How can split firewood be identified?

by Tom
(Portland, OR)

I'd like to buy a cord of firewood, specifically hardwood from the Pacific Northwest(Maple, Alder, and Cherry). When I go to look at the pile of split wood, how can I identify the three hardwoods are there as well as spot softer, other, woods that SHOULD NOT be in the mix?


Answer

Tom,

Unfortunately, identifying firewood once it has already been split can be difficult. It is really something that just takes experience. There are a couple tricks that you can use to help you with ID.

The weight of the wood. Softwoods will be lighter than good firewood. There will be a noticeable difference in the weight of similar sized firewood pieces between softwood and good firewood species, especially when fully seasoned.

Bark. If there is still bark on the wood, that is probably going to be your best identifying characteristic. This can also be difficult though, because of the variance in the appearance of the bark depending on the age of the tree.


Your best bet is to deal with a reputable company that you trust. Here at keep-it-simple-firewood.com, we are working on developing a list of reputable companies. This process takes time though, because we need to properly vett any business that wants to become part of our network of preferred suppliers.

In the future, we are also working at developing a reference guide with pictures and descriptions of firewood species once they are already split.

Until then, your best bet is to deal with a company that you trust and check the weight of the firewood.

Hope this helps!

-MG

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