I heat our home with the very same wood that I sell. We turn the furnace off Nov 1st and leave it off till we need air! The wood is mixed hardwood. Oak, maple, ash, cherry, elm, walnut…..you get the idea! We have a wood stove in our basement with no forced air. I was told by a wood stove “guru” to simply buy a 20 dollar box fan and point it towards the stove. WOW! We often have to open the front door to cool it down a bit. Saves a lot of money and I am using a renewable energy to heat my home. I burn wood at all various stages of seasoning. I also mix the wood per the type. A bit of hedge mixed with some oak and maple seems to me, the best combo. I will start the fire with bark and saw dust, building a little “fire tee pee” with the wood, inside the stove, putting the lighter, dryer wood at the bottom and putting unseasoned wood on top. Even freshly cut live wood will burn when laid on a hot bed of coals. After the fire is going, I will check every hour and throw a few pieces on, always mixing. If you throw in a bunch of completely dry material, it will burn so fast, that all you will be doing is feeding the stove, this is a waste of wood and very time consuming to keep up with, this is why I do not burn just fully seasoned wood. The key to a good fire is air. If your stove is full of ash and cannot get very much air, you will always have issues. Clean you stove or fireplace everyday. We usually have a lot of coals in the morning; we knock them around getting them free of the ash, thro a bit of bark or other tender on the coals, then a few pieces of dry wood. This will get it back going, then back to the norm. Every hour, a couple of pieces. When stacking, people always sweep up the mess and throw it away, NOOOOOOOOO! This is your tender, all the little chunks of bark that fell off, that is gold! Keep it, throw it in a bucket and have it handy for when you need to kick it back up. Make sure that you clean your chimney at least one time, every year. We clean ours 2-3 times a year.
Pine, or soft woods are not disrable wood, for fear of creosote build up and a chimney fire, most avoid it like the plague. You can burn it just as well as any other wood, as long as you clean your chimney on a regular basis.
Our wood, obviously comes from the trees that I remove or work on. The sizes and shapes are all different. I have found that most people prefer this over the standard 16”x5” piece. Those look good in a fireplace while having a nice romantic dinner! But they do not allow for good structure when burning in a stove. Having those big fat pieces are good for “overnight” logs and the little short pieces fit well in that place inside the stove that a regular piece will not fit.
Some people have a hard time starting fires. You cannot lay a bunch of wood together, then light a match and throw it on and expect it to burn. If you do not have time to mess with it. I would suggest buying those little fire starter logs. They work really well, they will burn for about 30 minutes, usually more than enough time to get things going. The best way is still to build your teepee with tender, saw dust and light dryer wood, get it going and then throw on your bigger stuff.
I am in no way a pro, these are the methods that I use and I burn every day. Hope it helps!
Save your gas for cooking, heat with wood!