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Burn time by species

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Joful, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    So, I've been ripping thru wood at a pretty good pace, as much as 3/4 cord in a week. Stuffing both stoves 'till there ain't room for much else besides a toothpick, and still finding stove top temps of 150F and nothing but coals after 11.5 hours away at work. I think a 3.0 cu.ft. catalytic stove should do better!

    Because my hardwoods aren't yet well-seasoned, I've been burning almost entirely softwoods, with maybe one or two small or medium hardwood splits thrown in on top. Last night I threw a really big split of red oak in on top of a load of poplar (or sycamore?, can never tell those two apart). This oak was more dry than most of my stock, because it was a narrow wedge split out of a big round, with almost entirely split faces exposed.

    Poplar has 13 MBTU/cord, Sycamore 18 MBTU/cord, and red oak 22 MBTU/cord. This morning, the poplar (or sycamore?) was completely gone, but that one big oak split was only half consumed, still keeping my stovetop at 350F. I imagine that if I had a full load of oak, I'd be able to wait until this evening to even bother reloading, given how far I had the stove shut down.

    I can't wait for next year! I have about 12 cords of good eastern hardwoods stacked and drying now. Maybe I'll be able to cruise on 2 loads per day, rather than pushing 3 loads per day and still running oil to keep temps above 70F. I really don't know how the folks out west stay warm burning this softwood garbage!

    http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howood.htm

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  2. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser Feeling the Heat

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    There's something wrong with the wood that you are using; stuffing a firebox full of poplar even should easily produce temps above that 150F you described and the reason the oak lasted longer is you had to heat the moisture out of it first. Putting those one or two hardwood splits on top of the softwood coals is probably also just making the temps lower if that hardwood isn't seasoned. Get some good wood and you'll see that it isn't too hard to accomplish what you want (with hardwoods or with softwoods) its just that with the softwoods you have to reload really frequently compared to the hardwoods.
  3. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Maybe I should have been clearer. The stove top temp is 150F after 11.5 hours, but 450'ish for the majority of the burn.

    On poplar, the stove top temp holds around 450F - 500F during the first 8 hours of the burn, coasting down between hours 8 - 11, to the final 150F at 11.5 hours into the burn. With the addition of some big oak, I was still at 300F at hour 10.
  4. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

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    I don't buy the idea of the BTU/wood formula because there are too many variables. The numbers the labs come up with are based on ideal conditions. With each of us that is not always the case plus there are a number of other variables aside from the science of the wood. All good dry wood will always burn better and hotter than would with moisture in it. Additionally, in my case, if I am leaving my home for a length of time I prepare the stove but I don't want it at top temperature all day if I am gone. I would rather save the wood and stir up the coals and ember when I return home placing new dry hard wood in. Each of us has different conditions that affect the operations of our stoves such as drafty houses, good and poor insulation, draft and chimney conditions, location of the stove, ambient temperature and more. So we each modify our methods with the conditions around us. Just some food for consideration. I have always maintained that there are not magic formulas.
  5. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    This sounds kinda reasonable to me, but based on past experience, I do find red oak to last and heat twice as long/much as poplar. (2 species we have a lot of here) I can only imagine what it is like for those westerners burning pines and spruces.

    I think Joful is doing GREAT with poplar at 11.5 hours.

    We are loaded with oak, and whenever I switch from maple, poplar, beech, gum, holly, spruce....to oak; I see a big difference in burning and in ash production. Oak is just great stuff.
    Joful likes this.
  6. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

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    I like the white oak as much as the red oak which makes up the majority of my wood. But I have other species mixed in as well depending on how and where I get it from. Locust, maple (a variety of types, some cedar, ash, sycamore, linden, fruit woods, and just about everything else I run accross that will burn. We'll say I don't waste anything. If it burns, it goes in the stove.
  7. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Joful, be happy.
    I have to load my old stove about twice as often as you to keep the house warm in these temps.:cool:
    That has a lot to do with less than ideal insulation, but still, to be able to only load 2-3 times a day would be like heaven.;)
    gyrfalcon and Joful like this.
  8. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Just burning pine here. We get one fire going before going to bed and it warms the house up through the night and keeps the house warm enough all day. So that's one reload of pine per 24 hours.
    Good insulation is the key, or perhaps the climate where you live?
    Backwoods Savage and Kevin Dolan like this.
  9. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    Then I do not know what I am doing wrong.....Our house is insulated to the 9's.....When it is 108 outside the upstairs has never reached over 71 and the downstiars stays 68....it holds the heat too...no doubt...but we burn pine exclusively and we put in big splits...stuff the stove and get 5-6 hour burns that leave the stove at about 250::Fwith decent coals to reload off of. of course we do have a 3000 sq foot house (1500 below and 1500 above...but your burn times are unreal...I have never even come close to those
  10. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I think I see the problem! You should've insulated to the 10's.
    PapaDave likes this.
  11. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Don't get me wrong, I'm not getting 24 hr burns, it's just the one overnight burn is enough to keep the house warm all day. I usually only get about 6 hours of burn, with another couple hours of heat producing coals. Temps outside hovering around freezing.
    Your house is twice the size of mine. A 3000 sq ft house is pretty big to be able to expect to heat the whole thing with a space heater (wood stove), however I have successfully heated 2,000 sq ft before with a single wood stove in the lower basement floor. But I could see how adding another 1,000 sq ft might have pushed the limit a bit.

    BTW, it seems strange running your wood stove when it's 108 outside. ;)
  12. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    I am willing to bet any seasoned less than desirable wood is way better than very desirable wet wood. I am willing to bet 17% MC poplar is way better than 35% MC oak.. Plus you are burning better and safer.
    Backwoods Savage, corey21 and Joful like this.
  13. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah..but we do like it warm!
    Backwoods Savage and Lumber-Jack like this.
  14. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Joful, those are really good burn times. I'd venture a guess that you'll get fabulous burn times next year. Something to look forward to.

    3/4 cords a week??? Face cords, I hope..... I can't even imagine putting 3/4 of a true cord through the stove in a week....I'd be stuffing wood in day and night, and it doesn't sound as if you are doing that....BUT...you do have TWO good sized stoves....

    Wonder how much wood Browning Bear goes through....
  15. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    I burned about a half cord of pine this year. Maybe less? I can get 12-24 hours out of my 3.5cuft stove drafed down to a low burn. It seems to burn the same timem, maybe less than oak, but there is a huge difference in the heat output now.
  16. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I went through 75% - 80% of a full cord in 8 days, when we were having some very cold weather two weeks ago. That's above my normal rate of usage when it's less cold, but when you do the math, it's not really that much! I was doing 3 loads per day in two stoves, so that's really only 0.75 * 128 cu.ft. / 8 days / 6 loads/day = 2.0 cu.ft. per load, on average.

    I'm hoping (for his sake!) that BAR went thru less wood than me. He's got more years experience (better technique), and more years of stockpiling wood (better wood). I think that if I had been able to burn more oak and less poplar, I'd have gone thru less wood, too!
  17. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    Do have some Almond with my name on it but it is a couple hours away...anxious to try burning it.
  18. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Poplar (go for wood) at 11.5 hours ;? You are doing something RIGHT !
  19. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    On Tulip Poplar, I've seen numbers around 16 mostly, 24 on Red Oak, 28 on BL. So if a packed load of Red Oak burns 12 hrs, the BL should last 14 I guess, Poplar 8. Lotta variable though, I know...
  20. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Tulip/yellow poplar is not a true poplar though... its in the magnolia family. True poplar is more like cottonwood.
  21. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I'm pretty sure this poplar is what I hear folks in other parts of the country call cotton wood. This came from a large tree bucked into rounds 3-4 years ago, and split and stacked last year.
  22. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    You are correct.
    Here on the western shore, we are loaded with Tulip trees. They break easily in storms, and are heavy with water. After drying, the wood is the lightest hardwood I've burned. It burns good, but don't expect much out of it. You see it in the CL ads for free wood. Most are not willing to go to much trouble to haul it off, and they can be very large.
    Here is the most famous, on the campus of St. John's College:
    http://www.mcbridegallery.com/showopenings/libertytreehistory.html
    Don't know how it survived that long.

    They are good for dimensional lumber.
  23. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    WOW! 3/4 cord a WEEk?? I've burned 3/4 of a cord in 7 weeks, and I'm burning almost 24x7.
  24. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

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    If you are burning 3 cords/month. Joke -> I would switch to burning 20 dollar bills instead of wood, may be more cost effective.

    Something doesn't add up, I doubt you could burn that much in an open fireplace in a week.
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I agree you are doing great with poplar. Still, if it were me and my wood consumption was that high I'd close off part of the house during the coldest weather.

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