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Sweet Gum - burning properties

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by fabsroman, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    958
    Loc:
    West Friendship, Maryland
    Well, last September I cut and split some sweet gum. Had no idea what I was getting into. Anyway, it has been c/s/s since last September, so seasoned a little over a year. I wrote here about it to see what kind of wood was that hard to split. I remember somebody saying that it burns like crap and does not have much in the btu department.

    Now, my question. What does it burn like? I am burning it right now, and whenever I toss a log in the furnace, I get a lot of smoke from it as it ignites. Is this how seasoned sweet gum burns, or is the log just not seasoned and that is steam coming from it. I just find it really hard to believe that the logs are not seasoned after a year where I had them, but I have ZERO experience with sweet gum. For all I know, it has to be seasoned like oak.

    Oh yeah, it also produces a ton of ash.

    Edit to add: Just threw two more pieces in the furnace. One smoked like crazy for about 30 seconds and the other hardly at all.

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  2. geoxman

    geoxman Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    275
    Loc:
    STL City
    The sweet gum I have done in the past seasons pretty quick. I had about a rank that I split about a year back and it burnt fine, I used it in October for shoulder season. How big are the splits? I won't process it again as it is a PITA to split and stack. I will stick to silver maple for the shoulder season.....heck that is still now as it will hit 67 here today. good luck
  3. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    Sep 11, 2009
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    937
    Loc:
    Mount Cheaha Alabama
    Part of the problem with sweetgum is it'll be covered with mushrooms if seasoned over a year. Even top covered the ends will grow stuff
    I've had better(still crappy) splitting results with leaving bigger rounds to check for 4-6months, any rounds under 8" get stacked.
    never had a piece that doesn't smoke profusely before lighting off
  4. JOHN BOY

    JOHN BOY Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
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    532
    Loc:
    Western Mountains ,NC
    Sweet gum is one of the heviedt smoking woods to burn. Btu's are kinda low. Its just not worth the effort to get in my opinion hard to split,low btu's and heavy smoke just not worth the work...;)
  5. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    958
    Loc:
    West Friendship, Maryland
    Yep, I cut this poop before knowing what it was. This is the first and last time I will fell a sweet gum, much less buck, split, and stack the stuff. Been using it for shoulder season and it should be all gone here in another week or two, maybe three. It will be nice to get these racks back so I can go cut some more wood.

    Glad to hear that the stuff is most likely well seasoned and that the smoke is just part of this horrible firewood. Read that it makes great furnitire. lol
  6. MaintenanceMan

    MaintenanceMan Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    133
    Loc:
    Southern IN
    I have quite a bit of it seasoned myself. It came from some storm damage and I used a hydraulic splitter. Splitting did seem to be the worst part as it burns about like the water maple that I have also been burning. Same amount of heat I think. It's real stringy so it seems to start better. Lots of built in kindling so to speak. It does leave a bit more ash and has a rather unpleasant odor when burning I think, but both of those are not very big issues in my opinion. Someone told me to just throw that stuff away, but I'm glad I didn't as it heating my house just fine. I do plan on trying to burn it up though, because it supposedly rots fast. I stacked mine out of the weather due to that.
  7. tcassavaugh

    tcassavaugh Minister of Fire

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    Jan 10, 2010
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    890
    Loc:
    Southern Maryland
    .......not my first choice of wood but.....it was blown down during the storms and it had to go somewhere.....so it went or is going into the pile for next year. i figure i can get by with it as the winters here aren't that bad normally. i have a little cherry, maple and beach and pine to mix it with. its all good, once seasoned. besides.....if its free, its for me.

    cass
  8. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    958
    Loc:
    West Friendship, Maryland
    Yeah, I don't live that far from you and the winters aren't bad here either. However, if I can get by without having to cut, split, stack, and burn this stuff, that will be fine with me. I could not believe how hard it was to split, and I was using a hydraulic splitter. It felt like ti took forever to split it. With that said, it has been heating the house so far this year and probably will do so for another couple weeks or more with these 60 degree temps in Maryland.

    Given a choice though, I think I would rather fill the racks with something a little better than this stuff. Now, if I don't have any other options, sweet gum it will be.
  9. buddylee

    buddylee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    94
    Loc:
    middle georgia
    I burn sweetgum in a Hardy and it does just fine. Doesn't coal as well as oak and leaves fewer ashes. I like mixing it and pine together. 72 degrees in the house with oak or sweetgum in the heater feels the same to me.

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