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Fountain Timber Firewood

It seems those brooding wardens of North were right all along: 

Winter is coming.

And, while there are no ice zombies or decade-long permafrosts to worry about here in the non-fantasy realms of the UK, it’s certainly the time of year to start thinking about that all-important job of keeping warm.

As temperatures start to drop, and the frequency of car windows needing to be de-iced each morning increases, is there a more comforting line of defence against the change in seasons than the warm glow of an open log fire or wood burner?

Thankfully, here at Fountain Timber, we have a well-stocked supply of dried hardwood and softwood logs available to our customers this winter; all cut-to-size and ready to use in your wood burning vessel of choice. And if that wasn’t enough—here, to help guide you through the wonderful world of firewood, we’ve cobbled together a handy guide. 

Keep those logs dry!

If you want clean-burning firewood that lights easily, produces less smoke AND more heat, there’s a simple solution: make sure your logs are dry.

Generally speaking, the most effective firewood has a moisture content of less than 20%. Not only is burning wet logs bad news for the environment, the practice will also do significant damage to your appliances thanks to the increase in smoke, ash and pollutants pouring out of the damp wood. A bonafide lose:lose situation.

There is, of course, a perfectly logical temptation to seek out wet wood as it can be purchased at a lower cost. Just remember that your logs will need to be seasoned or dried properly before use. If you’re an industrious sort and want to season the wood yourself, make sure you have plenty of time—between one and two years for hardwoods—and a dry, well-ventilated space to allow the logs to age naturally. If you’re short of room to store your firewood, we’ve got a wonderful range of both enclosed and open log stores for a variety of practical needs.  

It’s also worth noting that, as of February this year, the sale of wet wood in small units (less than 2m cube) has been phased out, and wet wood in volumes greater than 2m cube must be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning. 

So our advice: get into the habit of buying already-seasoned logs!

The beauty of the dried logs we supply at Fountain Timber is that they are 100% ready-for-use. An immediate source of organic fuel that ignites and burns consistently. For open fires, dried logs are ideal for creating a calm sense of ambience in your home as there’s much less sizzling and spitting compared to regular seasoned logs. In short, our logs are more efficient, safer and put less elemental strain on your wood burner, fireplace and chimney.

Hardwood or Softwood?

Before deciding which type of wood you want to use in your fire, it’s first a good idea to determine the frequency of its use. Is your lifestyle based around lighting the occasional log fire when the cold nights draw in, or is firewood your primary source of heat in your home? Ascertaining what particular qualities you’re looking for is also a smart move. Heat generation, ease of lighting, cost; these are all things to consider before making your choice between hardwood and softwood logs.

Although hardwoods are the somewhat classic option when it comes to log-burning stoves and fires, there is a growing number of consumers who recognize the benefits of burning softwood. While softwoods are lighter, their calorific value is generally comparable to that of hardwoods on a weight for weight basis. Fortunately, modern log burning equipment works equally well with either hardwood or softwood logs—or even a mixture of the two!


Hardwood is sourced from trees that shed their leaves each winter; think oak, ash and beach. Because their growth rate is slow, anything up to a century before being fully matured, the timber provided is much denser. The result is wood that burns long and hot with a consistent low flame—without the drawback of excess smoke, crackles and sparks. A peaceful, smoldering fire that can be lit and left to radiate long into the evening. 

Another beneficial natural side product of hardwood is the residual hot coals that continue to emit heat hours after the logs have snuffed out—and, since hardwood burns for longer, it’s the ideal fuel for overnight heating. Often you can wake up on a crisp winter’s morning and still have leftover coals in your fireplace; primed and ready for a quick reignition. 

If we’re looking for any marks in the negative column for hardwood, it would be its lengthier timeframe for seasoning, the increase in cost compared to softwood, and the fact that it’s usually trickier to light than its arboreal cousin. Overall, though, hardwood is a hugely popular choice for firewood thanks to its numerous and reliable burning qualities.


Whether it’s pine, spruce, larch or Douglas fir, softwoods grow at a relatively brisk pace compared to hardwood—anything up to 25-30 years before it’s fully matured. The consequence of this express growth-rate is two-fold. In practical terms, quicker growth means the product becomes more readily available for purchase...and cheaper.

Sadly this comes at the cost of it being less dense than hardwood, which, in turn, means that your logs will burn fast and fierce. Large flames, plenty of crackles and sparks, and burnt logs that leave behind fine ashes with little in the way of coals. Not the ideal physical properties for overnight heating.

Because of its natural structure, softwood will light much more willingly than hardwood, making it an excellent option for kindling. The easy-ignition qualities of softwood also makes it a popular choice for campfires and open fireplaces, or, alternatively, it can be mixed with hardwood to breathe life into a slow-burning fire. The benefits don’t stop there, either. Softwoods take considerably less time to season than hardwood; typically 6 months instead of the 2 years many hardwoods require to fully dry out.

Here to help…

If you’d like any advice or help choosing the perfect firewood for your needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Whether your home has an open fire or a wood burner, our team of experts can point you in the right direction. We’ve got an extensive range of firewood products available, from hardwood and softwood logs, to kindling and handcrafted log stores.

Posted on November 2nd 2021

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