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Sweet gum

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Egghead, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. Egghead

    Egghead New Member

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    I rented a log splitter this weekend to split up a bunch of oak. A few months ago I had a lot of sweet gum dropped. Is sweet gum ok to burn? Figured if it was I might as well split it while I have the chance.

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  2. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    I haven't burned any, but from what I've read it's only mediocre in terms of BTU value, and quite difficult to split. If you're going to use it, get it split while you have the hydraulics.
  3. Makers Mark

    Makers Mark New Member

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    It burns good but burns up quick little better than pine. By all means use the splitter! It is tuff to split. I burned a lot 30 yrs. ago when I was young and strong and didn't know better.
  4. bigbarf48

    bigbarf48 Minister of Fire

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    It burns ok and fries very quick. But definitely use the splitter, it is NOT a fun wood to split by hand
  5. MaintenanceMan

    MaintenanceMan Burning Hunk

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    I burned a cord or better of it last year. It burns ok, but sure stinks like hell. You'll definitely want to use a splitter as it shreds more than splits. It kind of has a fluffy ash and does leave more ash than the oak and maple I've been burning this year.

    The big thing is to keep it covered if at all possible. It will season fairly fast, but it will rot pretty quick too.
    Fred Wright likes this.
  6. Egghead

    Egghead New Member

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    Thanks everyone. Looks like I know what tomorrow's afternoon will look like.
  7. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    Use a 35 ton splitter if you can. The splits look like an accordion with a light splitter.!!!
  8. Egghead

    Egghead New Member

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    What about elm? I know there were a few of those that were dropped at the same time.
  9. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    Not a whole lot better split wise. I think Elm burns better when dry although I try and not burn either.
    If that's what you have fine, it all burns when seasoned, some is just more work to get it to the stove:)
    Makers Mark likes this.
  10. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    I burn it. It will be fully seasoned in less then a year, very easy to light, and good for quick heat. I had no trouble at all splitting it with an x27.
  11. Makers Mark

    Makers Mark New Member

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    X27 must work miracles cause it is hard as heck to split with wedge and sledge or a regular maul. Especially big 20 in rounds.
  12. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    Can't split it into halves/quarters like most wood, got to go around and whittle splits off the outside edge. The bigger ones were 28-30" diameter and cut to 18" lengths.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
    Fred Wright likes this.
  13. Fred Wright

    Fred Wright Member

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    Yup, just put another load of it in the stove. :)

    We've been burning gum for years. It's plentiful here, grows like weeds. The Amish neighbor burns it in his shop stove.

    Sweetgum is a bear to split. It tears and mangles more than it splits. Since you're gonna have a hydro splitter on hand, work up the gum while you've got it. Gum splits more easily when the rounds have been left to set a few months.

    The stuff burns well but leaves a lot of ash. Btu is on par with tulip poplar, I'd say. It needs at least a year on the stacks to cure. Gum has a high resin content so make sure it's bone-dry before burning it.
  14. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    all I can say about sweet gum is "dey ain't nutten sweet bout sweet gum!
    teutonicking and Makers Mark like this.
  15. avalondouglas

    avalondouglas New Member

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    I just split about a 1/3 of a cord in October. It had been sitting in rounds for a year exactly. I had a 22 Ton hydraulic and it was VERY easy. However, it laughed at my 7lb maul. It was dry enough to burn and it burned ok. It's medium on the BTU scale (18.7 based on: http://thelograck.com/firewood_rating_chart.html). I would definitely burn it again, however splitting it...yeah, I'll pass.
    Fred Wright likes this.
  16. captjack

    captjack Member

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    don't waste your time with gum unless its all you have - no heat and leaves a ton of ash - junk wood
    Fred Wright likes this.
  17. Fred Wright

    Fred Wright Member

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    Yep, when you consider the time and work that goes into processing it, gum is poor firewood. Side by side, one split may burn well, the next may not. It's unpredictable. In this area it won't sell. Not even mixed with better hardwoods. No one wants it.

    We burn it because it's plentiful here and we have a splitter that can handle it. When taking gum, it's the first tree to be bucked and the last to be split. It's OK for days when the temps ain't real cold.
  18. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    The only sweet gum I like is Juicy Fruit. ==c
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  19. blazincajun

    blazincajun Member

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    Burned two dry splits yesterday to see how it would burn. Did okay - not sure how much heat they produced. Did turn to coals and ash. If you have it I guess it will do in a pinch as last option before wet wood.
  20. buddylee

    buddylee Member

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    Does good in a boiler. Seems to burn hot
  21. teutonicking

    teutonicking Feeling the Heat

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    I have processed and used about 20 different woods, and so Sweet gum is my least favorite wood. It is hard to split, leaves a ton of ash, and only has medium BTUs. The one good things are that it lights pretty fast, and it can keep a fire going a long time because even though it doesn't burn very long, it leaves so much ash that the coals that are left are in a very well insulated ash blanket. But I never seek it out--too many better wood choices to use.
  22. Egghead

    Egghead New Member

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    I wound up splitting some of it but not all. It was really putting a strain on the splitter and I didn't want to risk having to pay for any repairs so I quit while I was ahead. I'm planning in mixing it in with my oak so hopefully I won't see a huge difference when burning.
  23. R2.0

    R2.0 New Member

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    The only time I ever split sweet gum we blew a seal out on the ram on the splitter. The grain looks like someone took a hair crimping iron to it. Going around the outside and peeling off of the round definitely worked the best.

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