches per cut AND NOT STAGGERED CUTS and are OF ONLY ONE SPECIES OF WOOD. Again, to arrive at that calculation on piling, the CUT and SPLIT CORD you are buying MUST BE CALCULATED at 168 CUBIC FEET per LOOSE LOADED CORD to meet and match these figures when piled.  Another thing to keep in mind is the cutting and splitting of small wood. Smaller cuts of under 1 center split on a 4 inch piece will rob you of both quality and burning time. The density is reduced by the smaller cuts. Taking a 4 inch round piece and splitting it 2 or 4 ways, it will come close to being equal to a piece split in half, therefore reducing the burn time by almost 50%. Packaged  and piled small wood looks nice, but will cost you in both heat loss, cordage, and volume of air space occupied in the corded amount. That being said, it will cut down on the value of the BTU's per pound. 

On average, it is important to understand that all firewood in general has a close proximity in BTU value per pound. However, this significantly changes when the moisture content is removed from the wood by proper seasoning and too smaller cuts made in processing. For example; a non-resinous wood will generally average 8,000 to 8,600 BTU's per pound when seasoned. In comparison to a Resinous wood of 8,600 to 10,000 BTU's per pound, the mathematics makes it easy for comparison purposes. Make the cut smaller, and you reduce the value of the wood.

Less dense hardwoods as Green, Yellow, White Poplar, Alder Bush, Mixed variations of Power Line Cut Wood, Mixed Wood or Tree Wood, fall under the lesser category. These fall close to, and, in the same category of the softwoods in comparison. White Birch is the only one that falls in the category of exception and depending on the size of the wood, can be in either/or. However, that is mostly due to sizing and the growth rate more than anything. When you look at this in the mathematical aspect, compare weight to burning rate, BTU's and Seasoned weights, the decision should be easy in getting the best wood for you, and your family. Once a cord of wood (piled 128 cubic foot cord) is seasoned, a cord will actually work out in total volume without air spaces at about 70 to 90% of a cord if there were no air spaces between the wood pieces. That is normal.

However, what is not normal is the fellow bringing you a SHORT CORD. After piling it you find the wood is not there. On top of that, staggered and mis-cuts take away even more value. If that happens; and it will, if you are not on your game, that number then drops to 40%, to possibly lower than 70% because you are not getting the wood to begin with.  It is important to keep in mind that ALL SCALES do have a variance do to size, cuts, piling and quality in wood. A fair variance is considered 1 to 3%, and in some cases, as much as 5%. Depending on the wood, can go either way. It is all about wood quality, cuts, splitting and the VOLUME of the load when delivered. I try to make the variance always in the favour of the consumer. To you, and for you, the consumer, become wise ----learn cordage. Learn how volume is calculated. By all means, do not get the SHORT CORDED ON LOADS. Remember, this is all about you obtaining wood, burning wood, and NOT GETTING BURNED ON BUYING YOUR WINTER FIREWOOD.

(9) Interesting Comparisons:
There was another couple I met from the Halifax area that really stands out. I do regard her and her husband as friends through my wood deliveries to them. We communicate frequently. I remember the surprise on her husband's face the day the first load was dropped in their yard. The funniest part of it all was their choice to go with the Black Poplar on my advice. I think she may have been reluctant at first, but I know that reluctance turned into trust. In this business, trust is what it circles around. When delivered, he was sure there was more than the two cord tendered. As I said to him; and I remember the conversation well, 'this is what a real two cord load of  loose wood should look like. This is 168 cubic feet of wood and possibly a bit more; not 128, or less - as some people deliver, calling it a proper Standard Cord. However, when piled, it should equal a standard cord of 128 cubic feet.' He was sure it was way more. I did take the time to explain the rational behind the delivery. 

From that point, it was also quickly established that the previous wood supplier who sold them wood, never delivered, nor had given them the wood they both bargained and paid for. For many; and like them, I know it is difficult to trust people you have not met. And sadly, across the Internet makes it that much more difficult. The sad thing in this business is the amount of SHORT CORDING, SHORT CUTTING and MIXED WOOD that is both CUT and SOLD by people selling wood who do it for nothing more than the 'QUICK BUCK'. On top of that, most do it without proper good wood and equipment to work with. However, my personal experiences have also taught me much about people. As funny as it was, of all the wood I did sell this past year, 90% of the people had the same story about previous experiences. 

I glanced through Kijiji this morning under Firewood after I received a letter from a customer of mine. It is amazing all of the gimmicks, free deals, best deals, avenues of selling and piles and piles of old pictures of wood as advertised for sale. Still, I see the ones that really make me laugh as being: very dry firewood, best firewood, discount dry firewood, dry quality bargains, free deliveries, Cords of Hardwood---- green and yellow poplar at that, and "Sold by Measured Cord"----what exactly is that!!!!! Is it by a Standard Cut and Split cord based on a loose cut and split cord of 16 inch cuts (168 cubic foot cord) that one should automatically assume will be, or is a piled cord - or standard 128 cubic foot cord when finally at your home and piled? On top of that, Measurement Canada clearly defines what a cord is. Funny tho, myself and a couple of other dealers who are part of the Nova Scotia Firewood Registry are the only ones that GUARANTEE a PROPER CORD. It really makes me question their ethics and you should too. 

What I find amazing, is that NO ONE on any of the Kijiji Ads this past year mentioned a 168 cubic foot cut and split cord, until I brought it forth. I am not putting them down, but you would think one could supply both time dated pictures, current up to date pictures; especially of their wood, location and operation, rather than someone else's from somewhere in Canada or the United States while posing as someone honest and wanting you to trust them. My process is both easy and simple. I don't sell FRESH CUT (leaf or sap cut) WOOD, GREEN WOOD or MIXED FIREWOOD. But, I do sell Winter Cut and clearly date the cutting time for record. Should anyone want to see the time dated pictures----no problem. I make no false promises or claims on what I sell. I want you to know exactly what you are getting. 

Further to that, and back to the ads, for your personal protection, clearly identifying in ads what the product is, how it is cut, the sizes, Mixed Wood or not, the type, and so on, should, and is very essential to the buyer. This is information you both need to know and that should clearly be verified before buying from anyone. My reason for writing this and displaying the website is due to the calls and letters I have received. And these were over practices that have been carried out by others over the past years. I am not perfect, but when it comes to wood, I know my product and am very professional in what I do and how I do it. I AM NOT trying to portray myself as the 'GOD of WINTER FIREWOOD', but having been involved in the retail for business for 30 years plus, it has taught me well on gimmicks, deals and schemes. When it comes to selling, and being honest about what and how you represent your product, this is what is important for the long haul. Remember this, short term is just that.

As for what I bring to the table; being the wood part of it, and for what I offer, I work hard at doing things right. I would like to earn your business through chance and trust; but will not lie and cheat you to get it. For those who know me, they know me in the sense that I do tell it as I see it, and straight up. If you don't want to hear the real fact and truth, I am not the person to buy from. If you want good wood and a solid back-up service, perhaps you do need to check it out and then consider all options before buying your next wood. I can supply references; but I don't. However, in time that may change. I just feel bothering someone to tell someone else about you is wrong. What I offer is trust. I only ask for the chance to earn yours. 

(10)  What I bring to the Table:
I personally do not believe in awards, associations and whatever. THESE DO NOT PROTECT YOU AS THE CONSUMER. The only thing this will bring protection to the consumer is for Government to bring in Strict Guidelines and Total Enforcement of them. As the consumer, the Government fails all of us on the matter of Guidelines and Protection to the consumer pertaining to Firewood Regulation. Once you have spent your money, you are the goat already taken to slaughter. Your best mode of truth and the best avenue for wood for you is by reference from a person, friend or neighbour who is credible. To me, paper is mostly for file 13 and a source of starting fires. Awards do not; nor do associations, guarantee you anything. And even if it did; TRUST ME, in the end you will be told to venture into Small Claims Court as an avenue of recovery that will not only be a waste of time, but one you will lose because these CROOKS are smart enough NOT TO GIVE YOU PROPER INFORMATION and NAMES. Once that issue comes up, you will spend some more time and money to do exactly what? As for me, I invested my money in building, researching, and putting forth this Website to help the consumer and not hinder the consumer. This was my money and I didn't have to do it. It is time consuming and gives no rewards. The info is free and totally helpful if you learn it and use it. Given the choice to do it, I personally feel it was long overdue and needed to be done by someone who rode the Merry-Go-Round of life. 

 It is INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE and good businesses who you have to trust. That can ONLY BE DONE by a solid track record and proven service. Simply put, if you want an honest service, you want good wood based on quality, learn about wood and the people you buy from. Deals, Bargains, Schemes for one to outsell another, or play one seller against the other is stupid in my books. It is you, the consumer who can stop this. If you choose to walk around with that bulls-eye firmly planted on your forehead, sooner or later, someone will take the shot. 'Vulnerability' is the weakness of a Strong Mind when it comes to  the option of 'GREED and NEED.' I am not here soliciting your business. I do have plenty. Nonetheless-----I will take more.  HOWEVER, remember one thing, I have two goals.

(1) To give you the best quality, professionalism and knowledge about the product I sell before you buy.  Whether or not you buy from me, doesn't matter. After that, you make your decision.

(2) For quality, credibility and service, I refuse to be undersold. However, if you are looking for cheap wood, mixed wood, a bargain, or a deal in the process, I am not the route to go. This is fully explained throughout the website. I am not trying to portray myself as some form of dyspeptic ogre, or Wood God, but merely be totally open by what experience and other people have taught me in the past. I didn't like getting screwed over in my need of wood. But it happened. I should have known better.I just trusted the wrong people. However, the lessons learned are clearly posted throughout this site. The blame should be for those who have created this avenue of free speech and forum to speak out. Simply put-----you need to exercise your option and do the same before buying anything.

(11) Learning to define the different trees by their back and density: 
Having been associated with wood since I was a youngster, I have decided to deal with and sell just a few variations of winter firewood. However, none from here will be mixed unless it is the end of the season and it would be a make-up load. Even at that, it would be one of the wood types I sell. The wood processed and carried here will be ROCK and HARD MAPLE, SILVER MAPLE, BLACK POPLAR, and YELLOW BIRCH (only when the Birch and Black Poplar is available) in the Winter Hardwood. We will also carry HACKMATAC which IS TECHNICALLY NOT A WINTER HARDWOOD, but in fact a tremendously hard SOFTWOOD with heating and BTU power as close to that of the BLACK POPLAR. Remember this-----in many circles WHITE BIRCH is considered a garbage wood not having good burning quality. PLEASE DO NOT GET IT CONFUSED WITH YELLOW BIRCH.



When a person finally makes their mind as to what type of wood to burn, to avoid staggered burning, it is a good idea to concentrate on one type of wood rather than mixing several of the different wood families together. However, mixing Hard and Rock Maple with Silver Maple is not an issue since they are from the same tree family. We do sell both together and for the same price. In doing this, you will manage to maintain an even burn, an even heat with all wood burning at the same pace. This will develop an overall BTU rating that is quite high based on seasoned wood. When mixing wood such as Maple, Yellow Birch and Black Poplar, you will cut down on the even out burn time. (As for white, green and yellow poplar, in my opinion and as many others, they are much like the White Birch and fall in the category of poor winter firewood even though they are in the hardwood family). They do have a lot in common with some of the softwood family. Having said this, some forms of softwood can and will cause wasted energy since the burn time is so rapid. Along with this, you will experience wasted heat,  a build up of creosote, a considerable amount of powder ash and much shorter burning times. This is mainly caused due to the fact that some woods will be softer and not have the ability to burn slow. On the other hand, choosing Hackmatac, which is a hard softwood; will out last and out perform the poorer of the wood listed in the black section above. 

With buying and burning the Rock and Hard Maple; note that Rock and Hard Maple is slightly denser than Silver Maple. However; not by much. You are getting one of the best Winter Fire Woods available in Nova Scotia. It will make a better winter firewood in larger pieces if properly cut and seasoned in the long term. They can be mixed without any issues or problems. You will find that Rock and Hard Maple will ignite fairly well being it is a more dense product. It will generate a slightly stronger heat in comparison to Silver Maple or some of the other types of Maple wood again if seasoned properly. If it isn't well seasoned, the loss factor on burning power, BTU's and heat will be nothing more than a waste of good money and shorten the life of your wood pile. 

However, keep in mind that Rock and Hard Maple should be well seasoned for burning. The process of drying properly will allow the sun and wind to dry and remove most of the moisture or water content that is contained within the wood. As well, Silver Maple will also need to be well seasoned for burning. If you are not willing to properly season wood with the ideas of getting the best from it, do not buy wood. Do not waste your money. It will be just going up the chimney as smoke and not heat to its potential. For those people-----STICK TO OIL or OTHER MEANS!

Nonetheless; keep in mind that here I make it a point to split the Silver Maple a bit smaller than the Hard and Rock Maple. It becomes a better daytime or early evening wood. Doing this will allow mixing and burning at a more monitor-able rate. On the other hand, all wood should be seasoned under the correct drying conditions and procedures for 3 to 9 months depending on the type of wood before burning if it is not GREEN, LEAF or SAP RUN CUT. Nonetheless; you will find that Black Poplar  and Hackmatac will take less time to season thru drying whereas the make-up is that of a less density nature. By doing this, you are burning dry wood and not causing moisture to be evaporated into the home and into the chimney. Remember a simple rule of thumb; burning dry wood creates less moisture in the home and will cut down dramatically on creosote.  If your wood sizzles when the burn is happening, you are burning water with and within the wood. This can and does produce one of three forms of Creosote. Creosote can  easily adhere to the liners or bricks of a chimney. This can increase the possibility of a chimney fire due to improper drying and the burning of WET WOOD. 

Remember; all wood can, and in most cases, create a form of black creosote as it burns. However, selecting dense wood helps in controlling creosote if the wood is properly dried. Rock and Hard Maple that is dry or dried properly, will burn cleaner and will create a lesser amount of sparks. Yet, it still produces more heat. As a wood, it has the ability to burn slow if the drafts are closed, or burn fast and hot if totally open. In an air tight stove, it will far outlast many types of wood. As for the burning uses of Rock and Hard Maple, it can be safely burned both in the stove, in the fireplace, or in the outside as a camp fire. For someone who BBQ's with wood and can control the BBQ under these applications, trust me; food off of the BBQ will spoil you when it comes to taste.

With all wood, one important thing to keep in mind when ordering, buying and using wood, is that  wood used whole and not split does take longer to dry. The easiest form of telling when round wood is seasoned, or for split also, is to note the ends of the wood. On round, the ends will be darker and begin to have small multiples of ring splits or lines going to and coming from the center of the growing rings. These should be able to split into a depth of 1 to 3 inches depending on the density of the wood. If these ARE NOT visible, there is a very good chance the water content still in the wood will be far greater than the acceptable 15 to 23%. If so, this will definitely entertain a large issue with creosote on slow burning. The key to BEST BURNING is a moisture rate of less than 20% and a burn temperature rate of well over 500 degrees F. The best method to insure this happens is to invest into a Firewood Moisture Probe.

The best burn rate would be in the neighbourhood of 900 to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit  That being said, wood begins to breakdown at 500 degrees Fahrenheit and form volatile gases. To properly burn these gases, the temperature core inside of the stove must reach the higher plateau of well into 1,000 to 1,100 and some times higher in Fahrenheit. It is not uncommon for a good stove with good seasoned wood to reach temperatures inside the stove at 1,800 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit  When this happens and the burning process is finished, these gases are the direct result of the hot coals that later become ash. Simply put, we are then left with the by-product  which should be left in the bottom of the pit or casing of the stove. However, this is all based on SEASONED WOOD. These temperatures CANNOT be achieved if the wood is not seasoned and has a moisture content of over 23%.

(14) WHAT I DO HERE AT HOME and a FEW tips on burning:
In my own house, I choose to pull out all of the small round wood under 5 inches, pile it separately for night time burning. I NEVER burn any wood that is round AND NOT darkened and cracked on the ends. If I choose to, I will split it to make sure that the moisture is not a concern and well under what I deem as the 25% mark. The ends could look good, as well seem dry, but much of the water can still be contained on the inside of the log. Also; any signs of leakage on the stove pipe through a watery run down substance, crusty black substance, or stench smell smelling vapour, is a clear indication that your wood IS NOT DRY. This is CREOSOTE at work. A simple test of tapping the pipe directly above the stove (WHEN COOL) will indicate whether or not you have been burning wet or unseasoned wood. I do suggest the stove be cold. In doing this, you should be able to hear any loose particles or build up staging of creosote that has formed and adhered to the inside of the pipe. If it is present by this test, then it is advisable to shut the stove down completely as soon as possible. From there, remove the pipe when cool and immediately clean it. If not, remember this----creosote can ignite and catch fire WITHIN the stove pipe and then continue up the chimney. Also; creosote will retain heat and burn again even though it is a partially burned substance. It is important to remember that if you get a chimney fire because of Creosote, it will roar and burn like a raging forest fire and be somewhat out of control. In many cases, a creosote burn can, and will be a frightening ordeal. It is most important to keep this in mind and NOT TO PANIC. Taking the oxygen through draft draw by smothering the fire will help eliminate a situation that could become worse with a burning stove and flue fire. 

Looking at the SILVER or SOFT MAPLE (or as some call it-----Silver Maple), it is a very good wood and almost equal to the Rock and Hard Maple. It is better for daytime burning or when persons are near or around the stove area unless used in larger pieces. It usually is not as large as the Rock and Hard Maple, but will burn a bit quicker because of the smaller size. On the other hand, it is not a good idea to always be burning large wood. In the burning process, it is important to do a hot and quick burn at least one or two times daily. By doing this you will cut down on any possible creosote build up. It is important to understand that the main ingredient of a tree is water. Considering that, on average the Maple tree is comprised of approximately 60 to as much as 75% water. Many other trees will fall within the same guidelines, however, some can and do have moisture contents of up to 100%. Some trees like White, Green and Yellow Poplar have standard moisture contents on average of 85 to 90%. Some higher if they grow in wet land or soggy areas. the same can be said on White birch with totals being higher than that if growing in soggy areas.

 Therefore; dry times and the drying process is very important to safe burning. A safe burning Maple should have a water content of 15 to 22%. If possible and after drying, one should make it a point to try keep it well below the 25% moisture level to avoid problems. In many views, 25% is acceptable, but not the best odds. I know-----you are thinking, just how do you gauge percentage in wood? It is by the amount of common sense we use in the drying and burning process, and clearly identified by the use of a Firewood Moisture Probe to avoid ANY possible doubt.

 Dry bark cracking and lifting from the wood is a good indication that you are on the right track in the seasoning procedure. In most cases, there is very little difference within the wood in the Maple family. But to be sure, you can always split a piece or two into smaller pieces to check the inside and follow that visible check by probing it with your Firewood Moisture Probe. Therefore, it does make it a better Winter Firewood. One of the best methods to successful seasoning is to purchase your next years wood in the previous year (well into a four season in advance program) winter or early in the spring. This is even better if the wood has been cut when the sap is at its lowest rate.  Nonetheless, remember that once the sap begins to stir in mid-February, it would be long before the water works its way through the wood and limbs. Keep in mind that the limbs are the last to experience the water as the buds begin to sustain new life. As for what I carry, I DO NOT BUY WOOD cut before  Mid-December. This wood; even tho is was Fresh Cut from December 15th to the end of December last year, was cut and has the least amount of sap present due to the sap going down into the roots until  just before Spring.

The other kind that will be carried periodically will be the YELLOW BIRCH, and only  YELLOW BIRCH when available. In terms of HEATING ABILITY, YELLOW BIRCH is way better by about 30 to 40% over White Birch. When making the comparison of White Birch to Maple and Yellow Birch, it is in the category of an average wood. Many cutters and land owners classify White Birch, Yellow Poplar, White Poplar, Green Poplar, Alder Tree and a few others as garbage wood having little use other than to be chewed up as chips for the mills in making Aspenite and mills still making fencing and barn shingles. Go figure.....who knew. Other uses for some of these Poplar Trees are strawberry boxes.....yes - that is the garbage Poplar many of you buy when you get your mixed firewood. Some characteristics of the White Birch are close to the Yellow, White and Green Poplar. Unfortunately, and with the White Birch, when seasoned, it is more like the Alder bush or Alder tree wood. However, nothing will burn hotter than Alder and White Birch. In comparison to the Yellow Birch, it will burn 25 to 40% quicker and DOES NOT hold a strong heat for long. The coals will burn in chunks as opposed to the Yellow Birch in comparison. Seasoned, the White Birch literally has no weight in comparison to Maple, Yellow Birch or Black Poplar. 

Many producers sell White Birch in their mixed hardwood. It has a few extra benefits such as bark peeling for indoor kindling when seasoned and is a great fire starter. Hey - once upon a time in the days of Champlain the Indians used it to make canoes. Fancy that now. However, be careful whereas you will find more splinters and sharp split edges in White Birch; not to mention many extra sparks and snap backs when the stove door is opened. The burn time on White Birch is about 30%, possibly to 50% of Maple depending on size, dryness and where it grew. The burn on Yellow Birch is quite comparable to the Silver Maple. However, dry Yellow Birch will throw a tremendous heat due to the fact the Kindling Temps are less than Maple and it is not quite as dense. With a closed draft, Yellow Birch will have a lengthy burning life comparable to Maple. Like the Black Poplar, Yellow Birch will give you a hot burn. To insure a hot burn for cleaning purposes on that night time slow burn, it is important to burn smaller and well defined split wood. 

However, as in the Maple Family, for best results it is best to burn each wood by itself for consistent heat and BTU results. Remember; whereas different wood species grow differently with time, areas, moisture on the land, speed and atmosphere, it is still a good idea to make your choice for one wood or the other. If you were to burn both Yellow and White Birch together, when the White is burned, the Yellow will still be burning strong and producing heat as the White Birch dies back or has already disappeared.

The wood that is one of my favourites is the BLACK POPLAR. Having burned it for years in my own home, it is a very poorly judged wood by many and SHOULD NOT BE judged by the other POPLAR in that family. Many people are confused by it and do not understand the differences in the Poplar (ASPEN) family. Usually a bit cheaper than Maple and Yellow Birch, you will be amazed at both the heating ability and the lack of creosote build up while using it. Then there is the ashes to consider. With the Black Poplar being much less in burned or waste ash, you will have fewer trips to the ash disposal depot. This will also cut down time in lost heating  considerably. Some people consider Black Poplar to be a poor winter firewood. For the sceptics,  please do not confuse Black Poplar with the White, Green and Yellow Poplar trees that we have so many of in Nova Scotia. I have burned it for years and have found LESS CREOSOTE build up in my chimney come time for cleaning. You will also find less work overall and less waste ash by far from the burning process. 

In comparison to the Maple and Birch, its growing make up is 65 to 75% water making it considerably equal in that aspect and much lesser than the White, Green and Yellow Poplar. On the other side of the coin, it will burn a bit quicker, dry much quicker and usually sells for a bit less. This also makes it appealing for the economical wood burning family.   Black Poplar will still burn to approximately 85 to 90% of Maple. In some cases, depending on the type of stove, even higher. However; ALL WOOD, and the PERFORMANCE of wood, is still based on three important issues being, seasoning, dryness and storage in the proper manner. It is an excellent fireplace wood product with little spark and excellent in the stove. It quickly produces heat and is well known for a low Kindling Temperature. Here, I find it an excellent morning cleaner for a fast, hot burn, so to speak. This wood will help control Creosote build up if used correctly.

HACKMATAC (or as some of us do call it......HATAMATAK) is a soft wood. As funny as this may sound, it is a very hard softwood. This does make it a valuable wood for seasonal, fall and  even winter burning. From the Tamarack and/or Larch family, it is one of the few Conifers that will actually shed their needles-----leaves, if you will, in the fall, and more or less go into hibernation for winter. Actually, I have Hackmatac posts holding up the nets over my fish pond. It has proven to be a better wood in the ground and water than the Maple or any other kind. The tree is suitable for many things including furniture, flooring, axe and shovel handles, as well as many around the farm uses. However; as a firewood, I have burned it, still do, and find it an excellent firewood in cutting down on CREOSOTE.  The bark makes fantastic kindling. It does not have the burning power as Maple, but it will burn close to the Black Poplar. It will season in less than 3 to 4 months in the right conditions, if piled and aired properly. It will supply one of the quickest forms of heat, ignites easily and does have massive output. As no surprise, it will last longer than seasoned Spruce/Pine, Fir and White Birch by leaps and bounds. So there is no confusion; softwood being spruce/pine and fir, are in the same family. They are different in many aspects. All in all, this is the only form of softwood heating wood I desire to work with. Unlike the spruce, fir and pine that keep their needles all year round, Hackmatac doesn't. 

Green cut in the spring or in season, Hackmatac will weigh approximately 39 to 40 pounds a cubic foot and will scale in around Maple and Black Poplar in the weight category. However, if cut when the sap and water is in the root base, this drops dramatically as other wood and as much as by 25%. As we say in the business-----damn heavy being about 4900 to 5200 pounds to a Standard Ground Laying Cord. Dry, this will significantly change to about 70 to 75% coming in about 3500 to 3800 pounds and will bring it in line with other seasoned or dried firewood.  This will make it a bit lighter than the Maple; but more in the same category as the Black Poplar. And for what it is worth, it is even heavier than the White Birch when seasoned. For the record, as fence posts alone, Hackmatac will last up to and past 20 years in the ground. Having said that, it is clear it is not your average softwood product. Spruce, Fir and Pine - well, you will be lucky to have a cut shelf life of a year or two at the most. As for price, it will be in the same category of the Black Poplar when available, unless production costs to us go up.

To me, the neatest thing about this wood is the seasoning part. While drying, the bark will begin to lift and peel within weeks and will make a very good kindling. Also; being green, something as simple as a flat tool, bar, or even a small shovel, one can peel the bark for those kindling needs. Once off of the wood, the bark will literally dry in a week or so in the sun. As for the time frame or life of Hackmatac, properly covered and seasoned; believe it or not, three to five years depending where it is stored. If in a dry building and seasoned properly, it can keep its burning power up to seven years or more. I do have some stored in a trailer out back for posts for my fish pond and it is as solid as when it went in there 8 years ago. I have about two cord still stored in a dry semi-trailer in my back yard that has been there for going on eight years. As of yesterday, (December 07/2011) it still burns like it was just seasoned. Unfortunately, and what I have left is in 12 foot lengths and has to be cut and split as I use it. Not only will it split easily when seasoned or cured, but if you need some extra kindling, it splits very well and makes a crisp starter wood for any fire.
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2. Learning about Firewood and Firewood Qualities.