Wondering what the demand might be for split wood, I spoke this weekend with most likely the single largest volume supplier of dried and split firewood (in the Tanana Valley). I asked if with the lower fuel oil prices (at least 100% lower than a few years ago the demand for wood has been dropping. A bit last year, yet the business will continue to cut wood and prep for the future (this includes drying cut cords with a open air heater system to get the wood down to 18% moisture).
For this year bucking up wood stove lengths and splitting will continue as there are 7K of cords waiting to be sectioned off from trees that are already felled and limbed. They are stacked up in the North Pole area, and with a full demand of years past and full production that would be enough for three years of processing alone! Spruce and Birch vary as far as BTU value per pound on these logs, yet the overall measurement of wood is done in volume of feet (an 8’x8’x4′ section).
So, if you have the choice to buy all Spruce or all Birch by the cord (remember, volume of mass), then your gain on BTUs would come in if you get all Birch; yet from the bark, you will get more ash most likely. White Birch has 20.2 million BTUs per cord to White Spruce’s 15.9 million BTUs per cord.
As you think of your fuel source which you want to have ready by fall, remember that the BTUs are going to be most when the wood is dry- which will NOT happen with your currently cut wood until it sits split and covered from the weather for a good year or so. In fact, if you cut now and use the wood immediately this fall you may only get half as many BTUs as heat compared to wood cured for a good year. Keep splitting, and keep drying!