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The worst wood?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by oilstinks, Jan 14, 2010.

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  1. oilstinks

    oilstinks Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    western NC
    Living in western NC i have the option of being picky with wood so i have decided that thorny field locust is the sorryest (if thats a word) wood and isnt fit much for a camp fire. I cant get it to burn good, it doesnt last, and leaves more ashes than a stove full of paper or cardboard. That being said what other kind of junk wood do you guys have around the country or world for that matter? P.S. it was free so im still gonna burn what i got of it.

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  2. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
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    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    Black locust throws a TON of heat- it really needs to dry a long time and is a PITA to split. The thorns are biblical in size.

    It all burns.
  3. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,053
    Hi -

    I'm not that picky. Pine or even Poplar or Sassafras are fine once dry. They're light enough that they are hard to store near town and make for frequent re-loading of the stove so I don't go out of my way to get them.

    The WORST wood to me is wood I thought I had, but once I agreed to take the tree found to be mostly hollow, and nail filled... It was a monster Oak... I dropped it carefull avoiding the septic field, and had to buck it. Then I hung a large "Free Wood" sign. The largest rounds didn't go away until I quartered them with a wedge... Found nails more than 12' in the tree. That hurt. I had about 6 hours in the tree.

    I did get invited back for 10 nice Ash trees at a latter date.

    ATB,
    Mike P
  4. hareball

    hareball Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Messages:
    699
    Loc:
    Jersey shore/pines
    I have some Cottonwood that I'm not thrilled about.
  5. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
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    842
    Loc:
    MA, Suburb of Lowell
    Elm is a pain to split. I hates the elm.

    All around worst . . . . willow. Unless it's free, then it's just really bad.
  6. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    3,965
    Loc:
    Shelton, WA
    I won't haul away cottonwood. Around here that's about the only species I won't bother with.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Michigan
    Thorn apple can stink to high Heaven. I won't cut willow and would cut cottonwood to burn as a last resort, but then we also leave the popple as long as we have other good wood. Elm I like if we wait for it to die and then still wait until ALL the bark has fallen....unless the tree has fell to the ground. If so, then we just leave it. I don't particularily like cutting trees along the edge of the woods or in fence rows because then there is so much trimming to be done. Speaking of trimming, that also is why I don't like cutting pin oak, but it burns good after leaving it to dry for 3 or more years.

    There are actually quite a few trees on our place that we don't burn but mostly the reason is that we have so much good wood to burn so we can pick and choose. At present we burn lots and lots of ash and will be fore several years simply because the emerald ash borer has made itself at home in our woods so the ash are all dying. As far as being forced to cut so much ash it isn't really bad because it is a great firewood, but I'd be cutting some other trees if the ash weren't dying.
  8. CrawfordCentury

    CrawfordCentury New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    Messages:
    187
    Loc:
    The foothills
    Elm's the worst to split.

    Tree of heavens the worst to smell.

    Pretty scarce around in hill country, but sycamore/buttonwood seems to be the worst all around being short burning anf tuff splittin.
  9. Redburn

    Redburn Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
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    145
    Loc:
    Southern Ct
    Cottonwood I avoid it at all cost tulip also....
  10. ohio woodburner

    ohio woodburner Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    NW Ohio
    I'm not a big fan of willow. I burn it during the shoulder season along with cottonwood. When i was a kid that's all my dad burned was green willow and cottonwood. we'd cut on saturday and burn on Sunday.
  11. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Box elder. Like styrofoam, but I had to take a tree down so I guess I'll be shoving it into the stove come April just to take the chill off the place.

    Once got a load of ash delivered in the dark that turned out to be popple. I was totally out and found that the stuff burned fast and threw some heat if I kept throwing it at the stove.

    Willow? Got one of them down as well, so I'll give that a try next fall. Good for the outdoor fire pit at any rate.

    Very worst of all time was about 10,000 little cutoffs from a pallet shop. At the end of the season, I made a storage bin to put them in and then forgot about them. Ten years later I went to move that old compost heap in the corner of the yard and found it was full of about a yard of muck. Not compost after all - rotten pallet wood.

    Thorny field locust? Is that black locust? First time I tried that I filled my furnace with it. I opened it up to check it at about 3 AM and just staggered back in awe. I used to burn it green. Hard to ignite, but then stand back IMO.
  12. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    I'll take as much black locust as anyone wants to get rid of!
  13. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Central PA
    My guess is that 'thorny field locust' is something other than Black Locust. Does it get large? What do the leaves look like?
  14. Rebel Wood

    Rebel Wood Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Eastern Pa.
    Agreed,any large thorned in my area is Honey Locust. Look out!!, they can do some damage.
  15. wood spliter

    wood spliter New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
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    854
    Loc:
    Long Island, ny
    I'am going with Sycamore as far as around me the worst, hate spliting it. Not sure about the spelling but katalpa is the worst hard wood to burn.
  16. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    Wllow is the only useless wood. Locust is often my favorite, though sometimes it is cherry but usualy oak.

    We had a giant cottonwood at my parrents house on Cape Cod. It was known to be the largest on the Cape. When it finaly died we let it rot. Took decades till it all fell down. There is not a trace of it left now. Can't recall seeing many other cottonwoods around here.
  17. Captain Hornet

    Captain Hornet Member

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    Loc:
    Upstate South Carolina
    I'll vote with BATTENKILLER and agree that Box Elder is the worst. I split everything by hand with wedges and sledge and it was a real tough one to split. It burns quickly and has a lot of ash but not much heat. I had about four cords given to me so I thought I'd burn it anyway because free wood is free heat. Then my Son asked for it so he could burn it in his open fireplace. For that it's perfect. Good flame and action with "Fire Romance" for my Son and his new bride. I might get a new grandkid out of the deal. Everyone is happy. David
  18. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

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    N Illinois
    Worst stuff I ever had was some type of pine , stuff soaked up water like a sponge. When I did get a piece dry chips flew off when I tried to split it by hand or with the splitter. It was ten times worse than box elder , so bad I just loaded the trailer and drove back in the woods and dumped it . It was not even fit for a campfire.

    Capt Hornet - seems strange you have alot of ash with Box Elder the stuff I have burned has a real fine ash and does not coal up well at all so I started mixing it with other wood to leave me a decent bed of coals. We have tons of the crap around here so I have burned 3 + cords every year the last few years and I still have at least 5 cords still left.
  19. Stihl Country

    Stihl Country New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Davidson Co. N.C.
    My most undesired wood is Gum Tree. It does burn but you have to let it season for ever and it,s not very easy to split.
  20. joshlaugh

    joshlaugh New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
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    Loc:
    Granville, Ohio
    Boxelder. I don't think I will ever cut or haul it again. Just not worth it.

    I don't mind elm. I seem to be able to cut down quite a few small DBH trees that make them easier to split(slightly easier anyway)
  21. andybaker

    andybaker Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
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    Loc:
    Northwest OH
    There are several trees I hate and won't touch them: Eml, Boxelder, Silver Maple, Cottonwood, Sycamore or anything soft. Silver Maple is one of the most prevalent and easily decevied trees around my parts. It looks good and youd think maple would be good, but not Silver. Burns way too fast, not much heat and takes up space and is just as much work as good wood.
  22. Taconite

    Taconite New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Northern L.P. of Michigan
    In my neck of the woods, I would have to say Poplar. I never cut it for firewood! It goes straight to the burn pit.
  23. summit

    summit Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    central maine
    probably poplar... I am into a bunch of it this year because I had a lot I cleaned up around the yard... It dried out okay, and split fine, but the stuff grew a bunch of fungus on it while drying in the woodpile... I'm loading wood that looks like bad rotten crotch after shore leave in singapore, an it sucks up any dampness like a sponge... a little snow melts on it, and the stuff sizzles forever when you put it in the fire.
  24. FireBall

    FireBall Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
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    46
    Loc:
    Western North Carolina
    Agree with Stihl Country- Black Gum is worst I have encountered. Takes forever to season and is impossible to split.
  25. mikepinto65

    mikepinto65 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Messages:
    684
    Loc:
    Webster, MA
    I hate wet wood
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