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How to tell if Logs are Seasoned

If you buy unseasoned logs, or if you cut your own logs, you’ll be familiar with the long wait usually associated with seasoning logs. Drying out logs can take anywhere from six months, to two years, depending on the type of wood you’re seasoning, and how wet it is when you buy it.

Even if wood has been stacked for a year, it may still not be ready to burn. Logs2U recommend burning logs with a preferable moisture level of 20% or less. But how can you tell when logs are seasoned?

Here are 7 ways to tell if your logs are dry enough to burn:

  1. Weight. Seasoned logs are much drier than green logs, therefore weighing less.
  2. Bark. The drier the wood, the looser the bark. There may be bare patches on the log, and the bark will chip away easily.
  3. Cracking. You may notice radial cracks on the log, reaching out towards the bark. Cracks can often form on unseasoned logs, so the formation of cracks should not be the only method used to see if the logs are ready to be burnt.
  4. Smell. Unseasoned wood has a strong but pleasant ‘sappy’ aroma, which will fade to a light woody smell once the log is dried.
  5. Colour. Seasoned logs are of a more faded and less vibrant colour.
  6. Sound. Hit two pieces of wood together. They should make a more hollow ringing sound like a ‘clunk’, rather than a dull thudding sound.
  7. Moisture Probe. You can buy probes to test the moisture level of wood if necessary.

We've heard horror stories where people have purchased logs which they are told are seasoned, but are not, or are not quite dry enough. By burning unseasoned logs you can risk damage to both your fireplace and chimney. If you’d prefer not to season your own logs, or if you’re running out of logs and need a fast replacement, kiln dried logs offer a safe and convenient alternative.