1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Pine cones everywhere

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Jerry_NJ, Oct 7, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,037
    Loc:
    New Jersey USA
    We have many white pine trees on our property and the wet spring and summer as, it appears, produced a bumper crop of pine cones, acorns too.

    Looking at the rather large pine cones, 6 to 10 inches long and 2 or 3 inches in diameter at the base, I wonder if it would be a good idea to collect a 30 gal trash can or two of these and used them for fire starters.

    What do you think/know?

    Thanks

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,700
    Loc:
    CNY
    Lot of work to that Jerry...if you need a fire starter saw up one of those waxy Duro logs just a little thicker than you would liverwurst. DONE! btw those are some big cones ...holy cow. Too big to mow over.
  3. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,037
    Loc:
    New Jersey USA
    Right, and in fact my Quadrafire Insert is easy to start with just some small pieces and a few sheets of paper.

    Part of my agenda is just that, what do I do with these cones. I'm sure my 42" high speed sweep (pull behind my tractor) will pick them up. I use the sweep to pick up sweet gum tree seed pods and they are a lot smaller.

    I didn't measure the pine cones, but they look as big as I described when walking or driving by/over.

    I'd guess the pine cones have a lot of pitch in them and burn hot and fast... but what about creosote production?

    Speaking of creosote, a neighbor of mine started a fire in their airtight stove, not sure why the outside temps were in the low 60s best I can recall. Well to the point I got a telephone call, excited telephone call, asking me to come over and help decide if the fire department should be called, they thought they had a chimney fire. I figrued if they wanted an opinion, they didn't need the fire department. But, I walked over with my battery powered work light. The house was full of smoke, it turns out they had moved the large pieces of fire wood outside in a galvanized bucket and put them out with water. There was nothing coming from the chimney or anything that looked like hot embers on the roof or deck, so we decided the chimney fire had gone out without setting the house on fire.

    I would guess this stove has seen about 4 cords of partially to well seasoned hardwood burned without any cleaning. Seems that was the limit on this stove. They are calling a chimney cleaner/inspector. The good news is their chimney, while a nich double thick inside decorator style, is all open to the ceiling, so if it has to be replaced it shouldn't be much more than the cost of installing the new pipe.

    I purchased a new poly brush and 28' of rods to clean my 6" stainless... mine has seen about 2+ cords of seasoned hard wood. I assume my cleaning is just for safety, it may not be needed (badly).
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,358
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    If you Google for pine cone fire starter you should get about 9,310 hits.
  5. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    565
    Loc:
    Central NJ
    Why not donate them to some group that will make holiday crafts with them. I guess if you put an add in craigslist you may get some takers. A trash can full would last me decades as firestarters. In the winter I do not start that many fires I just keep the original going. My kids like throwing a few in the open fireplace to see the quick flame and hear the crackle. A box of firestarters lasts me at least 3 years these days, I only use about a quarter to start the fire.
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    There should be no reason you can't use a few pine cones as kindling. To sweeten them up a little you could melt some wax and dip them to make an even quicker fire.

    Another point with the white pine is the bottom branches tend to die if they are planted thick and they also make good kindling.
  7. Archie

    Archie Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Messages:
    234
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    Not disagreeing with the other responses, but if I had your problem, I'd pick up a bunch. Those sound like big cones! I wouldn't worry about creosote issues as long as you're running a clean system. It's just kinda cool I think, with no down side I can see.
  8. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,227
    Loc:
    Central MA
    My back yard in the woods sounds like a machine gun with acorns!
  9. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,037
    Loc:
    New Jersey USA
    I felt guilty about my estimate of size, so I went out in the dark and collected a few to measure. The four I picked up were all about the same size and about 7" long and, yes, about 2" in diameter at the base. I think none are 10" long. These are out of mature white pine trees.

    After handling the cones I was reminded of how sticky pine sap is. I also burn some well seasoned white pine and red cedar, maybe 1/4 cord a year. I have a lot of this on my land, and try to make use of stuff that gets blown down, or needs thinning. I burn mostly well seasoned hardwood, as most of us in the NE do, so I think my creosote build up is minimal. When I just ran an open fireplace with heat resistent glass doors I never cleaned the masonry chimney, not once in 10 years on the last house. It didn't need it. Then too I didn't get a lot of heat... tha was back in the 80s when natural gas was cheap heat. I hear it is going down in price this year, hope my electricity is too...
  10. shawng111

    shawng111 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Thumb of Michigan
    I must be a wood scrounging whore, I would take them all and find a way to burn them some how, sheesh, how embarrassing.
  11. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Messages:
    857
    Loc:
    Missouri
    since you got to pick them up any way shovel them into the stove and burn them :coolsmile: lol
  12. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,227
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Too funny. I opened the curtain along the sliding doors in the Kitchen this morning and my youngest daughter starts laughing. She says "Dad, look at all the pine cones on the deck". I looked and thought of this post I read last night. She asked where they came from. I told her we have White Pines in the woods and they must have floated in the air to the deck and most likely into the gutters :coolmad:
  13. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,643
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    You can burn the pine cones and use them as fire starters with no issues . . . they work fine . . . go with the open, brown ones. I often use a few of these in the Fall to get things going . . . as others have mentioned some folks dip them in wax to improve the fire starting capabilities . . . and I've heard of at least one member dipping them in kerosene . . . me, I just use them plain without the trimmings. Not really any creosote issues.

    I think this must be one of those banner years for cones, since I noticed a lot of them as well.

    About the only negative I can think of -- well two negatives -- is that cones do not tend to store/stack as well as kindling and as you discoverd they can be quite sticky with pitch.
  14. ChrisNJ

    ChrisNJ Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    379
    Loc:
    Burlington County
    I never thought of burning them, before I mow my lawn I have been going out on cone removal duty also due to a neighbors row of mature white pines, kinda reminds me of the lack of acorns last year and the bumper crop this year, perhaps they are also cyclical. I just hate how they sound being run over by the tractor.
  15. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,518
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    They're all still green here and still up in the trees.
    The squirrrels and birds have been picking them apart, so many of them are coming down peeled pieces.
    Every now and then I'll fine a core and a pile of shreds on top of a stack of wood or a rock.
    No brown ones on the ground yet, though.
    2nd year in a row for a huge white oak crop.
    Squirrels must prefer pine nuts or something else, they seem to be leaving them alone. Some are sprouting, so they're OK.
  16. nshif

    nshif New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    954
    Loc:
    Pioneer, Ca (near Lake Tahoe)
    If you think those are big you should see Sugar Pine cones. they are a foot or so long and 5-6" on dia. Ill look later and see if any have fallen yet but I think its too early yet. 3 of them in the stove and youve got a quick hot fire. Ive heard people have been to the ER after being hit on the head by a cone falling from 80 to 100'
  17. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,518
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    They've got some huge ones like that in Florida, too.
    Filled up a car trunk once , in a rest area.
    Used for wreaths and things though, not fire starters.
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Jerry, when you get that sticky pine pitch on your hands, head to the refrigerator and get some Miracle Whip. Put just a little on your hands and rub them just a little and the pitch comes right off.
  19. rathmir

    rathmir New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    105
    Loc:
    Dela-where??
    I'm so glad I don't eat Miracle Whip right now.
  20. nshif

    nshif New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    954
    Loc:
    Pioneer, Ca (near Lake Tahoe)
    Peanut butter works as well Ive heard. I just wear gloves
  21. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,965
    Loc:
    Shelton, WA
    I wonder the same thing. Try it out and report back.
  22. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,497
    Loc:
    South of the beloved Patriots
    Stay away from rest areas!! :bug:
  23. rathmir

    rathmir New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    105
    Loc:
    Dela-where??
    I don't know why you say that Werm. I met a couple of very nice fellows at a rest stop on NC.....














    They gave me DIRECTIONS, guys....geez...
  24. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,643
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    HehHeh . . . I learned that the hard way . . . never realized what many of these places are used for until I went looking for a geocache in the woods at a rest stop. I was kindof wondering why there were so many cars at this rest stop and why it appeared as though several folks were just sitting there in their cars, but I had a geocache to find and so I went tromping down the trail . . . only to run into a guy who was quite friendly and he asked me what I was doing . . . told him about geocaching and he just turned and left instead of showing the usual interest or friendly banter . . .

    When I ran into the second guy and then the third guy on the trail I knew something hinky was up and I started to feel a mite uncomfortable . . . when I found the cache and was walking out and stumbled across a couple of lawn chairs and umbrella in the woods I was more than a little uncomfortable. I am happy to say this cache has been disabled so future clueless folks like me will not have this problem.
  25. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,436
    Loc:
    S/W MI
    The creosote problem is not from the pine but from wet wood. Don't burn wet pine cones. But I would burn the pine cones since your sweeper will pick them up. A bonfire or a casual day where you can feed the fire regularly.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page