How to dry your logs for burning

The Log Dog

You’ve got your new stove and you’ve chosen the best wood for your stove but how do you look after the wood before you’re ready to light your fire?

Storing logs properly is one of the most important aspects in having a fire which can keep your home warm.

Here is some advice on how to dry your own logs in preparation for wood burning.


Drying your own logs will save you money but you need to ensure you have suitable space and time. Logs can take between 12 and 18 months to dry sufficiently for burning, so having patience and planning ahead is vital.

The first step is to prepare the logs for stacking; they should be split until they are 10cm in diameter or less, as any thicker will slow down the drying process.

The storing process is important and you will need to invest in a log store. It should be covered at the top but with open sides and will want to avoid placing your wood store against any buildings, as this can halt the drying process.

Don’t worry about the store being outside – whether the sun is shining or it’s blowing a gale outside, exposure to the elements will help your logs dry faster.


Your wood will need to dry for a minimum of 12 months until it has a moisture content of 20% or less – but how do you know when it’s reached the magic number?

The easiest method uses a moisture meter which inserts steel pins into the wood to obtain a reading of the moisture content.

Another method to check if your wood is ready to burn is to check the colour, as any green colour underneath the bark signifies the logs are not dry enough yet. Check the weight and density by beating 2 logs together, and if they make a hollow sound it is ready.

You are then ready to transport your wood inside near the stove before burning. Don’t store your logs too close to your stove, the recommended distance is 450mm from the stove, never put logs down the side of a stove.

If you follow these steps you will be able to access the environmental benefits of wood burning by sourcing your wood locally and preparing it yourself.

With thanks to Jotul Stoves for this article

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