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)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

"Shoulder wood" burn

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by JP11, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,194
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    I came home to cold tanks. My wife's busy season is now.. So I've let her slack and use up the last of the #2 and Bio mix in the tanks.

    SO.. 2 hours ago I had tanks that (assuming an average of high and low temp) were at 120 degrees.

    Stuffed the firebox full. Threw in a super cedar.. and let er rip.

    2 hours.. using the same average method I gained 51 degrees on 1060 gallons of water. 448k or so BTUs. Boiler is rated at 205k.

    Man!! That hemlock is filling up the boiler with a pile of coals. after two hours.. it's full right up to the door when I just opened it up to stir things around (yeah.. I'm still peeking every couple hours)

    What's so bad about this shoulder wood??.. One boiler full, and I will be hitting max for sure with still a 4" pile of coals in the boiler. AND... I started with tanks much lower than I normally would.

    Not that I'm gonna start cutting hemlock for the boiler.. but they seem to blow down often enough around here. That old groan Irene (the hurricane turned TS that hit last fall) Is sure heating me tonight.

    JP

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,697
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    Sounds like your shoulder wood is heating just fine. I remember your other thread and would tend to say that if you need to heat your tanks, no matter what time of the year it is, then using wood that will do the job is all that matters.
  3. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,137
    Loc:
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    Sounds like it is working good JP. Enjoy that heat. I have been using some box elder that I cut up a while ago to heat my hot water. It is now finally dry enough. I learned my lesson on that batch of wood. Put it in under the porch too early and it did not dry out enough. So rather than move it again I left in under there another 6-8 months and switched to some dryer wood I had outside. Learn something new everyday.
  4. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    218
    Loc:
    PEI, Canada
    That's great to hear.
    One of the local plumbers (who has burned wood for years) said it is not worth the effort to burn soft wood or other marginal hardwoods in the shoulder seasons, as they don't put out enough BTUs to raise the boiler water temp fast enough.
    He said shoulder wood works well with wood stoves, but to heat water you need the BTUs that quality hardwood provides.

    Time to grab the spruce and popalar and give it a try.
  5. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,194
    Loc:
    Central Maine

    I must be imagining the 51 degree rise in two hours. Maybe some of that awful chimney fire starting pine slipped in there. Who knows how close to catastrophe I was! :)

    Burn it. It's all BTUs. Now... people BUY wood by volume. If someone gave you all really light woods... you should be mad. That doesn't mean that there isn't plenty of heat in them. Now.. Processing time for me is an issue.. so I wont spend my time purposefully cutting softwoods (unless I'm clearing a trail or something) But when one's in the way, or blown over... She's gonna create warm water.

    JP
    Standingdead likes this.
  6. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,137
    Loc:
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    Any wood that is free and easy to get, I'm getting it and burning it. I came across this Box Elder in two places. One, laying next to the street that a guy had taken out of his yard, so I blocked it up, through it in my truck and brought it home. Two, parents neighbors had several trees hanging over the parent fence and other neighbors fence. So everyone wanted them removed. I took them all out, including digging up the stumps with an excavator that my father paid to rent to permanently get rid of them. Done. And free heat for me. You can not tell me, my wife and kids, that it does not throw heat. I burn a short fire in the evening, and sometimes again in the morning, depending on demand, and we have plenty of hot water. The only thing it cost me is a little labor and time. But that keeps me in shape and it is something I enjoy doing.

    The most important thing is getting the wood split, stacked, and dried out!
  7. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,270
    Loc:
    WI
    I have more red and black oak than I can burn in 5 to 6 years. I also have red pine and spruce. I like to mix some soft wood in with the oak. It just seems to make a better burn cycle.

    This year I will be looking for some soft wood and black locust. I can probably get 10 years ahead after this winter.

    gg



    gg
  8. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,194
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Nothing wrong with "shoulder wood" I can see.
  9. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,194
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Cleaned the boiler today.

    Just a little fire going. Mostly hemlock.

    270 degrees in the flue.

    131k BTU net going into the water per hour.

    What a cool piece of engineering. An armful of what many would call "junk" wood.. It'll heat my house and hot water for the next 36 to 48 hours.

    JP
  10. nrcrash

    nrcrash Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Messages:
    158
    Loc:
    MA
    Gotta love the Vigas. I have been burning real junk wood. Scraps from job sites. Working like a great!
  11. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,415
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    I've always heated with at least 50% junk wood - red cedar, white pine, poplar, or partially rotted wood. Our wood comes from cleaning up damaged or undesirable trees. A good portion of our hardwood is buckthorn, which rarely gets more than 3" diameter.

    It all burns, and it all makes heat. I use good quality hardwood for the last load of the evening where I want it to make heat for as long as possible - otherwise, I burn whatever is at hand. In my case, my boiler makes a lot less heat - 80,000 btu/hr at max, more like 60,000 average over the course of a fire.
  12. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,415
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    Really hard to say that any wood is "junk" wood, so long as it is dry. Deep Portage has partnered with some wildlife organizations which fund mature brush cutting to improve wildlife habitat as the brush regrows. This is labor intensive and a cost to the wildlife organization. Through the partnership the wildlife organizations provide DP with bundles of cut brush, about 24" length, which dry quickly. DP pays for these at a negotiated rate which usually will cover the cost or most of the cost for the brush cutting/bundling incurred by the wildlife organization. Win-win for everyone, and the bundles work great in both the Wood Gun and the Garn. Yes, burn rather quickly, but burn they do.
  13. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,194
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    That's my point.. We need BTUs. Unlike the wood stove guys.. we don't care so much about the amount of time the burn takes. The heat gets into the water. We'll use it when we need it.

    Very happy with my system. Especially since the sting of the install price is a distant memory.

    JP
  14. nrcrash

    nrcrash Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Messages:
    158
    Loc:
    MA
    How long did it take to get over "the sting" of the install price to become a distant memory?! I can't wait for that to happen to me!!
  15. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,194
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    A couple months burning.. and filling two 275s with oil I plan to not use!!

    JP
  16. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Messages:
    415
    Loc:
    Western ME
    I agree on the junk wood. This year some Basswood that I split up is dry and in the boiler with about a 50/50 with some hardwood, usually maple. Deffinetly no problems during these temps, not so sure on the real cold overnite burns.
  17. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,194
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    I stuffed the boiler ALMOST full and got 500k out of it. I bet I could get 6 or 7 out of a load. That, plus let the storage get used up a bit (the reason I went with an oversized boiler was to be able to "catch up" like that) Should do a 10 or 12 hour overnight at -10 below.

    Or that's what the math says anyway. We'll see what real world brings.

    JP

Share This Page