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Burning Sweetgum (Liquidamber styraciflua)

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Cedrusdeodara, Dec 7, 2008.

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  1. Cedrusdeodara

    Cedrusdeodara Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    146
    Loc:
    New Jersey
    Hi,

    Im a newby to woodburning. I recently installed a woodburning insert and I dove into the world of cutting/splitting/stacking/burning. My brother and I own a farm and have access to about 100 acres of woods. We try not to cut any living trees, and focus on flagging and cutting standing dead trees. We are cutting only hardwoods, primarily white oak, red oak, cherry, maple, sweetgum and some black gum.

    Several locals that burn woodstoves told me to shy away from burning Sweetgum or Blackgum due to their high levels of creosote. I've read some information here and elsewhere on the web that so long as it is fairly well seasoned, it is ok to burn. Is that other peoples experience here too? It seems to raplidly season and probably doesn't have a high BTU value, but the darn tree is like an invasive weed around here, so standing dead Sweetgum is easy to find and cut.

    Any help is appreciated. BTW, others have stated and I can attest that this stuff is rather messy to split. Splinters and wood fibers tend to hold the wood together after the splitter has bottomed out.

    Thanks
    Cedrusdeodara

    Stihl 361
    Speeco Specialty Products Splitter (3pt hitch hydraulic model)
    Osburn 1800, soon to be changed out to a Napoleon 1402

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  2. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Messages:
    627
    Loc:
    SW Ohio
    The sweetgum that I have in my woodstack is as well revered as the oak and locsut. It is 2 years seasoned and burns long and hot. Being a very dense deciduous tree I would expect that the long seasoning in order to get it down to proper mc levels would be a reason that others had trouble with creosote. If I had 100 acres of sweetgum I would sleep well for then next 10 years
  3. PA. Woodsman

    PA. Woodsman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,086
    Loc:
    Emmaus, Pennsylvania
    I burned some the other night and was impressed by it; I never (knowingly) had it before, but would take any that I could get. It burned nicely, threw decent heat, and burned a fairly long time. Was a bugger to split by hand, but the splitter showed it who was "boss". ANY wood that is dry and seasoned is okay; so many people say "Apple clogged my chimney" or Ash or (insert any wood here) when in actuality it was because the wood wasn't seasoned; like Rockey said you are in good shape with it!
  4. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Decatur, Alabama
    Sweetgum burns fine. A bit of a pain to split though, especially when green. In my scrounging to have some wood for my first ever burn season this year, I cut some late last year. A big top broke out of a large tree on my property line. I cut everything that did not need to be split and left the rest. I have finally burned some of it and it did fine.

    I think the reason the oldtimers say it causes creosote is that green Sweetgum holds water like a sponge. Once it is dry, it's fine.
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