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Before you ask "can I burn XXX wood", read this...

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by CowboyAndy, Dec 22, 2008.

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  1. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    Chateaugay, NY
    In my travels I have learned so far that 95% of wood has a place in heating with wood, whether you are a 24/7 OWB burner, or a weekend insert burner.

    Personally, I have not come across any wood that I have not burned. Hard woods have their place, as to soft woods. Basiclly, if it burns, burn it!

    Hard woods are great for night time burns and when the mercury really drops down.

    Soft woods are awesome for getting things nice and toasty in the morning with minimal effort.

    The "in between" stuff is great for when you are hanging around the house and can feed the fire often.

    My aresenal includes:

    Hickory and maple for cold temps and overnights... large rounds and splits exclusivly.

    Cherry, white birch, yellow birch and aspen for hanging around the house times... both large rounds/splits, and small diameter and short stuff.

    Pine, aspen, spruce and boxelder of assorted sized including small diameter, small splits, med splits and short 8-10" stuff for mornings to get the fire going hot and fast.

    "Junk wood", meaning everything from 3" cut offs, stumps, small branch pieces and everything else that doesnt stack well, great for both getting things going in the morning to feeding the fire with when hanging around.

    "punky wood" burns hot and fast, just like soft wood. Again, great for heating things up. As long as its not like a sponge, its okay to use. Example, we had some maple that was cut from our yard about 6 years ago and piled in front of the barn at the back of the property. The stuff was pretty much burried, covered in dirt and just plain yucky. We pulled it out, split it and let it dry out from the ground moisture. It burns hot and fast, but the key is that it burns!


    Size wise, I have everything from 10" splits to 1" "sticks".

    What I WONT burn (that is avalible to me): cedar. not worth the effort copmpared to what you get out of it. Thats about it.


    If it burns, BURN IT!

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  2. Malatesta

    Malatesta New Member

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    Dec 1, 2008
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    Well i agree you its nice to have different sized splits and a good mix of different woods for the stove. Most of my wood is Oak and Locust for the hardwoods , then cherry and maple. I have some poplar around for kindling.
  3. PunKid8888

    PunKid8888 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
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    South East NH
    Yea I am pretty much the same way, if it fits in the stove I burn it. Hell my friends sometimes come by and drop off some wood after felling small trees we don't even know what they were, but they burned.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I'm a wood snob, not a wood slut. Some woods I'd have to get desperate to burn. As for the often asked open-ended question, if it's wood and it's dry, it will burn.
  5. free75degrees

    free75degrees New Member

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    i wonder how good balsa wood would be
  6. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

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    Well I finally see a term for me as I burn anything that I can get my hands on........A wood slut. Glad to see that LLigetfa has put my burning into real terms.
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Hey, it's easy to be a snob when you can afford it. I have 18 acres of junk wood that isn't worth the effort with only half the BTUs of the good stuff I will pay to get delivered. It's more than double the work per BTU, takes up twice the room in my shed, twice the dirt dragged in the house, four times as much ashes, and doesn't last through the night. On top of that, some woods just plain stink.

    But like I said, if I get destitute and desperate, I can just go out back with my swede saw.
  8. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    Northern Kentucky
    Most of my junk wood gets burned in the garage or the fire pit. I won't turn any wood down though...welll maybe cottonwood.
    Some soft woods I won't burn in the house at all, Catalpa being one of them.
  9. Malatesta

    Malatesta New Member

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    Well beins most of my wood is 85% Oak and then mixed cherry and maple, a little locust and mulberry . i guess iam a woodsnob LOL :lol:
  10. Elderthewelder

    Elderthewelder Minister of Fire

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    My co-worker and I are known as "wood whores" by our peers, we take just about anything (except cottonwood) including cedar, but if things keep going the way they are as far as scrounging goes, I may be taking cottonwood in the near future
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Then you might become known as a non-discriminating wood burner.

    I'm guessing Cottonwood is pretty much the same as Poplar, BTU wise. I have mostly Poplar on my 18 acres and burned all that I cleared for the house and yard. If I cull some at the edge of my yard, it's a 50/50 chance (depending which way I fell it) I might burn it.
  12. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    i used to get some cedar if it was already down , just a couple rounds, bust it up into smalish pieces to use to start kindling fires, mostly though i loved keeping some in the woodbox just for the scent it added, actually it made for some of the best kindling wood ive used as far as natural wood,

    of course "supercedars" work wonders as well if looking for prepackaged kindling ;-P <<<shameless plug for a friend.
  13. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    I wonder if poplar around here is different than elsewhere. Poplar burns hot and kind of fast. Great for days when you can keep filling the stove, plus it is often free. The only wood I won't burn is willow. Produces no heat at all.
  14. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    Don't leave softwood laying on the ground after you cut it for any length of time. Even a week, it'll get all punky and rotten and won't burn with a turd. Fact is, it'll burn like a turd.
  15. RobinJoe

    RobinJoe New Member

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    Don't knock turds, people all over the world burn dried turds as a primary source of heat.
  16. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    I'd never really added that up... I do recall wondering once, "How is it they cook food to eat, over a turd?" I mean, isn't that usually something we try to keep away from our food?
  17. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    I'm definitely in the indiscriminate category. We had a couple of cedars taken down two years ago, and as Mike says, they make great kindling and shoulder seasons fires here. I have to make sure that I let my wife know what we're burning because cedar takes off in a hurry.

    Softwoods can also stay down for some time before becoming punky. I had some fir down in the spring of '07 that was bucked up this past summer and there was no degradation at all. In fact, after I changed the direction of my drying stacks, it was not ready to burn this year.
  18. lexybird

    lexybird Minister of Fire

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    next year im not messing around its going to be all seasoned oak for me ..maybe ill just be selcetive on how i cut it so i have a good variety of splits medium hunks and over night lunker logs. like mentioned wood is cheap and alot of work ..the softer woods and poor btu woods take twice the ash effort stacking sawing and carrying ,seems like a waste if i want a short fire or shoulder season fire ill keep them smallish or for short durations and use branches and little splits ,i hate wood that burns too quick like pine, aspen ,elm poplar etc
  19. caber

    caber New Member

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    I'll burn anything i cut down. It all has a place and a time regardless of if it's hardwood or soft.
  20. Outdoorsman

    Outdoorsman New Member

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    Mi.
    I guess I'm lucky.

    I cut what it here & what is here is red/white oak, green/white Ash, Silver, red & hard Maple, Hickory, Black Cherry, Mulberry, Elm & a bit of Osage & locust.

    Have a few Cottonwoods & Basswood trees also, but have not yet cut any of those.

    I cut more White Ash than all the others combined as there are so many of them dead in my area.
  21. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    Emerald Ash Bore?
  22. Adabiviak

    Adabiviak Feeling the Heat

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    'Bottom feeder' is the term my wife uses regarding my wood gathering techniques. Nothing but wood goes into the stove (not even paper), but otherwise anything goes.
  23. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    The way I see it is that some people may CHOOSE to only burn certain species, but certainly there are no bad species of wood, meaning anything that is dangerous or hurt your stove. The only BAD wood is unseasoned wood or any type of treated wood.
  24. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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    My answer to "hardwood or softwood" is "Yardwood" ... i.e., I usually burn what I can scrounge. Either folks leave nicely cut firewood at the curb (really, it does happen, 'tho it's usually green and I have to let it season for a year or so) or I find free wood via Craigslist. I can rarely tell exactly what species of wood it is by looking. Oh, I can spot pine or eukie, but can't tell ash from elm ('till I try to split it, LOL). When scrounging, I try to find 12" or smaller logs that I can split w/ ax or maul, but if I find larger rounds, I'll save 'em up 'till I rent a splitter from the local yard.

    Occasionally, I burn what's been cut down from my own yard, but that's very expensive because I'll will only hire competent tree trimmers. But if it needs trimming anyway, I might as well get the wood. I have a small amount of Catalpa from that and I actually like it. Seasoned very quickly, splits like a dream, burns quick but fairly hot, and makes a nice popping sound (always use the spark screen).

    Ocassionally I have to buy wood, but it's usually the same stuff ... i.e., I buy the least expensive seasoned wood I can find, so it is almost always from tree trimmers anyway and of mixed origin.

    Of course (1) I live in So. Calif. ... it doesn't really get COLD here; and (2) the fireplace is strictly supplemental heat and asthetic -- we have a nat. gas central furnace that I try to use as little as possible, but me wife has different standards.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
  25. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    You may want to revise that a bit. A wood fired boiler maker (no the beer and whiskey kind... you get my drift) suggests that burning only oak in your boiler will cause corrosion. I do not know that it has been confirmed. Until this year I burned oak exclusively in my insert because that's what I have most of in my yard.
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