Log burning stoves do use quite a lot of wood, if you are only going to us the stove on special occasions then storage and buying the wood you use will not be a problem as you can buy it when you need it in relative small quantities. If however you intend to use the stove as either the main source of heat or to supplement another fuel source then you are going to need quite a lot of wood and somewhere to store it.
Wood can be bought from numerous sources from specialised wood suppliers who will drop off a full trailer load of logs right down to our local pet shop who stock a small sack of logs. Obviously if you can buy in bulk then the costs per log will be much lower and so your overall running costs will be reduced.
If you are collecting free wood (Click Here for free wood guide) you will still need a place to store your wood. It is pointless either buying nice dry logs or collecting lots of free wood if you let them it get wet before you burn them.
Also if you manage to get some freshly cut timber you will need somewhere to let it season for 12 to 18 months before you burn it.
There are lots of log stores on the market and these range in price from around £100 to £250 each and in my experience if you are using your log burner as a main source of heating then you will need at least 4 log stores. This obviously is another expense and when calculating if installing a log burner is worthwhile then it is a big expenditure to add into the figures.
My solution was to build my own and here is how I did it.
To build 1 log store I got 1 reasonable sized pallet and cut it so that it was approximately ¾ the size and has 2 cross members running along the bottom. (Keep the off cut to burn!)
Next I got some kiln dried timber from B&Q to make the uprights (6 of these) and attached them to the pallet on the cross members.
I had some planks for the roof already but these can be made from old solid doors cut to size or if you don’t have any you may have to buy them.
I then cut the uprights (angled so that the roof would have a slope for the rain to run off).
Using the same wood used for the uprights I attached the uprights together where the roof would meet. This was to allow something for the roof to be screwed down to.
The roof planks were then screwed down to the uprights.
Next the sides of the log store were filled in but leaving enough gap for the air to flow through but not too much that the logs fall out. I also built a shelf so that some of the smaller logs could be stored here for kindling.
The gaps in the roof planks were sealed with clear silicon sealer and once dry the whole log store was painted with 2 coats of brown shed preserver. (I don’t want it to rot and have to build another one!).
The cost for me to build one of these log stores was about £15 and that was for the wood for the uprights and some screws. (The other pieces I had already).
If you are building 4 then the cost would be less than £10 each plus you can adapt the design to your needs and materials available.
Here are 2 more that fit nicely by the side of the conservatory so are close to the house to make bringing in wood easier.
When we are using the log burner we usually bring in a pile of wood the night before and stack it near to the log burner, this dries off the surface water that might be on the logs and makes them burn better the next night when you need them.
A moisture meter is a useful addition to have they can be bought for less than £10 and let you know when your logs are ready for the burner. The lower the moisture reading (drier the wood) then the better the log will burn, if the log has a high moisture content then when you put the log on the stove heat must be used to boil off the water so reducing the efficiency.
Wet logs (fresh green cut) will have moisture content of 50 to 60%, where outdoor seasoned wood will be around the 20% level. The only way to get much lower moisture levels is to buy kiln dried logs but this obviously increases the costs of the logs.
When checking the moisture content you can get different readings depending upon where you measure. If you measure on the end of the log you will get a lower reading than if you split the log and measure in the middle. I tend to measure the end and make sure it is less than 20% the measure half way down the log, you might have to press hard to get through the bark but it usually works OK.
If you have not got a moisture meter there are other ways to check your logs. If you look at the end of the log and it is starting to crack, this is an indication that the log is starting to dry out. Also take 2 logs and bash them together, if they sound hollow then they are quite dry, if however when you bash them together you get a dull thud then they have probably still too high a moisture content.
As it is our first year of running a log burner I am not 100% sure of how much wood we would need. I built 3 log stores 2 close to the house to supply the log burner and the 3rd at the bottom of the garden to be used as a log store to season wood for the following year but I think I am going to need at least another 1.
Over the summer I have filled the 2 close to the house with dry wood and the 3rd with wood we don’t think we will need until next year but it could be used as an emergency supply if we run low.
We also had the bonus of a friend who was cutting down a mature tree with lots of wood available. For this I put 2 full size pallets down the size of the house and stacked the wood in a pile then covered it with a tarpaulin to keep the rain off as much as possible. As the side of the house is like a wind tunnel I hope by next year they will be dry and can be cut up for the log store ready for next winter.
When we are using the log burner we normally bring into the house enough wood for the next night, we stack the next night’s wood beside the log burner then the heat from running the burner dries of any surface water that might have accumulated from any rain/snow than might have blown onto the stored logs.
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