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My First Free Craigslist Firewood - Elm. Any good?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by rustybumpers, May 29, 2009.

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  1. rustybumpers

    rustybumpers Member

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    I just snagged my first load of free firewood off Craigslist. It is supposed to be Elm. Not sure which species of Elm but woodheat.org says all Elm has pretty high BTUs. What do you guys think, is it any good? How long should it take to season?

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    good stuff hard splitting!
  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I really wish that I could see the leafs a little better in your pick, cuz I'm thinking its not elm. Does the leaf look like this:

    Edit: take note of the leaf serration. Is it possible that the leafs in your pic, didn't come from the tree?

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  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking the leaves you're seeing is from a vine that climbed the tree.
  5. rustybumpers

    rustybumpers Member

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    Jags, the green leaves you see in the photo is actually Ivy that had climbed the tree. I can tell you that these rounds are super heavy.
  6. rustybumpers

    rustybumpers Member

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    SmokinJ,
    Hard splitting?! Am I better off attempting to split green or letting the rounds sit for awhile?
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Ahhh...that changes things. They were throwing me for a loop. If it is elm, I would have to venture a guess at slippery Elm by the bark.

    The stuff splits like butter :coolsmirk: better grab all you can.

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  8. rustybumpers

    rustybumpers Member

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    I might be a little slow... "splits like butter". Your shredded mess on the splitter doesn't look like butter! Is that ths slippery Elm of which you speak? I'll catch onto the sarcasm eventually after it is spelled out in long slowly spoken words. :p
  9. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Imagine taking a stick of butter out of the fridge, setting it on your log splitter and trying to split it. Now...what would it look like.....wait a second...wait...wait....OK, now answer. It would probably look a lot like the stuff thats trying to swallow my splitting wedge. And no, that was American elm that was standing petrified (it was beyond dead), but elm, never the less.
  10. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I like elm . . . standing dead elm got me through last winter . . . however it was mostly standing dead wood with the bark falling off it . . . so dead-dead, not just dead. Your stuff should be fine . . . but most likely not for this year -- next year will probably be OK.

    BTUs are good. Splitting is a mixed bag. My experience? If it's dead-dead (i.e. standing dead with the bark falling off) it will split easy-peasy with clean splits . . . but if it's just dead or fresh cut, egads . . . it will make you swear and cuss . . . and that's with you using a hydraulic splitter . . . I shudder to think of anyone splitting it by hand.
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Not all Elm is as bad as Jags shows. You might get lucky. Try splitting it now and if it is that tough, pull off the bark and give it some time to dry. The sooner you split it, the sooner you can burn it. Unless you're talking about really dead-dead Elm where the bark has long ago fallen off, it would be best to let it season at least a full year unless you have some real good drying conditions.
  12. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Split elm in the dead of winter, well below freezing temp.
  13. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    strip the bark, let it sit till winter, split when its frozen, still will be a bit stringy but pops apart ok that way. Wont be dry enought for this coming season even if you split now. Keep you nice and toasty in 10-11
  14. rustybumpers

    rustybumpers Member

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    :-( It almost never gets below freezing here in the temperate Northwest. Blessing... and apparently also a curse if you want to split Elm. :p
  15. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    You will be ok! lol
  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    ELM LOVER! :gulp:



    Naaa...its true, those pics were taken because that is the worst of the worst that I have EVER seen while trying to split wood. I just couldn't believe it. Now don't get me wrong, I have a love/hate relationship with elm, but I wouldn't expect yours to react like those pictured.
  17. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    I have split elm with the bark on and with the bark off. You would have to make small splits with this stuff if you wanted to use it for this coming winter in small well aerated stacks. Hydraulic splitting is best but the wedge has to be knife sharp or you might get tearing instead of splitting like jags pics. Over all I think it splits best when it is dry enough or very near dry enough to burn. If there is any moisture in it then the "after freezing " is a "very" good suggestion. If you can find some dead standing elm with the bark off and small enough to use yo would do well to get it. Red elm is just a little below red oak in btu count.
  18. Elderthewelder

    Elderthewelder Minister of Fire

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    WOW, I was just now looking at that C/L add and wondering if i should give the guy a call or even just drive down there and see if any is left. only problem is I got to get my kid to his baseball game in 45 minutes

    Guy say's he has more to come. did he have alot of tree's at his property?

    Nice score, I am jealous!!

    http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/zip/1194820761.html
  19. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I've collected a bunch of American Elm recently, and have been splitting it by hand. Just a few minutes ago I took my 8 pound maul to a smallish round (14 inches long, about 12 inches diameter) from the base of a tree and the maul actually bounced off several times. It took five or six hits, all reasonably well placed in the same spot on the log, to finally spilt it, and then I had to tear the two sides apart. After the first split, it went a little easier, but I bet I spent five minutes splitting one round into medium sized splits.

    Not all of the elm has been this bad. i like the elm. It is really heavy when wet (these trees were alive when cut a week ago), but I like the color of the wood, a lot of it is nice and straight, so it stack wells, and it is supposed to burn well. I wouldn't pass up free elm, even though it is a pain to split.
  20. rustybumpers

    rustybumpers Member

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    I showed up at the address on the listing around 8:30AM. I didn't have four rounds in my truck before two more trucks showed up. All three of us were able to fill our trucks before the pile was gone.

    Not sure about the 'more to come'. I called the number and talked to Andy but he didn't mention when more was coming.
  21. rustybumpers

    rustybumpers Member

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    Thanks for all the replies and advice about Elm firewood. You guys had me nervous about tough splitting Elm though. I was starting to think my free wood wasn't going to be such a good deal after all. So I took my 8lb maul out to the wood pile and split up a couple rounds no problem. This stuff splits just as easy as anything else I've split; Maple, Fir, Cedar, White Pine, etc.

    I'm not sure what all this talk about Elm being stringy and tough splitting is all about.

    So it is either one of three things:
    1) This isn't Elm
    2) You guys don't know what you're talking about
    OR...
    3) MEN from the Great Northwest are just tougher than the rest! :-D

    LOL :p

    Seriously though... Thanks for the advice. I can tell it will take a lot longer to season. This is the greenest/wettest wood I've split before.
  22. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    The bouncing wedge or maul is one of the reasons people like to split elm in the winter and with hydraulics. You will work up a sweat either way but the the hydraulics will leave you feeling better the next day. (Not to mention ducking the rebound of the wedge or maul)
  23. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    1) Smell it. Elm can look a little like Ash but your nose should be able to tell the difference.
    2) We are recounting the worst cases we've seen with Elm. As I said, not all Elm is that bad.
    3) Men may be men but hydraulic splitters don't have regional variations.
  24. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    around here the elm usually only gets up to 8in and usually under 6in and then it dies from dutch elm. The bark will fall off in a couple of years an will make sparks when you cut it. It still takes some time to cure after cutting but burns well. I cut it down to 1in dia. as it starts fires well. It usually grows straight with few limbs so is easy to cut down and buck up. I only split the 8in pieces as it is stringy. The only bad thing about elm around here is it grows in the fence rows and when it dies poison ivy just loves it. I don't have a problem with it but my wife can't even get close to my clotheswith out getting it so I have to be VERY careful with my gloves boots and clothes.
    leaddog
  25. backwoodz

    backwoodz New Member

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    Funny you guys were talking elm. Last year I had to cut and burn a lot of standing dead just to get thru the cold winter we had. Lots of coals and fairly hot!

    This spring I hooked up with the local city dept and got on their tree list. Two days ago they brought not 1 , not 2 , but 3 dump trucks full of elm rounds. 6 pieces were 5 feet across. It appears the tree was dead recently so there will be some drying but I'm sure I'll use some to supplement what I have stashed.

    I'm sure it was American elm, because of the age (rings) approx 90- 100. Around here dutch elm disease decimated the elms.

    I will try to get some pics to show the awesome sight.

    1 problem I have never tackled the huge bases like these. Someone had mentioned a ripping chain. Where could I find one for a Stihl with 20" bar? Is it even possible?
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