Westmorland Woodfuel
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Locally sourced firewood from Cumbria's Eden Valley

Kiln Dried Logs

WE DON'T SELL THEM and you don't need them! Please take a minute to read why:

Our logs  are as dry, if not drier, than most kiln dried logs which only get kilned to under 25% moisture. In recent years selling kiln dried logs has become a strong marketing point as suppliers have not worked far enough ahead with a good drying system to be able to produce logs that are consistently dry right through the winter. Our logs are split and tested in the middle with a moisture meter to ensure that they are under 20% moisture. Our natural air-drying system (big well ventilated sheds with logs in vented log bag stacked with pallets between them) has proved to be very effective and we are confident we can produce consitently dry logs. Currently our logs are 16% which is ambient moisture for wood stored in a shed in the winter in Cumbria. This means that without kiln drying below this moisture content and then vacuum wrapping to prevent re-absorbtion of moisture they couldn't be any drier. This allows us to guarantee that our logs will burn well giving maximum heat without clogging up your stove and flue.

We don't believe kiln drying is necessary and here are a few reasons suppliers will do it:

  1. It has become a product that customers demand and search for on the internet, this is the result of good marketing.
  2. They have been advised to buy kiln dried by their stove supplier as they don't want the customer to have a bad experience with their new stove by burning wet logs and then complaining the stove isn't working properly!
  3. The suppliers doing the kiln drying are generally burning wood to produce the heat to supply the kiln. This is better than buring oil or other fossil fuels, but not better than using natural air-drying. They also get paid to burn wood under the Government's Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which pays per kw of heat used! This means they are making money out of kiln drying...they then make more money by charging the customer more for a "premium" product! We believe money would be better invested in buying timber well in advance and building a new shed/ventilating old sheds to stack and air dry logs in.
  4. It massively improves their cash flow. In theory they could have got the money off the customer before they have even paid the supplier of the timber! This is good business sense but it's of no benefit to the environment or you the customer.

Most of the logs sold as kiln dried in the UK are imported from Eastern Europe and we can't be sure of their origin, conditions for works, sustainability of the timber, what fuel have been used to run their kilns. Add to this the distance they have travelled and the risk of importing plant diseases. This last one is often the reason the logs are kilned so that they comply with regulations on pests and diseases but there is still a high risk from importing goods.

Furthermore, there are some concerns that if kiln drying is not done as a carefully controlled process* it can lead to the logs not being dried consitently.  There are 2 reasons for this. Firstly if you heat them up too fast it can dry the outer layers of the log causing the cells to collapse which then prevents the core from releasing it's moisture. Secondly using artificially high heat tends to drive off the volatiles which are the gases that are released from the log and are burnt in secondary combustion (often referred to as gasification) this is the stage which is most efficient and gives you the most heat. You want these gases in your logs!

* There are some suppliers who literally shut up a large shed and blow hot air into it. This is not a controlled drying process, it's inefficient and wastes a lot of heat as it escapes from the leaky shed. Managing the kilning process correctly and efficiently requires a specially designed kiln with computerised air and heat control.

 


Westmorland Woodfuel

Sleastonhow

Kirkby Thore

Cumbria CA10 1XL

 

tel: 07557 334028

tim@westmorlandwoodfuel.co.uk