This post was most recently updated on April 27th, 2020
Choosing a type of firewood can be overwhelming and confusing for a newbie. Here is a list of typically available firewood, and their outstanding positives and negatives.
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If you are cooking on a wood fired stove, the right kind of firewood can be the difference between a delicious dinner and a last minute sandwich.
It is usually best to use a mixture of wood in your fire – a faster burning wood to get the fire going and then a hotter, longer burning wood to keep the fire chugging along.
If you only have one type of wood to choose, macrocarpa is a great middle of the road option, the thinner sticks work well as kindling, and the larger logs will burn well for a long time.
If you are looking at growing a wood lot, I would suggest including some coppicing gum and some tagasaste for a good hot burning wood, and something like pine for fast growth.
1. Pine firewood
Positives of burning pine
Cheap, freely available, dries fast, easy to light (makes awesome kindling).
Negatives of burning pine
Burns fast and struggles to make a real hot fire, can spit so might not be good for open fires.
2. Macrocarpa firewood
Positives of burning macrocarpa:
Mid range price, freely available, doesn’t take too long to dry, puts out a medium heat fire and burns for a moderate amount of time.
Negatives of burning macrocarpa:
Can spark a lot and for some, it is not suited to open fires.
3. Manuka/Kanuka/Tea-tree firewood
Positives of burning Manuka
Burns hot, long and clean. Smells amazing so is often used for smokers or pizza ovens.
Negatives of burning manuka:
More expensive, not as common, works best on top of a well-established fire, takes 18+ months to season properly.
4. Eucalyptus/Gum firewood
Positives of burning gum:
Readily available, mid-range price, burns hot and long, great for banking up your fire or for cooking in a wood fired stove.
Negatives for burning gum:
Needs the fire to be hot before being added, takes 8-12 months to season/dry.
5. Poplar or Willow firewood
Fairly cheap, ignites easily.
Burns very fast so you will chew through it.
6. Gorse/Broom/Tagasaste (tree lucerne)
These are all cousins and while probably won’t be available commercially as firewood but they are freely available around the country.
You may find a farmer all too happy to let you remove theirs for them!
Could be free! Burns HOT and long – one of the best firewoods.
Due to its thinner sticks, it dries faster than you might expect.
Gorse has horrid prickles.
Choosing the type of wood you should get/buy/plant can be quite overwhelming. In general all wood will burn and the best wood is the one you can get for free.
But given the choice, some woods are definitely better than others. You can use this information to decide what you want to burn on your own fire.
What is your favorite firewood and why? Tell us in the comments below!
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