After purchasing and setting up your fire pit, you may feel inclined to give it a “test run.” Before doing so, however, you should first check to make sure you have the appropriate wood. Some people assume that all wood is the same, but this isn’t entirely true. Subtle nuances in the species/variety, moisture content, added chemicals, etc. can yield big differences in a fire pit. So, how do you know which wood is best suited for your fire pit?
Even if it’s readily available in your surroundings, it’s best to avoid burning pine in your fire pit. Pine burns significantly faster and hotter than many other varieties of lumber, making it a poor choice for fire pits.
Under no circumstances should you attempt to burn treated lumber or wood in a fire pit. While this may seem harmless enough, it can place you and your family at risk for illness. Pressure-treated lumber is often blasted with chromated copper arsenate, which is essentially a type of poison. Upon burning treated lumber, it will release toxic fumes into the surrounding environment. Steer clear of treated lumber and look for a different source of fuel for your fire pit.
Ideally, you should stick with a dried wood, native wood that grows naturally in your respective region. In Georgia, for instance, oak and hickory are often used in fire pits because they are native here. Oak and hickory are both excellent choices, as they burn slow, emit a moderate amount of heat, and are easy to store.
Don’t worry if you are unable to harvest the wood yourself, as most suppliers will gladly deliver and stack it for you.
You’ll probably hear the terms “full cord” and “face cord” being used to describe wood for sale. A full cord is wood that is 4’x4’x8′, whereas a face cord is one stack of wood measuring 4′ tall and 8′ long.
Tip: when storing wood to use in a fire pit, it’s recommended that you keep it covered and off the ground. When wood is stored directly on the ground, it becomes susceptible to rot, termites and other pests. Covering and storing your wood just a couple inches off the ground, however, will keep it safe and dry.
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