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Sweet Gum

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Mitch Newton, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Mitch Newton

    Mitch Newton Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2012
    Messages:
    173
    Loc:
    Beavercreek, Ohio
    Does anyone have experience burning Sweet Gum? I have a large tree close to the house that I'm just itching to take down. How's it burn and how long to season? Thanks.

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  2. The Beagler

    The Beagler Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    153
    Loc:
    Northern Ky
    Personally, I've never burned it. From what I've read on this forum it makes decent shoulder season wood. Also, you will need a log splitter because it is a pain in the @$$ to split. They are a beautiful tree, but fighting the gum balls all year would make me want that tree cut down. Good luck!
  3. geoxman

    geoxman Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    275
    Loc:
    STL City
    What bealger said, it is crazy tough to split even with a splitter, I feel that elm is easier to split than sweet gum. I had a bunch dropped off last year and I wont process it again. good luck
  4. shoot-straight

    shoot-straight Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    237
    Loc:
    Kennedyville, MD
    x2 it does season quick though. i burned mine a year after and it was ok. just for perspective, i would rather buy wood than split gum or sycamore again. just not worth the effort.

    by the way, love the morels! our season was early and short last year. hope its better this year.
  5. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Messages:
    445
    Loc:
    Kansas City
    Burns hot and fast and 6-8 months to season.

    There is a method of whittling around the edge to split it, it is almost impossible to split one in half or quarters but if you work your way around the edge it splits fairly easy (one swing) with an x27. A standard maul will just get stuck. Was splitting rounds just as fast as with silver maple and black walnut.
  6. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,434
    Loc:
    Greenwood county, SC
    Seasons fast and is fast to rot as well. If the tree is smaller than say 8"s and straight you can split it and i have. But bigger its a waste. I would say unless its small or you have hydros or can burn the rounds whole dont bother.

    That said i have burned a few cords and heated my house with them when in school. I had way more time than money. I had like 18" rounds. I noodled them with the saw into quarters and then splut those when drier or imedietly they were not bad once dry and burned hot fast.
  7. MaintenanceMan

    MaintenanceMan Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    137
    Loc:
    Southern IN
    I have a bunch of gum. It's all mixed. Some black, some sweet, some Wrigley's Spearment.....

    The black gum and sweet gum are about the same. Hard to split. It tears and shreds. Doesn't split.

    Seasons fast, but rots fast too. Keep it off the ground and covered when you stack it.

    Lights fast so I find it good for cold starts. Stinks real bad too.
  8. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,687
    Loc:
    Indiana
    Sweet gum is the worst. Period. A whole lot of work for very little heat output. Walk away.
  9. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    980
    Loc:
    West Friendship, Maryland
    Yeah, I made the mistake of felling two last year and bucking them up. First and last time I split those things. What would have normally gone really smoothly with hardly any knots, took FOREVER. I let it season for just over a year before I started burning it this year and it was pretty dry. I am actually still burning it right now. Threw a huge piece on the coals a couple hours ago.

    Downsides are:

    1) Hard as heck to split with a ton of strings between splits. If you thought white oak was stringy, you have never split sweet gum.
    2) Not many btu's in it, and it burns fast
    3) Does not coal very well at all
    4) Leaves a ton of ash
    5) Smells like garbage when burning

    Pluses
    1) The chainsaw went through it like butter
    2) It has been decent enough for shoulder season
    3) It gets the furnace hot real quick, as it disappears just as quickly
    4) It was free heat

    With all that said, if the racks are anywhere close to full like they are now, I pass on sweet gum and other soft woods. If I have to move wood around like crazy and spend time processing it, I might as well get the biggest bang for my buck (i.e., time) and spend my time getting hardwoods. Now, if it is a choice between getting sweet gum or paying the utility company to heat the house, sweet gum it shall be.

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