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Firewood 101

The Martha Stewart Show, December 2007

Firewood is usually classified into two broad categories: hardwood and softwood.

Hardwood, such as oak and maple, is the furnace of your fire; it is what will burn throughout a cozy evening in front of your fireplace.

Softwood, such as pine or spruce, is used as kindling to start the fire, but it should never be used as the primary firewood for any fire. It contains lots of resin, which accumulate on chimney walls forming creosote, which can catch on fire.

Starting a Fire
Create a pyramid using two or three logs and twigs for kindling. Light the fire using newspaper, which can be tied into bundles.

Ordering Firewood
When you order, find out how long it has been seasoned, which means how long it has been left to dry after being cut. This is important because dry wood burns best and firewood should be aged at least six months.

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