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Douglas Fir versus True Fir

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by clearblue16, Feb 5, 2009.

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  1. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Been burning big leaf maple for the past 6 weeks--hmmm. lots of ash. albeit longer burn time. with less heat.

    Only need 2 cords for top up for the next 2 years, but I am going to buy only fir or balsam..

    Living out here in the pnw, ya just can`t beat the fir for heat value. Unless of course, it is actually balsam in disguise ;-)

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  2. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    I'm with you on big leaf, Sonny. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but it's not superior to douglas. I suppose mixing the two would make sense, getting the heat of the fir and the coaling of the maple...
  3. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    The one thing I don't like about Douglas fir is the SAP.
    It's great for starting fires, but no mater how careful we are the stuff seems to end up getting on the floor, stepped on and tracked around the house. We keep a bottle of isopropyl alcohol and rags handy for cleaning the sap off our hands and other things, and in real tough cases I use acetone.
  4. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    It's pitch, not sap. And it's why God invented Simple Green.
  5. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    How do you figure it's pitch and not sap?

    And I think you got it backwards, God made sap, humans made that cleaning product.

    ;-)
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Redd displayed another regional name. Pitch is what sticks to your hands when handling wood here in the NW. I grew up around where Redd lives and we always called it pitch too. Rub your hands in the dirt and the pitch will become a dry dirt spot that will eventually flake off. I've used diesel fuel as a solvent too but you have to scrub a little.

    Good news, I'm almost done with my cottonwood pile and about to move onto my next 9 cords of doug fir in a few weeks.
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Sap is much thinner and can flow through the capillaries. Pitch is the tree's defense.

    That's like saying scabs are blood.
  8. Superlite

    Superlite New Member

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    I am not sure about that Fir is Abies, as in Abies Pinsapo or Spanish Fir ets... Douglas fir is Pseudotsuga as someone said earlier basically meaning false hemlock instead of false Fir.
  9. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    If you bleed and the blood drips on the floor do you call those drips blood, or a scab?
    Because that is what I get, some of the Douglas fir splits I bring in ooze sap and it drips on the floor.
    To me when someone talks about pitch I always think of the stuff that oozes out of the bark of pine trees and dries forming a scab. To me that is pitch, that's why I called what I'm dealing with "sap", it's not dry sap on the bark, it's liquidy stuff that oozes out the open cut grain.
    However, if someone wants to call sap pitch, or pitch sap I'm not gona correct them, technically it's all the same stuff. ;-P
  10. Superlite

    Superlite New Member

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    I am not sure but I think "Pitch" is a general name for a viscous fluid such as sap, resin,or tar etc... I think pitch/sap = tomatoe/tomato. However "pitch tar" is a a mean b**ch if you ever tear off an old hot roof that has "pitch" in the tar it will burn the heck out of your skin. It is the same stuff they put on telephone poles and timber piles for in water use. It is black, oozes on hot summer days and has a distinct smell, but if I am correct that is a completely different beast. But I think you all are arguing over two different meanings to the same s**t, I mean sap, oops i meant pitch. How many fluids are flowing through a tree? If you hit the wrong vein in a sugar maple will you get the wrong sap, or is that syrup?
  11. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    A pitch happens in baseball. A sap is a gullible person. The End!
  12. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    The original point when I mentioned the sap, or dripping pitch or syrup for those who would rather not call it sap, was that Douglas Fir has a lots of it, and the balsam Fir, which I also burn, has virtually none.
    I prefer to burn the Douglas Fir because the Balsam Fir burns up faster and gives off noticeably less BTUs. However I prefer to handle Balsam Fir because it ain't so blinking sticky as Douglas.
    So that was my replied opinion to the topic of the thread which was
    If I can make one more observation about what I have noticed handling Douglas Fir over the years is that older trees, and injured trees, seem to contain a lot more of this sap/pitch/syrup stuff than young, uninjured trees.
    All the Douglas Fir I am burning this year came out of one large older tree that had been standing dead for many years, and was missing the top portion of tree. It may have been hit by lighting at some time, it may have even been what killed it, so I think that is probably why I am getting more than the usual amount of sap.
    I was not in a position to be too picky about the wood I procured last year, I do hope to have that luxury this year.
  13. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    In Stewart Holbrook's great book on the history of logging, Holy Old Mackinaw, he describes how the loggers in the west learned they had to cut old growth fir at about 15 feet up, because of the incredible quantity of sap that came running out of the trees when cut any lower.
  14. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Sap = Deciduous

    Pitch = Coniferous
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