With such a variety of wood available, it is hard to decide on the right type of wood.
Beech has the best heating value, it burns evenly and develops plenty of red ember. The wood produces very little sparkle and is therefore ideal for open fireplaces. Beech trees are renowned for their smooth grey bark and their straight and tall slightly fluted column. Found primarily in North East Europe, America and Canada, beech is a heavy, pale-coloured medium-to-hard wood which has a fine, tight grain and large medulla rays similar in appearance to maple or birch woods. White in appearance and a softness to touch, beech produces a beautiful flame and is excellent firewood. It is easily split and burns for many hours with a bright but calm flame. It produces plenty of hot coals which produce a high, long-lasting heat density.
Oak wood has a high burning point and burns slowly. It is ideal for ovens or stoves which are to produce mainly heat. It produces a slight odour due to the tannins contained in the wood. Properly seasoned oak is hard to beat. It holds a fire, does not spark, and much of it splits moderately well. It produce a strong long-lasting heat with a beautiful flame is very suitable for long winter evenings. Oak is a heavy, strong, light coloured hardwood. It is the ideal firewood for wood stove ovens and often used as a reference point for other types of wood. Due to its distinguished aroma, it is often used to smoke fish.
Birch is ideal for open fires and wood stoves as it produces almost no sparkle and its essential oils give off a pleasant aroma. It is also ideal for starting a fire, Birch wood is highly flammable and easy to get started. Due to its oil content the burning point is lower than beech, ash and oak. Because of the essential oils and the very bright and blue flames Birch is very popular.
Ash burns similar to beech but has been recently affected by diseases. Often used for furniture, Ash has a creamy light colour but the heart if the wood can go darker olive-brown. Hardy and fast growing, ash prospers under most conditions. Chunky in appearance, ash has the same heat/burning ratio than oak but produces a beautiful steady flame with very little sparks and is therefore popular for open fireplaces or wood stove ovens. Its aroma is well sought after and its high mass density is due to the slow growth.
Alder is a native to Ireland and found growing mainly in wet areas along canals, rivers and streams. It is useful for preventing soil erosion with its tightly bound root system. Also know as Western Alder, this wood comes in a pale yellow to red-brown colour. It is one of the softer hardwoods and has a straight grained even texture. Suitable for wood stove ovens or open fireplaces, Alder is very popular and ideal to kick-off a fire. It produces a slight aromatic fragrance and it is easy to keep in dry store. Its intense gentle heat is due to its steady burn.
Other hardwoods such as maple, beech and cherry but are, in the combustion process of the beech is very similar and also have very good calorific! Soft hardwoods such as poplar and willow are relatively fast and therefore suitable as firewood burned less. It can use at best, “summer wood” for the stove when little energy will be needed. Spruce and pine wood is an ideal alternative for the transition period, the addition or furnaces and systems that can handle the high calorific value of softwood good (soapstone, wood gasifier, log boilers, etc.)