Not all firewood is created equal. Some make for effective sauna firewood, while others are better for toasting marshmallows. But what wood is used in saunas, anyway?
If you’re looking to fuel a sauna, it can be difficult to find a species that produces controllable optimal heat. You want to feel some warmth, but you don’t want to feel like you’re in an oven.
While softwoods can make for good kindling, we’d like to share why kiln-dried hardwood is the most effective sauna fuel you can purchase, and we’ll also show you how to store your supply.
Combine Both Types of Firewood for Best Results
Many sauna stoves actually benefit from a combination of softwoods and hardwoods. Softwoods are good for kindling and starting a hot fire, while hardwoods are better for maintaining heat after the sauna becomes hot enough to enjoy.
Pine, cedar, fir and spruce make for good kindling, while hardwoods, like maple, oak and birch are better for keeping fires as hot as possible.
As a further bonus, softwoods also smell good as they burn, almost like incense. Also, if you use hardwoods to fuel the fire as it goes, you won’t need to stoke it as often, and temperature will be much easier to control.
Don’t use too much softwood, especially the most resinous species, like eucalyptus or aspen, as these will gunk up your stove enough to reduce longevity and fill your sauna with dangerous smoke. But we emphasize that minimal usage is ideal for kindling.
Use Kiln-Dried Firewood
Apart from species, note the way the sauna wood is prepared. The cheaper option, seasoning, reduces moisture content below 40% for more effective burns. Without seasoning, wood fails to burn at all.
But our kiln-drying process is most effective. Whereas seasoning can take a full year, our 265-degree kilns need no more than 48 hours to kiln-dry wood such that the final product has a moisture level below 20%.
Kiln-dried firewood makes for better fires, but what does that really mean? If you use kiln-dried firewood to fuel your sauna, fires will be easier to start, they’ll be hotter, and they’ll last for more time such that you won’t have to replenish them as often.
Also, kiln-dried wood isn’t nearly as likely as seasoned wood to leave behind nasty byproducts, like ash, creosote and smoke. Saunas ought to be misty, not smoky.
Note the Best Hardwood Species
If you’re looking for particular species to do most of the work, we offer a few concrete suggestions for the best hardwoods with which to fuel saunas. Each type of wood will answer the question: What kind of wood is used in saunas?
As the densest, most common hardwood on the market, oak can do the trick, yielding the hottest, longest fires. For oak, the seasoning process takes a bit longer, but kiln-drying oak takes no extra time. Certainly, oak is among the best options for fueling a sauna.
Birch is similar to oak in terms of potency, being so dense as to take much more time to season, which isn’t a problem if you use kiln-dried wood, of course. Ultimately, birch offers some of the highest heat and longest burn times across all available firewood in the United States.
Maple is another excellent option for fueling a sauna. Even in comparison to other hardwoods, this widely available option excels at limiting smoke and creosote, so it’s perfect for those who are most sensitive to the smells of firewood and smoke.
Ash burns the way maple does: Its fires limit smoke enough for those who are most sensitive to the fumes. It’s also pretty easy to get, as it’s readily available to vendors all over the country.
Whichever sauna wood you use, any combination of hardwood and softwood will do as long as you use softwood only for kindling.
Maintain the Quality of Your Firewood
Once your order of pristinely kiln-dried firewood arrives, remember to store it in a way that maintains quality and keeps each individual log fit for the stove. Let us share a few tips about storing your sauna wood:
- Make sure your logs hang onto as much dryness as possible. Simply by keeping them in a humid or wet environment, you can ruin the kiln-dried firewood for which you will have gone the extra mile.
- Avoid stacking firewood on the ground. It should be on either a pallet or concrete. As you stack each log on such a surface, leave enough space among them to allow for airflow. You don’t want the ones at the bottom to lose their charming dryness.
- Remember to throw a loose tarp over the firewood. Unless your firewood is already beneath an awning of some kind, it needs shelter from the elements. Emphasis on “loose!” You don’t want your tarp to trap moisture.
Enjoy Kiln-Dried Firewood in the Twin Cities Region
Saunas should be as enjoyable and relaxing as possible, especially up here in Minnesota! If you want to fuel the sauna you’ve just built, don’t settle for anything less than kiln-dried hardwood. Softwood will gunk up your stove with resin, and seasoned wood will fill your stove with ash, so use smoke-free kiln-dried firewood.
For decades, ProCut Firewood has provided kiln-dried hardwood to sauna enjoyers all over Minneapolis, St. Paul and beyond. If you’d like to get your hands on some of our sauna-designated firewood, providing some to you would be our privilege. To start your order, please call us, email us or fill an online contact form.