FirewoodFirewood continues to be the most reliable source for home heating that has ever been used. Due to the abundance of this natural resource, there never seems to be a shortage, and nearly half of all wood that is cut is used for firewood. In spite of the cries of environmentalists that we must “save the trees,” man is far from exhausting this abundant commodity. Firewood has been used for heat and cooking for thousands of years as illustrated by the writings of Moses in the Biblical book of Genesis. Abraham approaches the sacrifice at Mt. Mariah in Genesis chapter 22 with firewood in hand.
Numerous countries still depend heavily on firewood for heating and cooking. Because so many nations are so underdeveloped, they must still rely almost exclusively on firewood. This poses a dilemma for parts of the world that are not heavily forested. For example, the desert regions of Northern Africa are primarily sand with no trees for many miles. Even the Plains states of the United States have far fewer trees than many other places in the country. Therefore, to say that everyone uses firewood exclusively even in a less modern country would be inaccurate.
Firewood varies by its composition. Harder woods burn longer and hotter and are much more suited to be used as heat producers. The denser woods come from trees like the hickory, oak, and maple. The ash also makes a great fuel wood. Some types of wood will burn well after they are freshly cut while most trees burn much better and hotter when they have had the chance to dry some.
Obtaining firewood is another challenge. Depending on your location, you may have the opportunity to cut or gather your own. Firewood can be purchased, but your price will depend on the type of wood, how small it is cut, and whether it has been split or not. There are also possible fees for delivery and stacking. It is also important to be sure that no permits are needed to cut or remove wood. Some states have laws as simple as not allowing firewood to be transported across state lines because of certain insect problems.
The standard measurement for a pile of firewood is the cord. The cord’s actual measurements are 128 cubic feet, or a pile 8 feet long by 4 feet high by 4 feet wide. The actual amount will be less than 128 cubic feet because of the air spaces caused by crooked pieces of wood or the way the firewood is split. A truer estimate would probably be about 90 to 100 cubic feet.
Utilizing firewood to get the best fire has its challenges. It is always good to start with softer firewood which ignites more easily, and then adding harder firewood as the coals build and gain heat. Firewood does not instantly combust as shown on cartoons. Much patience is needed to build a good fire, but the firewood does contribute to the success or failure of the fire.
Finally, storing firewood properly will certainly be as asset to better burning wood. Building a storage rack of some sort that is elevated a few inches will help decrease insect and reptile infestation. It will also allow air to flow freely through the wood pile to allow the wood to dry out more effectively so it is prepared to burn hotter.