How is poplar for burning?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by burntime, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. burntime

    burntime
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,395
    Likes Received:
    1
    Loc:
    C'mon hunting season!
    Guy by me has 3 logs 30 inchs round and 20 ft long for free... just don't want to pick up something that just builds a lot of ash and burns fast...
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. gzecc

    gzecc
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    4,384
    Likes Received:
    851
    Loc:
    NNJ
    Have you heard the phrase, "don't look a gift horse in the mouth". I would personally turn down poplar unless it was already split and dropped in my yard.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  3. prajna101

    prajna101
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    0
    Loc:
    Portland OR
    Not a lot of BTUs but i will burn anything. I just would not work hard for it. CSD and free and I would take it.

    t
     
  4. Highbeam

    Highbeam
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,795
    Loc:
    Cascade Foothills, WA
    So you're going to find that there are many different kinds of poplar/popple/cottonwood/basswood/willow pretty much junkwood throughout the country and people all call them different things. Basicly you're talking about super low density (when dry) white wooded deciduous trees from wet areas right?

    I've burned many cords of this wood and find that so long as it is dry, it must be dry, that it is a fine fuel in a modern EPA stove. In the old style stoves people say it burns hot and fast, maybe that's because the wood was wet and they needed to give it lots of air. True it doesn't burn as long as higher btu woods but it burns long enough.

    I'll gladly take your solid cottonwood logs for firewood. You're going to want a power splitter though.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  5. Archer39

    Archer39
    Expand Collapse
    Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    6
    Loc:
    Pottstown PA
    I agree^^^

    i would not pass it up if it was easy to get to.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  6. burntime

    burntime
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,395
    Likes Received:
    1
    Loc:
    C'mon hunting season!
    I would have to cut and split it. Its about 5 miles from home. I will wait for something better. It gets too cold here to play with a wood that burns fast...
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  7. Todd

    Todd
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    9,229
    Likes Received:
    345
    Loc:
    Lake Wissota
    I'd pass it up cuz I already have 3 years worth of Oak, but if I was short I'd scrounge it in a heart beat.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Likes Received:
    110
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    I will pay to have Ash logs dropped in my yard and I won't take Poplar/Aspen for firewood that is free off my own land unless I have to drop a tree in the yard and clean it up. If I can drop the tree back into the bush to rot, that's what I do.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  9. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
    10,825
    Likes Received:
    2,930
    It's free except for some work bucking and splitting, I would take it you can always mix it in with your hardwood.

    Zap
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  10. northwinds

    northwinds
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    236
    Loc:
    south central WI
    I like poplar for shoulder season or on the weekend if I'm going to be around to tend the fire. It burns faster
    than oak/hickory, but it produces worthwhile heat. I wouldn't go a long ways for it, but if it's easy to get, I'd
    take it. It also seasons fairly quickly after it's split.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  11. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    6,770
    Likes Received:
    63
    Loc:
    Syracuse NY
    We burn a lot of undesirables including poplar when its either not that cold or we are around anyway. 30 inch rounds make a lot of firewood.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  12. geoxman

    geoxman
    Expand Collapse
    Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    285
    Likes Received:
    17
    Loc:
    STL City
    I agree cottonwood is a bit$% to split. I never turn down free wood if it is easy to get. good luck
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  13. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    901
    Likes Received:
    54
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    I have burned some Yellow Poplar this season and I don't regret my efforts going to pick up this free wood. It was my first CL wood score and I got a cord of it. Yes, of course I prefer Oak, and I burn a lot of that, but there are worthwhile BTU's in our local Poplar variety. The first BTU chart I pulled up says 16 million BTU/cord for Poplar, 21.7 for Red Oak. That's about 74 percent of Oak's BTU's. Nothing to sneeze at IMO, especially for free wood. Half of what I got was already split. The other half will get split this spring for burning late next winter. You want a hydraulic splitter for this. It's a bit much for hand splitting. Some parts do split easily by hand, especially small to medium branches and trunk. Some bigger rounds are really tough splitting. Oak OTOH is usually quite easy hand splitting. Go figure.

    Dry time for splits seems to be around 6-9 months, probably closer to 9. The wood gets noticeably lighter when seasoned. It burns a little hotter and faster than Oak. You do get seemingly more, fluffier ash. I find, however, that this ash is very light and I just compact it with the stove shovel. It shrinks to nearly nothing, then I build the next night's fire right over it. I don't understand why others describe this sort of ash as a problem.

    If someone will dump Poplar splits (or rounds) in your yard, you go for it! If you have to go pick them up, maybe think it over, unless you are really flush with better woods. If you have to cut it down and buck it into rounds, then split it, well maybe then you pass on it and hold out for Oak. :lol:
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  14. FireAnt

    FireAnt
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    1
    Loc:
    Central CT
    My dad is cutting down a 115 foot Cottonwood on his back property. I will mix it in with whatever I have until the Oak seasons and I am further ahead on my piles. He will use it in his basement fireplace while watching TV.

    How long a seasoning time on Cottonwood?
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    17,093
    Likes Received:
    3,553
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    I burn poplar . . . but then again I'm an equal opportunity burner . . . I don't discriminate. Poplar may not put out the same BTUs or for as long as oak, but you know what . . . when I load up the stove and fire it up that nicely seasoned poplar keeps me just as warm as my ash or sugar maple. I tend to use the poplar more in the shoulder seasons and for burns when I'm home . . . you will not be loading up every hour like some folks may suggest and you will not be freezing . . .

    That said . . . yeah, I'll burn it . . . but I also don't go crazy for poplar. If I have a choice of cutting two identically sized trees and space is limited I would go with the better species over poplar. So my own take is I'll burn it and have no issues, but I don't go out of my way for it either.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  16. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac
    Expand Collapse
    Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    7
    Loc:
    Ouisconsin
    It ain't like your house is gonna suddenly chill-off the instant you throw an aspen log on the fire (wet wood notwithstanding).

    Just depends on A)how much space you have to store a lesser quality wood
    B)how hard you have to work to get it.
    C)how available other woods are
    D)how "neighborly" you want to be.

    I recently took in a trailer load of red and white pine. It was cut, not split, and free for the taking. However I have plenty of room to take in orphaned wood, and the guy I'm taking it from is a friend. He's pretty well connected too so I'm figuring if he knows other people who have wood that is "in the way" he may recommend my name as a wood scavenger (not a bad reputation to have).
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  17. PapaDave

    PapaDave
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    5,740
    Likes Received:
    2,220
    Loc:
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    As others have said, Poplar will burn faster than oak, ash, etc., but it still burns.
    If you have easy access to better wood for the rest of your life and the ability to store it, pass.
    Power co. came through about 3 years ago and cut pine and poplar in the ROW on my property. I cut it up and burned it. It'll save the good stuff for colder weather, and still keep you warm to boot. Should also give your better splits more time to dry. YMMV
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  18. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Messages:
    4,696
    Likes Received:
    806
    Loc:
    Central PA
    Free wood that is easy to get? I'd take it. Sure, it isn't oak, but it is perfectly good firewood, in my opinion.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,795
    Loc:
    Cascade Foothills, WA
    I think that this whitewood is the next pine in terms of myth woods. Someone's pappy told them it wasn't good so it must not be good.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  20. smokinj

    smokinj
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    15,981
    Likes Received:
    1,412
    Loc:
    Anderson, Indiana
    +1 I would mill it and make a wood shed out of it! ok ok I am already in the process of that but I would take more and mill it or burn it!
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  21. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    3,740
    Likes Received:
    17
    Loc:
    Just Outside the Blue Line
    I've used poplar for woodworking, and some of it was pretty dense. I made a Windsor chair seat out of it instead of white pine and I quickly regretted that decision. That particular piece was like carving maple.

    There is a lot of regional and even local variations in wood density. I suspect that those who hate poplar have had the light stuff and those who find it suitable have had the denser stuff. I only burn it if a big limb on my property comes down, and even then, I usually burn it in an outside fire. No use crowding up the inside of a wood stove with substandard wood when it's cold out. In my stove, I'd be filling it all day. Don't know about an EPA stove, but I can see nothing magic about them that can get more heat out of a piece of wood than is already stored in it.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  22. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,995
    Likes Received:
    4
    Loc:
    Rochester,ny
    I sell it and buy real firewood with the money.
    I have also made lots of good framing lumber out of it.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  23. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,361
    Likes Received:
    110
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    It's not a myth. I've burned Poplar/Aspen before.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Likes Received:
    7,367
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Burntime, I don't remember where you are located so don't know if this is yellow (tulip) poplar or aspen or whatever. Around these parts we only have popple. lol

    I recall one particular winter we had moved so were lacking a bit on firewood and the heating season was upon us. I hooked up with a farmer and was allowed to cut any dead or dying popple in the woods. That is all we heated with that winter....and I was very happy when winter came to an end. But the big point is that we kept warm. Yes, it took a lot more wood to keep us warm but we got through it.

    Since that time I can recall only one popple that I've cut and burned. I don't like it because it stinks and won't produce coals worth a hoot but does produce a fair amount of ashes. Bottom line is, if you need wood this sounds like a taker. That is a lot of free wood to turn down. If I were scrounging I'd probably take it but because I have so much I can be picky now.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
  25. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet
    Expand Collapse
    Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    901
    Likes Received:
    54
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    Yep- my friend with the acreage had some Yellow Poplar milled into siding and he built a very nice horse barn out of it. He says it weathers well and is fairly rot resistant to boot. It's a nice looking barn. The wood is zero maintenance, weathers down to a natural gray.

    I don't know what he used for framing. That sounds like another good use for this sort of wood. I think it's a little harder than Pine 2x dimensional lumber, and it doesn't nail or machine quite as easy as Pine, but it's closer to softwood than to something hard like Oak.

    Knock that barn down in 30-50 years and that wood can still keep you warm all winter.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature

Share This Page