Obviously if you can get free wood then the costs of running you wood burning stove will be very low and the payback (if this is important will be very quick).
There are many sources of free wood, the important thing is that to burn well it must be dry, clean (no paint or preservatives) and the right size for your stove.
The following is a list (in no particular order) of places to get free wood and it depends on where you live on which ones are the most suitable sources.
Pallets, these are a great source of dry timber although they can be pain to break up due to the number of nails to be removed (Although recenty we have been just cutting them up and burning them nails and all). The thin planks burn quite quick and are good for getting a fire started as kindling, the thicker cross members are good to keep the fire going and burn much longer. Don’t burn the blue ones they have been painted and belong to CHEP. The best place to find pallets is round industrial estates especially the smaller companies that dont get many deliveries so don’t have a use for palettes. Be polite and knock on their door, most are happy for you to take them as it saves them a job getting rid of them.
Skips, become a skip rat and look for any unpainted clean wood in skips in the area.
Tree Surgeons, unfortunately tree surgeons have cottoned onto the idea that they can sell the wood they cut down, they used to give it away as it cost them to dispose of it. It’s worth trying some of the smaller companies as they might not have the space to store wood and have to dispose of it quickly. We have local tree surgeon who will deliver a dumpy bag of hardwood logs, its not free (£40 a bag) but it is still cheaper than gas.
Wood workshops, companies that work with wood will have off cuts from their processes, this wood will be kiln dry so will burn very well. Again these companies will usually have to pay to have this waste removed so should be happy to let you have some.
Walk in the woods, especially after autumn and winter storms trees loose branches which if left would just rot away. These make great fuel for log burners and you can get logs from ½ inch right up to 3 or 4 inches without too much trouble. While out with the dogs I usually can bring back a 2 inch diameter and 6 feet long log which when cut up will provide enough fuel to burn for an evening. Also keep an eye out while driving as beside the roads you can also pick up some decent logs. I carry with me a small fold out saw so that I can cut the log down to a manageable size to carry.
Talk to friends/family, see if anyone you know is going to be cutting down some trees; it’s amazing how much wood you can get from mature trees. The only thing to remember is that fresh cut or green wood will need at least 12 months to dry out before it should be burnt.
EBAY/Freecycle, sometimes you can get free wood on websites where people just want rid of wood, it’s not a reliable source as a lot depends upon the location of the wood but it’s a good way to get some extra wood so get it when you can.
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