Which woods burn best?
Dansel, Rodden Row, Abbotsbury, Weymouth, DT3 4JL 01305 871515 Open 10am - 5.30pm
We encourage you to visit Dansel Gallery to view items in person if you can, however items can be
sent by mail order. Postage is charged at cost depending on weight and size of the parcel.
Please phone or email for details of timbers, sizes, prices and availability.
Open every day of the year except Christmas and Boxing day
10.00 am - 5.30 pm - Spring to Autumn - March to October
10.00 am - 5.00 pm - Winter - November to March
1976 – Danielle and Selwyn Holmes started Dansel from their home workshop in Eype near Bridport, making furniture to commission and architectural models. First project was a model of the proposed West Bay Marina which involved a making a model of the West Bay square mile. This led onto making café tables at the newly opened Riverside Café, (tables still in use).
1979 – Out grew workshop in Eype and with the help of COSIRA, (the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas), were put in touch with Edward Green land agent from the Ilchester Estates, who offered them the Rodden Row property. Previously it had been used as stables, then lock up stores. The Ilchester Estates had been advised to renovate some of the older buildings converting them into business units in order to help encourage employment and hopefully keep the school open in the village. Norman Hitchcock Architects in Yeovil and H Leaf & Sons Builders from Bridport were commissioned to do the project, to their chosen specifications and finally they moved in on 24 August 1979. One employee was taken on in the workshop and one in the office to do the books. The entrance room was the showroom/shop and the rest was used as workshop space.
1980’s – Began to make smaller items alongside the furniture commissions, to have something more affordable for sale to the many visitors in Abbotsbury. Also, at this time decided to specialise in selling only wood, as there was a potter already, Roger Gilding and a glass engraver, Greg Shepherd in the village. Began to welcome other makers in wood to the gallery who could supply different things to sell to the many people who came in.
1988 - Began wholesaling a range of smaller items to other shops and galleries in the UK and Europe. Employees increased to 3 in the workshop and 2 in the office and shop.
1989 - Moved workshop up to top room, so increasing showroom and selling space. Could now include more pieces of larger furniture by different makers.
1990 - Moved workshop out of Rodden Row to 10a West Street, at the other end of Abbotsbury village, allowing all downstairs space to become a selling area. The top section was turned into a children’s shop with toys made in wood and the rest of the space was divided into kitchen items, domestic wood area, one-off pieces, boxes, desk items and wood books with furniture mixed in between. There were now 2 employees in the shop everyday on a rota with 3 others, in order to keep the shop open 7 days a week. The workshop employed 4 and there were 2 in the office.
1995 - Converted roof space over the top room from a wood store to an office. Also, extended the top room into an outside compound, to create another 10 square metres of floor space allowing extra storage for selling off cuts.
1997 – Began exhibitions:
Exhibition in June: ‘Two Artists in Wood’ featuring Brian Hancock and John Hunnex.
Exhibition in September: ‘from Driftwood to Fish’ featuring Chris Berry, Ian McKay and Jeremy Turner.
1998 - Exhibition in May: ‘Movers and Shakers’ featuring Robert Race and Jeff Soan.
Exhibition in July: ‘Containers’ by Selwyn Holmes.
Exhibition in September: ‘Birds and Bowls’ featuring Dennis Hales and Judith Nicoll.
Also, in 1998 closed workshop at 10a West Street, laid off workshop employees and moved it back to Eype where Selwyn continued making on his own. Danielle took over managing the gallery full-time. The workshop stopped making wholesale items for other outlets and concentrated on supplying Dansel only.
1999 - Exhibition in May: ‘Eccentric Wood’ featuring Colin Gosden and Lynn Muir.
Exhibition in September: ‘Fine Design in Wood’ featuring Brian McKee, Nicholas Butler and Perry Lancaster.
2000 - Converted upstairs office into a further showroom and moved it to the loft space over the entrance.
Gallery still employing 5 people on a rota
Exhibition in May: ‘Woodcarvings’ featuring 8 woodcarvers.
Exhibition in September: ‘Lock, Stock and….Box’ featuring 9 box makers.
2004 – Roof re-thatched and timbered
2006 – In May opened small café for Dansel customers with free drinks on purchases over £50. Open all year round serving espresso based coffees, teas and cakes etc.
2009 – 30th Anniversary in Abbotsbury, exhibition featuring over 70 makers
2014 - For 35th anniversary a competition was organised requiring customers to answer different questions about the shop. First prize was £1000 gift voucher to spend in Dansel. This was won by a local customer from the Weymouth area.
2016 – Dorset Art Weeks, 28 May to 12 June: Exhibition featuring Selwyn Holmes, Tilia Holmes, Bronwyn Holmes and Yvonne Tye on 'tree' themes including a series of wood plaques, pyrography and painting.
Story of Dansel
Best burners with good
Good burners but must
be well seasoned
Alder: Poor heat output and short lasting. A low quality firewood. Produces nice charcoal that burns steady.
Apple: Great fuel that burns slow and steady when dry, with little flame, sparking or spitting. It has a pleasing scent. It is easier to cut green. Great for cooking.
Ash: Considered one of the burning woods with steady flame and good heat output. It will bum when green, but not as well as when dry. Easy to saw and split.
Beech: Similar to ash, but only burns fair when green. If it has a fault, it may shoot embers out a long way. It is easy to chop.
Birch: This has good heat output but burns quickly. The smell is also pleasant. It will burn unseasoned. Can cause gum deposits in chimney if used a lot. Rolled up pitch from bark makes a good fire starter and can be peeled from trees without damaging them.
Blackthorn: Burns slowly, with lots of heat and little smoke.
Cedar: This is a great wood that puts out a lot of lasting of heat. It produces a small flame, a nice scent, and lots of crackle and pop. Great splitting wood. Good for cooking.
Cherry: A slow burning wood with good heat output. Has a nice sent. Should be seasoned well. Slow to start.
Chestnut: A mediocre fuel that produces a small flame and weak heat output. It also shoots out ambers.
Douglas Fir: A poor fuel that produces little flame or heat.
Elder: A mediocre fuel that burns quickly without much heat output and tends to have thick acrid smoke. The Hag Goddess is known to reside in the Elder tree and burning it invites death. Probably best avoided.
Elm: A variable fuel (Dutch elm disease) with a high water content (140%) that may smoke violently and should be dried for two years for best results. You may need faster burning wood to get elm going. A large log set on the fire before bed will burn till morn. Splitting can be difficult and should be done early on.
Eucalyptus: A fast burning wood with a pleasant smell and no spitting. It is full of sap and oils when fresh and can start a chimney fire if burned unseasoned. The stringy wood fiber may be hard to split and one option is to slice it into rings and allow to season and self split. The gum from the tree produces a fresh medicinal smell on burned which may not be the best for cooking with.
Hawthorn: Good firewood. Burns hot and slow. Traditionally gathered as bundles or 'faggots' for burning in winter.
Hazel: An excellent fast burning fuel but tends to burn up a bit faster than most other hard woods. Allow to season.
Holly: A good firewood that will burn when green, but best if dried a year. It is fast burning with a bright flame but little heat.
Hornbeam: Burns almost as good as beech with a hot slow burning fire.
Horse Chestnut: A low quality firewood with a good flame and heating power but spits a lot.
Laburnum: Completely poisonous tree with acrid smoke that taints food and is best never used.
Larch: Crackly, scented, and fairly good for heat. It needs to be seasoned well and forms an oily soot in chimneys.
Laurel: Produces a brilliant flame.
Lilac: Thinner branches make good kindling, whilst the thicker burn well with a clear flame and a very pleasant smell
Lime: A poor quality fuel with dull flame. Good for carving though! A bit of a waste to burn it.
Maple: A good all round firewood.
Oak: Oak has a sparse flame and the smoke is acrid if not seasoned for two years after winter felling. Summer felled Oak takes years to season well. Dry old oak is excellent for heat, burning slowly and steadily until whole log collapses into cigar-like ash.
Pear: Burns with good heat, good scent and no spitting. Needs to be seasoned well.
Pine species generally: (Including the dreaded Leylandii) Bums with a splendid flame, but apt to spit. Needs to be seasoned well and is another oily soot in chimney wood. Smells great and its resinous wood makes great kindling. Best used on an outdoor fire in the cold evening of a day out in the garden!
Plane: Burns pleasantly, but is apt to throw sparks if very dry.
Plum: Wood provides good heat with a nice aromatic sent.
Poplar: A terrible fuel that doesn't burn well and produces a black choking smoke even when seasoned.
Rowan: A good firewood that burns hot and slow.
Rhododendron: Old thick and tough stems burn well.
Robinia (Acacia): Burns slowly, with good heat, but with acrid smoke. Not a problem in a stove!
Spruce: poor firewood that burns too quickly and with too many sparks.
Sycamore: Burns with a good flame, with moderate heat. Useless green.
Sweet Chestnut: Burns when seasoned but tends to spits continuously and excessively.
Thorn: One of the best firewoods. Burns slowly, with great heat and little smoke.
Walnut: Low to good value to burning. It a nice aromatic scent.
Wellingtonia (Giant Sequoia): Poor for use as a firewood.
Willow: A poor firewood that must be dry to use. Even when seasoned, it burns slowly, with little flame. Apt to spark.
Yew: This burns slowly, with fierce heat. The scent is pleasant. Another carving favourite.
Which woods burn best?