Thursday, 17 February 2011

A Proper French Woodpile

We are slowly getting some order into the garage and now find we have room for a proper French style woodpile. Previously we've been limited to ordering wood in batches of 1 or 2 stères (a stère is a cubic metre). Since heating the house chews through a stère a fortnight, it gets a bit tedious having to order wood so frequently - both for us and for the woodman I suspect.

This is what 4 fairly generous cubic metres of firewood looks like.
With the new arrangement I confidently ordered 4 stères, and Edouard and his grandson duly delivered. It costs €42 a stère and is cut into 50cm lengths. Edouard even took back a few logs from the previous lot that were a bit big and recut them for us. This time it was all oak, and looks like the best quality firewood we've had so far. Last time we had a real mix, with oak, hornbeam mixed in with some birch and chestnut. Many woodmerchants advertise that their firewood is all aged oak, but actually hornbeam burns extremely well too. Most of the mixed broadleaf forests here are largely managed for the production of firewood, so it is local and sustainable.

Four stères makes quite an impressive stack, although a real French woodshed would have at least twice as much. If we can keep everything neat and tidy, we should be able to as well, and not inconvenience Célestine too much.

Susan

10 comments:

Colin and Elizabeth said...

I thought a french woodpile has alternate layer ends the opposite way to stop it falling apart. Good price I paid €50 a stère!!

Niall & Antoinette said...

€42 is a good price. We paid €45 inc delivery for 6 stere of oak, hornbeam and chestnut. Would you wood chap Eric deliver out to Charnizay? Fun stacking it isn't it? :-)

Susan said...

C&E: yes, a lot of them use this technique. I think our woodpile isn't big enough bother with it though.

N&A: I don't know if Edouard would deliver to Charnizay. I'll email you his phone number. He only lives a couple of houses from us, and I am not quite sure how much we benefit from 'mates rates' - he always helps to stack (and once did it all himself because we were out!). He often doesn't deliver for a few days, or even a week after I've ordered, whereas our previous woodman always delivered the next day, for €45/stere.

Ken Broadhurst said...

We paid 45€/stère for 7 stères of one-meter-long oak logs in December, delivered. We stacked it.

Jean said...

Same here. 45€ and Alex stacked it for us, bless his heart !!

wcs said...

And I'll have to cut it. Twice per log, into 33cm lengths for our stove.

IanJ said...

Think youselves lucky. Back here in UK I just had a delivery from the local farm of ~1 cubic metre - cost me £85 (€100) and we had to stack it ourselves. They're saying the cost is heading up towards £100 this year.

John said...

All the sources I have found indicate that the calorific value of Hornbeam is higher than that of Oak, which in turn is higher than that of Beech. Locally (around Preuilly) Hornbeam can be found growing in association with Oak and happily can thrive with lesser levels of light. It also makes the best charcoal and the hardest cog teeth for mill gear wheels, so it is easy to see how the Hornbeam in forest to the north east of Preuilly was quite a factor in the development of its iron making industry.

So I'm very happy when our wood is delivered to see plenty of Hornbeam.

Emm said...

Your earlier firewood included chestnut? I've always understood that it didn't burn well, but perhaps French chestnut is different.

And thanks for the chocolate cream recipe, below. Always on the lookout for things good for c(o)eliacs.

Susan said...

Emm: My brother-in-law is a coeliac, so I often make things with this condition in mind. If it's good I pass the recipe on to my sister.

I don't really know about chestnut's rating as a firewood. I see N&A got some in theirs, also from a source nearby, so I think it must standard and acceptable.