How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

When we moved into our house in 2011, one of the things I loved the most about it was our open fire. It’s such a cosy feature and we love to sit round it in the winter; we sometimes even toast marshmallows on it. Most of our friends have had log burners or open fires put into their homes, so talking about how to store logs and season them is a surprisingly regular topic of conversation.

Our open fire is a relatively cheap source of heat. We get most of our logs from a gardener friend and all we need to do is season them before they’re put on the fire. Seasoning wood just means you need to dry it out. You don’t need to do anything more exciting to it than chop it up into the size you need, stack it up somewhere to dry out and then leave it for around two years. The amount of time you need to leave it depends on the kind of wood it is, but two years is a decent length of time.

How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

For the last seven years our wood has been stacked up in a small shed which came with the house. About a year ago the roof collapsed and the sides rotted and so it was time for a new place to store logs while they dried. We were keen to get something specifically designed to store logs, something which would allow the air to circulate around the wood and dry it out, whilst looking neat and tidy too.

When you’re buying a log store of your own, it’s important to make sure it has slatted sides and a raised slatted floor to allow the air to flow freely through the log pile. Good dry wood will give you a higher heat output and the wood will leave less tar and residue in your stove or chimney. We get our chimney swept every year and our sweep always compliments us on the lack of tar build up. If you burn wood which isn’t dry enough, the build up of tar could be a fire hazard. The tar could also make your chimney or log burner smoke inside the house, which isn’t great either.

How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

We’ve replaced our rotten old shed with a lovely solidly built log store. It’s from Gardensite and is made in Dorset from Swedish Redwood. The log store is guaranteed against rot for 15 years. We opted for the Melbury log store, it’s a nice classic design which would look unobtrusive in the garden. You can choose to have it delivered ready made, or flat-packed. We chose the flat-pack option and it took less than half an hour to put together.

We’ve put ours in our side yard and it takes up less space than the old shed, but somehow manages to hold more wood. We have given the log store a couple of treatments with creosote; we will make sure to treat it regularly to keep the wood in good condition. I am so pleased with the quality of the log store, we’ve already filled it with logs to dry out for this winter.

How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

Once our wood has been seasoned for at least two years, it is ready to burn. What we do is we have two baskets for wood in the house; one by the fire ready for burning and one in the pantry, so it gets to dry out inside the house a little more before burning. We know this two basket arrangement isn’t really necessary, but it does mean that if it’s raining there is extra wood in the house and no-one needs to get rained on to fill a basket.

How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

  • Stack logs neatly making sure they are raised off the ground a little.
  • Make sure air can flow in and out of your log pile, a log store with slatted sides is ideal for this.
  • Locate your log store in a sheltered spot, somewhere out of the wind and sheltered from the elements a little.
  • Think ahead. You can either buy seasoned or unseasoned wood. If you’re buying unseasoned wood, you will need to store it and season it yourself for a couple of years. Seasoned wood will still need to be stored appropriately to stop it getting too wet again.

If you’ve got a log burner or an open fire, it’s important to put some thought into where and how you will store and season your logs ready for winter. Where do you store your logs and kindling?

How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

Disclosure: We were sent the Melbury log store from Gardensite for inclusion in this blog post. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Certainly Wood Flamers Firelighters

We were sent a pack of 24 Certainly Wood firelighters for the purposes of this post. All images and opinions are our own.

We’ve got a lovely open fire, it’s one of the things that sold this house to us. There’s nothing nicer on a cold day than snuggling up in front of it and keeping cozy. We burn wood on it; we have a tree surgeon friend who keeps us well supplied. We’ve got to chop and dry the wood ourselves, but it’s free so why not.

I work from home and unless it is absolutely bitter outside it’s not worth putting the heating on just for me. Ordinarily I just swaddle myself in blankets and drink gallons of tea to keep warm. Sometimes I attempt to light the fire, most of the time I fail to light the fire. I just can’t do it. Hodge has mad firelighting skills, me, not so much; so when I spotted the Certainly Wood Flamers Firelighters I thought I’d give them a go.

Certainly Wood are a family business based in the UK who endeavour to sustainably source quality firewood and kindling. They sent us a box of 24 Flamers. These are natural firelighters made from wax dipped fine wood shavings. They are odourless, easy to light and have a long burn. They are suitable for all wood burning appliances and apparently particularly good for barbecues.

Certainly Wood Flamers Firelighters

I had a good look and sniff of them before I used them. I think we’re all familiar with those awful chemical, white blocks that stink and just seem dreadful. These are the polar opposite. They are little shredded wheat type things which are all natural. The flamers have been dipped in paraffin wax but I couldn’t detect any smell, either in their raw state or once lit. They are to my eye (and nose) perfectly innocuous.

As the temperature dipped and my thick blanket and pot of tea weren’t enough, I set to work and built a fire. Following the instructions on the packet I built a fire using logs and kindling, I shaped the kindling into the suggested wigwam shape with a couple of the firelighters tucked in and around, then I lit a match. Immediately they burned brightly and the kindling quickly caught. Within 10 minutes the fire was blazing, kicking out some heat. An hour later I’ve had to unbutton my cardigan. It was a darn good fire.

They were so easy to use, even for a failed Cub Scout like me. I will be keeping a stock of these handy for those days, and there will be many of those days, when I need to light a fire and keep cozy.

You can buy the Certainly Wood Flamers Firelighters directly from them via their website. They cost around £3 for 24 or £5 for 50. I used two to light a decent sized fire. I am genuinely happy to have discovered these.