Nothing could be cosier in winter than a fire in the fireplace. The wonderful scent of wood, the crackling sound of the sparks and the warming glow are good reasons why heating with fireplaces and stoves is so popular. What’s more, wood is a renewable resource and is particularly environmentally friendly.
Those who own a fireplace can buy their firewood pre-chopped and ready to burn or go out in the forest and saw their own wood. In fact, sawing and chopping your own wood saves money and is a fun way to get some fresh air out in nature. We will show you what you need to know if you want to chop your own firewood.
Into the woods
The best time to make firewood is between November and March, when the water content of trees is at its lowest. A chain saw is a big help when it comes time to turn trees into firewood. You should first take a course to learn how to use a chain saw properly, where you will also find out everything you need to know about safety rules for working in the forest.
Rule number one: wear personal protective equipment. Trousers or leg protectors with cut protection, chain saw boots with high-grip profile soles and cut protection, sturdy work gloves, well-fitting safety goggles and a helmet with ear protection and a visor are an absolute must. You should never work alone with a chain saw. Always cordon off the danger zone, and never drink alcohol while working. In addition, you should always have a first-aid kit with you for emergencies.
The chain saw
When you buy a chain saw, pay close attention to safety and efficiency. Safety features such as a chain brake and a throttle trigger lockout are particularly important, especially for occasional users. The choice of saw chain is a decisive factor in working efficiently.
With the Rapid Duro 3, STIHL offers a chain with carbide-tipped blades for mid-power chain saws that is even able to take it up with dirty or very tough wood and stays sharp up to ten times as long as standard saw chains. A practical new laser system from STIHL that can be mounted on the handlebar helps make it easier to calculate the precise felling direction and cut pieces of wood to fireplace size.
Always keep in mind that in the forest, you are only allowed to use chain oils, hydraulic fluids and alkylate-based special fuels that are rapidly biologically degradable. You should take your empty canisters with you and dispose of them properly.
By the fire
Wood has to dry for two years after being chopped. To do so, pile the logs in such a manner that air can circulate. Each log should be about 30 centimetres long. Cover the pile with a waterproof tarp.
If you only use your fireplace occasionally, you can burn just about any kind of wood. Softwood, such as spruce, heats up faster due to its higher resin content.
But you also have to add more logs to the fire more often when you burn softwood. Because it ignites and burns faster, it is easy to use the right amount and is ideal for occasional fires during autumn and spring.
However, hardwood – such as beech or oak – burns longer and is well suited if you permanently use your stove or fireplace.
So make yourself cosy in front of a lovely fire this winter!