Heating your home with a woodburner - what you need to know

5 euros a stere? That doesn't sound possible given the material and the work involved. The last wood I bought last year was oak at 65€ per stere, and I thought that was reasonable value. I think that's a normal price round here in Isere.

Good stuff Howard. My brother-in-law's brother explained lots of stuff like that to me just after the famous 89 (? was it) hurricane that caught 'his' forest near Arundel in Sussex. He works for the National Trust as a forester and has to know his wood. I lacked the eucalyptus type info, mind you it does not grow here, not much acacia either, but most of it is what I have in scribbled notes somewhere.

As for the sweep's note, well Allianz certainly do not bother even looking at it and our agent probably did not even note it down.

Yep, I swept mine a couple of weeks ago and the insurance (depends on which company you're with) no longer ask for a certificate or receipt ;-)

@Helen I was told you can clean your own.

And sometimes you get the feeling you’ve bitten off more than you can chew - felled this oak last winter then had to cut and split it, fortunately father in law helped for a day and then a mate came with a tonne log splitted but it still all had to be chainsawed up first and the rings man-handled onto the splitter… bloody knac


I bought a trailer a few years ago, and it is such a useful thing. Makes garden tidying and transport of DIY materials so easy.

We have woodland and can cut our wood but then found we can't move it! Investing in a trailer is an expensive outlay just for firewood.

Re: old French saying that wood warms you three times

In Australia, it warms you 4 times - as above plus when you split it.

I have been heating with wood for 10 years and have 2 wood heaters, which have advantages over open fireplaces -

safer, particularly when you are not there.
heat spreads further, particularly with multispeed fan
you can reduce airflow to make fire burn for long periods without attention

Heaters can fit in open fireplaces or be free standing.

The heater has a flue which will fit inside existing chimney or if free standing, you will need a hole in the roof.

I don't have experience of burning pine, mainly hardwoods (eucalypt) and acacia, which is only recommended to get the fire hot, else it cracks the firebox. In general the drier the wood, the less soot/creosote(oily residue). The denser the wood, the longer it burns but also takes longer to dry. Splitting speeds up drying. If possible dry wood above soil, as this allows air to circulate underneath and keeps wood clean. Shipping containers are great for wood drying, provided there is an opening for ventilation.

Re: Chainsaw - potentially very dangerous tool but when treated with respect great timesaver. Chain needs to be sharp, with right tension and receive plenty of oil. When bar gets hot, you should let it cool. Avoid dirty wood, as this blunts chain quickly. Green wood is easier on the chain than dry wood but dry wood is usually easier to split. Hit log across the grain with hand splitte.

If your/ friends' firewood requirement is high enough and you have access to large logs (whole trees), you could consider a firewood processor. This cuts logs into fireplace sized sections and splits.

Hereabouts we have no cordes but four steres to the bras. We had four bras delivered, 16 neatly bundled steres which took me two days to stack in our barn (allowing for the hot spring and many breaks). Fortunately my wife does most of the chainsaw work on it, I knackered my right hand last winter and still cannot do more than a few minutes.

From Wikipedia:-

En Anjou, en Bretagne et en Basse-Normandie, la corde correspond à 3 stères. Dans le Cantal, une corde correspond à 4 stères.

So - some people are luckier than others !![](upload://etTeQtnt2fH5dAtcn5Wz2Me7CQ8.jpg)

Merci pour la Conseil - c’est fait !

Thats 2 Cordes = 6 cubic meters !

Ian - right, stere is when it is 1m lengths. If you cut yourself anybody, buy longer which is cheaper (beware, some may be very thick because then they are not split).

Yes, get the chimney swept annually and send the receipt to your insurance company.

When buying wood you need to specify the length of the logs, and here you can find differences in volume and possibly price. A friend has a fireplace that only takes 25cm logs for example, and I think this costs him more because there is more work involved. The second consequence of cutting is that the more the wood is chopped, the less you get. This is because the stere is measured with the wood before it is cut, in 1 metre lengths I think. In practical terms this means that for example a stere cut at 50cm lengths typically gets you something like 0.8 of a stere at your house. The thing is try to overestimate what you need, because it will always be there for next year if you don't burn it all.

Lastly, a revelation for me. This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Fz5IkxRFEQ I tried it once at home and was instantly converted. The Swiss, of course, use specific sizes of small sticks and refer to them as a "module d'allumage". I just build up all my logs, then put one of those firelighters on the top and on top of that lay a couple of thin sticks. Works like a charm. One match, no collapsing of intricate stack, no more need to hoard newspaper.
Oh, and missing vocab:
Log = une bûche

There's an old French saying that wood warms you three times. Once when you chop it into logs, once when you carry the logs and a third time when you burn them!

Worthwhile mentioning that the stere/corde ratio varies throughout France. Here in the Deux Sevres its 3/1

Châtaignier - chestnut is missing. Don't use on open fires too much though, it spits like heck.

Sapin - pine, good too but if used in a stove puts lots of oily soot in flues, good to get it hot but use little and not often.

You should remember to get the chimneys cleaned annually too, or French insurance will not cover fires!

Perhaps the merlin - Splitting axe - would be good to mention, too!

Everyone with a wood burner in France must have a carbon monoxide alarm. A loud one!

FYI. Not all fire alarms are also carbon monoxide detectors