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Is is safe to burn scraps of dimensional lumber?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by gmule, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. gmule

    gmule Feeling the Heat

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    My wife and I are having a debate regarding the safety of burning the scrap pieces of dimensional lumber in the wood stove. I say it is okay as long as the wood is clean with no stain, varnish, or paint on it. My wife disagrees that chemicals get introduced to the wood during the drying and milling process.

    What do you guys think?

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  2. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    NO chemicals are introduced during the drying or milling process.
  3. blacktail

    blacktail Minister of Fire

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    As long as it's not pressure treated lumber. Regular lumber should be ok.
  4. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Even stuff that has paint, varnish, whatever isn't "terrible". I probably wouldn't burn too much of it at a time though. I burned a whole house worth of oak flooring in my stove last year, just used it as "filler" to stuff the stove right full.
  5. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I stay away from stain, paint, varnish and plywood/laminated.
    rejected shingles make pretty good kindling.
  6. Ironwood

    Ironwood New Member

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    As everyone said burning lumber is safe. I have a wood shop and all cut offs go into the stove. In fifty years of making furniture I've never made a mistake just some very expensive firewood.
  7. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    This is one of those rare times when you are actually right and your wife is wrong . . . just don't tell her that though. ;)
  8. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    Pressure treated lumber is generally greenish in color - don't burn it. Otherwise burn it.
  9. rwhite

    rwhite Minister of Fire

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    It is rare but it does happen. Worked many years in a plywood mill and it depends on the mill setup. Our mill soaked the logs in caustic soda, some mills just use steam vats. Anyhow if we got a logs that fell out of the lathe or wouldn't peel for some reason it could get sent to the dimension mill. I would say out of 1000 logs a shift that 5 may have been sent to the dimension mill. The odds of you getting one as scrap are very small. And IIRC very few plywood mills use caustic vats.

    So burn it! I do.
  10. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    What you said and no treated lumber. Old treatments look green the new stuff looks very similar to untreated so be careful. But anything that is known as untreated is just sawed planned and dried logs just like your burning.

    P.S. Im a forester, with a minor in Wood products manufacturing.
  11. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I think this is an indication of how far the enviro propoganda/rhetoric can reach.

    Burn away!
  12. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    I've got to wonder what you're talking about. The green-shaded PT lumber of the past was impregnated with arsenic compounds, leaving arsenic compounds in the ash. Some folks spread that ash in their gardens. Reportedly people died as a result.

    If people aren't clear on the various aspects here, some concern is in order.
  13. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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  14. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    +1 on that!!
  15. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Because her understanding was that drying & milling introduced chemicals to the wood. Nothing was said about pressure treating. So where did that understanding come from?
  16. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    CL, this is a great article to help people understand what a log goes through from forest to mill......thanks for sharing. Everybody who burns scrapwood should at least give this a read......
  17. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Please understand,I only posted that link because so many people were saying that NO chemicals are introduced during the drying or milling process. which in fact is not (always) correct.
    I burn mill ends, as well as small amounts of stained and varnished wood, all the time, it makes great fire starter. In fact, over the last few years I have burned all the wood siding off my house which originally had a coating of varnish on it, though most of it had weathered off. I just beleive if one burns hot and cleanly most of those chemicals will pass through the chimney with out doing significant harm.
    So I think the OP, and his wife, are both right.
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    After some remodeling and an addition last summer we ended up with many cut-offs. We tend to burn them when not much heat is needed. For sure I would not load up the stove with them because you may face an overfire. But mixing it with other wood is fine. Burn and smile!
  19. gmule

    gmule Feeling the Heat

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    Strangely enough my wife brought that link up for me to read.
    The scraps I am using are cutoffs from cabinet making. I mix them in with the regular firewood I harvest out of the forest. I would rather burn these small pieces than see them end up in a landfill somwhere. Thanks for all the good info. My wife seems to be at ease about burning them after reading all the post about it here.
  20. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I understand. I just feel that people sometimes take for granted that the wood there burning is free of chemicals when in SOME cases that is not true....it's a very good article that makes you realize that there are situations where the wood could have been exposted to different chemicals. Very good article. I, too, sometimes burn palletwood and scraps (not necessarily mill ends) in my stove, mainly to stoke it up or take the chill off the house in the morning.
  21. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I have heard the "overfire" deal a million times on here, but I dunno.

    My Dad heats his workshop with a Harbor Freight box stove and JUST uses 2x4s for wood. Before he had that stove it was a homebuilt barrel stove and before that another homebuilt steel stove. (been heating it over 20 years)

    He gets bundles from his work for free, they are one time use between stacks of materials. Cuts them to ~16" lengths and stack it up like reg firewood.
  22. barn burner

    barn burner Member

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    I run a storage shed manufacturing business. One of the reasons I purchased a wood stove this past year was to be able to burn my dimensional scraps and obtain some free heat. I use to just throw them out beside the shop and I believe every wood burner in the county would come pick through them. Not this year, they've been keeping my house toasty warm along with some locust that I've been able to scrounge. I'm guessing dimensional scraps will be 50-60% of my wood supply. It's hard to tell since this is my first year burning. They don't last long but it's no problem because my shop is beside my house. I can just do some reloading when I want to take a break from building. I say burn them and enjoy the heat. I will let you know if I start having any adverse effects....lol.
  23. rwhite

    rwhite Minister of Fire

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    Very interesting article however, unless you solely obtain your wood from a forest that has never seen a chemical then the possibility of it being in any type of wood exists. How many of us scrounge wood from yards that have possibly been exposed to every type of chemical know to man. I know I pour it my trees and I'm sure that everywhere I have scrounged wood has poured it on theirs. Not to mention all the fruitwood that a lot burn. Most are sprayed with chemical. I'm sure that chemical applied after the milling process will be in higher concentrations, but I'm also sure that if measured you will find chemical in most wood. I also won't knowingly burn wood that is apparent that chemicals exist (treated, painted etc.) but I also won't go through life worrying about it either. You are probably exposed to more chemical walking outside in the summer than most other things combined.
  24. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I honestly don't think coincedental use or even 'here and there' use is going to cause any ill effects, this was just an informational article. Lots of us burn scraps in our stoves, heck I am always building something and I always have a pile of two by four scraps laying around, and I am not going to throw them out. So I use them for quick heat fires or kindling. and I can tell you cereal boxes and junk mail go into that stove on occasion too! Esp if it is sensitive mail........
  25. roddy

    roddy Member

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    heres the truth,in the summer months lumber is often passed thru a chemical compound to prevent discoloration and staining,i know,i work in the lumber business......wether this acid is bad or not,well,thats up to some-one else

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