Q&A BTUs of different woods

QandA Posted By QandA, Jan 5, 2004 at 2:20 PM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    Re: BTUs of different woods I have appreciated your website and used it to get BTU values for different woods. I have a text by Panshin and deZeeuw, 1980, Textbook of Wood Technology, Mc Graw-Hill which on p. 218 states that the heat of combustion of one pound of hardwood is 8500 BTUs, and that of softwood is 9000 BTUs. This seems just the reverse from my intuitive knowledge and from your figures of millions of BTUs per cord. Is this text in error? Thanks for you time and your help. Don Potter


    No, the text is not in error. Woods vary from 8,000 to 9,000 BTU per pound...varying depending on species. The article on HearthNet shows values per cord, which is a cubic measurement. If we use weight instead of volume, the values would be very close. But, a pound of light softwood will be twice as large as a pound of the densest hardwoods.

    Most texts fix the values at about 8500, since there are differences even within the same tree due to sap content and other differences. There are also differences as far as moisture rentention, time to properly season, etc.
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