evil evil pine

mattjm1017 Posted By mattjm1017, Feb 8, 2013 at 9:37 PM

  1. mattjm1017

    Feeling the Heat

    Oct 23, 2012
    Corapeake NC
    My whole life I've been told that you cant burn pine in a wood stove it will burn your house down. Fast forward a couple years and I join this forum and everyone seems to be ok with burning pine. So my question is how did pine get its bad reputation and is it ok to burn. I got involved in a pine is of the devil conversation at work and would like to have some comebacks for next time on the pros and cons of burning pine.
  2. DexterDay


    Oak takes 3 yrs and people only season it 3 weeks (well, no one here) :)

    Pine seasons rather fast.....

    After you Sote up your flue burning Wet Oak, then burn some pine (and leave the Air control Wide open like they have been with the Oak) the Pine burns hotter (normal temps) and starts a chimney fire.

    There are a couple other scenarios. But this one is my favorite.

    Just season your wood properly and it will all burn well. :)
  3. mattjm1017

    Feeling the Heat

    Oct 23, 2012
    Corapeake NC
    Thats what i was thinking. I told the guys at work as long as its seasoned it should be f ine they said no it causes creosote because its full of sap. I just find it funny that this one wood has gotten such a bad rep I know it burns up fast and doesn't have the btus of other wood like oak but hey why not burn it anyway.
  4. StihlHead


    Where does all this BS come from, like you cannot burn pine in a wood stove? If that were the case my house should be reduced to rubble by now.

    I am burning black pine in my stove right now with some red cedar, as a matter of fact. Its been warmer the past few days here so I flipped to burning shoulder wood: cottonwood, pine and cedar. Pine is light wood, but there are many types of pines out there. Some are heavy and have a lot of heat, but most species have light wood and have not so much heat. They burn fast and hot if they are not damped down and they do not coal up like hardwoods do. They tend to have a lot of sap and/or turpentine in them which is why they have a reputation for fast burning and/or burning out of control. I have no problems with it, other than that it burns fast.

    As for creosote fires, I can overfire my stove with any type of dry wood in there. Just leave the damper open and it will take off.
    Jeffm1, Seanm and (deleted member) like this.
  5. red oak

    red oak
    Minister of Fire

    Sep 7, 2011
    northwest Virginia
    You might want to point out that out west that is all a lot of people have! They burn it just fine. Many on this forum have burned it in their stoves and do great as well. As with any wood, let it dry out and it will be good to burn. I hear a lot of this myth also from friends and family. I just nod and walk away...
  6. Mr A

    Mr A
    Minister of Fire

    Nov 18, 2011
    N. California
    i just split up a pickup load of pine rounds today. Fresh cut just last week. I plan on this being next years kindling. This load had very little sap. Something else I learned here- pine is best cut in winter, less sap. Sap holds a lot of water, contributes to more creosote, contributes to more chimney fires. Dry sap resins add BTU's. and so thst is the information I have gathered, I have not burned a lot of pine, yet. I don't see any problem with it if seasoned, just another soft wood.
  7. ScotO


    I love having pine for shoulder seasons, and also for mixed loads in the middle of the winter. Nothing gets a fire going hot really fast like pine, I use it for kindling all year long and small splits for re-starts........I also love using it in my maple syrup evaporator. It is mind boggling how quick that stuff can get that pan boiling!

    People can keep thinking it's bad to burn. Give me your address and I'll come and get rid of it for you!
    Mitch Newton, red oak and blujacket like this.
  8. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy
    Minister of Fire

    Feb 12, 2012
    Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
    When they tell you're gonna burn you house to the ground burning pine just tell them what Sun Bear said: "If your philosophy does not grow corn, I do not wish to hear about it.";)
  9. Gasifier

    Minister of Fire

    Apr 25, 2011
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.

    This is interesting from Chimneysweeponline.com, you may want to hand them this and then just walk away like Red Oak.

    Q: I notice that your fuelwood chart lists many softwoods (fir, pine, etc.). Although I haven't seen anything specific on your website regarding this subject, I always understood that one should NEVER burn softwoods as fuel. I would be very interested to hear your comments. You have a superlative website, and I really wish you made housecalls to Norristown, PA.

    Robert Monaco

    [​IMG] A: You hear all sorts of negative things about softwoods. Some have basis in fact, and some don't. The folks who live here in the Pacific Northwest, and other places where hardwood species don't proliferate, burn softwoods like Pine, Alder and Douglas Fir out of necessity. Contrary to popular folklore, we softwood-burners haven't blown ourselves up, and our children don't have webbed toes. Here are some legends you hear about softwoods, and the facts.

    1) Softwoods cause more creosote to form in the chimney.
    False. The creosote issue is about water content, not resin content. The high resin (pitch) content of certain Fir species actually gasifies readily, and burns hot and clean. It doesn't "turn into creosote" in the chimney, as some folks would have you believe. HOWEVER: high resin content can allow wood to burn readily while still not dry enough to burn properly. Often, people simply don't give Fir enough time to season, and wind up burning it while its moisture content is too high. Which results in heavy creosote formation, and the popularity of this piece of folklore.

    2) Softwoods don't have any heat value.
    False. Actually, all wood species have about the same heat value, pound for pound. But, if you'll have a look at our fuelwood chart, you'll notice that a cord of hardwood weighs more than a cord of softwood. A load of high-density hardwood contains more wood fiber than a load of low-density softwood, so it has more heat value. This means you might have to burn more PIECES of softwood to heat the same area, but you're actually burning about the same WEIGHT of wood fiber. Admittedly, at a certain point you have to factor in the frequent loading necessary to heat with the bottom-of-the-chart species, and decide if the extra effort is worth it. For example, you wouldn't want to heat your house by burning Balsa wood.

    3) Softwoods form a lot of ash.
    True, in some cases. Some Fir species have extra-thick bark, which, when burned, leaves a lot of ash behind (sort of like paper does). Many people here in the Northwest who burn Douglas Fir, for example, will remove the bark during the splitting & stacking process (the really thick stuff pops right off) so they don't have to shovel their stoves out so frequently.

    4) Softwoods burn smokier.
    False. In fact, the super-low emissions numbers scored by today's EPA approved woodstoves were all achieved while burning Pine.

    5) You can't hold a fire all night with softwoods.
    There is some validity to this idea, due to the same fact discussed in #2 above: when you bank your fire at night, you can't get as many pounds of softwood into your stove as you can hardwood. It takes a tightly-constructed stove with a decent size firebox to go the night on a load of softwood.

    6) Softwood burns too hot, and can damage your stove.
    Some glimmer of truth here, pertaining to all Pine species, and especially to some extra-high-resin woods like Fatwood or Cedar. Due to the high combustibility of wood pitch, these species want to burn HOT and FAST. One trick to compensate for this is to mix these with other species in the same load. Many people simply split them up extra-small and use them as kindling, because they ignite so readily and burn so hot. A third technique is to turn the stove's draft control down a little further than usual to keep the fire under control. This third technique requires some care that you don't turn the draft control down too far and smolder the fire, or excessive creosote formation will result (which is another reason softwoods get the creosote rap discussed in #1 above).
    Trundle and ScotO like this.
  10. StihlHead


    Correction to the above: Alder is a hardwood, not a softwood... also Doug fir has very little ash compared to say, cottonwood, even with the bark left on it. Also the main reason that softwoods do not have long burn times is that they do not coal up like hardwoods do.

    BTW: softwoods are being put into a lot of pellets these days. So one thing that is true about not burning softwoods: NEVER use softwood pellets or wood to smoke foods with. Softwoods have resins that produce soot when smoked at low temps and many species will release turpentine and make your BBQ taste like paint thinner. Read: not good. Softwoods are made up if the conifers being mostly: pine, fir, doug fir, cedar, cypress, larch, redwood, yew, hemlock, and spruce.
    2 people like this.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Minister of Fire

    Feb 14, 2007
    When you think back many, many moons, even 50 years ago, most folks cut their wood in the fall of the year and burned it that winter. Consequently, no drying time at all. Even today, some folks follow that practice mainly through ignorance. Some hear it from some old farts and even some publications keep printing the same stuff over and over without any research at all. So the old ways get repeated over and over.

    So picture someone cutting oak to burn during the winter. After all, oak is one of the very best firewoods available. So they burn away and have to burn with the drafts mostly open but still the chimney gets plugged with creosote. So a few times some poor sap tried to burn some pine. Well, pine can burn hot. Chimney plugged or nearly plugged and hot fire starts chimney fire. What gets blamed? Well it is the pine, of course! Pine causes chimney fires. As many and they will agree.

    Fast forward even to today. I am an official old fart. I fear not to burn pine though. So long as the pine has been dried properly it will burn just fine.

    I also have to chuckle when thinking about when we have vacationed many times in the north during the summer. Michigan has a reputation of having some very cool summer weather at times. Heck, just a few years ago we were in St Ignace during the third week of July and the high temperature that day was 52 or 53. Now picture a lodge with a big fireplace. Yep, they put some pine in the fireplace and burn away. No problem.

    Just a couple years ago I had a couple fellas come to cut some wood on our place. I learned a lot from them. For example, it is best to not burn oak until about 6 months after it is cut. Never, under any circumstances burn pine. Ash can be burned immediately after cutting. etc, etc.

    No, there is no harm done by burning pine so long as it is dried just like any other wood. Dry wood rocks!
    Trooper, Ralphie Boy and ScotO like this.

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