Iglu – a great firewood supplier in Cornwall

Today we had our second delivery of firewood from Looe-based Iglu to our little house in Penzance. They deliver across Cornwall and can be most accommodating when it comes to delivery. Crucially, the wood they sell is superb. It’s kiln dried ash, dry as a bone and is making our lounge nice and toasty as I type this.

Our first order was for four of their mini-bags which lasted us about 3 weeks (wood is our only fuel) and we thought that the wood was great. This time we decided to take the plunge and order enough wood to fill up our wood shed (and more), 65 bags in total. I wasn’t able to be around to help, so it’s great that their price includes a stacking service. Tehmina was luckily at home to show them where the wood needed to go, and they did the rest. Excellent service.

We are relieved to have finally found a supplier of firewood in Cornwall that we can stick with and rely upon. If you have no central heating and rely on wood for all of your heating, hot water and cooking, and it’s cold, you will know what I mean when I say that it’s a relief.

So well done Iglu, thank you, and we hope you do well!


Wood delivery time

Wood stacked in our wood shed

We’ve just taken delivery of a couple of cubic metres of seasoned wood. After picking the splinters out of my hands, I have vowed to use gloves next time!

We will be mixing logs with the remainder of our sawdust briquettes as we have converted our Esse Ironheart to burn wood only with their wood burning box kit. It has significantly increased the amount of time we can keep the fire in for – in fact it hasn’t gone out for about a couple of months now. The sawdust logs tended to collapse and quickly for a huge bed of flowing sawdust – which is fine – but getting a raging blaze to get the oven nice and hot has been tough. We tried some old logs we had hanging around and had a much better fire for the Ironheart. The sawdust logs, we feel, work better when you have a grate in a multifuel stove, but you don’t get that lovely thick ash bed and lasting heat. So we will mix and match for a while and see how we go.

Let’s see how good this wood (a mixed load) is first!


The trials of finding a supplier of dry seasoned firewood, ready to burn, in west Cornwall


[Update April 2017] We still buy wood from Iglu, and still highly recommend them, but we have now sold our Esse Ironheart and have had central heating installed. Read why.

[Update February 2015] We are now buying our wood from Iglu, a Cornish company based near Looe.

We live in a terraced house in Penzance. Our three fires are our only form of heating, which is how we like it. We have a highly efficient Town & Country Farndale wood burning stove in our lounge, a small open fire in the second reception room, and an Esse Ironheart in our dining room which adjoins the kitchen. The Ironheart also provides our hot water via a thermal store and gravity system, and we cook on and in it. We use just under a cubic metre of wood each month.

We have now had firewood from five six different suppliers. Five of them have supplied second-rate wood, with moisture readings from 30% to off-the-scale. The one who supplied the best wood ironically wasn’t keen to deliver to us again as they could not tip the load of wood onto a driveway. Another local supplier refused to deliver at all after I described where we lived, as it seems tipping the wood is the only method many are prepared to do.

Wood, it seems, is a fuel often just burned as an occasional luxury by people with large houses, their own driveway, plenty of money, and no knowledge of what dry, seasoned wood, is like.

Is it local wood?

The last load of wood we bought, from another of the larger firms west of Truro, turns out to have been imported from Latvia, according to the driver. I was aghast as all this wood was piled up in our yard, to learn that it had come from such a long way away, making no environmental sense whatsoever.

Stacking Fee

Cornish Firewood delivers wood in netted bags as standard, and the driver will generally help to get your wood as near as possible to your store. Other suppliers such as South West Forestry will charge a £10 “stacking fee” to take a loose load through a property. I can see that this is fair enough, as if there’s a lot of wood this can take a while, and time is money, after all.

Wood as a variable product

Wood is, after all, a natural and variable source of fuel. However, people have seasoned firewood for millennia. Is it a lost art? Perhaps. With the exception of the first load of logs we got from B&B Logs, the moisture content has been all over the place. None of the others have managed to supply seasoned wood with a moisture content under 30%. The Latvian wood has been closest to this mark, being 30-35% on average. Twice we have been given unseasoned or only partially seasoned wood when paying for seasoned. The “largest” supplier of firewood in these parts who delivers in netted bags eventually, after much argument, replaced the unseasoned wood with what was claimed to be kiln-dried, yet the larger pieces still had a moisture content of above 30%. But there’s only so much complaining one can do…

Our chimney sweep told us that on visiting one of the suppliers we have tried, they were stacking their wood to ‘season’ in such a way that air could not pass through and had to encourage them to re-stack it. Simply leaving wood in piles for set six months does not constitute seasoning. This news did not fill me with confidence for our prospects of finding someone who can supply regular loads of dry, seasoned, ready to burn firewood.

It turns out that over the border in Devon we’re not alone with our frustrations.

What’s the alternative?

Our last delivery of wood came from South West Forestry, and along with the (well-travelled) wood, we ordered 10 packs of their local sawdust briquettes. They are fantastic. Bone dry, quick to light, loads of heat, and consistent. They were £3.95 per pack of 12 and we used on average 4 per day to mix in with logs to get it all going. But what about using them as the primary form of fuel, and just mix a few logs in? The key is to find sawdust logs that are good, and affordable, and buy them in bulk.

Our next experiment is with a palette of UK Heatlogs, which should arrive in the next few days. 81 12kg bags of sawdust logs for £175; fuel which has a moisture content of about 6%. We bought a tester pack last year and were astounded by how hot they burned. Now we have more experience ‘driving’ our stoves, we should get a lot out of them.

[Update May 2014] We burned heat logs exclusively for over a year. However, we’ve converted our Esse Ironheart to be wood-burning only since we don’t use coal, allowing us to fit more fuel in and get a better overnight burn. However, this wasn’t great for the heat logs, which tended to collapse into dense piles of hot sawdust and not get as hot as we’d like. Heat logs are better on a multi fuel grate in our experience.

So we have returned to using wood. One other supplier of ‘seasoned’ wood was tried, and a mixed load was ‘mixed’ in moisture too, from 25% to 40%. We will have a big stack of this wood in our woodshed for a long time to come while it dries out. I’m slowly splitting the bigger logs to help them dry out more quickly.

A pallet of kiln-dried Ash logs from Kuggar Stoves was the best wood we’ve ever had, and so, if we can get a slightly better price than £155/m3 we’ll burn that from now on, and perhaps mix in some of our last loose load of ‘seasoned’ as we go.


On cheap wood

Our local fuel supplier recently had an offer on “seasoned” firewood at £2.89 a bag. Based on our experiences thus far, and from what our chimney sweep had told us, we knew not to expect much. So, knowing that we would have to lay the wood out for a month or more to dry out, we bought a few bags. … 


An eventful wood delivery

I won’t be buying wood from what is claimed to be Cornwall’s largest supplier of firewood again.

Today we had a delivery of wood. More correctly, a re-delivery, after the 40 bags of logs turned out to contain unseasoned wood rather than the seasoned firewood we had paid for. They did this to us last time, so we couldn't quite believe that it had happened again.

Seasoned wood should have a moisture content of 25% or less

To put things right they offered to replace the wood with kiln dried wood. The firewood company proprietor himself came to take away the heavy bags of unseasoned wood, and he tried to argue that his office shouldn't have promised kiln dried as a replacement. He offered 20 bags of kiln dried to mix in with the unseasoned to “get the same calorific output”. I was appalled, since this isn't a great thing for your flue to put all that moisture (the logs were 40%+ moisture content) into it.

Eventually, he said that he had 36 bags with him, and I could have those and keep whatever bags of unseasoned he couldn't fit back into his 4×4. To get that far I had to explain quite calmly that this was the second time we had been messed about, we had to come home early to wait for deliveries, and it was very heavy stuff to move about considering it was their error. This appeared to have no effect, and only when I mentioned that we knew 4 people on our street with fires, who had been asking us where we sourced our wood that he relented. He left behind 9 bags of unseasoned, which I will be splitting into smaller pieces and stacking up inside on our rack, but it will be many months before I can burn it.

I won't name and shame at this stage, as they eventually gave us adequate compensation with the more expensive kiln dried wood, but they have definitely lost my confidence. I won't be buying wood from what is claimed to be Cornwall's largest supplier of firewood again.

Here's a tip if you buy seasoned wood. Ask for a few logs when the delivery person arrives, split them, and test it with a moisture meter across the grain. It should have a moisture content of 25% or less. If it is, accept the delivery, if not, reject it, before a lot of heavy lifting is done!