What are people paying for Kiln Dried Logs?

I've fitted lots of thermostatic valves and a Tado etc last year and managed to get my usage in a old Victorian house down to half of last year. Admittedly the cost stayed the same, which I guess in the circumstances was a result.

During the summer we have had a log burner installed and that should help reduce the use of the heating in the Autumn and Spring. I'd like to burn predominantly softwood that produces lower particulates. There are a number of websites near me that sell wood in bulk bags, however I don't know what a good price is, equally not all bags or websites seem equal (i.e. some can't get their maths right, saying 0.8m x 0.8m x 0.8m is 0.8m3 (rather than 0.5m3)

What would be a good price for kiln dried softwood logs?
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  • Measuring the amount of split logs seems to be an inexact science, the most common 'unit' for domestic bulk ordering appears to be a 'builders bag', but I have also seen (and bought) by other volume measures. You can have more or less logs (by volume of solid wood) in any of these measures depending on how big or small the logs are split. The ultimate measure should probably be energy/calorific content, but this depends on how well seasoned the wood is, type of wood etc, so over the years I have gone by experience with different suppliers and what they turn up with.

    Having said all that, the best price I have found this autumn for a builders bag of seasoned mixed hardwood, locally grown and delivered, is £130. WIth less looking around and a more commercially spun out supplier, it's easy to pay double that but I sometimes have ended up doing that too, for convenience or because other suppliers had run out of stock.

    Not sure this helps, it is a very regional and intransparent market where good rates are often to be found with small scale suppliers who are or buy from tree surgeons, and don't advertise widely or run websites.

    A brief aside regarding particulate emissions and hard versus softwood in this context: there are a few brands of stove now on the market that minimise such emissions by keeping the burn temperature in an environmentally optimal range through automated burn algorithms based on sensor input and servo adjusted air valves. We have recently installed such a stove and have found that as a side effect we also now use significantly less firewood due to the more efficient burn phase.

  • MikeJXE
    MikeJXE Posts: 3,024
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    My nephew sells logs. He buys them in as trunks about 10 feet by about 2 foot girth 

    Saws them into 1 foot lengths and splits them into about 4/6 pieces 

    He doesn't advertise other than a poster on his truck and outside his yard plus it's not his main job 

    The price is £70 a builders bag delivered free locally 
  • Qyburn
    Qyburn Posts: 2,071
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    FirstUser said:
    Measuring the amount of split logs seems to be an inexact science, the most common 'unit' for domestic bulk ordering appears to be a 'builders bag', but I have also seen (and bought) by other volume measures.  
    Industry standard is "loose volume" normally priced per cu.m. That basically means a bag or space of one cubic metre filled by randomly dropping wood in until its full. That equates to around 0.6 cu.m stacked, or a 0.4 cu.m block of solid wood. Around 250 kg of softwood @ 20% M/C.

    Builders bags are normally either 0.6 or 0.7 cu.m.  An IBC crate 1.2 cu.m.
  • Qyburn
    Qyburn Posts: 2,071
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    Kiln dried wood is an unnecessary rip off, driven by the anomaly of suppliers actually being paid under the RHI for the fuel they burned to power their kiln. Nothing to do with the quslity of the firewood you receive. I've not seen a kiln dried supplier promising better than 20% M/C, which is easily achievable by air drying even in Aberdeenshire. And even if they did, as soon as it leaves the kiln it would start taking on water heading towards the same EMC as air dried.

    Last year we bought some softwood for £55 a cu.m, air dried, and I measured it at 17%. Our own production, seasoned two Summers, normally measures under 15%.
  • matt_drummer
    matt_drummer Posts: 1,312
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    edited 20 September 2023 at 8:52PM
    Qyburn said:
    Kiln dried wood is an unnecessary rip off, driven by the anomaly of suppliers actually being paid under the RHI for the fuel they burned to power their kiln. Nothing to do with the quslity of the firewood you receive. I've not seen a kiln dried supplier promising better than 20% M/C, which is easily achievable by air drying even in Aberdeenshire. And even if they did, as soon as it leaves the kiln it would start taking on water heading towards the same EMC as air dried.

    Last year we bought some softwood for £55 a cu.m, air dried, and I measured it at 17%. Our own production, seasoned two Summers, normally measures under 15%.
    I work for a timber importer and have extensive sawmilling experience including kilning and treating of timber.

    We used to sell firewood years ago.

    I may be wrong but as far as I know we were the first to sell firewood in bulk bags and we sold and delivered locally.

    Firewood is kilned in Scandanavia and Eastern Europe to speed up the process as demand always outstripped supply.

    We dried to 18% or below. Most of what I measured was 12% when we came to deliver it.

    We sold mainly ash, birch, beech and oak.

    We never sold softwood, particularly pine as the resin content is high and bad for chimneys and flues.

    You are correct, there is no difference in the quality of the firewood whether is is kin dried or air dried. The moisture content is the moisture content.

    The moisture is actually in the cells of the wood and when the moisture content reaches a  certain level the cells close up, it is called pit asperation.

    Once the cells are closed they will never open up again and they cannot absorb moisture.

    Seasoned wood can never become unseasoned again even if you leave it exposed to or submerged in water


    Any moisture you may notice is between the fibres and quickly disappears when the logs are placed in a dry warm environment such as a house. This moisture would usually disappear in a day or less. 
  • FreeBear
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    Stigmeister71 said: During the summer we have had a log burner installed and that should help reduce the use of the heating in the Autumn and Spring. I'd like to burn predominantly softwood that produces lower particulates.
    You are going to need an awful lot of logs if you are planning on just burning softwood. I use a mix of hard & soft woods, and much prefer stuff like oak, beech, and ash - Oak burns slow, so a couple of logs might last most of an evening. Throw in some pine, and it can be gone in 30 minutes (same for poplar & willow).

    If you are thinking of using a stove as your main source of heat, you will need a large shed to store all the logs in - I have a 10x6 shed stuffed full, plus an equivalent amount stacked under cover. The shed full will (hopefully) last a winter.
    Oh, and you will become a pariah in the neighbourhood with all that nasty, smelly smoke coming out of the chimney (the less said about all the spiders & bugs you'll bring in with each arm of logs, the better).

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  • Thanks for all of your feedback that helps. @matt_drummer thanks for your helpful detail.

    My take out is there is no particular standard of measure (thanks @Qyburn) for your explanation.

    Certainly if you can season your own wood (we have a small outbuilding now full of wood from various trees (soft and hardwood) that have been felled in our garden over the last few years. I've tested the moisture and they seem to be about 15-20% on average, with the larger logs wetter in the middle than the smaller ones, that seems to make sense.

    The issue near us according to my neighbours is that seasoned wood suppliers seem to run out by December and only the firms who can kiln dry are still able to supply. So the trick might be to switch once supply is scarce. That said a local firm I've just purchased from seem to be price competitive on Kiln versus the local seasoned wood. 

    With regard to how fast softwood burns, I think this relates perhaps to what it's burnt in? Open fires and older Wood Stoves have a good oxygen supply I assume, whereas I think our new stove is an Eco 2022 which seem to control the level of air/oxygen to a lot lower level. 

    I had a large bag delivered at the weekend (hence my question about pricing) from a local firm Log Club and tried it last night. It did burn quickly until the stove was up to temperature (circa 200 degC) which happened very quickly (like 10mins) and then when all of the controls were set correctly 3 logs then lasted about 2 hours. Surface moisture was 8-11%. They said when delivering that it came out of their kiln same day it was delivered.

    Will try and purchase some hardwood and run a test to see how that performs. I think someone suggested that a blend is possibly the right way to go.

    The stove is from Firebelly, I don't know if people have good or bad experiences with them.
  • ArbitraryRandom
    ArbitraryRandom Posts: 2,332
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    edited 21 September 2023 at 1:48PM
    I've just checked - locally it's £95 for a 'cheap' hardwood dumpy bag and £115 for a 'premium' (the difference is the average log size and if there's some sticks/bark etc chucked in so a small stove might prefer the cheaper bag for logs plus kindling). 

    The softwood is 100/80

    Two an a half bags fill (not to the rafters) of my 7x3ft log store (which does me as supplementary heating for winter)
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  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,630
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    edited 21 September 2023 at 2:40PM
    Anyone with an unhealthy interest in the moisture content of wood might like to take a look at TRADA Wood Information Sheet WIS 4-14. It's not free but you can find a pdf on the internet.
    It includes a handy table showing how the typical equilibrium moisture content of wood varies with temperature and humidity.
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  • sisisimoore
    sisisimoore Posts: 27
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    edited 30 November 2023 at 4:35PM
    Wood prices are definitely going up. I get all of my logs from a company called 'Firewood Farm' which works out well for me. Probably slightly more for boxes than getting bulk bags etc but makes it much easier to store and transfer from the garage into the house. Would recommend. Link is here incase anyone needs it:

    https://firewoodfarm.co.uk/collections/kiln-dried-logs
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