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Age of tree

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Richie, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Richie

    Richie Member

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    Does the age of a tree affect potential BTU's. For instance, does a 15 year red oak throw the same heat as a 90 year old red oak. Just took down a red oak that was maybe 25 ft tall and 8" diameter. The wood looked different to me than that of a more mature tree.

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  2. JOHN BOY

    JOHN BOY Minister of Fire

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    Oak is Oak , i really dont think diameter will directly effect BTU'S . Maybe others can chime in .
    HDRock likes this.
  3. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Different how?
  4. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

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    I could see a difference in slow growth vs. quick growth, but that's a flat out density issue.
  5. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    I see a difference in Pin oak branches and the straight run of the tree. I don't see how age could effect BTU's.
    HDRock likes this.
  6. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    The bigger the trunk, the more heartwood vs. sapwood....
    Joful, ScotO and HDRock like this.
  7. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Speed of growth doesn't necessarily affect density. In deciduous / hardwood species, slower growth often means wood is less dense, not more. Slow-grown wood *looks* denser because the rings are closer together, but that doesn't mean there's more material packed into a smaller space; it's just less new wood per year. Discussion on another forum:

    Wikipedia:
    jeff_t and ScotO like this.
  8. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I can tell ya for a fact that woods such as pine, poplar, and even maple are denser if grown in a forest vs. grown in an open field or yard. Old growth poplar and oak (virgin timber) grown in dense forests had much denser/harder properties.

    The 9'x9"x9" hand-hewn pine beam from an 1860's barn I tore down is proof of that.....sucker weighs over 300lbs., and in the 9"x9" end there is over 170 annual rings if I'm not mistaken......I'll have to get a pic of it later when I get home.....
    Hickorynut likes this.
  9. Hickorynut

    Hickorynut Burning Hunk

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    In my opinion, woody stover nailed it. The bigger the trunk, the more heartwood, which is denser. The caveat to this would be the rot you might find in older trees especially near the bottom.
    Mitch Newton, ScotO and Joful like this.
  10. Richie

    Richie Member

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    Yeah that is interesting. When you look at the endgrain of a locust log, it appears to be 99% heartwood with about an 1/8" of sapwood where cherry and oak may have an 1" to 2" of sap wood. Heartwood does not decay as fast.
  11. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    That's not always the case.....I've cut many, MANY trees down over the past 10 years and I can tell you a tree that has a limb lost (lightning strike, wind or ice damage, etc) doesn't always heal well, and that wound allows water, bugs and other critters to take residence, leading to very fast heartwood decay on some instances. Also, borer worms in some species (oak for example) that can come up from the taproot can eventually ruin the core of the tree, which eventually leads to ants or termites, and can literally eat the tree from the inside out.

    Some species.of tree also have much more sapwood than others (walnut, cherry etc.). Much of how a tree decays or lives healthy depends on many combined factors....
    Mitch Newton likes this.
  12. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    IMGP3898.JPG

    This is a large piece of petrified wood, very old, very solid, but NO BTU value! ;lol


    IMGP3900.JPG

    This was found on the side of a freshly constructed logging road; just a piece of road ballast.

    IMGP3901.JPG

    It really is solid rock.
  13. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    I've seen a few posts on this subject over in the "Boiler Room" and the general consensus :) is that once a type of wood is dry, the BTU output per lb is constant. ;)
    Applesister and nrford like this.
  14. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    A pound of feathers vs a pound of lead? lol

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