So what can you tell me about Elm?

NordicSplitter Posted By NordicSplitter, Feb 6, 2013 at 4:59 AM

  1. NordicSplitter

    Minister of Fire

    May 22, 2011
    Have a chance to get some Elm this weekend. The tree has been dead for about 2 yrs and has already been dropped and bucked up. I just have to grab it. What can I expect? Can I burn it this year or should I wait? Shoulder season wood or dead of winter wood? Help me out guys..Lol
  2. Jon1270

    Minister of Fire

    Aug 25, 2012
    Pittsburgh, PA
    If it was just dropped and bucked, most of it will be too wet for this year, except maybe some smaller upper branches. It's middle-of-the-road between shoulder season and dead-of-winter fuel. If the wood is pale / whitish it will probably be a nightmare to split. If the wood is reddish, it may split fairly easily.
  3. Dune

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 14, 2008
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    Decent winter hardwood.
    What do you have for splitting tools?
  4. Jon1270

    Minister of Fire

    Aug 25, 2012
    Pittsburgh, PA
    bboulier, Thistle and Ralphie Boy like this.
  5. TimJ

    Minister of Fire

    Apr 10, 2012
    Southeast Indiana
    Every tree is different with many variables. Each tree has to be weighed seperately, even within the same species. Get to splittin and it will tell you alot.
  6. Thistle

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 16, 2010
    Central IA
    Its not bad heat.Can be a real bear to split (most of the time) because of coarse interlocked grain.Trees grown in the open are usually the worst offenders,though forest grown can be tough sometimes too.If standing dead,look for little or no bark left,long vertical cracks & silver-grey or brown color.That will mean its had a few years to dry on the stump,makes for easier splitting. Slippery/Red Elm is much easier,though its fairly stringy also.Much better heat because of higher density too...
    Redlegs likes this.
  7. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy
    Minister of Fire

    Feb 12, 2012
    Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
    Jon1270's picture is worth 10000 posts;)
  8. firefighterjake

    Minister of Fire

    Jul 22, 2008
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    If we're talking about American elm . . .

    Can you burn it this year? Depends. Best bet would be wood from the top of the tree . . . wood at the base could be iffy . . . even if it was standing dead for a few years . . . or you might just luck out and it will all be good . . . or it may all need to be seasoned. What I've found is that standing dead elm with a few years of being dead -- with the bark just about all off it -- actually can burn pretty well, relatively quickly . . . it wasn't the most well seasoned, but in Year 1 burning older, standing dead elm got me through that first year of burning without too many issues.

    BTU-wise . . . some folks aren't real keen on elm, but it's actually one of my better burning woods when it comes to BTU . . . then again I haven't burned much black locust or oak . . . the best stuff I tend to get once in a while is beech or sugar maple with some yellow birch here and there . . . I suspect the elm I have is not right up there with the primo stuff, but it isn't all that bad either -- certainly not wood I save for the shoulder season.

    As mentioned . . . depending on the tree splitting with an ax or maul can be a challenge . . . but not always . . . standing dead elm without bark often tends to split rather easily . . . especially with a hydraulic splitter. ;) Seriously though . . . try a few whacks with a maul or ax . . . if it's been dead for a long time you might be surprised how well it splits and will wonder about folks talking about how much of a bear it is to split and how it's so stringy . . . OR you could give it a few whacks and realize just how miserable this wood can be to split without hydraulic help.
  9. Jags

    Moderate Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    Northern IL
    Splits like...uhhh...never mind.
    gyrfalcon, Thistle, blujacket and 3 others like this.
  10. Locust Post

    Locust Post
    Minister of Fire

    Jan 12, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    Elm can be all over the board with splitting as Thistle said the area it grew can make some difference and dead or live when it went over makes a difference. Sav says he has good luck with elm that has lost its bark as far as splitting goes. Elm is a much talked about wood on here and as I said all over the board. My experience is the same with splitting but I like the way it burns and would never pass it up. I have some white elm now that burns excellent, in fact better that any other I have ever burnt, red or white. This tree was down for at least a year maybe more not sure because it was in a little piece of woods on the farm that I don't look at much. The base was about 30" inches across and the main tree was about 30' most of the rounds I had to roll up my ramps to get on the truck. Seasoned 3 years and I had a mix of this and locust in the stove last night and had more elm left than locust this morning. Moral of the story get it, might surprise you.
  11. HittinSteel

    Minister of Fire

    Aug 11, 2008
    Northeastern Ohio
    Red Elm is great firewood.

    I have about 20 big splits that are several years old. I use my splitter and turn them in to kindling. Great for starting a fire because it's a little stringy
  12. ScotO


    I love elm, and I have a lot of it in the stacks.......

    but I also own a hydraulic splitter........that makes a difference!
    Thistle and Nixon like this.
  13. Gasifier

    Minister of Fire

    Apr 25, 2011
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    Take any elm you can get for free. Good BTUs, any that are free are good. Even if you have to rent a hydraulic splitter for a day. And I would recommend that for Elm of any kind.
  14. BobUrban

    Minister of Fire

    Jul 24, 2010
    Central Michigan
    wood that offers better than average to good BTU's and already bucked - TAKE IT!! I like elm a lot. Burns hot and leaves very little ash in my experience. Can be a bear to split so be prepared with a lot of wedges on those big rounds if you do not have hydros and a hatchet will be handy if you do. The big one I just cut and split required the hydros to bottom out on almost every split with a little manual hatchet management on many!
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Minister of Fire

    Feb 14, 2007
    It all depends.... Dead for 2 years. When was it dropped and bucked up? Is there bark on the wood yet?

    Chances are, it is not ready to burn. It might be possible for the top third of the tree to be dry enough but no more than that. Elm can be a good wood to burn but that also is dependent upon how it is split. If it can be burned in the round, so much the better. If it has to be split, then it depends upon how it looks after splitting. If it comes our all stringy like a couple pictures above, then it is poor firewood because it will burn like kindling wood. If it splits nice and not stringy, it is good firewood.

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