Top tips for using a wood-burning stove this winter

Use these tips to save money and get the best from your wood-burning stove

Top Tips for getting the most from your wood burning stoveHow to get free wood for your stove

From lighting the stove with items you can collect in your pocket. To burning free wood on your wood-burner, this article offers up some money saving advice as winter approaches and the cost of kiln dried logs and fire lighter products increases.

Any way of saving a few quid is both rewarding spiritually as well as financially. There is nothing quite as rewarding as splitting a few logs on a clear cool autumn day and seeing your pile grow. Each log representing another cosy hour curled up in front of the wood burner for free!

There is an old saying which says that wood warms you twice! In my experience of producing my own free firewood I would say it is very true. You can buy expensive log splitters but I would suggest a good log splitting axe is the way to go if possible. This along with a small hatchet to produce kindling are the only two tools you need, along with a reasonably strong back!

Use birch bark, and other types of natural kindling that you can collect on walks with your dog. This combined with rolled up newspaper and small ash sticks or skip wood kindling is an excellent way to start the fire in your wood burner. This will be much more cost effective than buying ready made fire lighters.

Consider lighting your stove with a magnesium stick as this will never run out! A box of matches and even a lovely Zippo can always run out of juice or be damp where as a steel and magnesium stick will spark for 3000 times whatever! This is more a bushcraft method but is more exciting than a box of swan vesta.

For more advice on preparing your log pile for winter visit salamander stoves.com who have some good advice about preparing for using your wood burning stove.

Summary of where to find free wood for your stove

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  • Get some fresh air! Walking is a great way of finding free wood
  • Always check first. Just because the wood is there does not mean that it’s free!
  • Use Birch Bark or rolled up newspapers as kindling
  • Use a Magnesium stick as an alternative to matches
  • Contact your local tree surgeons and do a deal with them
  • Contact local carpenters and wood shops for offcuts
  • Check skips and local builders for waste wood
  • Contact local fencing and other related companies
  • Collect drift wood from the beach

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Go for more walks…

The advantage of taking to the fields, woods and streets around your neighbourhood either by yourself, with a friend or just the dog is that dog’s will often inadvertently carry a stick sized log home for you! (but please check with the landowner that they are happy your dog is not literally carrying home an offence!). They maybe happy for you to take a single log of fallen deadwood home as it will keep the woods tidy! HOWEVER, I am sure I heard something about a local council prosecuting somebody for removing fallen timber from a public woodland, so leave the chainsaw back in the shed on those walks with the dog!

Sources for free wood

A good idea is to contact some local tree surgery companies and offer them your driveway or garden to dump any wood they may want to shift if they are doing a job local to you but are from 10+ miles away. They may see you as a better option than costly trips back and forth to their yard. You could even offer them so much for a load of branch wood or rings if they drop it . This wood is obviously ‘green’ and will need to be converted and then stored for a good year. Choose contractors 10+ miles away to send a friendly email.

Drift wood for your wood burning stoveCarpentry firms and shop fitting firms may have cheap bags of hardwood off cuts available which they would otherwise have to pay to have taken away I expect!.

Be opportunistic when passing skips or building jobs that may have an amount of waste timber arising. A bag off timber off cuts will be just as effective as a bought bag of £10 kindling from the garage! That is the price of a pizza!!!

Construction sites, skips, home improvements you notice, fencing and other timber related jobs you happen upon all can produce some good quality dry timber which is ideal for burning in your stove. You should avoid treated timber as this needs to be burnt in a higher temp industrial incinerator.  This Which article has some good information about using a wood burning stove.

A great place to hunt for free wood is on the beach. Dry driftwood can make excellent dry logs but in my experience wood that has been smoothed by the sea is often far to lovely to burn on the fire and ends up in the corner!

What ever place you can find free wood it is like the feeling of finding free money so do not live life in a bubble but take to the world and seek out that free source of heat and comfort.

Tips on finding free wood

Wood for your wood burning stove [list type=”check”]

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