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Steve Nix

Stages In The Wood Burning Process

By January 13, 2014

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Heating efficiency of firewood is a product of  how wood burns and the progresses through  three stages of burning. In the first stage, wood is heated to the point where moisture is released.  As the wood is losing moisture, its chemical composition is changing into volatile charcoal.  The second stage is where moisture is mostly removed and actual flames burn off the volatile gases and liquids stored in the charcoal. Finally, the third stage occurs when the charcoal burns down and can be seen when coal embers glow.  This is called "coaling".

This process can differ, depending on the species of tree,  and very unique to conifers and hardwoods. What happens in these stages form the foundation of a species' heat value and determines the desirability of  a wood as fuel. Read more in my article: Finding the Best Firewood for Home Heating


January 20, 2014 at 9:15 am
(1) tiggerbob says:

Another good source of firewood is from the Forest Service. Often times, they will have projects where they will remove trees. They will lay the logs so they are easily accessible, but bring a chain saw so you can got the logs into managable sizes. You can google your local US Forest Service office for firewood availability.

January 20, 2014 at 9:19 am
(2) tiggerbob says:

With firewood, one also needs to consider the tar content. Too much tar can cause creosote build up which can lead to chimney fires.

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