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Hottest Wood Question.....

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Dr Bigwood, Feb 27, 2006.

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  1. Dr Bigwood

    Dr Bigwood New Member

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    Loc:
    Dowling, MI
    Hey all!
    Wew have our Castine installed and I am very happy with it. I feel so fortunate for not using our natural gas furnace to heat our home. Its been fun building and maintaining fires. As soon as I trim the hearth I will post some pics of the install.
    I'm curious about wood BTU'S. Does anyone know what kinds of wood burns hot. Seems like I remember reading something about this subject here a while back..? What are the prefered woods to burn? I have access to quite a few varities and think I could probably be selective about what wood I gather.

    I have gained a lot of useful info from this post and am most appreciative!
    Thanks for any advice!

    Brian

    PS. Pre-install pic here. Louie loves a fire!

    Attached Files:

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  2. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    All wood has roughly the same # of BTU's/lb. Some just burn faster than others, thus hotter. Your goal shouldn't really be the hottest burning wood, since you can probably over fire that stove with most woods, the better goal is to achieve alonger burn time.

    In my opinion, one of my favorite woods to burn is Elm, since it burns fairly long, but with very little ash. Oak is really one of the best, as it is one of the most dense woods around.

    Another thing to consider is what's available where you live. Where I live, Maple, Elm, Oak, Apple, Hickory, Ash, Locust, and just about all other hardwoods that are considered the ultimate for wood heating are available free. Just today, I picked up a pile of apple, hickory and ash. The guy next door to my parents (yes, the guy who's house just burned down!) has so much wood laying in his back yard it's just unbelievable. I'm guessing possibly 3 cords, and he's told my father to have me take all I want. (I guess the idea of burning wood is not very appealing to him these days, plus he has a Pellet stove)

    If pine is what's available to you, then pine it is.

    The bottom line is burn what heats your house. That's a nice looking stove, and it should do really well for you...good luck.
  3. Dr Bigwood

    Dr Bigwood New Member

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    Thanks for your input Warren. You make great point about over firing. Man, that sure is a bummer about your parents neighbor.
    I hope every one made it out ok.
    Here in south west Michigan we have plenty of hard woods and soft woods too. The majority of the wood I've been burning has been oak and maple. I like what you said about elm. Interesting. How does elm not ash when it burns? Have you ever burned willow? My neighbor fell a willow and has offered it to me. (He uses a gas insert)
  4. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    On the parents neighbor...Yeah, every one was fine and the family apparently has 2 houses, so they have a place to stay.

    On the elm: It's not that there is NO ash, just very little. Seems much less than almost all other woods. It just seems to burn more completely than most others, especially cherry. The other thing I've noticed about it is it forms these very dense little ash deposits that look almost like coal clinkers. Not quite, but similar. The deposits form directly in front of the stoves air input and will stick to the firebrick, then when I try to move them the brick breaks. Actually, this is a big pain since I have a lot of elm available to me free. Dutch Elm Disease has killed almost all elms around here in the past few years, so people want them taken down. The wood is a pain to split, but it burns very nice except for these "ash" deposits.
  5. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    NW MI near nowhere
    Here is a poem I came across in my files:

    Beech wood fires are bright and clear
    If the logs are kept a year.
    Chestnuts only good, they say
    If for long its laid away.
    But ash wood new or ash wood old
    Is fit for a queen with a crown of gold.
    Birch and fir logs burn too fast,
    Blaze up bright and do not last.
    Is by the Irish said
    Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
    Elm wood burns like churchyard mould -
    Een the very flames are cold;
    But ash wood green and ash wood brown
    Is fit for a queen with a golden crown.
    Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
    Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
    Apple wood will scent your room
    With an incense like perfume.
    Oaken logs if dry and old
    Keep away the winter cold.
    But ash wood wet and ash wood dry
    A king shall warm his slippers by.

    Oak logs will warm you well,
    If theyre warm and dry.
    Larch logs of pine wood smell
    But sparks will fly.
    Beech logs for Christmas time;
    Yew logs heat well.
    Scotch logs its a crime
    For anyone to sell.
    Birch logs will burn too fast,
    Chestnut scarce at all.
    Hawthorn logs are good to last,
    If cut in the fall.
    Holly logs will burn like wax,
    You should burn them green.
    Elm logs like smouldering flax;
    No flames to be seen.
    Pear logs and apple logs,
    They will scent your room.
    Cherry logs across the dogs
    Smell like flowers in bloom.
    But ash logs all smooth and gray,
    Burn them green or old,
    Buy up all that come your way,
    Theyre worth their weight in gold.

    ------------- From Tree farm by John Estabrook

    Enjoy and stay warm.

    Aye,
    Marty
  6. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    for Ash is but a gratious log
    it's heat is warm and fit
    it warms our house in snow or fog
    and it's easy when you split

    Oak is hard and warms our many floor
    its heat does last all night
    I'd like to have a cord or more
    even like it does my wife

    although elm burns so warm and long
    you'll be come an alcoholic
    cause try so many times to split
    you'll be wishing for hydrolics
  7. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    Halifax, VA
    In my mind, all woodburners have sold their soul
    My fuel of choice is anthracite coal
    It burns long and warm with a red glow
    I tend the stove once a day, because it burns so slow

    Sure the fire might be hard to light
    But it never gives up on me at night
    There is no cat combustor to engage or replace
    Only a nice black stove, and a nice warm place.
  8. Metal

    Metal Minister of Fire

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  9. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    hedge (osage orange) gets my vote.
  10. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Never seem to find it on a list. Hot hedge , lots and lots of sparks.
  11. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Mo burns his oak and hickory
    It really is no mystery
    Why Mo chose these to fuel his stove
    They output heat in treasure troves

    Mo loves his wood, it grows on trees
    It's free to Mo, to birds, and bees
    Wood carbon cycles neutrally
    So harvest Earth's wood fruitfully

    But Corie burns the Evil coal
    For which he trades his mortal Soul
    'Cause Corie pretty likely knows
    Coal's carbon cycle really blows

    It fouls the air we all must breathe
    With sulfur, carbon, and benzene
    He says convenience tips the scale
    But acid rain burns Earth to Hell

    --Just Funnin':)
  12. ckr74

    ckr74 New Member

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    I'm glad someone out there is using hedge besides me. It's the only thing I burn. Anyone else?
  13. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    I love where this poem is going, im not that creative

    My inlaws live in Kansas, and they burn hedge. I have never felt a more dense log then hedge. It also burns so hot it makes me nervous. Serious btu's in a small piece of hedge.
  14. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Yep, that is what I burn when I can get my hands on it...which is most of the time. When it is listed on a BTU chart, it's usually 31-34 million BTU per cord with things like oaks, hicory and locust coming in a close second.

    Corey
  15. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I heard the stories mo and the wood man
    The stories of brilliant flashes of light
    as mo rationalizes the situations as only he can
    Writing Blog’s for all to read has been a delight
    It has been noted that mo’s woodman is a veteran horse trader
    when confronted with the short chance, he acts like Darth Vader
    Threw all of this Mo persevered
    But once he became Moderator he almost disappeared
  16. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Somebody misses little old Mo and his mental meanderings!? Aw, shucks... :)

    Thanks elkimmeg. Seems I'm reading more than posting these days. The traffic here lately is astounding. Hard to keep up. Mo's longer works like the bLog won't even fit into these posts anymore. The limit is 6000 chars. Likely in response to Mo's previously more verbose writing style. :)

    There is also STILL a bug in my forum display that is maddening to me. I can't tell what I've read and have not read so I do a lot of backtracking and time wasting. It really ticks me off. I need to get back over to the pMachine software help forum and see if I can sort it out with the 'experts' there. They cut off my posting priveleges there a while back (which also ticked me off), but later told Craig they'd give them back when he put in a good word for me. Only thing is, I never went back (I was ticked off, after all). May need to start that process again. I get distracted easily. Must be the meds.

    For any who want MOre word waxing, I have a masterpiece poem spinning around at light speed in my tortured brain. If I can ever get an arm free from this damnable straight jacket and kick off my restraints, I'll post it.
  17. OldSnipe

    OldSnipe New Member

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  18. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    There are a couple surprises for me.

    Pleasant ones:

    Dogwood (I lose about one of these a year, whoo-hoo! Good stuff.)
    Black locust (I assume this is what I call Mesquite, being from texas. Anyone know? Same stuff?)
    Magnolia (Pruned a bit of this from a yard tree last year here in St. Louis and was wondering about it.)
    Live Oak (Wow! Great stuff. I'll have to tell my friends in Texas. Much better than the white and red oak, here.)

    Disappointments:

    Elm (Hard to believe it is that far down on the list as mine burns so slow and even.)
    Red Cedar (Man, it burns so hot and fast, where's all the BTU's?)
  19. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    mo, here is a pic of a black locust. you EARN your money when you cut one of these up.

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  20. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    That's the tree we have around here that I've been calling Yellow Locust (or Honey Locust). If that's Black Locust, then my Texas Mesquite theory is toast.
  21. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    not sure but i think the only differance between black and honey is the length of the thorns?
  22. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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  23. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks for 'clearing up' that there is yet another Honey Locust. I guess binomial nomenclature has communicative value, even though miles outside lay conversation past, present, and future.
  24. Henz

    Henz New Member

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    now thats interesting., I was always told to never burn hemlock/pine in an indoor woodstove due to creosote buildup??
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    All depends what neck of the woods one lives in. I have been burning hemlock now for about a month. Not my first choice, but it was free. Several years ago we had one blow down and I burned it most of the following winter. With good burning practices I haven't seen a lot more creosote buildup than other softwoods we burn. But less heat, yes.
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