I am hoping to be able to get hold of wooden blocks (approx 14 * 10 * 8) which are fitted to some of our shipping pallets at work. They are only softwood but they are big enough to burn slowly, so I am hopeful that they will be worth getting. They won't look pretty like logs though!
Faz, I split those blocks, partly as it was the only way to get the 6 inch rusty nails out that had snapped with the "slightest" force but also because the had no knots so it was easy to split them in to dozens of mini kindling batons, ideal for little fires or small starter stacks. Not sure how slowly even one of those large softwoods would burn. The blue ones on the other hand, they are oak, so it might be worth checking how deeply the blue paint penetrates, but shaving of the painted edges would probably be more work than its worth...
Thanks for the pointer to the pallet marking code Doug - very useful. I was able to find out more than I ever needed to know about pallets from Wikipedia and from a Q&A published by Pallet Enterprise magazine (who even knew that there was a magazine dedicated to pallets?).
It appears that methyl bromide is being phased out, but I know exactly what to look out for and avoid now.
The firewood poem was written by Celia Congreve, is believed to be first published in THE TIMES newspaper on March 2nd 1930.
Beechwood fires are bright and clear If the logs are kept a year, Chestnut's only good they say, If for logs 'tis laid away. Make a fire of Elder tree, Death within your house will be; But ash new or ash old, Is fit for a queen with crown of gold
Birch and fir logs burn too fast Blaze up bright and do not last, it is by the Irish said Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread. Elm wood burns like churchyard mould, E'en the very flames are cold But ash green or ash brown Is fit for a queen with golden crown
Poplar gives a bitter smoke, Fills your eyes and makes you choke, Apple wood will scent your room Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom Oaken logs, if dry and old keep away the winter's cold But ash wet or ash dry a king shall warm his slippers by.