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Anyone burn ELM exclusively?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Constrictor, Jan 29, 2009.

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  1. rydaddy

    rydaddy New Member

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    Burn it Baby!

    Most of mine lost the bark by the time I split it (does not split well for me, VERY stringy when green/wet) Let the rounds sit for almost a year and it split much better.

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  2. leaf4952

    leaf4952 Member

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    Where can I get a nice easy to read leaf / tree chart off the internet for IDing the trees on my property this coming summer ?
  3. dirttracker

    dirttracker Member

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    I've burned it for the last 5 years in my OWB and this year in my Tarm 40. It makes up about 95% of the wood I burn. It works well in both applications. Even dry, the wood had an acrid smell in my OWB when idling (fortunately no neighbors nearby). I don't miss that. Most of the elm I use has been standing dead for 3-4 years. I have so many dead elm trees here I can be selective and only take down the "oldest" dead trees. Most of what I have must be american elm, it can be tough to split and stringy as anything I've ever seen, but as it ages and dries out it becomes easier to split and less stringy. Of course the most difficult part to split is usually the large sections of the trunk nearest the ground. One twisty grained piece (~30" diameter) was tough enough to twist the wedge on my splitter. The large pieces can be a workout even with the splitter. I usually carry an axe along to seperate the real stringy pieces. Between myself and my parents we've probably burned near 100 full cords over the last 6 heating seasons wihtout any problems.
  4. Mesquite

    Mesquite Member

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    You might try this site.

    http://www.arborday.org/trees/whattree/
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Mike, yes, elm is a hardwood.
  6. kbarnes12

    kbarnes12 New Member

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    I burn what ever is available so I have burned quite a bit of elm. Before I had my splitter, I split about a cord with a sledge and maul when it was about O degrees. It splits easy when its very cold and I stayed plenty warm.
  7. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    How long do people find that it takes standing dead American Elm to season well enough to use in a gasifier? Around me, the elm disease means that elms come up along the roadsides, but never get very big, and then die off, then others repeat the cycle. I am a big fan of free wood, but I prefer wood that doesn't have to sit around a tremendously long time in order to be burn-able. I pruned some limbs off of my red oak a couple of years ago, immediately cut them to stove length, and set them in the sun under a shed roof overhang- and they still hissed and fizzed ridiculously in my cookstove when I went to burn them earlier this winter. I know it is good to plan ahead and allow time for wood to dry, but I haven't yet developed the patience or efficient handling methods for things that take more than one season to be ready to burn.

    Thanks
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    That's the problem with this "instant gratification" generation!
  9. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    Bah, I'm much more of a fogey than you may assume... but why do I want to mess with wood that takes 2+ years to be ready to use when I can focus on other types that I have at hand (ash, maple, hophornbeam, red pine) that can be cut in spring and ready for use the next winter?

    I am just trying to figure out what category standing dead elm is in
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Ja, it seems that the former generation has its shortcomings too. My father burned a lot of same year wood his whole life before a chimney fire burned his house to the ground.

    I tried burning diseased Elm once that had less than a year of seasoning and it was crap to burn. I guess it would depend on how long it stood dead and whether the bark had fallen off.
  11. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    Hey, I'm aiming to get better and better about having really dry wood, but heck, I won't bore you about the various other dimensions of life, job, and relationships (divorce, etc) trying to be an active parent to my kid, etc., that haven't exactly allowed me to make seasoning wood that requires more than a year the primary focal point of my priorities.

    I've done fine with white ash and sugar maple, and making sure that I run my fires hot so that I have never had a chimney fire- heck, I've never even had goo or glaze inside my flue- just at most a clean dark dust
  12. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    While we are talking about elm, I have another question. When I burn elm exclusively, I get these concrete like formations in the morning, some chunk like, others more pancake shaped. What is this and why does only occur with elm?
  13. dirttracker

    dirttracker Member

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    pbyr, I am currently burning elm in my Tarm 40 that I cut and split ~3 weeks ago. I try to give the split wood as much time inside to dry as I can before I use it. The trees were 3 - 4 years dead when I cut them (all of the bark off, trunks with numerous open splits). In my experinece if they stand more than 4 - 5 years dead they will turn papery and a good wind will break the tops off. The wood I cut 3 weeks ago is still a little too wet and it takes me some time to get a good fire going for gassification. Fortunatley I have a small supply of well seasoned black maple I can use to get the fire started. I would say if cut and split in the spring, the wood should be good to burn in the fall assuming the tree is at least 3 years dead. Almost all of the wood I have to burn is elm, so I'll see next fall if seasoned over the summer is enough. If a tree has not shed it's bark I pass it by and leave it for next year. I also check my chimney every couple of weeks and have not noticed any real buildup, only a fine layer of black and gray ash.
  14. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I split a cord of elm yesterday and just had to laugh at this piece. It was one of the last pieces, it was getting dark, the wind was picking up and the temperature was falling fast so I finally gave up. It wasn't a crotch piece so not sure why it was so stubborn. I'm not sure if the picture will show it but it was about 16" diameter and is now in 5 pieces, all still connected. As I always say, you don't really split elm, you just hope it tears easily. :)

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  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    IKWYM
  16. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

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    I think what you are seeing is the mineral in the ash getting hot enough to melt together. Silica is a mineral that is prone to doing this. Sometimes if you are gathering or cutting wood that has been on the ground for a while it will have some dirt on it and who knows what minerals you have in the soil.

    Whatever the mineral is we can be assured that the wood is burning rather hot in your stove. Perhaps this dry elm burns hotter than the other wood that you have tried.
  17. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

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    That is one awesome split. I think you are going to have to "herd" that thing into the stove and call it good.
  18. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    It definitely does. I was burning some maple that I cut and split last spring assuming it was dry by now but after realizing I just wasn't getting the heat even though it appeared to burn fine, I split a few pieces and found out it was still in the 30's. So, back to elm.
  19. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

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    Wow! Well at least we know it will burn.

    Once in a while I will get a few of these klinkers out of my stove but so far, I have not had to run the stove hard or hot enough to produce much of it. When I do get them, it is usualy after i pick up some wood from the ground layer of the stack. I just assumed it was some dirt frozen to a piece of wood.
  20. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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    This is pretty interesting. Sounds like elm is good wood. Right know im buring a cord i purchased that was supposed to be oak but its not, i think its soft maple. pretty white wood with strait grain and easy looking splits. It burns ok but i dont care much for it. Not real hot and leaves lots of ash.
  21. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    Wow- I'd say that "you don't split elm, you just argue with it and hope you win." I am glad that any of the stuff I may take down is only about 6" max dia, since it is all teenage trees that try to grow and then get wiped out by the elm disease. Though I wish the disease would go away- elms are one of the most beautiful trees I've seen, especially on a hilltop against the sky.
  22. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

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    I was splitting the green hackberry that I cut this week, 1 hit, usually split. The picked up a piece of green elm, not really paying attention. Took me 5 minutes to pry the small maul from the log. Threw it back in the pile and picked up some more hackberry. Hope that elm fits into the stove, I'd hate to have to split much of it.
  23. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    That description sounds like Poplar.
  24. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I like that even better. OK if I steal it?

    Why when 30" is so much fun? :)
  25. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I got a couple cords of elm logs last year and after cutting them up, went out and tried to split the first piece with my 8# maul. It wasn't pretty. Next stop was at the implement store to rent a 37 ton splitter!
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