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Need hardwood advice, pine burner here

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by RockyMtnHigh, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. RockyMtnHigh

    RockyMtnHigh Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    Messages:
    251
    Loc:
    Colorado
    So I picked up some hardwood today. I got.... Black Walnut, White Ash and Black Locust. The guy that sold it to me could identify all of it with the look of an eye. It is nicely dried and burns immaculately. My question is.... when I go back to get more from him which of these woods should I really keep my eye out for as a super keeper. Even after he showed me what was what at the end of the day when I pulled it out of my truck to stack it, I still don't know which is which so burn experiments won't help me.

    Thanks in advance

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  2. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Aug 8, 2011
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    Loc:
    Long Island NY
    You should be able to tell. Black walnut is dark, dry ash is grey and locust has THICK chocolate brown bark. As far as for the future I would go for the ash though some may disagree. It dries quick and burns well. Of course I have tons of locust and can't get much ash...uhh anyway. I guess the grass is always greener.
  3. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    NNJ
    I would choose the locust first then the ash. Locust is best mixed with other woods. If you have a lot of ash in your stove, you know what you get when you burn black walnut.
  4. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ash (the lightest-colored wood of the three) has good heating value and dries unusually quickly for its density. Black locust is very dense and produces a lot of heat, but can be slow to dry and has nasty splinters. Walnut is just middling firewood.
  5. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    northwest Virginia
    Walnut will be the darkest, it dries fairly quickly and gives off modest heat. Ash will be the lightest in color, it dries the quickest of the three and gives off very good heat. Locust has very thick bark and kind of a nasty smell to it, and its bark is really thick. Locust is the densest of the three and gives off the most heat. It does dry slower than the other two but when dry can have you opening the windows. If it's all dry, or if you have time to stack it and let it dry, get the locust. If you need it to dry quickly, get the ash. If you like reloading often and cleaning ashes out of your stove, get the walnut. Personally I would try to get all 3 but if I had to choose one it would be the locust - that kind of heat is hard for me to turn down!
    Missouri Frontier likes this.
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Northern IL
    Considering that you are typically burning softer woods, if I had the option, I would swing to the other side of the equation...the hardest stuff I can find, which in your case is the Black Locust. Just do it. It will give you the best mix for the whole season. Softwoods for shoulder season, a mix of hard and soft for typical heating, with the ability to load the stove down with high quality hard stuff (BL) when you really are looking to bring on the heat for a long cold night.
    Missouri Frontier likes this.
  7. Missouri Frontier

    Missouri Frontier Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    NW Missouri BFE north of KC
    Dense is better. Cubic foot for cubic foot the black locust is the best bang for the buck. Welcome to the warmth of dense hardwoods!
  8. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Go for the White Ash and Locust first, get the Walnut if you get bored.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  9. tcassavaugh

    tcassavaugh Minister of Fire

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    Southern Maryland
    not having much of it, I like the locust......but then it can get a little stinky when split, but boy it will burn when dried properly. ash is good but we don't get much of that either. I remember it coaling a lot when I used it as it was plentiful in n.y. when I was up there 20 years ago......didn't leave me with a fondness for it.
  10. BillLion

    BillLion Feeling the Heat

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    Greater Hartford, CT
    I actually like the smell of fresh cut BL, but when it burns...that's another story.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    To know which is which is easy, especially when you look at the walnut. That dark wood can not be mistaken. If I were to get more from him, I'd definitely go for the ash and locust. I've not burned much locust but can say it burned nice but has a really bad smell when burned. Ash is hard to beat for an all around wood. So, a mix of the ash and locust would be good if you can stand the smell.
    Missouri Frontier likes this.
  12. RockyMtnHigh

    RockyMtnHigh Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
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    Loc:
    Colorado
    Thanks guys. After the description all the info seems to be correct. This will be a constant connection so I will be hoarding this stuff over the summer. There are some moist chunks in there but that's fine, I'll just let it sit. The walnut seems to burn a lot like pine in it's own respect, a bit longer burn time but not as much immediate heat. In the end they are both somewhat similar when I wake up in the morning lol. The white ash and black locust are kicking ass though. This guy also doesn't do splits of them, they are more like CHUNKS. I measured them up with a tape before I loaded the truck to try to get chunks that would fill up as much of my firebox as possible.... looking for the long burn. My stove seems to conserve wood better if loaded east to west as opposed to north south as it is designed to, although not as convenient and a lot more crud at the back of the firebox after a long one.

    Thanks for the tips guys, I'm used to just letting pine rip its little heart out and finding the largest chunk possible for the day which usually ends in, a cold stove after 6-7 hours and a 60f house. Not bad but I actually got this stuff for less money than I get my pine delivered for (don't tell my firewood guy, he'll cry lol). I'll still keep tons of pine around, in fact I wonder how it keeps making it's way into my piles at times but it's good to have. It's my go to for getting the hot fire started and for burning while sitting inside the incinerator that my house becomes.
  13. Coach B

    Coach B Member

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    Loc:
    Middle Tennessee
    Another good thing about the locust is that if you end up with a bunch it will last and last and last if split and stacked. We had an awful ice storm in 94 here and my FIL was still cutting up some locust left laying in the woods ten years later. It's amazing stuff.
    RockyMtnHigh likes this.

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