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Used lumber as a fuel source?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by K2Orion, Apr 10, 2009.

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  1. K2Orion

    K2Orion Member

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    Hello all. This is my first post here, although I've been lurking for a while. I hope to keep searching more than posting but I was wondering about this.
    Would used lumber (southern yellow pine 2x4, 2x6) be a good source for firewwod to supplement/extend my hardwood supply?
    Here is my reason for asking. I run heavy equipment, a John Deere 850J LGP recently, for a highway contractror. They build roads and bridges and use a lot of lumber for forms and falsework. They re-use lumber until it is in such small lengths that it is unusable for their purposes. That is generally around 2' long, a perfect size to toss in a stove. They send literally tons of it to their landfill in roll-off dumpsters on a regular basis. It would be easy for me to raid the dumpster, with their permission of course, once or twice a week and bring home the clean pices that would require no additional cutting or removing of nails/concrete to put in my pile at home.
    So, tell me the reasons why I shouldn't bring this home and burn it. I would probably burn it in the evenings when I first light my fire and then throw on some of my red and white oak/hickory/locust to burn through the night. I don't intend for this pine to be my sole source of fuel. I just hate to pass on free wood, if it is something that is usable.

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  2. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    If it's treated, you can't use it. Very toxic, but I'm sure you know that. If untreated, the only other issue with dried lumber like this is its extremely low moisture content can lead to really hot fires, uncontrolled burns, and extremely quick consumption, but if you're mixing it, it would be a great supplement to some wood with decent (or even slightly high) moisture content. Your idea for using it to get the firebox up to temp is really quite sound as long as it's untreated.
  3. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    free of chemicals, paint, oil, etc.
    burns hot.
  4. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    Makes fantastic kindling.

    -SF
  5. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    I burn untreated scrap dimensional lumber routinely with no problem whatever. Rick

    Edit to Add: OOPS! forgot to say welcome to the forums!
  6. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Shouldn't be an issue if the lumber isn't painted/treated/etc. I use scraps from the shop all the time -- mostly as kindling or for a Spring/Fall fire to take the edge off the coolness. In my own opinion, it's about the same as using pallets -- they burn hot so don't just stuff the firebox full and let it roar . . . but if you use the wood to start the fire or for quick, hot fires in the shoulder seasons the pallets/scrap lumber can be rather useful.
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    When people think treated, most think only of green pressure treated. There are all kinds of white wood that is also treated.

    http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/homillends.htm

    Add to that, wood used in concrete forming often gets treated with a release agent.
  8. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    Wow, great link! Thanks!

    -SF
  9. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Interesting. I wonder what effects bar and chain oil residue can have on the stove and chimney.
  10. K2Orion

    K2Orion Member

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    I have used it as kindling before in my plain old fireplace. I am planning on putting in an insert and was wondering about using it in there. Idon't intend to burn anything thats treated, either at the "factory" or on the job with form oil, or any plywood. Just 2x4s and 2x6s. I was hoping that the higher burn temps/ more complete combustion of a stove or insert would lessen the amount of creosote that would be deposited. I was always told that this is the major reason not to burn pine.
  11. atvdave

    atvdave Member

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    I burn untreated broken up parts of skids I get from work and use it as kindling. Works great, you just don't want to burn a lot at a time.. it burns very hot, and quick. I then mix my regular split wood with it.
  12. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Welcome K2. There is no reason not to burn pine. Thats pretty much what I heat my home with 24/7. 8 to sometimes 11 :sick: months a year.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    And sometimes 364 nights per year!
  14. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    mix it in. Sounds like a great source.
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Ah yes, The Great Pine Conspiracy . . . where old-timers will swear that burning pine in your woodstove will result in Armageddon, Chernobyl II or at the very least you will become sterile . . . or maybe they just claim that it will lead to excessive creosote build up and cause a chimney fire . . . I always forget what the predicted outcome is.

    In any case, the "Pine is evil" thing constantly comes up here time and time again and the general consensus from folks who burn pine occasionally (me) or all the time (many folks in the northwest) is that if it is seasoned properly as every wood should be and you don't go crazy packing your woodstove with pine and then touching it off and leaving the door ajar with the air opened all the way . . . you should be OK.

    Someone once had a theory . . . and in retrospect I think they may be right . . . that perhaps one of the reasons some folks fear pine and think it causes excessive creosote is that it is a pretty light weight wood and if you just gauged how "seasoned" a wood would be by its heft instead of by its moisture content and tossed pine on a fire it could easily be very green and cause creosote. More over, I think some folks may be concerned about the pitch in the pine as some softwoods can have an excessive build up of pitch (i.e. sold as fatwood) which if you are not careful and don't notice that you're loading a large piece of this fatwood into the fire can lead to hot, smoky fires (although smaller pieces apparently make good fire starters.)
  16. Bspring

    Bspring Feeling the Heat

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    If he is burning it in a wood furnace does it matter if it it treated or not? I can see that for a open fire place this would be a problem.
  17. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Burning any treated wood in any thing still creates poisonous fumes/ toxins in the air that is harmful to everything. :sick:
    Might as well be burning plastic. Its a no no. ;-)

    (EDIT): Added smileys
  18. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    Only if you give a crap about anyone else. Or plan on going outside.
  19. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    Just my 2 cents, but anything with any type of chemicals in/on it AT ALL should never be burned. we all have to inhale it! That being said, I regurly burn scrap lumber... it makes great kindling and is usually free! I have about 3/4 cord worth of 2x4 that came from the basement where i work when they gutted it. I also have a huge pile of misc scraps from a guy that tore down a garage. good stuff, easy work.
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