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Burning Locust

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by barnuba, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. barnuba

    barnuba Member

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    Loc:
    South Central PA
    Quick question for those of you that have experience burning locust. I am burning locust splits in the 3-6" range and 11-15% MC range in my Jotul Castine and have outlined my experience in two different situations below:

    Locust with other wood mixed in: I have noticed that if I mix the locust with oak, cherry or walnut I can run the stove up to 500-550 degrees and shut the air flow down to 1/4 open and it runs like I am accustomed to seeing the stove cycle with a 4-5 hour burn time with stove top of 550 dropping to 200.

    Straight Locust: I have noticed that it is more challenging to get the stove up to the 500-550 degree range and then maintain the normal stove cycle range unless I keep the air flow open anywhere from 1/2 to wide open. The burn time seems to fall in the 4-5 hour range but I do have an excessive amount of coals when I go to reload unless I run the air intake open further than the 1/4 that I am accustomed to.

    To keep the locust burning hot is it normal to provide more air during the burn cycle? Any ideas why I am seeing the difference in operation?

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  2. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    Amanda, OH
    I seem to have more honey locust in my supply this year than any other wood. It burns extremely hot for me even with the damper and primary full closed. But burn times are less than most other hardwoods in my experience.
  3. lopiliberty

    lopiliberty Minister of Fire

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    Mineral County, WV
    I burn a mix of oak and locust and can get easily a 10 hour burn out of my liberty if I really take the time to pack the firebox. Useable heat would be a 5 to 6 hours range then down to a large pile of coals. I have only filled the liberty ONCE with all locust(AND WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN) I was so scared that I really didn't notice what the burn time was. With a mix of locust and oak my stove will go to 750 and stay there for an hour or two then it starts to drop off
  4. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Long Island NY
    Have been burning locust for 2 years and my experience is similar. When mixed with other wood the burn is excellent, hot, long and the fire bricks are clean and bright.

    When I burn locust alone it takes time to get going and needs more air. Can usually turn the air off or way down at some point but I have to provide more air end of the burn cycle or the brick and glass get discolored.

    Black locust is just very dense and smooth. I say its like lighting coal.
    ScotO likes this.
  5. Todd 2

    Todd 2 Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    NE Ohio
    Hi barnuba, I have burnt locust (yellow & black mix1/2 or more of my prime stash every year) for several years, this year I wound up with left over from last year wich makes 3 yr seasoned, the difference it unreal. Seems to burn hotter, longer, and almost no air feed.
    I use to mix burn it also, but that 3rd year of seasoning brought it to life for me, powder ash now also.

    Todd 2
    Backwoods Savage and ScotO like this.
  6. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Most people that know me on here know that I HATE locust.....matter of fact, I'm on a mission from God to rid the earth of all of it.:cool:

    So if you have any of that horrible wood, PM me your address and the best time for me to come and get that wretched junkwood off of your property.>>

    I won't even charge you gas money for my travel, I'll do it out of the goodness of my heart! ::-)

    All jokes aside, I've been burning it in the shop and house for YEARS, and its the best stuff I've ever burned. Right up there with hedge, ironwood, hophornbeam, etc.......I love going downstairs in the morning after 8 hours of sleep and see that heaping pile of red/orange coals with the 3 and 4" blue flames hovering over it after an all-night locust burn.....

    Great stuff. Now, where's that address so I can get rid of that crap for ya?;)
  7. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I hear a lot of people say locust seasons fast, like a year. That has not been my experience. Mine is 2 yr 8 month and it has gotten better.
    Backwoods Savage, Todd 2 and ScotO like this.
  8. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    ;lol
    ScotO likes this.
  9. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    You're exactly right, Jatoxico. I think any dense hardwood will do better with several years of seasoning. Don't get me wrong, it burns nice after a year or so, but after two years even better.....three years even better yet.

    The locust I'm burning this winter is 2 1/2 years old C/S/S, and it's amazing stuff. I mix it with silver maple and ash during the day (a split of locust, the rest is other wood) during the day, and at night I load three medium to larger sized splits in the stove......holds the house in the mid to low 70's all night long (with temps outside in the low teens to low twenties). Gotta love that locust!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  10. albertj03

    albertj03 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
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    This is my second year burning Locust and I've had similar experiences. I can burn a whole load of Locust but it takes longer to get up to temp and usually needs more air than normal to maintain an optimal burn. My favorite way to burn Locust is to mix it 50/50 with oak. I load the oak on the bottom and the Locust on the top. I get quick start ups with long hot burns. The locust is able to stand up to the intense heat generated by the secondary's better than any other wood I have ever burned. Sadly I don't have any Locust in next years stacks. =(
  11. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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  12. ohlongarm

    ohlongarm Minister of Fire

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    Northeastern Ohio
    Look at my avitar,I burn it and have a chitload,some 10 yrs young in my stove,I can hit 700*in no time BUT since the BK is the most controllable stove on planet earth when I kick her down she will cruise easily for 12 to 16 hours at 500*and still have little blue flames dancing on it. It all depends on your stove,locust in my opinion is the best there is I only have white powdery ashes at the end of a long burn.The locust in my BK gets a good 30 minute char on high before I cut it down for the long haul works 100%.Again all stove react differently I'm just telling you what mine does,I hope your happy burning locust in yours it's the chit for sure.
  13. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Holliston, MA USA
    You guys are making me dream of next year... I've got about 3/4 cord of black locust that I c/s/s in fall 2011 that will be next winters overnighter wood. Hearing that it seasons fast I split that stuff big... But I checked some of it last month and its still at 25-27%. I'm hoping one more summer does the trick but also wonder if I should resplit the bigger prices in the spring...
  14. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    It makes sense its stove dependent, because there are some who love Locust and others who complain about it.
  15. NextEndeavor

    NextEndeavor Burning Hunk

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Southern Iowa
    Half of my fuel supply is black locust, probably 12 pickup loads. The stuff burns great! The other half of my supply is a mix of several different species. Black locust does take more heat than oak to get it cooking good but then lookout. My honey locust seems more dense/heavier and actually lights easier and burns hotter. The only negative to BL is the smell. Many other hard and soft woods smell better to me. I have no complaints with burn times either.
  16. albertj03

    albertj03 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Southern Maine
    The smoke from Black Locust does stink pretty bad when you first load the stove. Doesn't bother me though because if it's cold enough to burn locust I'm usually not outside to smell it.
  17. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    Kennett Square, PA
    Love the Black Locust. It does burn a little different by itself.
    I almost always mix mine also. Big chunky coals put out some nice heat.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If the locust is well seasoned (check MC on the face of a freshly resplit split, then perhaps too much air? That will cool down the fire.
  19. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I'm glad you posted that thread, nice to know I'm not nuts. I find locust to be excellent wood but even well seasoned BL (mine is close to 3 yr) is dense and can be a PITA to light off. It is a night and day difference if you can throw in even a small amount of another species like oak or maple.

    Looking at a nice fire right now with a single stick of oak and the rest locust. Burning no problem but starting a cold stove with locust alone :rolleyes:. Since I have very little except locust I have learned to start off with small kindling size pieces (1" sq) and go from there with plenty of air.

    Quick story, in my current house I found an old wood pile of locust rounds completly covered with years of vines and leaves, you name it. Had to be 10 yrs if not more sitting in wet mulch. I uncovered it and split it up for use in the then open fire place and zero, I mean zero rot. Stuff is incredible in that regard.
    ScotO likes this.
  20. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    BG I've tried every air setting under the sun. I can only speak for myself but I've been pretty PO'd at times trying to get the fire going. There's no such thing as throwing a 1/4 super cedar with 4 6" splits of BL to start a fire. Thought I had stove issues but do the same with oak, even just a stick or two and it's like a new experience

    Now I got a chopping block right outside so I can split down pieces as needed to get started and for reloads.
  21. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    Ive found I get the hottest and longest burn when I mix locust with white oak 50/50, love the stuff, Im going to get a cord of it and maybe more if theres any left.
    jatoxico likes this.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I have to agree there. I would never try to do a dead start with 4-6" locust splits. Supercedars are awesome, but there are limits. Splitting down some locust into kindling size if that's all the wood you've got sounds like a good plan.
  23. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    I have been burning black/honey locust and everything said is true.
    What I have realized is in my location it needs more than a year to dry out.
    Also I have been resplitting it, bringing it in the house so it sits for a couple of days
    This has been working much better. I had to adjust my reload times because it last so much longer
    I can't reload under 12 hrs if I pack the summit with locust there is just to many coals.
    When I come home I have to open the air all the way which helps coals burn down but also get hot so the new load will light off faster. The kicker .. I had to resplit every split I had. There is no way I could load my stove with small splits of oak and get same results.. it feels like I am putting in pencils but stuff is so dense its amazing.
  24. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    That's exactly why the old timers (and even some people here in the 'right now') used locust posts for fences, grapevine arbors, polebarns, chicken coops, etc. You can plug one of those posts 3 feet in the ground for literally DECADES or more and it will most likely survive........there's still lots of farms in my area that have locust posts for their electric fences......in fact, my one buddy built his chicken coop out of them (that was around 12 years ago), they still look like new!

    I had a guy ask me at work if I could get him 100 or more locust posts (8" diameter by 8-9' long). I have access to an area with tons of locust that is just that size, but I had to lie to him and say no......he'd be cutting into my primo firewood!
  25. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Some of the very old homes around here still have locust poles lying directly on the ground as joists and as part of the foundation. This in area that is thickly wooded and gets something like >40" of rain a year. Tough stuff.
    ScotO likes this.

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