Log burners and open fires have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past few years. Andy Taylor explains how you can have a continuous supply of dry, well seasoned, wood by investing in a log store.
There's no doubt that burners and fireplaces are an attractive, and for many people essential, feature of their home, but they do need a constant supply of well-seasoned logs?
You can buy logs from a garden centre or you may be lucky and live where a supply of wood is plentiful, especially if this is Ash, Hawthorn or Yew which burn slowly and produce lots of heat.
What is Seasoned Wood?
Although some wood can be used when 'green', unseasoned timber produces a lot of smoke rather than heat and can clog a flue with soot. This causes a log burner to become inefficient and, in similar circumstances, your chimney will become 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 about 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.
Alternatively, you can buy Kiln Dried logs, which, as the name suggests are pre-dried in a kiln. This will drive the moisture content down to nearer 10% which means the wood will burn more efficiently and produce greater heat. You will pay more for kiln dried logs but they are worth the extra in my opinion.
Which Log Store Should I Buy?
Made from slatted wood with a sloping roof, easy to assemble wood stores are ideal to keep logs well aired and dry. They are excellent value for money and will be sufficient for your household requirements.
Although the Pinnacle Log Store is a stylish exception, manufacturers such as Forest, Rowlinson and Zest4Leisure offer stores that tend to be quite utilitarian. These companies offer great value for money log stores which are the right size, and the right price, for most of us. They are also recommended for first-time buyers. The Melbury and Okeford models characterize Dorset Log Stores' more decorative products. They are also very well constructed and can still be considered good value for money if you are looking for more style combined with a substantial build quality.
The Emerald Woodstore from the Store More range is a good example of a metal fabricated version, made from hot dipped galvanized steel. Another is the Biohort Woodstock, there is a choice between 230cm and 150cm wide versions and both have a 20-year guarantee. Metal log stores look great in a more contemporary style setting where design and durability are more important considerations.
Is Extra Storage Needed in a Log Store?
Other designs have integrated storage areas. This can be a simple shelf for kindling as in the Rowlinson Large Log Store or larger secure storage space featured in their Log and Tool Store. If you are regularly splitting and sawing timber, the secure space will be very worthwhile, a place to keep chainsaws, fuel and other tools and equipment, locked away.
The Forest Overlap 6 x 4 Apex Shed has a log store attached that can also be used to shelter BBQs and garden furniture. Rustically styled the shed's overhanging roof creates 50% more space that is covered to keep the rain off.
Whatever the amount of logs you have, they'll be a wood store to suit your needs. You'll certainly appreciate their sturdiness and, if you buy one in the spring, you'll have seasoned wood to heat your home next winter.
GardenSite sell a full range of log stores and How To Assemble A Forest Log And Tool Store will illustrate how easy they are to install.