The ins and outs of firewood

Have you noticed this new interest around town? Fireplaces. Local restaurants are extending the dining experience, taking it outdoors. Love the notion of people spending more time outside!

Sitting around fire finds it’s way to the backyard too. Free standing fire pits are portable and not a huge investment. With a little more space and permanence, a fireplace can be a great architectural focal point. New product lines make the fireplace install affordable and don’t require a concrete footer.

If not outside, perhaps it’s indoors where you’ll enjoy a wood burning fire this season. Consider the type of wood to burn. Seasoned firewood is aged for six months or more. Unseasoned wood doesn’t produce the same heat. Hardwoods such as Maple, Oak or Ash are best. Pine trees contain too much sap or pitch and are not appropriate for indoor burning. Though Ash wood is a great burning wood, it does have the potential problem of containing the Emerald Ash Borer. To help prevent the spread of the insect, many counties have quarantined Ash firewood, making it unlawful to transport Ash across county lines. When purchasing firewood, your firewood delivery service should be aware of this restriction.

Did you know firewood sales are regulated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture? The standard unit measurement for firewood sales is a cord. A cord of wood is stacked parallel to each piece of wood, not criss-crossed. The area measures 4’ x 4’ x 8’ and equals 128 cubic feet. Often the term “rick” is used to identify half cords, but this is not a recognized or even legal unit of measurement. Wood can only be sold by the cord or fractions of a cord such as 1/2 cord or 1/4 cord. Technically, the bundles of wood outside retail stores, deliveries by the truckload, piles, or face cord are not using legitimate units. Luckily, the firewood police do not make a big deal about this, but if you do order bulk firewood, you should be buying some portion of a cord.

So, when designing your backyard oasis. Consider, a fireplace or fire pit. A wood fire offers a wonderful gathering place for friends and family.