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More questions

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Arc_Dad, Jun 10, 2009.

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  1. Arc_Dad

    Arc_Dad Member

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    I would like to know, how beech burns. I've looked on the site and don't see much chat about it at all. Also is wood ever too rotten to cut split, let dry and burn inside? Thanks

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  2. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    It burns great. We burn a lot of it as most of our beech gets whatever that disease is long before it is ready for the mill and gets thinned out of the woods.
  3. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Rotten is relative. I can usually take off a rotten section with one swing of the maul, I go for it. If its really good wood, I will take two-three swings. More than that is not worth the extra work. If its all punky, soft, I wouldn't wast my time.
  4. Diabel

    Diabel Minister of Fire

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    One of my favorite woods to burn, allow 12 months of seasoning...at least! I just scored another 1/2 cord of beech & I will not touch it until 10/11 burning season.
  5. joshlaugh

    joshlaugh New Member

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    I just cut a truck load of beech last week. I really like it, splits well and I plan to burn it in 2010-11. For punky wood, if I can split off the bad stuff to use in the outdoor fireplace I will, if the whole round is bad I don't bring it home.
  6. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Beech is a great wood for burning . . . decent BTUs (although it's rare for me to find a stick of wood that I don't like.)

    I'm also not very finnicky about the condition of wood . . . if it's rotten and falling apart it doesn't get burned . . . ditto for sopping wet pieces, but if I have a piece of wood that is mostly solid I'll split off the bad part and burn the good. Really punky wood I use for starting the fire or for a campfire.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    And for you guys who split by hand, don't split the beech through the heart. It splits much easier taking slabs off the sides. And yes, it makes good firewood. Punky wood stays in the woods around here.
  8. joshlaugh

    joshlaugh New Member

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    The only species of wood that I split down the middle would be ash and silver maple. On all other species I widdle them down from the outside in.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Josh, you should do some experimenting because some wood splits easiest through the heart and others from the side. Go with which is easiest.
  10. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Yes.
  11. joshlaugh

    joshlaugh New Member

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    Any hints on some species that are easier to split from the heartwood? I have not really tried doing it that way but it sure would make the splitting go faster. I currently am getting a lot of sugar maple, beech, and ash, with a little oak and hickory mixed in. Only one I split down the center is of course the ash. Maybe I could with the oak if they are small enough diameter......
  12. maplewood

    maplewood Minister of Fire

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    Beech is super wood. Burns slow and leaves some nice coals for morning. Lots of BTU's.
    Often splits with wavey twists. Did a lot of it by hand one year with 10+ hits with an 8 lb. maul. I learned my lesson, and rented a splitter the next year!
    For rotton wood: it it will dry, it will burn. But I personally feel rotton wood and soft wood are a waste of my time and my indoor wood storage space. The lighter the wood (less density and BTU's) the more I have to cram into my wood room. I want dry dense hardwood.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Josh, for sure you found one of the easiest, which is ash. The small oak should also split through the heart. Soft maple will too but because we don't have hard maple I can't say but would not be afraid to try it. Hickory is another story altogether. Here is one most folks never try though and that is elm. While it is try elm is one of the very toughest to split, not all elm splits hard and some splits very easy through the heart. However, we wait to cut our elm after the bark has fallen off and has stood for another year after that. Then some will split easy and.....some is still elm.

    All in all, it is best to experiment with splitting and not take everyone's, including my opinions. You might be very pleasantly surprised. For example, let's say you have about a 36" diameter white oak. How are you going to split that thing? Use a chain saw to start it? Well, not me. I would take about 4 whacks and be through it; but each stroke would not be in the same spot. Draw an imaginary line and make the first strike fairly near the edge. The next one in line with the first but closer to the heart. The next one nearest you close to the heart and the final one close to you on the edge. You'll likely end up with to chunks after that and the rest is easy.

    I recall when I was a young lad watching some of the older men splitting wood and noticed they never split the same; that is to split though the heart and then quarter it or something similar. I finally asked a neighbor why he didn't just whack away at the largest piece and split it is half. He then explained that all wood is different. I don't recall everything he told me but from that time on I experimented myself (splitting and carrying wood was one of my chores from the time I was a tiny lad). After a while you just split without thinking as it becomes second nature. That is why you need to experiment on your own. Also, if one doesn't split through the heart don't assume it is all that way. But if you get a bunch that splits really easy one way, stick with it!
  14. joshlaugh

    joshlaugh New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. Next time I am splitting I will give the heartwood a try.
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