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Worst wood to split

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by antknee2, Apr 5, 2009.

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  1. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    I had a nice size load of logs delivered last year , just started to process the wood . Some of the wood is so nasty and will not split , it just gets ripped by the splitter . Could anybody help me identify this wood and understand why it is so wet and fibery .
    Thanks Anthony

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  2. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Some trees, like elm, twist when they grow. Sometimes to follow the sun.

    I hate elm.
  3. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I would like to know what kind of wood that is! I posted it in October or November, The closest I was able to get was some kind of Gum. I have never had trouble identifing trees in my area, this one got me. I know there are more of them at the site, so when the leaves come out I will get some leaves for ID. Once it seasons it weighs almost nothing and burns very quick, but when it's green it is the heaviest wood ever. Good luck!
  4. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Well I cant tell ya what it is now but after its seasoned Id have to say its firewood. Sorry had to do it... Good luck. %-P
  5. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    I think you just described sweetgum to a 't'.

    To the OP, what you have does not look like sweetgum and the grain of the wood does not look right. Based other pics in the past the wood definitely looks like elm when split.
  6. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Whatever I had is for a fact the same wood pictured above. I just restacked some leftover today, same stuff. Twisted all the way through, top to bottom, even the limbs! :ahhh:
  7. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    If it is Elm I hope I did not introduce Dutch Elm disease into the neck off the woods . This may be the reason the tree service wanted to get this load to me in a big hurry and at a discount .
    Anthony
  8. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Sure hope you didn't pay too much for it, it burns about like paper when it dries. It requires no kindlin to start, it's covered with it. I am sure it is not Elm, at least no Elm I have ever seen or heard of.
  9. JBinKC

    JBinKC Feeling the Heat

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    I also think it isn't an elm. My guess it is blackgum.
  10. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    Dutch elm disease is for Dutch elms and is carried by bugs (some of which fly) so I don't think you are spreading the disease especially when you burn the wood. Elm can have a faint un-pleasant odor and is stringy as in the pictures you have but it is not a bad burner. White elm is around 18 million btu per cord (1 million better than pine) and red elm which is usually considered Dutch in my area has about 21 million btu per cord (about 3 million less than red oak). Check out this link: http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howood.htm
    I can't say that I have ever seen gum but I hear that it is a good burner but splits hard like elm. Either way in winter it's a warm prospect but knowing what wood your buying and its characteristics helps decide the price you are willing to pay for the work you are going to do.
  11. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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  12. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    My Father drilled into my head the saying ( A BTU is a BTU ) (A BTU is a BTU ) as I drive around my county all I see is BTU's going to waste as blow downs that nobody wants or has any clue to how much free energy they have around there property's . It will be interesting to see how this wood burns in a couple years . I use a Super Split log splitter with the production table for all the smaller rounds , this wood has the ability to absorb multiple hits from the ram . The splitter has such a sharp and thin wedge , that it actually rips through the wood . Really slows down production .
    Anthony
  13. wsurfer49

    wsurfer49 Member

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    Quite a few years ago I cut down a large elm, over 3' base. I cut the larger base logs to 16 inches and buried wedges in it. I cut them down to 8 inches and still couldn't split it. I ended up cutting the 8 inch by 3 foot rounds into blocks and burned them in a wood furnace mixed with oak and some hickory. The elm cubes would be large glowing blocks and would take 12 to 13 hours to burn down. They were dried about 10 months so not perfectly dry but would ignite fairly easily. Not too bad a wood to burn if you could stand the smell. IMOH ROB
  14. Ncountry

    Ncountry Feeling the Heat

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    I do not know what it is but would have to agree the inside looks just like elm but the bark definitely does not. Doesn't look like fun to split. Here is a little info on dutch elm disease http://na.fs.fed.us/fhp/ded/ . Around here the elms rarely grow to 12" on the stump before they die unless they are isolated along a roadside or in the middle of a large meadow. There they will grow to well over 3' on the stump.
  15. `RyaN`

    `RyaN` New Member

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    My first guess would be black gum also.

    To get into why some woods are hard to split and are stringy versus other woods you would be getting into botany/dendrology which I am sure no one wants to hear about.
  16. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    The wood is stringy like Elm but is very white, tears apart in segments, looks very strange. It has a smell unlike Elm, it is very nutty smelling and then looses all smell within a month.

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  17. MGC67

    MGC67 New Member

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    looks like my whole wood pile after I hack it up............
  18. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    That is defiantly the culprit . I checked the end grain of the big load of log length rounds and found plenty more hiding under the good stuff . Hopefully the spring sun will dry the wood enough to make it more manageable .
    PS Thanks everyone for all the great information .
    Anthony
  19. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    Boxelder is similar... sucks to split because its so stringy and twisted. Its a "weed" tree, grows very fast and in all kinds of crazy directions.
  20. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Another vote for Not Elm . . . split some elm this weekend . . . definitely a different experience from last year when I had some very dead standing elm. The very dead standing elm (no bark for a couple of years) split very easily . . . the dead elm I split this year was wicked stringy . . . and not very pretty looking . . . but I figure when it's dry it will burn just as fine as the purty-looking maple and ash I have.
  21. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    Looks a bit like some of the sourwood I've seen go through the splitter. It just tears. There is no way to split that stuff. I hate "splitting" sourwood and black gum.

    A small piece of sourwood:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  22. captainjim04

    captainjim04 New Member

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    Sweet gum has monkey balls which are prickly little balls the size of a golf ball. see if these are on the ground near the tree. sometimes some will stay on the tree through the winter too. Also a leaf that looks somewhat of a maple with (5 points). I just split some and your pics look just like it. black gum have no balls but has black berries and dark green crunchy foot ball shaped leaves. Just telling about the leaves for future reference. Is the log in your pic about 8" wide?
  23. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    Wish I could give more info about the tree in question , the logs were dropped off by local tree service . They mix their loads of lumber , kind off hit or miss . The log in the pic is about 8'' in dia . One good thing about splitting this wood , it leaves lots of rippings below the splitter nice fire starting material , once dried .
    Thanks Anthony
  24. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry that I don't have any bark to compare to, but the splits look a lot like this...and its elm.

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  25. Spikem

    Spikem Member

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    Yup!

    The way I put it, it looks like someone put a cherry bomb in the middle and lit it. Nasty, nasty stuff to split.
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