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You can burn evergreens and elm?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by jlightning, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. jlightning

    jlightning Member

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    I have been learning or better yet relearning alot about burning wood since joining this forum. I was always told that burning evergreens or elm is a no-no? I currently have some pine that is layed over in my back woods along w/ some elm and wouldn't mind using if it wont mess up my stove or build up too much creosote. Do you need to season evergreens or elm longer then other types of woods? Also after reading about seasoning wood properly it seems like alot of members of this forum have wood moisture meters...are they worth the $$? Any good cheap meters ones out there? I have also heard that splitting elm is no fun...is there a trick to make it any easier?

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  2. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    You shouldn't have a creosote problem unless you're burning wet wood. Actually, Oak is the slowest-drying wood. I've burned a lot of Red Elm this year, and a little White. Red definitely splits easier but it's still tough. You need to get that wood split and stacked. If the Elm is already dead, it might be pretty dry after a year stacked. The Pine will dry a bit faster. You don't really need a moisture meter unless you're trying to find wood that you can burn now. Once you have split stacks drying, you will pretty much know where you stand. You'll also develop a feel for the wood; You'll be able to tell by weight and sound if the wood is dry. But the meters are cheap, and fun to play with. :)
  3. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    You can burn any wood, and evergreens and elms are definitely burnable. You should cut and split any wood, elm and evergreens included, and stack them in a windy spot to dry for a year at least. They'll burn great. Most of the evergreens burn faster and hotter than hardwoods like oak or hickory. I like to add some to a load for faster start up; the evergreens burn fast and hot, then the hardwoods continue to burn and produce coals. Elm is fairly dense and is a medium-grade hardwood if not better than medium.

    Elm is harder to split than a lot of other woods, but it can be split. I have split a few elm trees by hand and the problem is that it is irritating, not necessarily hard effort required. After the initial split with elm there are usually a few stringy pieces holding the two halves of the wood together. You then have to chop those stringy pieces which is irritating, but not all that hard if you ask me.
  4. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    Elm is good wood but as Wood Duck states, frustrating to split. I split everything as I cut it except for elm. I throw that on a pile and at the end of the year split it all with my uncle's hydraulic splitter. Yes you can do it by hand, it just isn't fun like oak or ash.
  5. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    CAn burn them. My wood cutting budy and i cut an elm a few months back and it was dead when cut and on the ground maybe a year, its retty much dry now.

    And pine yes.

    As for the moisture meters. Go to Ebay and type in moisture meter, pages will come up. You can have them delivered to your door for less than $15 all day long. HF has one to for less than $20. I think i paid a shade under $10 for my MM delivered from Ebay, did not notice till i had not gotten it in like a week that it was coming from Hong Kong!! But it arrived in 2 weeks maye a day or 2 more. Definitly paid by paypal!!! It works pretty good right along what other folks say and i belive it according to how the wood burns. I think there were several for $13 delivered from US sources maybe?? I dont know as i did not really look. Got mine and i like it, really a toy! I did choose the one i got over some others that were a $1 or so more as they used those smaller like special camera batteries like s23 or something, they bout the thickness of a AA battery but just half the length and really pricy, mine uses 9V.
  6. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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  7. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Pretty much any wood is fine once it is dry.

    Moisture meters.... I'm not a fan. If you have room and access to wood spend time and cash on a saw. Split and stack now. The first few years Isaved the Elm and any other nasty splitting wood until the end of the Spring (too muddy to haul wood) and then rented a hydrolic splitter for half a day.

    After a while the saw paid for a splitter.

    Get a year or two ahead on wood. It was a big blessing when I had a health problem and had to take a year off, ill family member, etc...

    ATB,
    Mike
  8. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    Grab it, split it, season it, burn it!!
  9. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Or as zapny would say, GET IT BEFORE IT ROTS....lol.... ;-)
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    jlightning, if you do burn those evergreens you might start growing hair on the palms of your hands and you might get a crook in your back at times. Other than that, yes, you can burn them. Pine or elm does not cause creosote. Burning the wood before it is dry will cause creosote. Cut, split and stack it then leave it for a year before you burn it.

    For the elm, we burn a lot but wait until the tree is dead and the bark has fallen off or most of it has fallen off. This makes the wood much better for burning and it can be split without the stringy mess. Even today, a neighbor came and asked if he could cut some of our dead elm because he needs some for his shop heater and he knows we've been letting them go a few years because of the abundance of dead ash we have. So I even helped him cut a load and then we cut a load for ourselves too.

    As for the moisture meters, yes, it does seem many seem to love the gadgets. I've burned wood well over 50 years now and have never seen the time we might be able to use one. If you want to keep it simple and have many other benefits to go along with it, cut, split and stack enough wood so that you are a minimum of 2-3 years ahead on your wood pile. It is a bit of work getting there but you will never be sorry if you get there and will be amazed at how much better this wood burning is with good dry wood. In addition, if some disaster befall you, no worry because you'll have plenty of wood already stacked and ready to burn. Many on this forum have been amazed once they get 3 year old wood on hand just how nicely it burns. I've said it before and will continue: If people would only get 2-3 years wood ahead, 99.9% of all their wood burning problems will be solved. It really is that easy and no MM will be needed. In addition, that stack of wood will be worth more to you than money in the bank. It will pay bigger dividends and is non taxable.
  11. jlightning

    jlightning Member

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    This has been my first winter burning w/ the 350 winterport and I have already used up 90% of my woodpile so now I am cutting and splitting for next year and hopefully will be able to get ahead by at least another year or two. I figure ill work triple time to get my wood pile ahead so that it will be fairly easy in the upcoming years to stay 3 years out. If I get my Cawley Lemay hooked up one of these days I figure ill need 6 times the wood to keep everything running and stay ahead on wood....I better stop typing and get in the woods and split some wood...time is a wasting!
  12. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    If you're going to start heating more space with the 600 then you will need more wood, but if it is going to replace or supplement the 350 then you won't need a whole lot more wood. A bigger stove doesn't necessrily mean you'll burn more wood to heat the same space, it migth just mean you'll reload less frequently.

    Either way, it is a lot easier to stay ahead than get ahead.
  13. Monosperma

    Monosperma Member

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    Is elm the best fuel wood ever? Certainly not. However, you really can't argue with white-hot coals and blue flame and glowing cinders in the morning.

    [​IMG]
  14. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Welcome, RideCats. :)
    I've been burning some Red Elm this year and it's great stuff. Burns hot and pretty long. I'll be adding more to the stacks whenever I can get it.

    I noticed that you've listed your location as CO/NM. Do you have two places, or are you close to the border? A buddy of mine used to live in Alamosa, and I've traveled through that area. We took US 285 north from NM to CO, then hopped on SR 17 past Great Sand Dunes Nat. Park and the Sangre de Christo Mountains. What a gorgeous drive!
  15. Steamer

    Steamer Member

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    I can't tell you how much elm I burned in the old farm house with a Sam Daniels furnace back in the 80's.
    When I bought the old farm back in 1979 there was standing dead elm on all the tree lined meadows.
    Most was debarked but wood was solid. I never had any problems with it. Heated my house and tree lines now have beautiful maples.
  16. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    You name it if its dry I burn it. Softwood is best saved for spring and fall if you can because it throws fast hot heat for short burns. There are people here who burn nothing but pine too. Light her up let her burn!! ;-)

    Pete
  17. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    About 70% of what I burn every year is dead Red/Black & White/Bur Oak.Do manage to get some Eastern Red Cedar/Juniper + American Elm every year also.Good stuff,for the Spring & Fall.I'll cut,bring home & burn any wood except that nasty Ailanthus/Tree Of Hell.Its not worth my time,gas & effort.
  18. Monosperma

    Monosperma Member

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    Hey, Woody. I am kind of splitting time between Denver and Santa Fe-ish. But I don't burn anything in Denver except in the BBQ.
  19. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I sure hope I can burn elm and pine since I burned a bit this weekend . . . along with some poplar, maple and white birch. As long as you season the wood it doesn't really matter what wood you burn in terms of creosote . . . the key being you have to have seasoned wood AND run the woodstove at the proper temps (too hot = risk of a chimney fire and too cool = risk of creosote being produced.)

    Pine and other evergreens do have two negatives . . . they are often full of sticky pitch and they do tend to burn hot and fast . . . which means they are well suited as kindling or for shoulder season fires when you only need one or two fires during the day to warm things up.

    Elm is not a problem in terms of creosote . . . well no more so than any other tree species providing you season it . . . the issue here is American elm is infamous for being a challenge to split with an ax, splitting maul, etc. That said, I have burned plenty of elm and have found that standing dead elm (especially if it has been standing dead for some time and is at the point of losing the bark) actually can split up relatively easy . . . and in any case it burns quite well.

    I figure about a year or so of seasoning most wood species -- the exception being oak -- but in practice most of my wood doesn't get burned until Year 3 at which point it is pretty well seasoned. Because of my practices I have never felt compelled to buy a moisture meter, but I could see how this would be handy for folks who might not be a few years ahead on their wood supply.

    As for tricks on splitting elm . . . as mentioned . . . standing dead elm without the bark generally splits up easier . . . other than that my one other tip is that a hydraulic splitter works wonders on most anything. ;)
  20. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Crap . . . I've got to start reading the whole thread before I post so I don't look like a complete idiot for posting twice on the same topic. ;)
  21. Monosperma

    Monosperma Member

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    My trick for splitting elm: 1. cut it short, e.g. 8 inch rounds or so and then, 2) split it violently, e.g. a maul, rather than a hydraulic. The strings don't get a chance to form. And the short chunks burn great.
  22. RORY12553

    RORY12553 Minister of Fire

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    Have alot of elm that I will be cutting the split size smaller becasuse it is very stringy and tough to split in a 20" length. Buddy of mine tried it and was amazed how many times he had to hit it just for a crack to form and then to split it took a few more swings. I hope all of this effort will be worth it and in the future will ask more questions before I got pick something up.
  23. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    It's OK Jake, it really is just a sign of old age......happens to me all the time. :cheese:

    I am a scrounger with access to several wood lots so I usually get some of the better species, oak, hickory, ash, but I will, and have taken anything. As others have said, properly seasoned, it all burns. I actually would rather have a variety on hand.

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