burning exclusively with Ash?

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MissMac

Minister of Fire
Dec 4, 2017
867
NW Ontario
I've been picking up some really nice ash to lay up for 23/24 and am looking for some advice from folks who burn a lot of it. I've never had any in my stacks before, but I also know it's the best btu wood I could get my hands on where I live (even a bit better than birch which is the gold standard around here). So, I was just hoping to hear about people's experience burning just ash in their stoves - does it catch easily? Does it burn well on its own, or do I need to mix it in with other species? I know the one load I was grabbing, another fellow was there grabbing some pine and he asked me 'aren't you scared throwing that in your stove? It will burn your house down cause it burns so hot'. In my mind I was thinking okay bud, you keep grabbing the pine, I'll keep grabbing the ash... :)

I've still got a couple more cords to haul, and I'm trying to decide whether I should pick up a bit of birch to mix into the ash loads, or just keep hauling the ash. Thoughts?
 

Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,259
Northern IL
Ash does just fine on its own. Properly dried it will light pretty easy. Maintains a pretty steady burn till coal stage. Coals are not long lived in my stove.
 

hawkeye4771

Member
Dec 3, 2009
41
western NY
Ash is an all around great burning wood! It catches easy and burns long and hot. Maybe not as hot as Black Locust or Hard Maple or some Oak but ash splits very easy and drys out fast as well. What you can CSS this spring you could burn next fall and winter. By the way my wife is from Englehart, Ont over near New Liskeard.
 

Gearhead660

Minister of Fire
Dec 20, 2018
690
Southern WI
Great firewood. Burns hot, decent coals, seasons fairly fast. May be ready this fall, for sure ready for fall '22.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,478
Northern NH
Ash is great stuff. About as easy to hand split as it gets and dries quickly. Makes great kindling. I usually hoard my ash for kindling. Its not a particularly dense wood so its not all night wood but overall hard to beat.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,407
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Ash is like that baseball player on the team who is not particularly exemplary at any one thing: hitting, fielding, pitching, catching, etc. . . . but can do everything quite well and is well regarded by the fans.
 

wormser

New Member
Feb 16, 2021
17
Finger Lakes, NY
I have some ash that I'm currently burning and other than red/white oak it's my favorite. The Ash Borer has really kicked in for us. The snow finally melted enough for me to walk through our 22 acre woods and it's like flipping a switch. They have the bark chewed off in large sections and the woodpeckers are starting to hit it. I'll probably spend Saturday walking around nocking mine down. I'd guess I got 2 years worth standing right now. Then I'll get back to my oak tops left over from logging this summer.
 

Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
868
Rochester NY
If ash is the best BTU wood in your area and you've never burned it, it will no doubt be your new favorite. Starts easy, seasons easy, usually splits easy. There's really no down side to it except that it's not a totally top tier BTU wood like locust or hickory. I wouldn't worry one bit about having a stove full of it, just keep an eye on it and adjust your air as necessary. Stove fulls of locust on the other hand, do make me a little nervous sometimes.
 
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MissMac

Minister of Fire
Dec 4, 2017
867
NW Ontario
Right on everyone, thanks for the replies! I think I will keep hauling the ash home then, and skip the birch this year. These guys don't have ash often - they just happened to get into a block of it this winter as part of their annual harvest allowance.
 

WoodBurnerInWI

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2020
264
Madison, WI
Although birch is my personal favorite wood to cut and burn, if going by BTU's then ash has the slight advantage. Like the others have said, it dries pretty quick, easy enough to light from a cold start, and coals are about average. Now in terms of ash left behind in the stove, I don't know if other's had this happen but the ash I burned this year left tons of ash behind. I had to dump my ash pan every other day vs maybe once a week with the oak. Not sure why my ash behaved like that, usually for me cherry is the ash king. The ash I was burning was perfect, sub 18% moisture never hissed or spit. Just threw me off for the amount of ash it made but otherwise I loved it and am happy I've got over 5 cords of it ready to go in the wood shed!
 
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hickoryhoarder

Minister of Fire
Apr 5, 2013
645
Indiana
I find a hotter/cleaner burn with two or three types of wood. I'd say the best wood is oak, and I like a mixture of oak, red maple, cherry, and hickory.

Ash doesn't kindle especially easy, but not bad. Good heat. Makes boring fires, by itself.

These to me are its advantages:
1) Very plentiful right now
2) Seasons pretty fast
3) Durable in stacks for at least 4 years, in my experience
4) Incredibly easy to split, if the grain is not twisted
5) Plenty of heat
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,937
07462
I burn a lot of ash, and it seems like more and more every year, eventually I'll have a exclusive season of just ash splits. I personally like it, I cut into 18" rounds and make large 5-8" splits, it seems to burn pretty hot, the coaling or lack of coaling is nice because on reloads my normal thing to do it push the wood ash to the back of the stove and rake the coals forward, having small coals makes easy work of this.
I let my wood season for 3 years before burning so everything is pretty dry. The only down side of ash wood is after its been split and stacked, if you keep the splits out in the weather, the bark tends to fall off very easy, depending on your setup, it could be messy. I've found that if I top cover my ash splits after a summer of exposure, the bark stays on pretty tight and its cleaner to handle.
Or you can cut up logs and let them sit a season and then split, a lot of bark will fall off during the process, resulting in cleaner piles to.
 

Mutineer

Burning Hunk
Dec 13, 2018
120
NE Ohio
Glad to see WoodBurnerInWi mention that ash leaves a lot of ash behind and I'm not crazy in my similiar assessment. I try to burn red or white oak when I can, and all the ash trees on my property that got EAB'd over the last decade I c/s/s and sold on Craigslist because of that excess ash situation. I can go 12-14 days burning oak before I have to scoop the stove, and that's mainly due to the clinker build-up, not the ash buildup.
 
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ChadMc

Member
Dec 12, 2019
162
Bucks County PA
Glad to see WoodBurnerInWi mention that ash leaves a lot of ash behind and I'm not crazy in my similiar assessment. I try to burn red or white oak when I can, and all the ash trees on my property that got EAB'd over the last decade I c/s/s and sold on Craigslist because of that excess ash situation. I can go 12-14 days burning oak before I have to scoop the stove, and that's mainly due to the clinker build-up, not the ash buildup.
I notice that also! I’m burning 70% ash. I’ll do a full load of ash and wake up to good coals but a tall layer of real fluffy ash. I usually do a little cherry after and it burns it down and flattens out. However I love ash! Burns hot, splits like a dream, seasons quick, and even giant rounds are not insanely heavy to move around.
 

MissMac

Minister of Fire
Dec 4, 2017
867
NW Ontario
I burn a lot of ash, and it seems like more and more every year, eventually I'll have a exclusive season of just ash splits. I personally like it, I cut into 18" rounds and make large 5-8" splits, it seems to burn pretty hot, the coaling or lack of coaling is nice because on reloads my normal thing to do it push the wood ash to the back of the stove and rake the coals forward, having small coals makes easy work of this.
I let my wood season for 3 years before burning so everything is pretty dry. The only down side of ash wood is after its been split and stacked, if you keep the splits out in the weather, the bark tends to fall off very easy, depending on your setup, it could be messy. I've found that if I top cover my ash splits after a summer of exposure, the bark stays on pretty tight and its cleaner to handle.
Or you can cut up logs and let them sit a season and then split, a lot of bark will fall off during the process, resulting in cleaner piles to.
I will have exclusively ash for 23/24 from the wood I'm hauling now, which was why I started this thread. Just wanted to be sure that I didn't need to pepper in some pine or something. Thanks Kenny!
 

NaturalCauses

Member
Oct 3, 2016
56
Grand Rapids, MI
Ash is my favorite, and what I've burned the most of. The road commission just finished tree cutting for some upcoming construction, and even though they left me a decent pile of Hedge, I'm most excited about all the dead ash with the bark falling off that's mixed in!
 
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Wood1Dennis

Burning Hunk
Jan 17, 2016
144
Eastern Wisconsin
I've been picking up some really nice ash to lay up for 23/24 and am looking for some advice from folks who burn a lot of it. I've never had any in my stacks before, but I also know it's the best btu wood I could get my hands on where I live (even a bit better than birch which is the gold standard around here). So, I was just hoping to hear about people's experience burning just ash in their stoves - does it catch easily? Does it burn well on its own, or do I need to mix it in with other species? I know the one load I was grabbing, another fellow was there grabbing some pine and he asked me 'aren't you scared throwing that in your stove? It will burn your house down cause it burns so hot'. In my mind I was thinking okay bud, you keep grabbing the pine, I'll keep grabbing the ash... :)

I've still got a couple more cords to haul, and I'm trying to decide whether I should pick up a bit of birch to mix into the ash loads, or just keep hauling the ash. Thoughts?

Absolutely, don't pass on the ash! About 1/2 of what I burn is ash, its a good all around wood. Easy to split, dries quickly, just like others have said. You mentioned birch, I will take ash over white birch any day. It burns cleaner and I believe has more BTU content. Yellow birch is a different story, when I get it will trump the ash.
Let the other guy take the pine. I have lots of hardwood sources here so I never burn pine!
 
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hedge wood

Burning Hunk
Mar 1, 2009
209
Eastern NE
I will have exclusively ash for 23/24 from the wood I'm hauling now, which was why I started this thread. Just wanted to be sure that I didn't need to pepper in some pine or something. Thanks Kenny!
Ash is a all around good wood. Back when I sold firewood we mostly cut and processed ash for selling as no matter if it was a stove or fireplace customer ash was a great wood. Bark comes off easy, splits nice, lights nice, and is fairly clean. I myself am a hedge guy but I am burning in a Garn and the most BTU'S I can get out of a load of wood is the best. Ash bore hasn't hit here much but we will have a lot of ash firewood coming up in the near future.
 
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blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,677
WI, Leroy
there are several types of ash some more dense than others or perhaps it just where they were growing. ( some splits are quite a bit heavier than others ( split/ stack 3 years ago) Been using mostly Ash all winter, get it's moisture content down under 15% and it works wonderfully ( NC30) to the point where I can completely shut the air adjustment off and the stove cruises just on the secondaries. when I get home lot of what looks like charcoal left - raking it around and opening up the air to max and in bit it is all glowing and tossing heat. What I noticed is if it is marginally dry ( 20%?) then you get a lot of ash build up and of course only about half the heat factor. Course every stove /install is different, my place is fairly well insulated as well ( ranch 2200 sq ft). My goal is to come home in the evening and not have the LP furnace kicked on. If it's not sub zero and the wind howling I mostly achieve that goal - not bad for 12 hr runs). ( out in the farm country so the wind really does howl across all those open farm fields)
 
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MissMac

Minister of Fire
Dec 4, 2017
867
NW Ontario
Absolutely, don't pass on the ash! About 1/2 of what I burn is ash, its a good all around wood. Easy to split, dries quickly, just like others have said. You mentioned birch, I will take ash over white birch any day. It burns cleaner and I believe has more BTU content. Yellow birch is a different story, when I get it will trump the ash.
Let the other guy take the pine. I have lots of hardwood sources here so I never burn pine!
Yes, ash has a slightly higher btu count than white birch, which is why i'm grabbing it up. It is the absolute best wood i can get up here in the boreal forest. I burn a lot of jack pine, and love it, but am equally excited to try some good hardwoods. I always get so jealous watching all the fellows in the south post pics of all their wonderful oak, and hedge, and cherry etc. Very excited to be into this stuff!
 
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MissMac

Minister of Fire
Dec 4, 2017
867
NW Ontario
there are several types of ash some more dense than others or perhaps it just where they were growing. ( some splits are quite a bit heavier than others ( split/ stack 3 years ago) Been using mostly Ash all winter, get it's moisture content down under 15% and it works wonderfully ( NC30) to the point where I can completely shut the air adjustment off and the stove cruises just on the secondaries. when I get home lot of what looks like charcoal left - raking it around and opening up the air to max and in bit it is all glowing and tossing heat. What I noticed is if it is marginally dry ( 20%?) then you get a lot of ash build up and of course only about half the heat factor. Course every stove /install is different, my place is fairly well insulated as well ( ranch 2200 sq ft). My goal is to come home in the evening and not have the LP furnace kicked on. If it's not sub zero and the wind howling I mostly achieve that goal - not bad for 12 hr runs). ( out in the farm country so the wind really does howl across all those open farm fields)
I do 12 hour runs too for the most part during the burning season, except for in the deep cold when i like to rip a little hot one around supper time. I'm burning in a catalytic blaze king, and am excited to see how far i can stretch the ash when it's cold - i'm counting on a little more heat at the same 12 hour burn setting. finger's crossed!
 

red oak

Minister of Fire
Sep 7, 2011
1,294
northwest Virginia
Ash is my new favorite firewood because of how light it is and how easy it splits. It doesn’t burn quite as hot or as long as oak but last year I burned almost all ash and had no problems. I will say that I used red oak on the coldest nights. Ash dries pretty quickly too. I’d say get all you can!
 

WoodScrounger

New Member
Oct 11, 2020
48
Ontario
A lot of wood burners here in our area will go for ash before almost anything else. There are some locals that won’t haul much of anything else in from the bush. That’s fine if you own a bush. As for me I’m a scrounger, I burn almost any wood they let me cut for free. I did have opportunity at some ash cut offs and tops that I’m burning right now. Burns great!
 

MissMac

Minister of Fire
Dec 4, 2017
867
NW Ontario
I've started to split the ash up, and was wondering if you all could tell me how big of splits you'll make out of this stuff? It will be seasoning for 3 full summers before it hits the stove, so there's time. I split a bunch today that were about 6"x6". Is this too big? Can i go bigger with the ash, or will the centre just never dry out?

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