Monday, December 26, 2011

Local Wood, Revised

Back in January I wrote about needing a new source of firewood.

Today we had two cords of madrone delivered.  I had not seen only madrone sold since 2008--when I check (which admittedly is not often) only fir or "mixed hardwood" has been offered the past few years.

This wood is great for a small, hot fire.  Very clean wood, cut to the desired 14", and with pieces neither too small to burn long nor so large they force a needlessly big fire.

My inexpensive moisture meter reads 16% to 19%, which if accurate is acceptable for seasoned wood but not superb.  But madrone burns wonderfully slowly and hotly.  Even if at the moist end of what counts as seasoned, this may be the best load of firewood we have ever had.

The wood's supplier is a friendly fellow named Steve Wright.  If you need nice firewood, his e-mail is

UPDATE: I had a moment to do some quick math.  But different internet charts disagree about how many BTUs of heat are in an average cord of fir and madrone.  Fir is listed as 21 to 26 million BTUs per cord.  Madrone is listed as 29 to 31 BTUs per cord.  So fir, which sells for $160 per cord here, costs $6.15 to $7.62 per million BTUs of heat.  Madrone costs $250 per cord, so $8.06 to $8.62 per million BTUs of heat.  The fir costs less money but more of your time since the stove needs refilling much more often.  One stove full of madrone also burns all night leaving big coals in the morning; fir needs refilling during the night or lighting a new fire in the morning.  (I can't find any estimate for the cost per million BTUs for our electric furnace.  It is substantially more.)

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