1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Tulip Poplar and Oak

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Cluttermagnet, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    881
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    After three years seasoning, my 'wood cubes' of Red Oak are
    ready to burn this season.

    [​IMG]

    This is what they looked like right after stacking. They're a lot
    darker now. I'll be sure to post photos before I start dismantling
    these. That's a little over 2 cords in those three 'cubes'.

    We are rolling in Poplar here, as a result of the violent weather of Summer 2012. I'll be burning
    a fair amount of that as well. I like to mix Poplar and Oak so I get good coaling for restarts.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The two photos above will give you some idea of the firewood that came raining down on us
    that summer. This big boy was somewhere around 30in diameter on some of the bigger
    cookies you see here. My little 18in Homelite saw was just about enough to get the job done.
    A longer bar would have been nice.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    3,808
    Loc:
    Central Mass
    Those oak cubes are perfect, Dennis would be proud, did they shrink at all over the years?
    n3pro and Backwoods Savage like this.
  3. Auzzie Gumtree

    Auzzie Gumtree Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    Messages:
    384
    How does the poplar burn? i have just got a ~ 2 cords from a neighbour and i couldn't believe how heavy it is.
  4. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    881
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    Yep, Dennis has seen them. I've listened to him and tried to get myself a few years ahead.

    You know, I'm not sure they shrunk all that much. Probably they had sat around as rounds
    long enough before going through the splitter. I'm trying to remember if they spent any
    time in a loose pile. Maybe so. I think that must have helped. I'm guessing those stacks got
    a little less tall, maybe as much as a foot, but I doubt that. At the time I estimated 0.8 cords
    per cube (3x) or 2.4 cords. I was a little surprised this year when my numbers seem
    to say 2.2 cords. I'll have to see if I can find the dimensional data from back then. I might
    still have that.
  5. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    881
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    The Tulip (yellow) Poplar burns fantastic. Reminds a lot of folks of Maple or perhaps Pine.
    It's not a bad hardwood. While it's not Oak, it does have about 2/3 to 3/4 the BTU's of Oak.

    BTW if you are in Oz, you may have been given a different kind of Poplar? Or did you
    spend a little time in the US as well?

    Anyway, Tulip Poplar is indeed wet and heavy when fresh cut. Like all firewood, the
    'catch' is that you have to be patient and give it at least a year to season after splitting-
    and two years is much better.

    The one downside is the light, fluffy ash you get- also not very good coaling for
    restarts. So add in some better hardwood like Oak, Hickory, Locust, even Cherry is
    just fine. BTW all you need to do is take your shovel and easily crush down that light ash
    before you build the next fire over it on another day.
  6. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Messages:
    2,183
    Loc:
    Kennett Square, PA
    Nice combo of wood Clutter. Patience is the key with red oak. You'll have a good winter with that . Get the poplar started and throw on the oak. ;)
    WiscWoody and JOHN BOY like this.
  7. JOHN BOY

    JOHN BOY Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Messages:
    532
    Loc:
    Western Mountains ,NC
    I love to burn Tulip poplar with oak ,hickory and locust . A lot of folks hate poplar , it aint the best but it does what its needed for !
    Applesister likes this.
  8. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,176
    Loc:
    northwest Virginia
    Tulip poplar dries fairly fast, is pretty light and in my experience is very easy to split. I don't particularly like the smell of it. My issue is that it burns up pretty fast and doesn't give the heat of the other woods I have access to. If you have the space and can mix it like you say, with oak or another hardwood, then it should be fine.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan

    Your estimate could be off a bit as you have cross stacked all the wood rather than just the ends. But you can still get a close idea. I would expect the stacks to have shrunk at least 6" but perhaps no more; perhaps even more.
  10. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    881
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    Yep, half a foot sounds about right, Dennis. It definitely shrunk some during the three years.


    Anyway, Poplar is considered junk wood by many, but it has its good points. I won't refuse
    smaller batches if offered. Summer 2012 Mother Nature offered me an entire tree, plus the
    top of a neighbor's tree. Since it fell in my back yard, there was no choice involved- but I
    confess I had already been burning the stuff before that stormy year. Heck, my first big
    Craig's List score was a bunch of Poplar and some guy had already backed out on it, so it all
    went to me. The homeowner had already rented a splitter and split a good third of it, or more.
    That stuff kept me good and warm in my first couple of years running a wood stove. You bet
    I burned it with some Oak- things went very well mixed that way. I was real happy I had my
    1 ton van, which will swallow nearly a cord per trip (I figure about 0.8, with more like 0.6
    on average trips)

    BTW I think I'm coming up on year 6 as a wood burner. I still feel pretty new at it and have
    kept my enthusiasm for it all. Dennis was one of the great helpers I met early on in these
    forums. I learned a lot here.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Thanks CM.
  12. Auzzie Gumtree

    Auzzie Gumtree Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    Messages:
    384
    is this poplar? this is what i have picked up so far from the neighbour - it was covered in ivy some of which you can see. but i was very surprised at the weight.

    CAM00314.jpg CAM00315.jpg CAM00316.jpg CAM00317.jpg
    jaychino415 likes this.
  13. Bret Chase

    Bret Chase Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Messages:
    648
    Loc:
    Maine
    We don't have tulip here... The "popples" we have are quaking, bigtooth, and balsam... quaking being the most common in my end of the state... That being said... they seem to go from seasoned wood to ash with minimal heat being offered.... I don't find them to be junk wood.... they do well as lumber.... but for firewood.. they suck.
  14. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    881
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    Yep, from everything I have ever heard, Popple, where you find that, is near-worthless.

    This stuff is very different and really never should have been called a Poplar.

  15. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    881
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    Auzzie, one hint I'm getting from your photo, looking at the smaller branches, is the horizontal striations. (did I spell that right?) Reminds me more of Cherry wood. The bark on young Cherry has that very distinctive horizontal fringe all over.
  16. Auzzie Gumtree

    Auzzie Gumtree Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    Messages:
    384
    Thanks for that - is poplar very heavy? This is nearly as heavy as my top grade hard wood and much heavier than pine - nearly twice the weight.

    I suppose its all relative as its getting split and stacked and burned in 3 years time - i will know then what it burns like ==c i can only go off the weight of the wood as my ID skills are next to useless ;hm
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Lots of wood can be very heavy when fresh cut. Case in point might be cottonwood. Super heavy when first cut. Very light when dried.

    What wood you have doesn't look like what we have.
  18. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    881
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    Yes, our Poplar is pretty heavy if cut green. The moisture comes out fast, though. Rounds become a lot lighter pretty soon, then even lighter after splitting and stacking a while. In the end, the seasoned stuff does retain some weight and heft, sort of like Maple or other 'medium' BTU woods.
  19. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    881
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    I just started taking apart one of my three Oak wood cubes and brought some of the wood
    up nearer to the house. It has turned a nice gray color, and it all clanks like a baseball bat,
    so I know this is going to burn good. Scroll up to the top of this page to see the original
    stacks fresh split.

    I put these splits up three years ago without regard to any punky wood that may have been
    on it. Sure enough, much of it dried sufficiently that I can burn it as is. Some small percentage
    of the splits have either very soft or even slightly wet punky wood on them. These trim up
    quick and easy using a small camp axe (hatchet). I find that it helps a lot to remove any wet
    punky wood. It just never seems to ever dry, otherwise.

    [​IMG]

    We've been having fires more frequently now. Some of the overnight temperatures
    have gotten down to freezing recently. Still burning mostly Tulip Poplar, but have also
    thrown in a few Cherry splits. Gradually I'll start working some of this Red Oak into
    the mix. Probably the real intense burning is still a month off.
  20. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,464
    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    What a great contrast...and caught on "film" too.
    A three years span.
  21. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    881
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    It's gratifying to look at the before and after difference. I guess I'm learning patience (better late than never).;)
  22. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    Nice stacks

    Do you thing with it being stacked so tight ,
    the center splits will be as dry as the outsides?
  23. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    881
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    Too early to tell. Dave. My strong hunch is that the inner wood is going to be nearly as dry
    as the outer. This bunch of wood was not quite as close-stacked as regular rows. It was
    all cross stacked, through and through. I was amused to find a number of 'galleys' as I
    pulled splits off. Seems my local Chipmunks love these little chambers and they drag nuts
    up in there and eat them. I'll have a better idea by year's end, I figure. Suppose I shouldn't
    be so lazy- I have a moisture meter and could measure a few splits. But OTOH I got way
    behind on this year's wood processing and didn't get much done- so the priority right
    now is to get some more wood moved up near the house and get all my exposed piles and
    stacks covered. I have a bunch of the cheap blue tarps. Junk, yes, but way better than
    no cover. They'll do me a lot more good tossed over the wood than folded up.

    Will keep you all posted as I figure out how these wood cubes worked out for me.
  24. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,231
    Loc:
    Southeast Indiana
    Tulip Poplar will raise the temps in my house 5 degrees within an hour. I find no faults with it whatsoever during this time of the year.
    Applesister likes this.
  25. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    881
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    I see that I have gone about 2-1/2 months and I just went through the first cube out of three of the Red Oak (see photo above).
    So I'm burning at a slow enough rate and all is well. Still mixing in some Poplar. When it gets real cold, I end up burning only
    Oak for a few days. Should make it through this winter with Oak to spare.

    BTW in regard to moderately tight-packed wood 'cubes', I have had just a little hissing from the occasional piece, but most
    do not hiss at all. I'm suspecting I may have had a little rain leakage through the cheap blue tarps during the three years
    of seasoning. I almost hesitated to mention it, as it is only a rare piece that will hiss (a little). I still think the way Dennis
    stacks is good. He uses better stuff to cover his stacks than I do. I'm going to be keeping my eyes open for old roofing
    materials, lumber tarps, etc. Someday, maybe I'll finally build that wood shed I've dreamed about...
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

Share This Page