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Advise on sweetgum

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by mharmon, Mar 3, 2009.

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  1. mharmon

    mharmon New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Western WA
    I live in the pacific northwest and good hardwood is hard to come by. Mostly all we have is conifer softwoods like douglas fir, hemlock, and cedar. I have the opportunity to obtain ~1 cord of sweetgum for free. I hauled and split some of it tonight and WHOA!! It's tough stuff. I've read other posts saying that sweetgum isn't that great of a hardwood to burn.

    How much better would it be then douglas fir or cedar? Currently coniferous softwood is what I burn and it's gone in no time.

    Even if sweetgum is not that great for a hardwood, hopefully it'll last longer in my stove then all the doug fir and cedar I burn. Also, it is a given that the sweetgum will be properly seasoned before I burn it.

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  2. JeffRey30747

    JeffRey30747 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    234
    Loc:
    NW GA USA
    Sweetgum can be problematic to split for sure. I burn a small amount of it because it is a nuisance tree on my property and if I'm going to cut it down anyway, I might as well buck it up for the stove. It doesn't hold up well when exposed to the elements here in the southeast. I would expect that to be worse in your climate. Try to keep it good and dry and you should do better with it than with most softwoods.
  3. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Messages:
    651
    Loc:
    MD near DE&PA;
    It doesn’t hold up well when exposed to the elements You can say that again degrades fast IMO
  4. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,071
    Loc:
    Silicon Valley
    I just got a free cord of it. It bucks easy, but splitting can be a crap shoot. Some splits real easy, some splits stringy and the grain looks twisted. I definitely wouldn't have paid for it or gone to pick it up, but I couldn't turn down delivered to my front lawn for free..
  5. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,071
    Loc:
    Silicon Valley
    Another Swetgum lesson: It shrinks a lot when it dries. I just had to 'shake' my stack to get the sweetgum to settle as the stack was starting to look a little unstable. The height of the stack is probably 8" shorter than when I stacked in march.
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