Firewood Pile

Firewood

All firewood is

White Birch

Birch Bark ImageOne of Saskatchewan's favourite firewoods, white birch is an attractive wood that has a high heat value, great smelling smoke and very rarely sparks.


Jack Pine

Jack Pine Bark ImageSaskatchewan's best value for heating, jack pine has a high heat value, seasons quickly, burns well, has a great smelling smoke and saves you money.


White Poplar (Aspen)

White Poplar Bark ImagePoplar makes a good replacement for birch if you are just enjoying a fire rather than heating with wood. Like birch it is an atractive wood however its smoke is less appealing and it will throw sparks.


Spruce

Spruce is an excellent choice for campfires due to it's low price and perfectly sized pieces.

Spruce Slabs

Firewood cut from the outside portion of a log that is a product of the sawmilling process. A variety of sized pieces, perfect for campfires or heating a shop with no splitting required.

Firewood Comparison

  $/Cord Heat
M_BTU/Cord
Bark Appearance Sparks Size Range
Tamarack n/a 20.8 Grey/Brown,
scales
Yes 2”-6”; 2 & 4-way split
Birch $425 20.3 White,
smooth
NO 2”-6”; 2 & 4-way split
Jack Pine $250 17.1 Brown,
scales
Yes 2”-6”; 2 & 4-way split
White Poplar $235 14.7 White,
smooth,
occasional furrows
Yes 2”-6”; 2 & 4-way split
White Spruce n/a 14.5 Grey/Brown,
scales
Yes 2”-6”; 2 & 4-way split
Spruce or Pine Slabs $130 - Grey/Brown,
scales
Yes 1”-10” flat slabs & chunks

Pine Poplar and Birch Grains
Pine Poplar and Birch Grains

When Is a Cord Not a Cord?

A cord is a traditional unit of measure used to describe the volume of logs and firewood.  A cord is 128 cubic feet, normally expressed as 4'x4'x8'.  Confusion arises when people describe different kinds of piles or stacks as cords.  The way people place firewood in a pile and how long or large that firewood is will significantly change how much wood is in the pile (as opposed to air space).  For example, take 30 logs and neatly stack them.  If those 30 logs occupy a space of 128 cubic feet (1 cord) and are then lifted up with a loader and dropped into a loose, jumbled pile, then that pile will occupy a volume approximately 40-60% larger.  The greater volume is due to the jumble of logs holding each other up and creating more air space between each other.  The same holds true for firewood.  A neatly stacked pile will have more wood and less air than a loosely thrown pile that occupies the same volume.

This difference is important to you because you often don’t know how much you’ve bought until you have stacked what’s been delivered at your home.  The key is the conversion factor between stacked and loosely piled firewood.  One stacked cord occupies 128 cubic feet, while that same cord loosely dumped occupies 180 cubic feet.  The conversion factor is 0.7111.

Birch FiewoodFor example, when I fill my trailer the firewood will reach the 2' high mark.  My trailer is 6.8' wide and 14' long.  The volume is therefore 2' x 6.6' x 14 = 186 cubic feet.  Some would say that is 1.46 cords of firewood, but the reality is that it is just over one cord of firewood.  The reason is that I loosely fill the trailer which results in a higher amount of air space between the firewood and stacking removes that additional air.

Many people who sell firewood will state that  “There is no standard way to measure firewood.”  This statement is incorrect.  Go to Measurement Canada’s website for an exact,  detailed definition of a cord (http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/mc-mc.nsf/eng/lm03963.html).

Other Types of Cords

Generally in Saskatchewan when a cord is discussed, it is assumed one is talking about a cord that measures 4'x4'x8'.  This is also known as a bush cord.  However, a face cord which is 1/3 of a cord is sometimes erroneously called a cord.  A face cord measures 16"x4'x8'.  There are other terms used in Eastern Canada and the US to refer to cords, but are rarely used here.

Seasoned and Green Wood

A healthy tree may have a moisture content of 30-40% depending on species.  Water occurs in two states in wood: free and bound.  Air drying will remove the free water in wood, down to approximately 20% moisture content (MC).  To reduce moisture content to 8% requires a kiln and for general heating purposes this is not required (although there is an emerging demand in the urban US for kiln dried firewood because it lights so easily).  Air drying down to 20% MC is what you need to consider here. 

The best way to facilitate air drying is to cut, split, stack and cover your wood. 

  1. More moisture is removed through the cut ends than the split sides. 

  2. Re-wetting of wood by rain considerably slows the drying process. 

  3. Good airflow around the wood enhances drying. 

When you receive your shipment, you should stack your wood and cover it to keep the rain and snow off.