Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by woodking, Aug 17, 2012.
Found an elm limb in the empty lot down the street, hows it to split and burn?
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It's fun to burn.. not so fun to split. It has been said here that elm after drying out a long time is easier to split.
definately a great wood to burn IMHO. And as Gark stated, not so fun to split, most of the time anyway....
It can be a pain in the arse, the bigger split which was small was a bastard to split, the smallest two splits were fine. This was from a small dead standing tree without any bark on it, the bigger splits measured 36-38 percent on the m/m, the smaller splits measured 21 percent on the m/m which puts it in the ready to burn stack.
I had a few standing dead in afence row I cut and burned a few years back. Burns fine IMO, but it's tough splitting. I couldn't/wouldn't/didn't split it by hand!!
It splits rather tough but it can be done - and if it's free I'd jump on it for sure. It burns great as I recall.
It's all BTUs
Three common elms around here: Red, american and siberian. Firewood quality in that order. Red and siberian split ok when green but I would still use a hydraulic splitter. American is a real bear to split when green, best to let it sit in the round until the bark falls off and maybe longer. I've heard rock or winged elm is even better but that's a rare beast around here. Red elm is by far the favorite here.
Yes, it is BTU's! The lmib's about 30' long, 18" diam at the base. I'll cut it to rounds and let it sit till its pretty dry. I split all mine by hand (about 5 cords a year), so i wont try it green.
I will pretty much burn anything, but only if its real dry.
Last couple of years, I have been scrounging 90% red oak, so I just like to find out about these other odd-ball trees I pick up from time to time.
Next week I'm picking up a cut up tulip poplar, I know its pretty low on the totem pole, but its free, and 2 pick-up truck loads worth!
I split plenty of green smaller diameter stuff, took every ounce of power from a 20 ton splitter to push through the 10" rounds!
Poplar burns great, almost like pine though. It splits beautifully!
I like elm . . . American elm is pretty much all that is around here . . . darn Dutch Elm Disease is slowly killing them off . . . one nice thing is with the standing dead elm they split pretty easily and oftentimes the wood (especially the branches and at the top) is pretty close to being seasoned (depending on how long the tree has been dead.) Heck, burning mostly elm got me through my first year of burning when I did not start putting up my wood until that Spring.
Nowadays I burn elm whenever I can -- it burns well and has a decent burn time. My wife likes the "strings" which allow the wood to catch on fire easier. The only drawback is that fresh cut elm can be a bear to split manually . . . it's much easier with a hydraulic splitter. Standing dead elm splits much easier -- sometimes if it is dead enough it will "pop" open quite easily.
I think Jags or Backwoods had a photo of splitting carniage, which pretty much says it all.
I'd leave it there. Way too much time and effort for me to hand split it when there is so much easier to split stuff around me. I go for maximum BTU per processing man/hour. I'd be better off burning balsa wood than Elm.
That would be Jags.
We burn elm almost every year but we don't cut it until it is dead and the bark has fallen off most of the tree. Most of it splits very nicely then. Cut it and split it green and it is a mess.
Yeah I've cut and burned at least a tree (1-2 face cords) each of the last 3 years. Standing dead, bark totally gone and only a few limbs still on when I cut them out of the fence row. It cut and burned pretty fine, but splitting... holy moly! Unlike Dennis, I can't say elm, splits and nicely in the same sentence I beat on it with an 8# maul and it was like hitting a rubber block!! Maul just bounced off. Well, I guess at least it wasn't getting stuck in the round! Finally threw it into a pile and waited for splitter rental day.
There's a great little hardware 3 miles away that has a few things for rent, including a nice hydraulic splitter. I can usually split all the "tougher than I am" pieces (BTW there are more of those than there used to be!) in a morning session once or twice a season. Costs me about $20 + fuel per session. I'm man enough to admit when I ain't man enough!!
Bottom line: as someone already noted, Elm = BTUs.
To sidetrack the thread (slightly). I'm taking down a live limb and medium size Elm soon. I think American from the leaves. How long will it take to season on average? On year...two? Since they are both green and I split all by hand, should I stack the rounds then split next year? I think biggest diameter will be 12" or so. Thanks!
I can't help here... I've never seen a live Elm tree around here! Good luck - I'm sure otheres will have good advice on this.
Splits like butter: (that has been frozen in nitrogen and hit with a hammer)
The main problem with splitting Elm is that the damn grain seems to be in a spiral.
It's not a straight grain like almost every other tree. The BTUs are up there in comparison
with other species, according to the chart (Link Below).
Once it's split, it'll burn well & heat ya toastily...
Full disclosure: Don't let that pic scare you too bad. That was the worst splitting SOB I have ever seen and the entire tree split like that. A lone tree at the top of a hill surrounded by open fields. It was wind battered its whole life and grew this way for revenge.
Another one for your viewing pleasure:
(and welcome to the forum)
I love this word! Is it a word?
It only exists here in Hearthheadland...
Actually, I found it exists in Wikiland, too...
A year is good on a live American elm . . . two years would be even better, but one year should be very good. Normally I would say split now and get it seasoning . . . but since we're talking elm and you're splitting manually I'm not sure if letting it sit as a round would make things easier or not for you. For me, with a hydraulic splitter, earlier is always better.
Jags pic of Elm is the displeasure I had with it. I cringe when I hear the name, and will pass whenever its offered to me.
Kudos! With that command of vocabulary, you should play Scrabble!
Separate names with a comma.