The Science of Firewood: What Makes a Good Burning Log?

The Science of Firewood: What Makes a Good Burning Log?

Discover the science behind good burning firewood. Learn what makes a log ideal for your fireplace or wood stove. Read more to stay warm this winter.

Firewood has been used for centuries as a source of heat and light. It is a renewable resource that is relatively inexpensive and easy to find. However, not all firewood is created equal. Some types of wood burn better than others, and some can even be dangerous.

This article will discuss the science of firewood and what makes an excellent burning log. We will cover topics such as the moisture content of wood, the type of wood, and the size of the wood. We will also discuss the dangers of burning certain types of wood.

Moisture Content

The moisture content of wood is one of the most critical factors that determine how well it will burn. Wood that is too wet will not burn efficiently and produce much smoke. Wood that is too dry will burn too quickly and will not have enough heat.

The ideal moisture content for firewood is between 15% and 20%. Wood with less than 15% moisture content will burn too quickly, and timber with more than 20% will produce too much smoke.

At Corrin Kiln Dried Firewood, we maintain a moisture content of 3% or less in our firewood. Our proprietary process ensures that we produce kiln-dried firewood that is moisture-free and burns easier, brighter, and longer with minimal smoke compared to standard wood. We select only species with dense, fibrous structures that burn more efficiently and hotter to achieve this quality. We use our proprietary process for all firewood to ensure we offer the best.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and to place an order.

Type of Wood

The type of wood also affects how well it will burn. Some types of wood, such as hardwoods, burn better than others, such as softwoods. Hardwoods are denser than softwoods, meaning they have more energy per unit volume. This makes them burn hotter and longer.

Some of the best hardwoods for burning include oak, maple, ash, and hickory. These woods are all dense and produce a lot of heat. They also burn relatively cleanly, which means that they have less smoke.

Some of the worst woods for burning include pine, fir, and spruce. These woods are soft and have a high moisture content. This makes them burn quickly and produce a lot of smoke.

Size of the Wood

The size of the wood also affects how well it will burn. Smaller pieces of wood will burn more quickly than larger pieces of wood. This is because there is more surface area exposed to the fire.

For best results, you should split your firewood into pieces that are about 6-8 inches long and 2-3 inches in diameter. This will allow the wood to burn evenly and produce a lot of heat.

Dangers of Burning Certain Types of Wood

Not all types of wood are safe to burn. Some types of wood, such as treated wood, can release harmful chemicals when they burn. These chemicals can be detrimental to your health and can also damage your fireplace or woodstove.

It is crucial to avoid burning treated wood. If you are still determining if a piece of wood is treated, it is best to avoid burning it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of wood for burning?

Hardwoods, such as oak, maple, and hickory, are generally considered the best wood for burning. These woods are dense and have a high heat output.

What is the ideal moisture content for firewood?

The ideal moisture content for firewood is around 15-20%. Wood that is too wet will not burn efficiently, producing a lot of smoke.

What is the best size and shape for firewood?

Smaller logs will burn more quickly than larger logs, and logs that are split will burn more evenly than those that are not.

How can I store firewood so that it dries appropriately?

Firewood should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated area. Stacking the wood off the ground will help to keep it dry.

How can I tell if the firewood is dry?

There are a few ways to tell if firewood is dry. One way is to tap the wood with your knuckle. If the wood sounds hollow, it is dry. Another way to tell is to look for cracks in the wood. If the wood has cracks, it is dry.

What should I do if I have wet firewood?

If you have wet firewood, you can dry it out by stacking it in a dry, well-ventilated area. You can also speed up the drying process by splitting the wood and placing it in a sunny spot.

What are the benefits of burning firewood?

There are several benefits to burning firewood. Firewood is a renewable resource, and it is a clean-burning fuel. Burning firewood can also help to reduce your carbon footprint.

What are the drawbacks of burning firewood?

There are a few drawbacks to burning firewood. Firewood can be expensive, and it can be challenging to find. Burning firewood can also produce smoke, which can be a nuisance for neighbors.


Firewood is a renewable resource that has several benefits. When choosing firewood, it is essential to consider the type of wood, the moisture content, and the size and shape of the log. 

Following these tips, you can choose the suitable firewood for your needs.

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