Archive for Tuesday, November 7, 1995

BE CAREFUL OF SHAMS WHEN BUYING FIREWOOD.

November 7, 1995

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A warm, cozy fire feels good these days, but many area residents didn't plan ahead for winter with a supply of firewood.

That's why this is the busy season for tree service companies.

But ordering wood may not be as easy as you think. Buyers need to choose the type of wood, the size of the load and watch out for shams.

Don Steele, foreman for All Seasons Tree Service, 1706 N. 1500 Road., said the buyer and the seller should agree on the size of the load before delivery. There tends to be differing opinions on the true size of a cord, which is the most common form of measurement for firewood. The definition of a cord is 8 cubic feet, however many people say a cord of wood measures 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet.

"It is funny to see these old-timers argue about the real size of a cord. There are a lot of different types," Steele said.

Most commonly, All Seasons stacks its firewood in what is called a face cord, which is four feet tall by 16 feet long. Some companies won't stack the wood after delivery or will charge extra for the service.

Residents need to indicate to a firewood company the length of the wood. Normally, wood is cut 2 feet long, but many of the newer fireplaces accommodate logs between 18 and 20 inches.

Before delivery, buyers should ask if wood is seasoned or cured. Seasoned wood is dry, dead wood that is not green inside.

"You should always ask if the wood is seasoned and split," Steele warned. "Green wood will burn, but you have to have a good, hot fire going underneath it first. Once leaves fall off, it is sometimes hard to tell if the wood is green or not."

Customers who are experienced burners or who heat their homes with a stove usually prefer green wood because it burns much hotter than seasoned wood. But green wood accumulates more soot in the chimney, said Tim James, owner of Tree Doc of Lawrence.

"I do have customers that like green oak because it burns hotter, and they are willing to clean their chimneys about once a month," James said.

James warns buyers not to stack green wood, especially oak, inside the house because of its odor.

Some companies will throw in extras if a customer requests it. Kindling is used to ignite a fire, short ends of a log are good to burn in stoves, and rounds, which are unsplit logs, will burn in a fireplace for hours.

A cord of firewood can cost between $100 and $140. A rick, which is half a cord, runs about $65. Stacking costs about $15. Cords containing one specific hard wood will cost more than a mixed cord.

The most popular types of wood for an open-faced fireplace are oak, locus, cottonwood, maple, willow, elm, spruce, pine and ash. These woods are a part of most mixed cords.

Hedge is a dense wood that is most commonly used in wood-burning stoves. Some people like the aroma of cedar in a fireplace, but it isn't commonly included in most cords

The average fireplace user will need one cord of wood a year. Steele recommends buyers purchase wood a year in advance to prevent any green wood sneaking into the stack.

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