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Burning black locust

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Backwoods Savage, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I've stated a few times that I'd like to try some black locust because we have none around here. So, thanks to etiger (thanks Ed), we got some black locust. We burned some earlier in January and burned the last of it last night (except for a couple small pieces). So, how did it go?

    The first thing we noticed about it is the smell! Wife not happy for sure. She went outside again this morning when some was still in the stove and came in complaining. lol

    When I first started I was mixing it with ash and it burned nicely. Then we tried a full load. Stove and flue got up to temperature and we engaged the cat. Nuts. Temperature went down and flame died. Open the bypass and get the temperature back up. Now the cat lit off and the stove top temperature went up to 700. Held there for quite some time and then dropped very slowly. Don't remember how many nights we did this but had pretty good results with long burn times and huge bed of coals in the morning. That is one thing we noticed too is that it paid to have a large coal bed when loading the locust.

    So last night was a cold one and I loaded the stove with most of the last of the BL. Same scenario. Cat did not want to light off. Had to cycle it twice. There was no hissing or moisture coming from the wood but for sure it could have been drier. Also last night was strange in that we did not get a long burn time. I got up around 6:30 this morning just because the stove needed fed. This really surprised me. So I put in some more wood and crawled back in bed for a while. Tonight I'll be burning oak. Burned ash though most of the day.

    I do think the BL can be an excellent firewood and Ed tells me we'll soon have some honey locust to try out. It might be interesting. I'll give him some more good ash to burn too.
    zap, jatoxico, ScotO and 1 other person like this.

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  2. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm, is it possible that you gave it more air to get it going (even bone-dry, it's hard to light) and then when the load caught, the increased air burned it up faster?
    I haven't tried Honey yet either but my neighbor has a good-sized one that's dying, I just haven't gotten it yet. No hurry; It'll be two years before I burn it anyway, per Dennis rules. ::-)
    raybonz likes this.
  3. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I usually let locust take a little more time to catch when loading a split as it can be dense. I also find locust has large coals towards the end of the cycle and I open the air to get them to burn down. It is nice for cold nights like tonight, but not necessarily my favorite wood. Yes, it does stink when burning.
  4. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    I usually mix a couple of splits in with some Red Oak or something, and let it catch in it's own time. Really extends the useful heat output of a normal load.
    jatoxico, ScotO and fishingpol like this.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I agree mixing is a good idea with this. Woody, yes, I did give it more air last night but not for that long. Not really sure what happened but won't trip over my brain trying to figure it out. It only happened that once.
    ScotO likes this.
  6. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Could be "missing time". Do you think you may have been abducted? ;)
  7. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I have burned black locust and I found that a good hot bed of coals from oak or ash makes a big difference. Also give it some air until is charred good and it should keep going..

    Ray
  8. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I love to mix my BL or HL with ash, elm, or maple. The 'lesser' woods get going and spike the stove temp, while at the same time start gasifying the locust, once the lesser woods coal and ash off the locust is rockin' and takes over......
    I love locust, but like others said it works best with mixed loads if you're looking for it to take off quickly. Slow out of the gate, But you can't stop it once it gets goin'!
  9. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    Glad ya got a hold of some, Savage.
    I also love the coaling of BL. allows me to reliably relight at 630 AM after crashing at 11, even on a 4 split load. It's at least 70% of this winter's burn menu. In my limited experience,(2nd year) i haven't had much of a smell issue though. It is a PITA to light, and I have split a lot of maple and sass to compliment next year's locust.
    Backwoods Savage and raybonz like this.
  10. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    If it does not catch well, it'll stink up the yard and neighborhood.
  11. cptoneleg

    cptoneleg Minister of Fire

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    I am out of town and the wife is running the stove, I made two stacks one by the door that is just BL and another of mixed Oak, Maple and Ash. I had told her the BL should be used for cold nights and long burns. After reading this I called and asked how the wood on the porch was holding up and she said she had burned everything but the wood by the door (BL) I asked her if she was having any trouble with it and she said " no it lights right up it's real dry" the BL is her favorite wood.

    Before I put the BL in the woodshed I checked it ( just for the heck of it) and it was around 9% could be you need to let it dry a little.:)

    Can't believe I said that to Dennis;lol
  12. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Heh. I have almost 2 cords of it drying, and I live in a dense suburban neighborhood. My neighbors will love me next year.
  13. cptoneleg

    cptoneleg Minister of Fire

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    I don't notice any smell when burning BL, but then when I burnCherry I don't smell anything either. Think my stove burns everything up, even smell, or the smell blows away or something.
    Applesister likes this.
  14. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    Excellent coaling Dennis. I really like it also but really works best with some other
    type of wood with it, It really can warm up an area quickly. Its not oak though that's for sure. :)
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  15. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    5 degrees last night and I put 3 nice splits of BL in on a very nice bed of ash coals. Cat temp went down some but not so you would notice. With everything runng well, I went to bed and when I got up at 0600 this morning I had a beautiful bed of brightly glowing chuncky coals. Cat temp 800 room temp 72.

    Yep it stinks when you burn it for sure, but I'm inside when it's burning and my only neighbors are horses and neither of us care about the stink!==c
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. etiger2007

    etiger2007 Minister of Fire

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    I took delivery of that locust a week before Christmas 2011 and the seller said he had it split for six months before I bought it (didn't believe him so I let it set until this winter). Tonight I threw in a huge split of BL in the back of a freshly raked forward coal bed and loaded up ash splits on top and in front of it. Stove top is 650 and she burning nicely. I will never have useful heat at 4:30am when I get up, its just too cold for a non-cat 2.3 cf firebox to keep up with.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  17. ailanthus

    ailanthus Feeling the Heat

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    It's like coal. It seems like I have to have the air open further & longer than for anything else I've burned. Can't beat the heat output, though! This is 20 year old shed-stored BL, so moisture is definitely not an issue.
    Bret Chase and Backwoods Savage like this.
  18. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Hmm."

    Black locust is my all around favorite. It does take a good coal bed to get going, but it burns a LONG time and isn't as prone to running away like hedge (although I loves me some hedge). I usually rake the coals down...put two pieces of something "soft" like elm or slightly punky ash or oak in the center...then load it up with BL. The "soft" wood gets it going them it's auto-pilot from there on out.

    I think you are spoiled with 18 year old wood, Dennis.;)
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  19. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I only have BL at this point. Mixing in another species like oak makes life easier. As I have said in the past, BL is like lighting coal and since I have to do a lot of cold starts I've had to adapt. There is no such thing as throwing in five splits and a super cedar to start a fire.

    I deal with it by splitting up a piece or two into kindling sizes and making a crib so I get plenty of air. Once I have a coal bed it's no problem but don't let that coal bed burn down too much if you have somewhere to be.

    Next year is going to be primarily ash, cherry and oak. Kinda looking forward to that.
  20. Hickorynut

    Hickorynut Burning Hunk

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    When we moved here 17 years ago on this 3 wooded acres it was overgrown with locusts of all sizes up to 24" diameter. Terrible yard tree but some of the best firewood I have ever had. Everybody has about covered all the tricks of the trade burning this stuff. Couple of things to note, by the time I burn the locust I peel the bark or it comes off on its own and when I burn this there is no smell, so I think the smell comes from the bark especially when damp. Also, I have been able to burn my locust alot better with the epa stove I have now vs. the older country flame stove. Can burn just locust wood for days as long as I have a bed of coals to lay the next load on. Seems like all species have at least a couple of pluses and minuses:)
    Backwoods Savage and raybonz like this.
  21. etiger2007

    etiger2007 Minister of Fire

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    I got up around 6:30 this morning just because the stove needed fed.


    Dennis, what was your homes temp when you got up to re-load?
  22. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    Burned 5pc for the first time last night myself. Like the oak much better. The oak splits were glowing red when I put in the locust. Got up this morning to get ready for work and thought I would still see some good coals from the locust but no.
  23. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Is it possible that atmospheric conditions caused greater draft?
  24. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I think Woody is right . . . alien abduction is the only rational explanation.

    If Backwoods suddenly decides he wants to toss out his beloved Fireview and buy a Blaze King we'll know the aliens are bombarded his brainwaves telepathically.
  25. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    Black locust is a manly man's kind of wood, and no not like Sandelwood. No no not like Sandelwood.
    Interesting thread here. I sympathize with Backwood Savage's wife. Cant get past the smell and yes maybe it is in the bark. I think it smells like styrofoam burning or old bicycle tires. Worse than the cat pee of Cottonwood.
    I have been and always will be an aromatic wood snob. Sacrificing btu's for scent.
    Yup in my eyes(and thats where it hurts the worse) Black locust is best served lined up in the ground with horse fencing wire stapled to it. Where those resins serve best keeping the rot away. And not the cold.
    LEES WOOD-CO and Paulywalnut like this.

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