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truth on pine

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Occo370, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. maplewood

    maplewood Minister of Fire

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    I burn some pine every year. Eastern white pine. Not too pitchy, but I do wear gloves when cutting it. It dries quickly - splits are done in 6 months.
    In your air tight stove, you'll be able to control the fire rate and keep the overheat issue down. If you don't (or can't) control the draft, it can easily run away from you and overheat your stove, causing metal or door damage.
    Some on this forum, and a few of my friends, burn pine exclusively. Our far northern neighbours only have ready access to pine or spruce, and it works for them!
    If it's free, have at it. If you are paying the same for a harder wood, then get the harder wood. Dry density should determine your price per cord.
    Happy burning!

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  2. Bubbavh

    Bubbavh Feeling the Heat

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    IMO if it's white and you don't have a splitter... leave it!
    If it's Pitch snatch it up, because you will not find a better wood to take the chill off a cold house faster than Pitch! It is my favorite wood for a start-up or morning reloads. No kindling needed! 3-4 pieces, a small chunk of a Super Cedar, a match, and off you go!
  3. sapratt

    sapratt Feeling the Heat

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    I burned some pine last year it was still wet and didn't burn that good. I picked up half a cord this year that was cut down and cut up 3 yrs ago.
    It was alot easier to split can't wait to try it in the stove.
  4. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    Ugh,- Occo, free wood is free wood. Solar burns it, precaud burns it, I burn it and so do many others. Let it season, keep your eye on the the stove, and you'll find it burns better than Locust or Ash. In fact.....nevermind. :cheese: Regardless, pick it up, you won't regret it.
  5. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    It has no effect on a CAT more than any other wood. Dry, Dry, Dry is the key for any CAT.
    I have brushed my CAT once each year and vacuumed it twice in 4yrs. Spruce and pine is all I burn. Stove runs steady for 8 months and Intermittent for 4 months every year. I never knew you could burn oak. :)
  6. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    If you've only burned hardwoods and want to burn some pine (or other less-dense species), the important thing to realize is, it burns faster BECAUSE it is less dense. So your burning AND splitting habits have to change a little bit. To get longer burn times, compensate by splitting the pine into larger pieces than you normally would. Aim for pieces that weigh the same as your normal hardwood pieces - not pieces that are the same size. And burn rounds when possible. Those are two ways to control the burn rate.

    Also, when the stove is already warm and you are reloading, it is not always necessary to get the whole load burning (to "char" the outside) and then throttle back the primary air. Try burning it hot long enough to get the secondaries going and then start dialing it back.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    You can even burn dried caribou dung if you wish. Just make sure it is dry.
    Butcher likes this.
  8. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    DRY is the definitive for wood burning. Wet (unseasoned) = creosote and excess smoke. Per pound you will find studies that claim that pine is one of the hottest burning woods you can get. The problem lies in good air turbulence in the fire box which promotes better burning. It's quite probable that since pine is not as dense as heavier wood that the gasses escape quicker throwing the air/fuel ratio into a bad skew. Many burn pine exclusively and never have problems because they never burn wet pine.
  9. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    The only problem with pine is that it burns-too good. That's why people have problems. You can split a pine log, walk inside and start a fire with it when its sopping wet. That's why it gets a bad rap, because it burns wet, which allows us to get into trouble. Oak doesn't, so we're forced to wait, and wait, and wait and suddenly its the best thing in the world! Dry pine is awesome. About the only bad thing I can think of is the sparks from all the popping.
  10. Ratman

    Ratman Feeling the Heat

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    Best answer!
    Simple...

    Pine gets a real bad rap.
    My first year was with pine and as others have posted it burns fast and hot meaning you really need to watch and maintain your stove.
    If given a choice I'd process 2 or 3 cords fo pine (WAIT UNTIL IT IS SEASONED BEFORE BURNING AS WITH ANY WOOD)and blend your stock 80% hardwood, 20% pine.
  11. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Not to disrespect your experience, but I don't see how that's possible. Pine has some of the highest moisture content of any green wood. White pine is up about 150% MC, and sugar pine is up over 200%. Wood at 200% MC is 2/3 water and only 1/3 wood fiber by weight. Oak is around 80% MC when first cut. That means it is about 45% water by weight.

    So how is it that wood that is 66% water burns and wood that is 44% water doesn't? Green oak will burn. In fact, it is the wood of choice to use in a wood-fired firewood kiln. Why burn up the valuable product you are making when the cheap stuff works?


    I never burned green pine, but I have burned green popple. Popple is the one hardwood that is up there in MC along with pine - about 160%. "Burn" hardly describes what went on in my stove. Personally, I'd much rather burn green oak. But 4-5 days sitting by my stove and the popple was less than half it's original weight and burned hot as hell... for a very brief time, I might add. Oak in the identical situation would still burn about as poorly as when it was first cut. So, yes, I'm sure you can "burn" green pine, but you'll need to give the stove all the air it can suck to keep it going, and it won't burn fast, so you won't get much heat at all.


    I don't mind being the odd man out in my thinking, some here's my take:


    When air-tight stoves first came out, the exciting thing for all us idiots was the ability to shut the air almost all the way down and get extremely long burns. I remember when my housemates brought home the Ashley, they were all glowing about how you could shut the air down to an opening smaller than a dime. We added a pipe damper to close it down even more. And we made a ton of creosote, even with good dry wood. My feeling since then is that the only real enemy is not enough air. That's the number one thing in an EPA stove - you can't shut the air way down like in the old stoves (except maybe in a cat stove, and you can't burn wet wood in a cat stove), so they will burn cleaner by nature compared to a choked-down smoke dragon. Secondaries burns are nice, and they allow you to shut the air down farther than you could in a smoke dragon and still get a clean burn. In most of the old air-tight stoves stoves we had two strikes against us. The lack of secondary combustion and the morons behind the wheel choking the air all the way down - a perfect retort for creosote formation.


    Picture a load of bone-dry pine thrown into a raging hot smoke dragon just before bed. You hear the fire take off, so you shut the air down all the way, adjust the pipe damper so that just a whiff of smoke comes out the door when it is open, and you go to bed. The next morning, you wake up to a cold house. The wood is all gone, so you curse the pine, start another fire and begin the cycle again. And you vow to try to find some oak in the future.

    What you didn't see inside the black box was that the dry pine hit those hot coals and instantly gave up vast amount of wood gases. With the air shut down, their wasn't enough oxygen to consume all of this smoke and it went up the stack until it hit a spot lower than 212ºF and began to condense on the flue walls as creosote. Yes, even oven-dried wood at 0% MC will create vast amounts of creosote when there isn't enough air to burn off the wood gases. Making matters worse, with the air shut down and the pipe damper engaged, the intake velocity was low and turbulence was drastically decreased, causing poor air/gas mixing and contributing greatly to incomplete combustion.


    Now picture a load of green oak going into the same old raging hot dragon. We hear right away that the stove isn't going well. We leave the air open all the way, the damper as well. Eventually, the fire starts to take off, but never so good that we shut the air down all the way. We leave the pipe damper open as well, and when the fire is going OK, we slip off to bed. The next morning, we wake up to a warm house and a nice bed of coals. We praise the Lord for providing good wood like oak, and vow to never burn pine again.

    What we didn't see inside the black box was that the wet oak hit those hot coals and instantly cooled the stove down due to it's slow ignition and thermal mass. The water in the wood started to bubble out and made matters worse, but if the fire was hot enough in the beginning and we gave it enough air, it eventually got ignited and burned slowly throughout the night. Yes, we made a bunch of creosote, but counter-intuitively, not as much as the guy burning dry pine in a choked-down stove. That's how the old timers learned to burn green hardwood, and it's why so many of them are so stubborn when it comes to their burn practices, and why the EPA came into the picture in the first place. When you give these old coots like me a modern stove, it just won't work for them. They'll never get enough pyrolysis going on with that wet wood to get secondary combustion, and when they shut that bypass damper down, the wet wood just won't burn at all. Eventually, they will learn that they need drier wood in order to get a regulated burn in an EPA stove.


    IMHO, pine burns hot and fast when dry. Fast burning wood emits wood gases faster, that's what's really burning, not the wood itself. In an EPA stove, with it's secondary combustion and inability to be closed down tall the way, it should burn fine if you use a little caution and don't split the dang stuff too small. For me, it's too much handling and fussing, even if it's free. I buy almost all my wood because I don't own a wood lot and don't feel like buying a truck and going around scrounging for wood at my age. At close to 6 full cord a year, it's still under $1000/yr. Heck, my cigar budget is higher than that. My time is valuable, something young bucks don't get until it's too late to get it back. I go for convenience, so I buy the densest wood I can find and pay what it costs. Only way I'd heat with pine or popple is if that was all that grew around here
  12. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Pine question...

    What looks like pine, smells like pine, feels like pine, but doesn't burn worth a s***?

    Answer...

    Whatever that crap they sell by the roadside up in the Adirondacks.


    When I camp, I usually scrounge around for wood, even when car camping. Early in the week we went up to the ADKs and arrived after dark. We really craved a fire to go with our bourbon and cigars, so I broke down and bought a couple bins of wood from an "honor system" rack along the road. Stuff is usually pine from blow downs, but it gets you through the evening. This wood seemed to be nice dry pine, but when we burned it, there was little or no flame. It just kinda sublimed away until we were left staring at an empty fire pit with half a mug of whiskey left in the bottom. Honor system should work both ways. I think I'm entitled to see a flame or two for my $8.

    The next day we went out and found a mother load of fossilized cherry that was left on an overgrown logging site. We cut a car full with our bow saws and were set for the week, but I stopped at another place to check out by the light of day what kind of wood was being sold up there. This second place had all cherry, maple, and birch, so I'm still clueless about what species I had. Never seen anything like it.

    Anybody hazard a guess?
  13. Snag

    Snag New Member

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    I wish I had some pine for this year. As some have said, makes great kindling, great for shoulder season to warm up the house on cool mornings. If you have some to mix a bit in with your hardwoods throughout the winter, it helps get the stove good and hot so those hardwoods don't smolder as much or as long until they take off. Just make sure the pine is seasoned. If you've got room for 8 cords, you should take them, if only to make me jealous. Oh, and it can be snap and pop a bit so you do have to be a little more mindful of hot embers when you open the stove door during a burn.
  14. Ratman

    Ratman Feeling the Heat

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    I used to burn pine...before I got a job.
    :)
    j/k
  15. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    Pine is our premium wood, a lot of these comments we would make about Aspen.

    A lot of us do not have access to hardwood.
    Butcher likes this.
  16. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    Hey Como, kinda funny how things work in different parts of the country, huh. Actually don't mind Aspen, just not my top priority.
  17. Occo370

    Occo370 Member

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    I appreciate all responses. Tommorrow. I'm picking up another cord or two to split. And a mooisture metre
  18. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    If we didn't have Pine to burn, we wouldn't have firewood. Well, that's a bit strong, but not far off. Lodgepole Pine makes up the bulk of what we use to heat our home. Hardwoods are simply not available here. I was able to get a couple of cords of Oak and Madrone from a guy who hauled it over the mountains from the Willamette Valley, but that was a rare deal. I got some Maple from a tree service guy...also rare. We live in the Central Oregon high desert country. The dominant native tree species here is Juniper (burns good, but kind of a pain to process). Pine comes from forests some ways away (25+ miles), where beetle-kill is rampant. Sometimes I can get some Western Larch (Tamarack). It all burns, and burns well, if properly seasoned. The downside to the softwoods is that it takes a bunch more of it, but on the upside, it's easier to split & handle. Lots of us westerners, from the southwest up into Alaska, heat almost exclusively with softwoods...not by choice, but because we like burning and that's the wood we have available. I'm quite sure I'll never live to see the day when all the old myths about the evils of burning Pine have finally been put to rest. Rick
  19. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    I mainly use Pine, Aspen is good for a quick fire. It is just so light, sort of vaporises!

    The good thing neither needs this multi year seasoning. I have some a couple years old but that is well past what is needed.
  20. Occo370

    Occo370 Member

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    Picked picked up 2 Another cords of rounds free!!! An a bonus. A little less than 1 cord already split. Good day
  21. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Treeus touristesta gotchaarium . . . wood sold beside the road in spots where innocent tourists and visitors coming along will be most likely to spot the tree in its most common form -- that of being bundled up in bailing twine or plastic wrap. This species of tree is a distant relation to the Treeus Hardware Storeum -- a wood that also can most often be found wrapped in plastic or bailing twine, but the main difference is that Treeus Hardware Storeum usually burns better.
  22. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Good deal . . . can't really go wrong with free wood . . . well maybe unless the wood was all punky and infested with termites, ants and Al Quada infiltrators. ;)
  23. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    For some reason I pictured you reciting MLK Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech . . . only with the topic being able to burn pine one day without folks thinking it causes creosote and leads to baldness. ;) :)
  24. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    That is EXACTLY what I burn!
  25. Shane N

    Shane N Feeling the Heat

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    Enjoy reminiscing? :)

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