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Enjoy the ultimate fire log guide and blaze away

A stack of chopped up fire logs is neatly arranged with an illustrated axe in the foreground.

Our bodies are finely tuned marvels of genetic complexity. For optimum function, our internal temperature needs to be within the Goldilocks zone of 37 degrees Celsius. The UK’s climate can be unforgiving, so we constantly have to take action to keep our core temperatures stable. Enter fire logs. Throughout history, we have used these woody wonders to keep our bodies warm, from the cave to the apartment or home. Basically burning wood is encoded within our survival instincts. However what we burn, and how we burn it, has evolved over time. In this ultimate guide to fire logs we’re going to explore the types of logs out there, how they perform and whether they could be right for you. Let’s do this.

Just because technology is king these days, it doesn’t mean that we have to forego the old school log fire. In fact, technology has improved the efficiency, longevity, sustainability and production of fire logs to meet the varying needs of the contemporary consumer. How? Well let us elaborate. It all boils down to moisture content. More specifically, we now have all kinds of technology to determine the internal moisture level of fire logs – ranging from 20% to as low as 8%. Obviously the amount of moisture in a fire log determines burn characteristics and performance, so we have a range of logs to choose from depending on our needs. Let’s breakdown the type of fire logs on the market, as well as their performance.

 

One chopped fie log lies within a pile of perfectly chopped fire logs stacked in storage.

 

What kinds of fire logs are out there?  

You would think that a fire log is simply a wooden log that is used for burning. And in one sense you would be right. However, there are nuances to explore in the semantics. The term “fire log” is set apart from the term “firewood” due to some kind of treatment or manufacturing process involved in the production of the former. Basically a fire log is a log that is treated in some way, or fully manufactured. Fire logs are designed to be inexpensive and easy to ignite while delivering a more consistent and efficient burn than firewood.

Fire logs can be separated into two main variants.

  1. Natural wood fire logs
  2. Manufactured Fire Logs

 

Natural Wood Fire Logs

Natural wood fire logs are roughly cut chunks of wood in their natural form. This means that they haven’t gone through a manufacturing process to assemble or shape the final fire log. These fire logs should be made from 100% natural wood grown in Britain if possible. This wood is then either seasoned (dried) in natural conditions or dried in a kiln with an external heat source.

 

Seasoned Logs

The word “seasoned” is often associated with experience and maturity. The same thinking applies when looking at seasoned logs. These are simply logs that have been left out to dry in the open air for a long period. Slow and steady is the name of the game as the logs are dried until they reach an internal moisture level of 30% or so. Seasoned logs are great as an outdoor fire pit wood log or camping fire log.

If you have any doubts when choosing your seasoned logs, here are some signs that your logs are fully seasoned and ready to burn.

  • The outer bark should peel off easily. A sign of dry wood
  • The log end is a darker colour with split or cracked ends
  • The log should feel light in your hand
  • Bang 2 dry logs together and if they are dry, you should hear a high pitch “clank” instead of a low pitched “thud”

 

Kiln Dried Logs 

Kiln-dried fire logs are logs that have been dried with an artificial heat source in a kiln. As the drying temperature can be regulated and manipulated, we can reduce the internal moisture levels of the fire logs to about 20%. Kiln-dried wood provides a cleaner and purer burn than seasoned logs. As kiln dried logs burn hotter, you will use less wood overall making them more economical, however they do burn faster which is another consideration when it comes to fuel efficiency. These logs are perfect for any log burner, multi-fuel stove, fireplace, chiminea, or pizza oven.

 

A fire log burns in a grate surrounded y other fire logs and orange flame.

 

Kiln Dried Hardwood Logs FSC® and Grown in Britain

 

  • These Kiln dried hardwood logs are 100% Grown in Britain
  • FSC  & GiB certified and Woodsure Ready to Burn accredited
  • Consistent moisture level of under 20%
  • Easy to light and long lasting
  • High heat output with less smoke and a better flame

Looking for added convenience when it comes to storage? Order our Kiln dried wood in a box

  • Kiln dried Birch logs,
  • FSC certified and Woodsure Ready to Burn accredited
  • Consistent moisture level of under 20%
  • Easy to light and long lasting
  • High heat output with less smoke and a better flame

 

How to make a good fire in a log burner?

We should all know how to build a fire from scratch. If you have never done it before, we suggest you take a deep breath, close your eyes and channel the wisdom of your ancient ancestors. If this method sends you on confusing trip: don’t worry. We have a fail-safe guide for you fire up a blazing inferno in no time. Always remember – knowing is half the battle won.

You will need,

  1. Open your log burner and place the paper knots in the bottom of the burner and additionally crumple up some paper and place it with the paper knots as well. You could also use some natural firelighters if you prefer.
  2. Stack the kindling above the paper knots crossing each other so there is plenty of air running through them.
  3. Finally stack the smaller logs above the kindling in the same zig-zag fashion. It’s the oxygen that’s around the kindling and wood that makes a nice, hot, smoke-free fire.
  4. When your assembly is complete, light the bottom pieces of paper, shut the door and leave the air control on high and let the fire burn for about 5 minutes. Follow up with the second lot of smaller logs and wait for about 10 minutes for the wood to char.
  5. Now is the best time to add the larger pieces of wood to catch and burn hot and bright. Wait for about 1 hour till your room is hot and cosy.
  6. We can finally look at shutting the air control down to low. When you’re reloading the fire make sure the air control is on high, open the door, put a piece of wood in, shut the door and leave the air control back on high for at least 10 minutes before you turn the air control down.

 

A product shot of the Big K Woody Heaven bundle containing a fire log and more wood fuel

 

Manufactured Fire Logs

In these challenging environmental times, creating a unique yet functional product out of wood waste is exactly what the world needs. Sawdust can be found in any wood mill or timber shop, and this seemingly useless abundant by-product of wood is the base ingredient of all compressed fire logs. To simplify, we take a load of sawdust, add it to a fixed mould and compress the mixture at high pressures. The compression process squeezes out most of the moisture content of the wood particles, leaving us with a super dry fire log – can you say 8% internal moisture? With such a low moisture level, it’s no wonder that compressed fire logs burn the hottest out of all fire logs. Now it’s time for an examination of these nifty manmade miracles.

Compressed Fire Logs 

Compressed fire logs have a uniform size, shape and density. These characteristics mean more control over your burn. Plus with such a low moisture content, you can enjoy a higher heat output meaning fewer logs used overall. As we mentioned before, low moisture also means less smoke and a cleaner burn. Side note –

be wary of quality as low-quality compressed fire logs substitute sawdust for raw materials such as straw, paper and rice husks. BIG K use 100% sawdust in all our compressed fire logs.

 

Compressed Saw Dust Heat Logs, Pack of 12

  • 100% natural compressed heat logs
  • Made with no additives or binders
  • Contains only by-products of managed forests and recycled wood
  • Suitable for fireplaces and stoves, leaves little ash
  • Under 8% moisture level with no sparks or spitting
  • 12 logs per pack

 

Instant Light Fire logs 

BIG K’s Instant Light Fire Logs take convenience to new levels! These logs are made of 100% sawdust and wax with sub 8% internal moisture level. Each log is individually wrapped – so all you need to do is light the wrapper. If you live are in a smoke controlled area, we’ve got you covered, as our Instant Light Fire Logs are authorized to be used in smoke control areas as well.

Why not use these instant light fire logs as an alternative to traditional hardwood logs for your stove, fire pit, or bonfire?

 

Instant Crackle Fire Log

For many, a roaring fire is a sensory experience. In other words it’s not just about the heat. People want flickering flames and the soothing snappy sounds of crackling wood to boot. What if you could get the calming symphony without the effort? Meet our Instant Light Crackle Log!

It has all the features of the Instant Light Fire Log, with an added bonus of the crackle and pop just like real wood.

 

A product shot of the Big K Woody Heaven bundle containing a fire log and more wood fuel

 

How to light a log fire? How to light a fireplace?

This isn’t as complex as solving Hawking radiation equations. Lighting a fire is fairly straightforward stuff.

  1. Start by placing pieces of firewood on your grate in your fireplace.
  2. Add some tinder (scrunched up newspaper or firelighters) in between the firewood.
  3. Place the kindling on top of your pile.
  4. Add more firewood on top of the other logs, leaving gaps for improved air circulation around log surfaces.
  5. Light your tinder and let the fire catch.

We’re sure that you are armed with all the woody wisdom needed to blitz your next blaze up. With this additional knowledge and info, you will be making better choices when it comes to your fire logs, meaning better fires overall. Still not satisfied? Read up on the best fire logs here and compressed heat logs here.

 

Stay happy. Stay heated.