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to burn pine or not to burn pine...that is the question.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by michaelthomas, Feb 24, 2006.

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  1. michaelthomas

    michaelthomas New Member

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    I have read many threads discussing the subject of pine burning and I always leave confused. Some folks say it is absolutely a no no and others burn it almost exclusively. I have many pines on my property White, Red, Pitch, etc.. and most are of the crooked and ugly assortment. The wood is mine and it is free minus my labor, but can I get through a winter burning pine in maine. I also have a guy who runs a mill up the road who offered to load my trailer up with good burning slabs as he is sawing for free. Most of what he cuts is white pine and hemlock. But it is free and already split just needs to be cut to length. Here in maine there certainly is plenty of hardwood, but I dont have much on my 1.5 acres and they don't just give it away up here. Firewood is big business and quite competitive. So that being said... is there really enough disadvantages to burning lots of pine to pass up free wood. are there certain types of pine that are better burners than others, any that just aren't even worth it even if it is free and convenient?
    Thanks for your input.

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  2. martel

    martel Member

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    I'm pretty new to this as well. It seems that many see woodburning as an absolute science and others say if you can burn it, burn it.

    I think the best advice I have seen here is to diversify. different woods are good for different things. pine will burn hot and fast (i think). I have access to 56 acres of land that has been logged- but it is almost exclusively cherry. cherry burns longer/more slowly, but is a pain in the ars to get burning. I guess building a wood pile should be like building a tool belt- the right tool for the right job. also, isn't large amounts of creosote an issue with pine?

    but when it comes down to it, i have free cherry- better believe I'll be burning cherry.
  3. the_guad

    the_guad New Member

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    I think the bottom line is that it's wood, and it burns. I wouldn't burn it exclusively unless it was free, then I would just inspect my flue on a good schedule. The problem I've heard cited is creosote buildup due to the resins in the wood. Just keep an eye on your flue and there probably isn't much that can go wrong.
  4. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I have been burning pine for years, its not my first choice.

    I cleared a lot for my new home last year, and had lots of pine that I heated my house with this year.

    A couple of issues you want to pay attention to:

    1. Must be dry. When not dry, you can have a turpentine fire that will get too hot, really fast, or a smouldering mess.
    2. Burn on the hot side to minimize creosote buildup. I have never had a creosote problem burning pine.
    3. I would not think about burning pine unless I was at home during the burn. Need to watch the stove for underburn and more importantly, overfire.
    4. Do not try to damper way down to get a long burn. Keep an eye on the chimney to make sure your getting a clean burn.
    5. Loblolly pine is most likely the worst pine.

    Remember, all wood has nearly identical BTU content BY WEIGHT. Fatwood is made from pine.

    I burn all of the pine I can when I'm home, then switch over to red/white oak for the overnight.
  5. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Sandor, you might be the only person in VA I have ever know of to burn pine. If you have a choice between the two go with hardwood. IF you have a huge free supply of the pine and firewood price is a concern burn the pine. But make sure it's dry. DRY. And I would definately want a liner in my chimney. And I would also make sure the chimney was cleaned more than once a season. Just my 2 cents
  6. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    I have never burnt any but pine. I clean my chimney every 4 coards, and i usually get about a quart jar od creosote. My only complaint is that i only get 5 hour max burn times, but the soapstone helps extend that heat life. I bought the stone stove because pine is all i can get here.
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I thought the Woodstock manual says to only burn dry hardwood?

    You can allways mix some in with hardwood. But if all you have is pine, then I guess it will have to do. Watch the stove temps! It will burn fast!
  8. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I ended up with so much pine after I cleared my lot.

    Rather than pay someone to haul it away, I figured I would just burn it.

    When I burn it in the Woodstock, I do not engage the cat, just burn all day on bypass. The pine creates alot of fluffy white ash that would clog the cat in a hurry. Maintaining a 550 deg stove temp is not a problem. But at night, I load up the hardwood and pull the lever.

    I'm sure Woodstock does not advocate the pine burn for a myriad of reasons. The two most likely issues are clogged cats and overfired stoves.

    Need to keep an eye on the thermometer, thats for sure!
  9. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    I can ashure you that out west here, there are lots and lots of pine, and very little hardwood. There is also 1000's of cat stoves installed in this area, and i hardly ever order replacement cats for customers. I have tons of old jotul cat stoves in the field and i have had NO issues with putting pine through a combustor. Dried cordwood is dried cordwood. Granted pine is lighter and doesnt have the btu/lb as oak, but it works fine. I heat my entire house with 3-4 cords of pine a year and i get very little creosote (less then a quart).
  10. JAred

    JAred New Member

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    nothin wrong with pine, has kept many peoples warm for centuries.


    If it's dry burn it! The only thing you have to lose is a big pile of wood. And the only thing you have to gain is heat.
  11. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Then why do certain cat stove manufactures say to burn dry hardwood only? Does it have to do with pine tar or pitch clogging the cat?
  12. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    I dont sell those manufactures products. The ones i do dont specify what kind of wood to burn. If you manual says dont burn pine, then dont. But that would shure limit the market that the manufacture can sell in. I can tell you that there are lots of woodstocks around here. And i guarentee there burning pine. Im no expert on wood, only because i can only get pine, just like the rest of this state. Now there are lots of different kinds of pine, we burn ponderosa, logepole, blue spuce and dougless fir. You can plug any cat thats not hot enough to engage, i dont think the cat cares what kind of wood it is as long as its dry. As far as pitch goes, the pine i burn, as far as i can tell, doesnt have much. Maybe thats because of the species we have here. But the FACT is, there is every stove manufacture's product is in this market out here, and i have never had a problem putting pine through a cat.
  13. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I think there is a difference between the pines that grow out west and in the east.

    Ponderosa versus Loblolly or Virginia Pine? Either one of the latter will leave you with some very sticky hands when handling it.

    Would be nice if someone on here had experience with both (in the woodstove)

    Will have to do some searching...
  14. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Ponderosa is pretty sticky until properly dried. I don't know about Eastern pine though
  15. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    I'm in the desert Southwest, and burn pinon and ponderosa pine almost exclusively. Maybe 5% of it is the pitchy stuff referred to by others. And those are easily to recognize by their weight. So it's easy to not load the stove up with the pitchy stuff. I find that, as long as I mix one of those logs in with the normal stuff, they burn just fine and don't leave the stove and flue covered with the long, stringy creosote they can create.

    Pinon is actually an excellent burning wood, about 50% denser than ponderosa and with an exquisite scent. It sure makes a neighborhood smell great...
  16. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    MMMMMMmmm PINION :D ,

    sometimes i will come across some standing dead pine that has so much pitch in the base of the trunk, that its fatwood. That stuff is so heavy that it makes oak feel like balsa. That stuff i covet and use as the starter. The wood i burn is dry, aged, and moderatly dense. The dougless fir seems to burn the best for me. I have no scientific data for that, but its more dense and burns at lot longer then ponderosa. When im handling my firewood, im NEVER sticky. I dont know where it goes, but when its green the pine can be very sticly. Like i said, my stove and chimney stays pretty darn clean burning 100% pine.
  17. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    Well it's interesting that the EPA specifies doug fir be used for their tests... so, chances are the manufacturers are using it in their design and verification processes as well...
  18. roac

    roac New Member

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    Here in Idaho we mostly have the following from shortest to longest burning.

    1. Ponderosa Pine.......................16.2 million BTU's per cord
    2. Lodgepole Pine........................17.5 million BTU's per cord
    3. Douglas Fir.............................20.6 million BTU's per cord
    4. Western Larch (Tamarack).......22.3 million BTU's per cord

    I think the numbers are subjective depending on where the trees grow. These numbers come from North East Washington. Douglas Fir and Lodgepole Pine are by far the most plentiful fuel here and they burn just great. Lodgepole is really nice because they don't have a lot of branches and are easily and quickly cut up into firewood. The Western Larch burns real clean and long so using it for overnight burns makes sense.
  19. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Good point on locational differences, i think the pine i burn is probably more dense then most because it grows SO SLOW at 9000' in elevation. If you go another 1200' verticly trees dont grow any more, just this scruby stuff that is hard as a rock and will dull your chainsaw.
  20. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    My brother has a place in southern CO and it's covered with pinon and juniper. What a local there refered to as "junk wood". It seemed like it might be a lot of work to heat with that irregular shaped stuff but I imagine that if you installed a stove and built the house to take advantage of natural warmth and properly insulated it you could get by.
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