General Information / FAQs

Tips For Lighting A Fire In A Wood Burning Stove

Wood & Moisture

Perhaps the most important aspect of woodworking deals with the relationship between wood and moisture. A fundamental fact is that wood is hygroscopic. This means that wood, almost like a sponge, will gain or lose moisture from the air based upon the conditions of the surrounding environment.

But not only does wood gain or lose moisture, but it will also expand or contract according to the magnitude of such changes; and it is this swelling and shrinking in finished wood products—often referred to as the wood’s movement in service—that is responsible for so much mischief and so many malfunctions in woodworking.

When a tree is first felled, it is considered to be in the green state, and contains a very large amount of moisture. This moisture exists in two different forms: as free water that is contained as liquid in the pores or vessels of the wood itself, and as bound water that is trapped within the cell walls.

Once a fresh log or piece of lumber is cut and exposed to the air, it will immediately begin losing free water. At this point, the wood does not contract or otherwise change in dimension since the fibers are still completely saturated with bound water. It is only once all the free water has been lost that the wood will reach what is called the fiber saturation point, or simply FSP.

Below the FSP, the wood will then begin to lose moisture in the form of bound water, and an accompanying reduction in the wood’s volume will occur. At this point, the wood is no longer considered to be in the green state, but is now in a state of drying.

Just how much bound moisture is lost during the drying phase will ultimately depend upon the temperature and relative humidity (RH) of the surrounding air. At 100%?rh, no bound water will be lost. At 0% RH, all the bound water in the wood will be lost, a condition known as ovendry—so-called because a kiln or oven is typically required to completely drive out all moisture.

The amount of water in a given piece of wood is expressed as a percentage of the weight of the water as compared to its ovendry weight. Some species of trees, when they are initially felled, may contain more water by weight than actual wood fiber, resulting in a moisture content (MC) over 100%.

Moisture Content % = (weight of water / ovendry weight of wood) x 100

For instance, suppose that a freshly sawn piece of Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) weighed 50 lbs. in its initial green state, and ended up weighing only 20 lbs. when fully dried in an oven—this means that a total of 30 lbs. of water was lost in the drying process. So using the equation above: 30 lbs. (weight of water), divided by 20 lbs. (ovendry weight of wood), and multiplied by 100 to get the percentage, we arrive at 150% MC for a green section of Cottonwood.

Of course, the preceding moisture equation—though entirely factual—is mainly for illustrative purposes. In most practical circumstances, the easiest way to check the moisture content of a piece of wood is to simply use a moisture meter. But it’s a good practice to understand what the moisture meter reading actually represents, and to recognize that readings above 100% MC are possible, (and in the case of many lightweight species in their green condition, are quite common).

As a piece of wood dries, it first loses its free water and dips below the FSP (fiber saturation point). This FSP corresponds to roughly 30% MC in most wood species. (The FSP may be roughly ±3% MC depending on the wood species, but 30% MC is the commonly-accepted average.)

That is to say, regardless of whatever MC the wood begins at when green, (anywhere from 35% MC to over 200% MC depending on the species), it begins to lose bound water (and dimensionally shrink) when the weight of the remaining water is at a ratio of approximately 30% to the theoretical weight of the ovendry wood.

It should be noted that in real-world situations, the FSP is never uniformly reached throughout the thickness of a piece of lumber. A moisture gradient develops where the outside (shell) is drier, with the interior (core) still wet and playing catch-up.

As the MC of wood drops below the FSP, it will continue to lose moisture until it eventually stabilizes at a value that is commensurate with the surrounding moisture in the air. This is known as the point of equilibrium moisture content, or simply EMC. The EMC will change based upon the fluctuating temperature and relative humidity of the surrounding air.

In addition to the fundamental fact that wood is hygroscopic, perhaps the most crucial concept to understand regarding wood and moisture is the link between relative humidity and equilibrium moisture content.

Relative Humidity Chart
From studying the included chart, several important points pertaining to the relationship between relative humidity (RH) and equilibrium moisture content (EMC) emerge.

• The chart tops out at 30% EMC, which is equivalent to the FSP. Short of physically submerging a piece of wood underwater, it’s not possible to go back and exceed the FSP once all the free water has been lost.
• The plotted line is not flat (linear), and 50% RH is not comparable to the midpoint value of 15% EMC. (50% RH actually equates to just over 9% EMC.)
• There is a noticeable increase in the slope of the line, especially in the 85% to 100%?rh range. This means that wood will swell to a significantly greater extent if it is exposed to prolonged humidity in excess of 85% RH. Conversely, the line is somewhat flatter in the range of 20% to 55% RH. Humidity changes that happen in this window have a slightly gentler effect on EMC, and hence results in smaller amounts of shrinking and swelling.

Although the values given in the preceding chart are for rh at 70° F, changes in temperature—assuming the same humidity level—only have a moderate effect on EMC, typically amounting to ±1% MC within a normal climatic range of 30° F to 110° F.

Most interior buildings are kept between 30 to 60% RH, corresponding to 6 to 11% EMC. Exterior values can be much more variable depending on locale and season, but averages typically range from 30% to 80% RH, corresponding to 6 to 16% EMC.

It can be very useful to make mental notes of common humidity levels and their corresponding EMC. For instance, furniture and other interior woodwork should usually be constructed with an intermediate target of 8% EMC, which is achieved by storing lumber at approximately 40 to 45% RH. For exterior projects, a target of about 12% EMC is a good compromise, which equates to lumber stored at 65% RH.

Using lumber that is within the median EMC range for a given locale prevents the Goldilocks syndrome: the wood is not too dry, (which might lead to subsequent swelling in the humid summer), and not too wet, (which might lead to checking and splitting in the dry winter). In this way, the wood is most likely to remain as close as possible to its intended size and shape.

Payment Methods

We offer various options for payment and this is usually personal to each individual. You can put your order through online and then choose to telephone your payment through the next day. You can pay cash on delivery, you can pay by cheque, or you can pay by BACS. We also have an option for you to Pay with your credit or debit card online through STRIPE or PayPal Express Checkout. This way you can sign in as a guest and don't have to register. You can see from the image that there is a CHECK OUT AS GUEST OPTION. If you do have a PayPal account you can log in as usual. If you have any concerns over these methods please do no hesitate to contact me via email at [email protected] or by telephone on 01254 247075. We will do our best to help.

We are also PCI Compliant through TRUSTWAVE which means your credit/debit card payments are protected. Our aim is to always look after our customers.

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Loyality Points

How can I use and gain loyalty points?
You will earn your points at each purchase and then be able to spend your loyalty points by default. The amount earned will be kept on file and when you make a new purchase the current value will be available for you to spend. Alternatively you could save and spend at a later date.

How much is a loyalty point worth?
For every £1.00 spent on your shop, a customer will get 1 loyalty point which is equal to 0.01 pence.
Points are awarded on completion of an order. Should the order be cancelled the points will be removed.

How many points should a customer have before they can redeem them?
Customers need at least 1 point before they can use them against an order.

How long should the points remain valid for?
Three years

At what point during the order are the loyalty points to be awarded to the customer?
The points will be updated once the order is completed.

When will loyalty points to be removed from the customer?
If a customer has received points on an order and then cancelled the loyalty points will be removed.

Returns & Refunds

Please refer to the following information when returning products delivered from the KILN DRIED LOGS UK website.
Your statutory rights are not affected by this information.

Products Which Are Not Required
You can return any unused Product to us in its original condition for a refund within 30 days of delivery to you. For information regarding how to return a Product please see below.

Cancellation Rights

You can cancel any online order and receive a full refund (including standard delivery charges) by emailing [email protected] (including order number, post code and telephone number) at any time before the Product is dispatched or within 14 days starting on the day after delivery. No refund of delivery charges will be made if the cancellation notice is received outside of this timeframe.

Refunds will be paid to the payment card used to place the order and will be made as soon as possible and no later than, the earlier of 14 days after our receipt of the returned Products or 14 days after our receipt of evidence of the return of the Products to us. We are permitted to reduce your refund to reflect any reduction in the value of the Products which are due to the manner in which you have handled them.

Please note that if you cancel an order after the Product has been delivered, you will be responsible for returning the Product to us at your cost and within 14 days of the cancellation of your order.

How To Return A Product

How To Return A Product
If you wish to return a Product after it has been delivered, you will be responsible for returning the Product to us at your cost by any of the following methods:

Free Returns To Store
You can return any Product you no longer require to our premises (BB6 8AD) with proof of purchase.

Returns Via Courier
To arrange for a Product to be collected please e-mail [email protected] or telephone us on 01254 247075 with your order number and details of the Product to be returned. We will arrange for the collection of the Product by our nominated carrier. Please note that there will be a minimum charge payable by you of £25 for this service, which may rise depending on your location and product type. All refunds for returned Products will be processed within 30 days and will be made to the account used to purchase the product.

How To Light Hotmax Heat Logs

This is Hotmax. As you can see, it's very clean and easy to handle.

You can also break it up into pieces of varying size, which makes lighting a Hotmax fire really simple.
Getting Started...
First of all, crumple up some newspaper and place it on the grate of your fire.

If you prefer you can use firelighters - you will only need a couple of them as Hotmax lights very easily.
Add 4 or 5 small pieces of Hotmax on top.
Light The Paper...
Light the newspaper (or firelighters) and soon the Hotmax will begin to burn

If you are using a stove you might find that closing the door a little (but leaving it open by an inch or so) will help draw air in and get the fire started.
As the Hotmax begins to burn more fiercely you can add more small briquettes. At this stage make sure that you leave space around hem so that the air can circulate.

Again, pushing the door so that it is almost closed will help start your fire faster.
Start Adding Larger Briquettes.
Once the briquettes are burning well you can rake them a little to spread them out. This gives you a great bed to add the larger pieces of Hotmax to.
That Is It! Enjoy The Warmth!
Your fire is now burning efficiently with Hotmax.
You can close the front door completely now, and after half an hour or so you should also be able to close down the vents on your stove to increase the burn time of your fuel.

Wood As Fuel