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what woods to avoid?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by fishboat, Nov 14, 2007.

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  1. fishboat

    fishboat Member

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    noob to wood burning for real...

    If I were to start collecting wood from free or low-cost sources what wood should I avoid & why? I know beggars shouldn't be too choosy, but some wood will no doubt be more a pain than it's worth. I know about hardwoods vs softwoods & btu content.

    For starters..I'm guessing willow & box edler are not so good? Why?

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  2. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    I've burned just about all box elder and silver maple so far this year. They are definitely not in the same league as oak, elm, walnut, etc..., but they do burn and make heat. Box elder burns pretty quickly so it's not very good for overnight or all day burns (silver maple is a bit better). It does work very well during these shoulder seasons where I'm making a fire a couple of times a day to take the chill off. It also helps to stretch my supply of hardwood for the deep cold that's right around the corner.

    One other thing to watch out for with box elder or willow is properly storing them. They will rot much quicker than hardwood if they are not kept dry and up off the ground.

    If I was paying for it, I wouldn't want "softwood" (especially at a hardwood price), but if it's free or very close I'll burn it.
  3. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    I tried burning some Trex wood left over from when they built a neighbor's deck. It burned really well, but gave me a headache that lasted for days. I wouldn't recommend it.

    -- Mike
  4. Tailrace

    Tailrace New Member

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    LOL...you are being sarcastic, right?
  5. budman

    budman Minister of Fire

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    I sure hope he is.
  6. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    cottenwood. very wet, very stringy hard to spilt. dry out to a light wood.
  7. derbygreg

    derbygreg New Member

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    Amen Brother. It is also smokey. When I first got a stove, a neighbor cut one down, I thought I hit the jackpot until I started splitting it and the later when I burned it and it was smokey and burned quickly.
  8. Henz

    Henz New Member

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    uhh, I dont know if the Trex dude was kidding! :)
  9. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Just go someplace like:

    http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howood.htm and check out the heating values.

    Figure out what woods you are likely to get locally - Basically, the lower BTU stuff should come easier and cheaper, but you might be willing to work a little or go further out of your way to get some of the higher BTU woods. ie - you might take cedar, cottonwood, and fir if someone dumped them on your doorstep, but be a little more willing to make a trip for oak, hedge, locust, etc.

    The only woods that are really 'bad' to burn - as others have alluded are treated woods, finished and/or painted woods, etc.
  10. fishboat

    fishboat Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts...with respect to cottonwood...given all the window screens I've vacuumed off over the years there might be some satisfaction in burning some of the wood.

    So far it looks like my thinking is about right...take the lower quality wood if it's free or dumped on my back lot (as it may well be) & make an effort for the better wood. I just wanted to make sure there were no species to avoid even if it's free.

    thanks
  11. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Kidding about what? The guy was asking a question, so I answered him...

    While we are talking about burning wood, I am thinking of replacing my blockoff plate at the damper. I used Enord's plans for a cardboard plate, but it doesn't seem to be working well. Any ideas?

    -- Mike
  12. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Use linoleum. Stiffer and holds up for at least twice as long in the heat. Or a cabinet shop can custom make you one from ash paneling. Have it finished in fruitwood stain. You can't see it behind that insert surround but you KNOW it is there and you know it is looking good. And the ash left over from it is light and fluffy.
  13. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Sweet idea! I think the wife would love it! Let me call up my local woodworker and have him get on it!

    -- Mike
  14. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    gum - not worth it.
  15. Stevebass4

    Stevebass4 Minister of Fire

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    Mike is that your house in your avatar??!! ;)
  16. MANIAC

    MANIAC New Member

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    Get some Styrofoam and just cover it with aluminum foil. They have the Heavy Duty foil at the dollar store. I saw it there when I was getting the birthday candles I'm going to heat the house with this year.
  17. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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  18. junksta

    junksta New Member

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    Wife sorta leans to that morning wood!
  19. RonB

    RonB Feeling the Heat

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    [quote author="Tailrace" date="1195087238"][quote author="Mike Wilson" date="1195086921"]I tried burning some Trex wood left over from when they built a neighbor's deck. It burned really well, but gave me a headache that lasted for days. I wouldn't recommend it.

    -- Mike]

    I'm thinking you better check your chimney for critters cause your stove must be back drafting.
  20. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

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    Do not burn any wood your house is made out of.
  21. Heartwood

    Heartwood New Member

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    Which gum tree? Black gum?
  22. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    Bubble
  23. Jimbob

    Jimbob New Member

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    Mine too!

    :lol:
  24. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    :lol:

    ROTFLMFAO!

    -- Mike
  25. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    looks like this might be the last serious reply. You didn't say where you were located so I don't know what kind of wood is plentiful for you. But my answer would be DRY!! . You can burn anything if it's dry. if it isn't you will screw up your whole setup no matter what it is. I'd start off by trying to get a decent supply or wood and then once I got some momentum on my supply, I'd get picky about what I burned. Here in Virginia I only take hardwood. oak, hickory, elm beech. everyonce in a while I will take maple or something like that but high BTU hardwood is plentiful here and I've never had to pay more than my time and gas to collect it. I actually drove 10 miles for a load of cut oak last week but that is because it was next to the driveway of some friends who couldn't get anyone to take it. Made more sense to me to do that than have friends pay somebody to take it away.
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