If you’ve ever gone camping and built a fire, chances are you used softwood. Why? Because softwood trees make up about 80% of the earth’s forestry, so even if you weren’t actively seeking it out, you’re more likely to use it for kindling.
Softwood trees mature faster and are evergreen. They don’t shed their leaves during autumn and winter, so if you’re randomly naming the kinds of trees that you know, it’s likely that you’re listing softwoods.
Softwood and hardwood trees are named for their density. Hardwood trees are more dense, which makes them ‘harder’ in grain and texture. The density means there’s more pulp to burn at any given time, which means hardwoods take longer to burn all the way through.
In terms of heat level, hardwoods and softwoods can rise to the same temperatures. But, again, since softwoods have a lower density, they catch fire faster and burn out faster. If you’re planning for a fire that will burn through the night, then hardwood is better.
Another key difference between hardwoods and softwoods is that softwood is a lot smokier. That might not do much harm in an outdoor campfire, but it’s less than optimal for a fire indoors.
Hardwood is generally more expensive than softwood, so many people might prefer to use the cheaper option. However, a hardwood fire will burn through the night, while softwood flames will peter out in a few hours.
In terms of environmental sustainability, softwoods are kinder in the short term, since they grow faster and are more plentiful. A hardwood tree can take up to 100 years to grow to full size, while a softwood is considered ‘full grown’ at 25. Whether you’re harvesting hard or softwoods, it’s a good rule to plant two trees for every one that you cut down.
Wood density has another effect when it comes to furnaces. The density of hardwood means that it generates coal while softwood burns to ash. For overnight indoor fires, coal is good, because it retains heat longer. Coal also makes it easy to restart a fire if it happens to go out.
While softwood is cheaper at the individual level, it may end up costing more in the long run, because you will need much larger volumes to sustain an overnight fire. Also, the smoke that softwood emits can cause ventilation challenges when used indoors.
If you’re starting your fire, you can use softwood twigs, because they will get the flame roaring, but when you’re going to bed, plop some hardwood logs into the furnace. Also, when you’re using softwood logs, make sure you leave the doors, windows, and chimneys open to let out the excess smoke.
As the leading provider of Sydney firewood, we have a reliable and eco-friendly supply of hardwood logs, charcoal, and fireside accessories. We deliver every day of the week, so whether you’d like a few bags of firewood for a one off purchase or a regular bulk shipment, give us a call on 1800 677 918.