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How is poplar for burning?

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

  1. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    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...

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  2. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    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.
  3. prajna101

    prajna101 New Member

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    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 Minister of Fire

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    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.
  5. Archer39

    Archer39 Feeling the Heat

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    I agree^^^

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

    burntime New Member

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    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...
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    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.
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    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.
  9. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    It's free except for some work bucking and splitting, I would take it you can always mix it in with your hardwood.

    Zap
  10. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    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.
  11. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    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.
  12. geoxman

    geoxman Feeling the Heat

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    I agree cottonwood is a bit$% to split. I never turn down free wood if it is easy to get. good luck
  13. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    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:
  14. FireAnt

    FireAnt Minister of Fire

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    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?
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    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.
  16. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    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).
  17. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    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
  18. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    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.
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    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.
  20. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    +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!
  21. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    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.
  22. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I sell it and buy real firewood with the money.
    I have also made lots of good framing lumber out of it.
  23. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    It's not a myth. I've burned Poplar/Aspen before.
  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    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.
  25. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    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.

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