But as with many things it is not quite as straightforward as slinging any old wood in to the stove, and we have learnt a lot over the past years. In providing fuel there are two main aims: using clean wood and dry wood. By clean wood we mean wood that is not treated or painted and fairly easy to judge and of course most logs are unprocessed wood. Using dry wood, or "seasoned" wood, can be a little more tricky because freshly cut wood takes a long time for the saps and internal moisture to dry out. A year is usually the minimum and two years preferred. Cutting and splitting the wood in to log sizes helps speed things up, and then you have to keep the wood dry from the elements.
For a log burning stove the recommended maximum moisture content is 20%. More than that and the burning is inefficient as a lot of the heat generated is lost drying out the wood so it burns. It also tends to smoke up the stove glass and more insidiously tars up the chimney, creating the potential for chimney fires and worse (and we've hit this one) actually blocking up the chimney liner towards the top like a narrowed artery. Often the logs sold in bags at garages or delivered by a local man-and-van are not well seasoned and still 30%+ moisture. SO these need stacking and further time to dry.
A lot of the wood we use comes from an old wood where we have logging rights and a small band of friends go in from time to time to cut up just the naturally fallen trees. The fallen trees are sometimes already part-seasoned but still you have to get it all sorted and stored at least a year from when it will be needed. It's hard work too: cutting big trunks in to "cheeses" man-handling them through the wood to a trailer. Unloading and moving to a wood pile, cutting up to the right length, splitting down to a good size and stacking to dry. Each log we burn has been moved, handled, re-stacked around eight to ten times by the time it gets put on the fire.
But it is all worth it to have that lovely heat source. If you are staying in Gorge View Cottage during the winter do consider getting a basket of (dry) wood and using the brilliant stove for some cosy evenings.