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Branch or Trunk

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by katwillny, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. katwillny

    katwillny Guest

    I was talking to a friend yesterday about firewood and a question came up as to what part of the tree was better to burn branch or trunk. I told him that i wasnt sure and that I would think that the trunk is much denser but I wasnt certain. I recently got a nice oak score and being an old tree the trunk pieces are really heavy so I have been taking mostly large branches, ( 8 or 9 inch diameter). So does it matter which part is used, is one better than the other? thanks.

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  2. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Better?
    The density of knots is highest (where limbs attach to the trunk) I'd think would have the most BTU.
    Harder to split.

    Saying one is "better" is tough, I process everything 4" & larger into firewood.

    The trees I've been cutting are mostly trunk with very few large limbs. (Small limbs in the tops)
    For me the trunk us better because that's where the wood is.

    Trunk & big limb BTU/pound, I'd guess, are the same. I'd guess density is close too.
    ScotO likes this.
  3. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Don't think it matters. 5lbs of trunk is the same as 5lbs of branch of the same tree. There is probably a tree somewhere in the world that has different trunk wood than branch wood, but for arguments sake lets compare average firewood trees.
  4. katwillny

    katwillny Guest

    thanks for the reply
    I was referring to wood from the same. t
  5. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    Its nice to see a topic with a different thought to ponder here. (over the years most are repeats). I'm sure some one will have facts on this one way or another. My guess is the difference is negligible.
    ScotO and Trilifter7 like this.
  6. Havendalefarm

    Havendalefarm Member

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    I would think that the inner splits from a larger trunk may be slightly better. Especially the pieces with no bark. They would be mostly heartwood and have less cambium, sapwood and of course bark. There is something to be said though for the limb wood and smaller trunk wood that does not need to get split. It is nice sometimes to have some bigger rounds.
    Jags likes this.
  7. Coal Reaper

    Coal Reaper Minister of Fire

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    Large diameter trunks have less bark than smaller diameter branches for the same given volume. I would think less bark would allow faster seasoning. Also more heartwood in trunk which is denser. I typically dont bother with stuff smaller than 6". Up to 24" i would rather move bigger rounds vs the many more smaller ones. Whatever though, its all btus and will all burn.
  8. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Heartwood, I believe, has more BTUs than sapwood because it is denser. Trunks have a higher proportion of heartwood to sapwood, so should have a higher proportion of BTUs (in terms of volume).

    50 lbs of heartwood = 50 lbs of sapwood, but 50 cubic feet of heartwood > 50 cubic feet of sapwood in terms of BTU potential.
    ScotO, Coal Reaper and Jags like this.
  9. Havendalefarm

    Havendalefarm Member

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    We burn a lot of limb wood because some of the suburbanite customers don't like it. Have some others that say their door opening is ten inches so they don't want anything under ten inches split.
  10. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    If you cut dead Oak like I do, the less punky sapwood the better. :rolleyes: Big rounds are better for that, but you then have to deal with the size...wet Red Oak is kinda heavy. <>
    I guess either they've got a wood-eating smoke dragon or they're going for the long-burn record for their particular stove model. ;lol
  11. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I have no preference except that with many of the limbs, we can save the rounds from them. Some rounds in the stack is good because we burn them in mid winter and they seem to hold the fire really nice for overnights.
  13. Havendalefarm

    Havendalefarm Member

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    I wood guess the smoke dragon as the old Fishers and Kodiaks and Timberlines seem to still be the most popular in this area. That and box store stoves.
  14. katwillny

    katwillny Guest

    Didnt see your posts earlier. But Its good to see that a conversation about the topic was started or continued from yours. I picked up some really nice oak today and most of it is heartwood. That sucker is HE-A-VY.
  15. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    Branches tend to dry out faster, many on a dead tree can go right in the stove. Trunk needs a lot more time to dry out, but I think can give more heat and can coal up more.
  16. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    A pound of wood is a pound of wood, The Branches may have more bark=less BTU but neglecting this fact they are the same.
  17. Gark

    Gark Minister of Fire

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    The only small advantage I can think of is that the trunk could be split into more square or rectangular splits than branches could. Those squares could be packed more tightly in the firebox, less open spaces between splits. And it lets you treat a stove reload like a fun 3-D puzzle.
  18. Hickorynut

    Hickorynut Burning Hunk

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    I agree with those that think trucks give you more heat, if for no other reason than more heartwood. Friend of mine is so convinced all he goes after is big trunks usually red oak. Then he blows them in half with black powder and cannon fuse making the splitting process a whole lot easier.
  19. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I hope he makes his own black powder as that could get expensive.
  20. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Soft maples grow faster while young and slower as they age, no? Wouldn't you think the top is more dense if growth rate was an indicator?
  21. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Wait until you get your hands on some Hickory.
    ScotO likes this.
  22. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I love getting knarly, twisty, knotty pieces. I've found that they, being much denser than the rest of the tree, seem to burn the longest.
    Seriously, I ain't makin' that up! Yes, they can be a ROYAL PAIN IN THE AZZ to split, they don't fit very nice in the stacks, and they are hard to pack into a stove-full of nice and neat splits. But pound for pound, the crotches and knarls are the best pieces of any given tree......

    I stuff them in-between two rows in the stacks. Always save them for overnight/extended away-from-home burns.....
    BobUrban likes this.

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