Buying firewood in Seattle area
September 30, 2014 11:31 AM   Subscribe

Hello, We have a fireplace for the first time ever and it's getting chilly enough to use it. Need to know how/where to get wood delivered to us.

We live in Seattle and would like to get 1/2 a cord of wood. I've found a delivery service, but the price seems high. Maybe I'm out of touch, but $250 for 1/2 cord delivered and stacked seems like a lot.

Any input or experiences would be appreciated.
posted by lattiboy to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
We have a wood stove and burn a fair amount of wood, although we have never bought this wood (we have trees on our property, and we also scavenge wood if our neighbors are having their trees trimmed). This means that I can't comment on the price, but I can recommend that you make sure that the wood is definitely hard wood (mixed is usually less good than all oak, but is fine). If you're planning to live there and use the fireplace for a few more years, I would also suggest that maybe you look into getting wood a year or two in advance, and "seasoning" it yourself. I believe unseasoned wood comes cheaper than wood that is already seasoned. You may also be able to get cheaper wood if you're willing to pick it up yourself. Also, at least on the East Coast, if you're willing to haul the wood away yourself, cut and split it, and then season it, it can be readily found for free; while this is labor-intensive, it is good exercise, so you might want to look into it.
posted by ClaireBear at 11:38 AM on September 30, 2014

This isn't Seattle-specific, but from experience elsewhere: people who want to burn wood for more than ambiance and don't have the time or inclination to gather/split/season their own really need a 'wood guy' (who doesn't have to be a guy) and the best way to find one is word of mouth and reputation. So you need to ask your local social circle a) if they burn wood; b) who they get their wood from; c) whether there's any wood going spare.

Half-cords may be trickier to obtain -- they're more the domain of random wood-in-truck delivery people, but if you have friends who get a few cords for the winter, you might be able to nab some.

Yes, it is like obtaining other things.
posted by holgate at 11:51 AM on September 30, 2014

Have you looked on Craigslist? That price is about in line with the postings in my area for split and delivered wood.

I glanced at the Seattle Craigslist and see that there are a few people pushing pine and fir firewood. You may already know this, but burning resinous conifer firewood, you'll need to make sure to have your chimney cleaned regularly. The pitch can build up in the chimney and cause chimney fires.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:52 AM on September 30, 2014

craigslist is full of ads in my area for firewood, though at $250 that's more than a cord delivered and stacked in local costs. (Varies 150-200/cord here, and $25-30 to stack).

That said, I hooked up with a tree company to get firewood in the past. (Some times, you'll get the billets free from a tree company, but I realize you want dried and stacked, not splitting/stacking yourself, but for future reference .. )
posted by k5.user at 12:23 PM on September 30, 2014

Check for burn bans once you've stocked your wood. Air here stagnates. Wood smoke pollutes.
posted by Carol Anne at 12:53 PM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

You may already know this, but burning resinous conifer firewood, you'll need to make sure to have your chimney cleaned regularly. The pitch can build up in the chimney and cause chimney fires.

This is mostly old wives' tale and misunderstanding, but with a kernel of truth. The problem isn't softwoods, it's wet wood. Water in the wood depresses combustion and flue temperatures. The lower combustion temperatures prevent complete combustion, causing excess smoke which in turn condenses on the chimney walls as creosote due to the low flue temperatures. *Any* wet wood will do this. The kernel of truth comes from the fact that those resins in resinous softwoods ignite at comparatively low temperatures, and make it possible to burn pine that's VERY wet, whereas hardwoods at a similar moisture content wouldn't burn at all. Resinous softwoods facilitate really bad burning practices, but they aren't inherently bad at all.

OP, the problem you're probably going to face is that most firewood sellers sell wood that's wetter than it should be. No doubt there will be some high-priced offers for wood that will turn out to be wet despite the sellers' claims, but cheap firewood is almost certainly going to be very wet. Processing firewood as a business is low-margin, labor intensive, minimally regulated and has few barriers to entry. Buyer beware.
posted by jon1270 at 2:06 PM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

*That said, you should still have your chimney checked and cleaned periodically regardless of how good your fuel is.
posted by jon1270 at 2:10 PM on September 30, 2014

My limited experience with living in a place in north Seattle that had a fireplace was that wood is REALLY overpriced in the city compared to the rural areas surrounding it. If I was going to do this all over again, I'd find a cheap deal on wood outside of town and try and make a plan with a friends truck or even a rental to pick it up.

We ended up just not really using the fireplace much because of the dumb prices in town, and not actually caring enough or wanting to buy enough wood to make it worth it to make a dedicated trip out of it.
posted by emptythought at 2:45 PM on September 30, 2014

We loaded up our car with wood at Sky nursery once. I can't remember the cost, or how they calculated it, but I think it was a better deal than you've been quoted.

Doing an inverted fire (big pieces on the bottom, kindling on top, started from the top) is a good way to get a nice, hot, clean burn.

A lot of wood in this area is going to be connifer/softwood, for what it is worth.
posted by Good Brain at 3:15 PM on September 30, 2014

I'm not in Seattle, but stacking wood isn't usually included around here and I think would cost quite a premium. It's easy to stack - why not stack it yourself?
posted by Sukey Says at 9:59 PM on September 30, 2014

« Older What do I need to do to become a Technical...   |   App for creating a home library catalog Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.