Saturday, 12 April 2014

Saturday FT article

London Log Co's English Oak, on the grill at Chiltern Street Fire House W1

Many thanks to Nicholas Lander for name checking us

Thursday, 2 January 2014

To the Future and Beyond: Kiln Dried vs Naturally Seasoned Logs

Let's agree to disagree about wood !

I mean, who knows more about seasoning wood than the Scandinavians. Their lives can literally depend on it in some parts. However, there's a split of opinion in Norway over which way up the bark should be in a log pile.

In a recent Nationally televised 8-hour log splitting, stacking and general burning wood-athon. The Norwegian TV, station was bombarded by texts and calls complaining that the bark was either the wrong way up or down.

Without any irony, Lars Mytting the writer of the seminal book on the subject: 
'Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying and Stacking Wood - and the soul of Wood-Burning' explained...

"One thing that really divides Norway is bark"

So it seems there's always a division wherever we are regarding wood. And if Norwegians can't agree on bark, then i'm not going to sway the argument either way over the subject of Kiln Dried -vs-Naturally Seasoned Logs. I'll give you the facts as they are and we'll see where we all stand afterwards

Seasoning: 
A process to remove/reduce sap and water content from wood, making it suitable to burn. Key to this process is air circulation, wood size, type and size
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_drying

Kiln Dried Logs:
On a mechanical level Kiln Drying or Kiln Seasonong makes sense; you get the type of dry logs you want. By artificially creating a controlled warm and dry enviroment, (no matter what nature is throwing at you outside in the yard) you can essentially dry your wood to the moisture level required, in therory. 
But, there's a fair bit of work needed beforehand to ease the final process. Wood must be cut and stored as for natural air seasoning. It needs to be cut and down for around a year, stacked in poles or cord. This is then cut and billited into manageable lengths and stored over the summer. This wood is then left to loose its sap along with the naturally held water in crates or vented bags. This process gets the wood ready to effeciently Kiln Dry, down to the required moisture content. Final Kiln Drying of the logs can take 7-28 days of Kiln time.

Why?
Many appliances, specially the latest and most highly engineered German and Scandinavian Log Burning stoves, are very specific in what they will and can burn. Here moisture content is key to their highly effecient (and often sealed ) burning chambers. These appliances are becoming more and more popular, up to 30% more effecient than previous models. So a move toward a more stable supply of dry wood is desireable to fuel these. In time, all appliances will have to come up to these effecient energy standards.

Naturally Seasoned Logs:
I'm a fan of naturally seasoned. It makes sense that if you can cut your wood and lay it down as poles for a suitable year to 18 months, then return to it and cut this into billets and stack it, leaving plenty of air to circulate the pile. To watch and wait for a year or more as the sap leaves the wood, encouraged by rain, wind and sun to then return with the saw, cut these yard long billets into logs and stack them in a airy but dry place, ready to cut and split into firewood once seasoned

This is all well and good if the weather commits to the process. But as the climate we live in changes, we are in turn pushed towards more controlled production method. So this is where Kiln Drying Logs comes in as a way of managing the seasoning process. In essence it's an artificial environment which the forces wood to dry at a consistent rate. In the past these Kilns were fuelled by Gas or Electric. However, the newer Kilns are Bio Mass woodfuelled with the by-product from the wood cutting process. Cleaner and greener and self sustaining.

In conclusion:
If I could choose on a pure athstetic level, then the naturally seasoned air dry method is favourable. It uses less energy but takes more time.
Though just how much wood to cut, how much to store, how much to burn is a guess and an instinct. It takes years of living, breathing and cutting wood to best gauge what's what, to feel your place within the scheme, winter by winter and even then it's not a science, it's a craft and one which catches the most prepared out. 

We also are never quite sure just how long the Winter will last. Remember last year, all seven months of it. I swear trees screamed as I drove by, week in week out, month after unrelentingly cold month to the Kent woodlands. I stripped our stocks bare, until not a twig was left

In the coming seasons we are preparing to adapt to the new Killn Process along side the traditional methods. We embrace the changes ahead, it's an exciting time to be involved in wood and all that surrounds it

As Buzz Lightyear says....
"To the future and beyond !"

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Monday, 16 December 2013

Pop-up Xmas Log Shop

The London Log Co's  Pop-up Xmas Log Shop will be open this coming week-end only !

SUNDAY 22nd DECEMBER 

It's a one-off event .......

Due to the high demand for deliveries of our lovely wood, we are offering a last minute "OMG IT'S XMAS" personal collection only service

Here's how the Pop-up Xmas Log Shop works

Call us to pre-book your order and we'll send you a text or email back, along with the address of where we are located (it's dead easy to find)

Contact us here thelondonlogcompany.blogspot.co.uk/p/contact-us_14.html

Then turn up (wearing your santa hat of course) in your car between 10am -1pm on SUNDAY 22nd DEC

We'll get your order to your car and give you a BIG FREE BAG of kindling wood for your trouble

CASH & CARRY ONLY

See you there

A merry London Log Co Christmas to you all !

Mark and the Team
x
*Santa hats optional

One very happy customer !

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Kiln Dried English Ash Logs

New for Winter 2013 
English Ash Logs: 
Seasoned in a Wood-Fired Kiln

These English Ash Logs, are carefully seasoned in a sustainable Wood-Fired bio-mass Kiln. This new generation kiln is fired with by-product recovered from the cutting and production of the logs. It's all done on-site and is essentially self-sustaining, making for a very light carbon footprint. Plus, it's a good way to reduce our wood waste to virtually zero.
Our English Kiln Seasoned Ash
What's the difference between these and other kiln dried logs ?

Most commercial kilns are Gas or Electric powered and as we know, both of these commodities are ever increasing upwards in price. And collectively, if we're going to seriously reduce our dependency on imported energy, then here would be a good place to start.

Gas and Electric kilns produce a very dry heat, which does make for a very dry log. But it dries every part of the wood, right down to the cellular level, which is where you ideally want to keep the moisture. So these logs burn fast and break down; turning to dust very much quicker during their burning arc.

Wood-Fired bio-mass kiln produces lots of good heat, but importantly, it also allows at a little natural moisture into the chamber as it does so. 
This natural method encourages the logs to release the water held within, but helps the cellulose structure (the fibrous part of the wood) to retain its necessary moisture. This produces a clean dry log with a good flame quality, which physically holds together right through its burning arc. 

So, I think we've got the balance between moisture and structure right. It's part craft and part science to produce good wood as fuel. But more importantly, it's also about how we do it, as much as what we do. Personally, i'm an advocate of nature harnessed to technology. That nature and technology work together in harmony, is even better.

We now package the logs in our handy trolley bags with a tie down lid, ready to deliver efficiently to your home or business. Please keep this bag so we can reuse it again, or make good use of it in your garden.

Lastly, Ash is a handsome looking wood. All pale and golden, so even stacked and ready for the cold weather, they are a pleasure to be around.

Enjoy !

See our Kiln Dried English Ash Logs here.

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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Notes from the Log Man:

It feels like Winter's fast approaching, though the Summer only seemed like yesterday. What with rain and gale force winds to blow the leaves off the trees, most would be inclined to agree. However, it's still only September but it does feel later than it really is.

Technically, we are in the early stages of a 'False Autumn' indicated by many trees dropping their yellowing leaves early. I started noticing tiny signs this in early August, when buds that should be green and sticky soft, had dried to a powdery brown.

The reality is that; this is a protection mechanism bought about by drought. We had a particularly late Spring, followed by the hot and dry Summer, so water to the root stock of the tree was restricted by the hardened soil, so the trees can't cope and they shed their leaves to compensate.

It's a trying time for the trees in cities and the countryside, what with drought and disease. I'm expecting to see a larger than usual number of trees down in high winds this year, particularly the weaker less healthy ones. Though i'm quietly optimistic in the bigger picture.

I've been working closely with one of the large mechanised harvesting companies based in the southeast. They cut & harvest huge amounts of softwood, like Pine for the lumber industry all over the UK. And although this crop benefits the landowner, the plantation itself is usually limited to a mono species and this by its nature doesn't encourage a diversity of wildlife & plant species. The clearing itself gives a new opportunity to add light and space into an area. This is the key to regenerating the woodland area back to a healthy balance.

There is a strong move now to replant these areas with British broadleaf tree species. These slower growing trees let other things inhabit the areas in harmony.  It's good news, as the future is in hardwoods as renewable materials and fuels, along side the wild plants, bugs and rodents that thrive in these diverse woodlands.

I'm also seeing a return of woodsmen working ancient coppices, for species like Chestnut and Hazel. These 'poles' are being used in charcoal making and the produce is very good, Hazel in particular produces a very special charcoal.

We've got the Winter stock in process and we're moving towards installing a self sufficient Bio Mass Kiln at one yard. Unlike the gas or electric models, this type of kiln is fuelled only by the waste wood we produce, so in future we will have the kindest and most efficient way of delivering the fuel required for your wood burning stoves.

If you've not quite sorted your requirements for this season, then I suggest the following:

1.Clean out the shed or log store
2. Make space indoors for some wood to house condition
3. Get the log basket in position
4. *Get your chimney swept


Lastly, make the most of the coming Autumn, it's a greatly abundant season.

Regards

Mark 


*See side bar for 'sweeps'





Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Welcome to The London Log Co

Official Wood & Charcoal sponsor for Meatopia


























STOP PRESS:

Saturday 7th September 2013

It's here and i'd like to thank all those who made it possible for us at London log Co to offer our sponsorship of the event. Without their support we'd never have been able to supply the Charcoal & awesome British Oak Wood.

John & Lewis  at Treewood. John at Bridgebrooke. Weber U.K. Mary at Tregothan. American Classic's (check out my snazzy threads & Redwing footwear) Jimbo"James"Davis Graphic Design, my very VERY patient partner Deborah Thomas

And all the TEAM LONDON LOG CO.

I salute you all.

Xx

Mark
_______________________________________________________________________

We've been quietly obsessing about British Wood+Charcoal+Meat for a while now. London chefs and the like also sharing our nerdy ways with wood & fire. Though we somehow managed to keep our special charcoals and woods a trade secret, by carefully indulging our ideas and wares within our closed network known as The Brotherhood. All this was well and good, we talked robes, mottos and latin "Smoke-Wood-Brotherhood" and "All hail to the smoke"

Until one day I took the call from Richard Turner (he of Turner & George, Hawksmoor, Pitt Cue) , probably one of the foremost Meat + Fire obsessives in London

"Hey Mark, i've been thinking"

"Ok"

"Wanna support the event i'm doing"

"Ok, which event is that"

"Meatopia"

"Meatopia"

"Yup, MEATOPIA"

I swallowed hard and said "Ok" again, in my best manly voice

Well I couldn't say NO !

I couldn't say NO to the greatest show of MEAT-GRILLS-SMOKERS & BBQ's on our own turf, here in London.

Of course i'd heard about Meatopia, over there, across the pond in the USA. Though on further reading I realised the magnitude of the event.

The brainchild of TIME magazine food columnist and a 'James Beard' Award-winning food writer Josh Ozersky, Meatopia is an acclaimed food festival for discerning carnivores, bought to you in London for the first time by Turner & George

And....

2012 saw the event leave new york for the first time when San Francisco hosted dozens of the world-class chefs cooking the country's best cuts of meat over live fires, while live music entertained the masses all enjoying cold beers and the best in aged spirits. This September is London's turn

Now, there's no better cold shower than those two reviews to liven the senses & get your arse in gear.
But we're well up for it. We cut trees, we drive trucks, we wear work-wear to work & we have beards to stop our faces freezing off in Winter.

So with that in mind we've been pulling wood from our reserves: Oak, seasoned for up to 3 years will add the essential-buttery-smoke to slow cooked Beef Brisket. English Apple will sweeten the air and much Pork with beautiful flavour notes. And Sweet Chestnut, with its soft and light floral incense like aroma will feature.

We're also selecting wood & firing our Charcoal Retorts with the finest our British Woodlands have to offer. Oak, Beech, Silver Birch along with Chestnut and hand coppiced Hazel going into the mix. In all it's going to be a festival of the best of Blighty, with our charcoals and woods up there in the thick of it.

Plus we've put together a one-off special Charcoal for the grills and BBQ's at the event, full of flavour, heat and aroma. Look out for our..
MEATOPIALONDONMIXCHARCOAL 

It's going to be a full on but very special day on the 7th of September, though we are very much looking forward to it all

There's loads more to come, so we'll keep you posted as we go

In the words of The Brotherhood

"All hail to the smoke"

Amen

Mark
x

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@LondonLogCo 

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Friday, 12 July 2013

Woodfired & Charcoal Grill Events in London

We've teamed up with the irrepressible Bash from Forza Win for their latest pop-up venture CUTS  in collaboration with one of Londons most notable butchers, Ginger Pig.

Forza Win already run a hugely successful night-time rooftop pop-up Pizzeria above the Princess Alice, just on Commercial Road in Whitechapel East London.

We've built a pair of 2 mt long grills to be fired up with our beautiful coals and woods. They're built in the Tuscan butcher "grigliata" style and will be under cover in the court yard at the event.

There's 80 day aged Longhorn rump with parmesan polenta croutons, wild mushrooms and a confit garlic cream; a Pork Ribeye, served slightly pink with slow-cooked Italian beans and lardons, and grilled bitter treviso and also lamb neck fillet which will be marinaded, cooked fast and cut across the grain and comes with pea and marjoram puree and pea shoots.

There's also a bar with wine matched to each of the dishes, along with Moretti Italian lager to slake your thirst.

The events showcases the very produce on offer within the UK; from meat to vegetables, right down to the very wood and charcoals they're cooked over.

And it's been going down a storm, with guests sharing their enthusiasm of the event's "Mutual love of meat and flames" mantra.

I'm personally very happy to be involved, it's a joy to see this many people up for a good time and so well informed about what they eat. 
I've even stared the beast-of-fire in the eye, by wielding the tongs & cooking at the grill on the odd occasions - it's brutally hot, but great fun! (see review here)

CUTS is held Thurs -Sat evenings & Sun lunch time, each week until mid September, at the The Pickle Factory located on The Oval in Hackney.

If you love Meat+Flames, get down there soon.


The first piece of meat christens our newly built grill.














Mark
x