If you live in the U.P, then you most likely have a sauna. And if you have a sauna, you probably know that not all firewood is created equal. It can be tough to find firewood that will produce optimal, controllable heat. By learning more about the different types of firewoods, you'll know exactly to burn when it's sauna-aika (sauna time).
For most wood-burning sauna stoves, it is recommended to use both softwoods and hardwoods. Softwoods such as pine, cedar, fir, and spruce are great for kindling and getting the fire started. Once lit, hardwoods such as oak, birch ash, and maple are used to keep the fire burning hot and long. This means you won't have to stoke the fire as often. It's also easier to control the temperature of your sauna when you burn hardwoods.
Now that you know the difference between hardwood and softwood, the next thing we'll look at is the different types of firewood treatment. Naturally seasoned firewood is wood that’s been split and then dried properly for 12 months. It usually has a moisture content of less than 40%. This option is economical and until recently has been the most popular choice for sauna fuel.
Our seasoned firewood here at Stone Hearth is a mixture of various local hardwood, including sugar maple, cherry, red oak, soft maple, white and yellow birch, and ironwood. Aged and dried for over a year, our seasoned firewood will produce a satisfactory sauna experience.
The other main type of firewood is kiln-dried firewood. Kiln-dried firewood starts as green firewood but is then placed in a kiln at a temperature of 160˚-200˚ until the moisture content of the logs is below 25%. Kiln-dried firewood is the most efficient wood you can use. One great benefit of using kiln-dried wood in your sauna is it will leave very little ash in the stove and deposit minimal creosote in the chimney. At the same time, you get more heat with less wood, extending the life of your wood stove.
Our kiln-dried firewood is a mixture of various hardwood, including sugar maple, soft maple, white and yellow birch, cherry, ironwood, and red oak. This blend of Upper Michigan premium hardwood is the gold standard for firewood. It’s multi-purpose, so when you aren’t using it in your sauna, it's perfect for burning in the fireplace or your backyard fire pit.
We aren’t here to convince you whether you should use seasoned or kiln-dried firewood. The choice is up to you. However, we are here to give you all the information you need to make the best decision. Want efficiency, temperature control, and to extend the life of your stove? Then you know which firewood will get you there.
Tell us: which firewood do you prefer to burn in your sauna stove – Seasoned or Kiln dried firewood – and why?