Wood burners and open fires that require a good supply of dry, well seasoned wood, have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past few years. Log stores have therefore become increasingly essential and David Coton explains the differences between the many that are now available.
There’s nothing quite like keeping warm during the cold winter months by sitting in front of a real fire or log burner. However, to generate maximum heat, the logs need to have been seasoned and kept dry.
Damp timber is difficult to light and creates more smoke than heat. So when you buy logs or cut some of your own, you must have a sheltered place to store them with good air circulation, and there is plenty of choice when it comes to Log Stores.
Which Timber Log Stores Are Available?
Well known manufacturers such as Forest, Rowlinson and Zest4Leisure offer a range of highly practical wooden log stores. Mostly utilitarian in design, they represent excellent value for money and will keep logs dry and well aired.
Exceptions include the pyramid shaped Pinnacle Log Store from Forest and Rowlinson's Black and Heritage log stores which have a more eye-catching style, and the Log Chest from Zest which, like the other stores, is made from long lasting pressure treated timber.
Rowlinson stores have a useful integrated shelf for kindling while anyone who cuts their own logs will appreciate the extra storage space offered by a Forest or Zest Log and Tool store which has a separate compartment for a chainsaw, fuel and other tools that need to be kept out of sight.
You might also consider the Forest Overlap Shed that includes a log store. This rustic style structure is primarily a shed but has an overlapping roof, under which can be stored piles of logs against the side.
Substantial log stores are also offered by Garden Village, and the Melbury and Okeford models characterize Dorset Log Stores' more decorative products. They are all very well constructed and the latter are perfect if you are looking for elaborate style combined with a robust build quality.
Dorset also make the Stronghold Log and Garden Store with attractive tongue & groove cladding and a curved slate grey plastic coated roof. And, if you want a metal version, the Emerald Wood Store from Store More also has room to secure garden equipment.
Are There Any Metal Log Stores?
Galvanized steel log stores include the Biohort Woodstock, with a choice between 230cm and 150cm wide versions. Very well appointed and guaranteed for twenty years, the metal has a polyamide coating, there is guttering to divert rainfall away from the logs, and doors fitted with a cylinder lock can be added.
Finally, the Trimetals Log Store is fully covered with a spring assisted door with two padlock points, reinforced floor and integrated ventilation. The PVC coated panels are available in three colours and there is a 25 year corrosion free guarantee.
What Is Seasoned Wood?
Due to its moisture content, newly cut timber produces more smoke than heat. This 'unseasoned' wood can clog a flue with soot, causing a log burner to become inefficient and your chimney a fire hazard.
Depending on what time of the year it is cut, timber can contain 50% - 60% moisture, and the purpose of seasoning is to reduce this to below 20%.
That figure is usually achieved by splitting the logs, cutting them into short lengths and storing them for six to nine months in a sheltered position with good air circulation.
What Are The Best Logs To Burn?
Hardwood from a slow growing tree is considered best as it gives out more heat than fast growing softwood. Another advantage is that, as it is slow burning, the log burner does not need to be replenished as often. Ash, beech. hawthorn, oak and yew are among the best woods to burn, apple and pear have a pleasant aroma, but avoid willow, laburnum and any wood with a high resin content.
Alternatively, you can buy half or full pallets of ash or oak Kiln Dried Logs which, as the name suggests, are pre-dried in a kiln to drive the moisture content down to near 10%. Chemical free Eco Heat Briquettes are another option, they burn very cleanly and brightly with a high heat output and little ash residue.