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Red White and Blue Oak

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Mr A, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. Mr A

    Mr A Minister of Fire

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    The All American tree! I got a cord of blue oak from a tree service. I see lots of posts on red and white oak, well, here is some blue oak that isn't talked about much. Technically, it is the white oak family genus. The canopy, and the bark has blue green hue to it. Fresh cut, the heartwood looks blue too, sorry, didn't get a pic of that.

    Attached Files:

    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    :(
  3. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

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    Didn't happen...
  4. Mr A

    Mr A Minister of Fire

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  5. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Blue Oak, huh? I had no idea...
    Nice score! :cool:
  6. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Was watching a show about wood.
    250 types of oaks.
    & none in Alaska <>
  7. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    That is coastal live oak that is about as dense a wood and as high a BTU rating as you are going to get from firewood. They have a grey-blue bark on them, they are commonly called blue oaks, and they grow up and down the CA coast. We had many in our yard when I lived in Monterey, CA. They also do not need even a single season to dry, as they are full of oil and not water.

    BTU rating = 36.6 MBTU/cord!
    And y'all back east claim that we do not have any hardwoods in the west... beat that!

    That is more than gum/eucs, madrone, or even osage orange (back east), and it puts locust, hickory and apple to shame. I have burned nothing that had more heat except anthracite coal. To say that you got a good score is an understatement. I am blue with envy.

    BTW: there is also black oak: California black oak is a type red oak. There is also tanoak...
  8. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    Mr A is a top scrounger by anyone's count
    way to get er done
    ScotO likes this.
  9. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Nice score, Mr. A!! I've never burned any of that stuff (being from the east coast and all). But being the nice guy I am, I'll make you a trade of a cord of some nice, highly-prized poplar and cottonwood for a cord of that blue oak.......

    Sounds like a GREAT DEAL! (for ME, of course! ;))
  10. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    I cut some R/W&B oak recently. Friend and I took a few wind damaged oaks from his folks yard of the red and white variety with a lot of BLUE stripes from many years of hooks and such holding clothes lines and bird feeders. Fortunately they were all strategically avoided by the chain(mostly by luck)
    Thistle and Backwoods Savage like this.
  11. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    You should move to a place that has some.:p
    Of course if you did, we wouldn't see pics of your stacks with mountains on top of them.
    N/M, stay where you are.;)
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Blue oak is a new one on me. Thanks for posting that Mr A.
    Applesister likes this.
  13. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    Correction: Coastal live oak is quercus agrifolia and (being a live oak) is not deciduous. Blue oak is quercus douglasii and is deciduous. It's very common in the foothills surrounding the Central Valley, up to about 2500-3000 ft. It does have very high btu value at 38.2 mBTU/cord.
    http://tonysfirewoodinc.com/info.htm
    All this time I've been lusting for black oak, going to have to make some friends lower down the hill.
  14. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    Sad blue or color blue. I think I've heard of sad oak. Like is this oak ever going to burn.
    MrWhoopee likes this.
  15. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    ;lol

    Blue as in color. The foliage has a blue-green color, otherwise known as glaucous.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glaucous

    The effect is enhanced by the greyish, almost white bark.
  16. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Counter-correction: I lived in Monterey for 22 years, and we called Coastal live oak (Quercus agrifolia) blue oaks, as they have a blue grey color to the bark in that area. Common names for trees are commonly debated and confused (ie., is it CA Bay or OR myrtle?). Re-reading the OP and now knowing roughly where he lives (I first though he was more toward the coast), the logs in the photo may well be Quercus douglasii 'blue oak' logs. Still not a bad haul, though they will not dry as fast or burn as hot as they would if they were live oak...

    I would seriously debate Tony's BTU rating for Quercus douglasii and other oaks. There is simply no way that a deciduous oak is going to have a higher BTU rating than any of the California live oaks. CA live oak is listed on many forestry sites as being the highest rated firewood due to the oil content of the wood (which is how they remain evergreen). My bet is that it is a typo and it is really 28 MBTU, like Oregon white oak. I would not turn my nose up to CA black oak, I have cut and burned a lot of that (it grows north to about Eugene, OR). Probably the same heat as the lower elevation 'blue oak.' I wood lust for the Canyon and Interior live oak where you live in the State of Jefferson :p

    This site is about as accurate as I have found for many western species, and compares well with the woods I have burned living up and down the west coast (from BC to BC). The ratings listed are for 12% moisture. I typically burn at 20% and down:

    http://www.alternative-heating-info.com/Firewood_Heat_and_Weight_Values.html
  17. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    This is why I don't like common names, they differ in different areas, and even within the same area.

    The USDA refers to Q. agrifrolia as California coastal live oak and Q. douglasii as Blue Oak.
    Unfortunately that paper does not list a BTU value for either.
    http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr810.pdf

    I have been unable to find another source for the BTU value of Q. douglasii.
    Can anyone else find something?
  18. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Agreed on common names... though the OP firewood was delivered by a tree company and that is what they called it. These blue oaks are also called iron oak, mountain white oak, and mountain oak. My Peterson guide to Western Trees says that Quercus douglasii/Blue oaks will hybridize with Quercus garryana/Oregon white oaks if they are in proximity. Other sites say that the will cross with live oaks. Quercus douglasii is in the white oak family, though live oaks are in the red oak family, so that my or may not pertain to the BTU value. I still think that the BTU entry on Tony's site for blue oak is a typo though.

    I have not found any listings on the web searching for the BTU value for blue oak/Quercus douglasii/iron oak/mountain oak firewood other than Tony's firewood in Sac'to. There was a good long ad posting on CL in Redding by a firewood company selling live oak with a run-down on live oak firewood vs. the deciduous oak firewoods several months ago, but they are not advertising now for whatever reason. OSU has a PDF file online that covers fuel characteristics of all the species of trees in the Northwest, but they only give density and moisture content and little else on blue oaks. That is all I can find.
  19. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    Must be a West Coast secret. Or to paraphrase a west coast,DC transplant " we'll just have to burn it to find out"
  20. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    I was speaking with a friend whose family has lived in the north state for generations. He offered to trade me blue oak (Q. douglasii) for all of my black (Q. kellogii). :eek: I'll take that as a definitive answer, even though we don't have a confirmed BTU value. I'm keeping my black.
  21. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Well, that would answer why I had never heard of blue oak being so great for firewood during the years I lived in California (except for blue oak referring to coastal live oak). Though I would not think it would be that much worse than black oak, which is only slightly less than white oak. Not that I ever noticed a difference between burning white and black. We had huge 300 year old white and black oaks goring next to each other in Southern Oregon, and they looked identical. The only way to tell them apart was the leaves were pointed on the black oaks, and they have a reddish color to the heartwood (they are in the red oak family). I spent one summer clearing a 5 acre mixed old growth stand of white and black oaks of conifers that were over-crowning them (the oaks were 120 feet tall, and some were 5 ft. DBH). Some of the oaks were dead from being overgrown by grand and Doug firs, and we removed them for firewood. Those oaks were a remnant of when the Am. Indians burned the grasslands there every summer and killed off all the firs that would otherwise crown them out. CA black oaks are a critical wildlife species in Southern Oregon.

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