burning scrap pine lumber

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.
Not open for further replies.


New Member
Oct 14, 2008
Northeastern PA
I'm cleaning out my parents house- mom passed away this spring. Dad left about a 1/3 cord(it's a guess) of very old and some newer pine lumber scraps. I need to decide if I throw them in the dumpster or burn them. I'm concerned about creosote in my stainless chimney. If I burn it, should I throw a piece on hear and there or doesn't it matter?

I can clean the chimney myself from the clean-out, but probably not till spring. Can I go that long burning pine scraps occasionally? Is it better to top off a hot buring stove with pine or does it not matter?

I appreciate the thoughtful answers this forum provides.......


Feeling the Heat
Feb 11, 2008
I think what you're going to hear is that there's no problem burning pine. If you search around, you'll see the myths you're talking about have pretty much been shot down on this forum. I'm now saving the white pine I cut down on my property, which is all I have, to use next year.


Minister of Fire
Oct 3, 2008
Just South of Portland, OR
There doesn't seem to be a smiley for shaking one's head while holding a hand to one's forehead...

You can burn it. It will not create creosote. WET wood creates creosote. Kiln dried stuff, on the other hand, just burns a little too hot and fast. I use lumber scraps for kindling. I mix it in for the first fire in a cold stove. I burn small loads when it's not very cold outside. 1/3 cord is years of great kindling. Cut to length and split it into 1"-2" pieces.


Minister of Fire
Nov 9, 2008
NW Ontario
While I was building my last home, I burned all manner of spruce and pine wood scraps and even some chipboard. The only stuff I didn't burn was pressure treated wood. I had the trees I cleared for the building site but it certainly wasn't well seasoned stuff. The hot burning of the scraps made up for the less than ideal trees I cut and the chimney stayed as clean as a whistle.

p.s. Sorry about your loss.


Feeling the Heat
May 21, 2008
West of Boston
As others said, go ahead and burn the pine scraps. I burn cut-offs of 2X4's all the time. But only a few at a time since they burn very fast and hot.


Minister of Fire
May 22, 2007
Silicon Valley
I love pine lumber scraps. Just don't pack your stove full with them. Small loads or mixed with your regular wook and your good to go.


Nov 8, 2008
Pine lumber scraps are the best kindling we have used. Hubby cuts it up and sometimes leaves it in small chunks. Do as the rest have said and don't fill your stove full of it but it's fantastic for fire starting.


New Member
Feb 29, 2008
Chateaugay, NY
I'm with everyone else on this. I burn scrap 2x4 pieces too, as well as lath from a plaster and lath wall. The stuff makes GREAT kindling, lights easily and burns hot.

Right now I am still working with my supply of scrap dimensional kiln dried stuff, but once that is gone my supply of pine that I cut will be dry enough to use...


The routine I have gotten into is to use the stuff in the morning when I get up. I usually dont have alot of time, so I throw a few pieces of 2x4 in with a few logs. the pine makes a nice hot fire to bring the temp of the house up before the rest of my family gets up, and I dont have to sit around to make sure the other stuff I threw in is going to light.


New Member
Oct 26, 2007
Northeastern Iowa
Burn it!
BTU"s should never be wasted.
I get all my pine scrap kindling down the street at a pallet manufacturing facility.
That plus all the scrap from rebuilding my home is what keeps me warm, and cozy...plus easy start.


Minister of Fire
Dec 14, 2007
SE Mass
If it is unpainted and untreated it is excellent firestarter material.

Especially if you split into smaller pieces.

You may however get spoiled with its firestarting capability to the point of buying fatwood sticks and scrounging from construction sites. :)


Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2008
Anderson, Indiana
i burn alot of scrap wood


Feeling the Heat
Oct 22, 2008
NJ Piney
Speaking of scrap... Just scored a load of 200 oak pallets!!!!!
Not sure if I should sell or burn them?

Seems like pine is the only wood I can scrounge this year. Works for me though, every time I take it seems like I get warned about a chimney fire from people who don't know any better or believe the rumors the firewood sellers tell them.
I've been seeing a lot of trees being taken down in my neighborhood but nobody parting with the Oak. The guy right across the road from me is burning some Oak he just had cut a split for him a month ago by a tree service. It don't get much greener then that! I imagine with the high oil prices and the newbie burners that this may be a busy year for the fire Dept.


Minister of Fire
Jan 7, 2008
Santa Rosa, California
The pallets are a good score. The wood is almost always very hard. Oak is the norm but I have found mahogony, cherry, and other exsotic species. I figure its because these pallets have come from other parts of the world where the species are plentiful (mahogony = philipines for instance).

The first thing you want to figure out is how to break them down. I wouldn't use a chain say. Just use a saws-all with an "everything" blade on it. Stand the pallet on end, and cut through the nails from top to bottom - freeing individual planks as you go down. Its monotonous work but in the end you have a bunch of planks and 2x4s which I run through a table saw with an expendable blade.

The hard wood makes great (and hot) fires but the ash will contain many nails which I pick up after I dump them in my garden with a big magnet I put in a 5 gallon empty paint can. I just hover over the area where I've poured the ash and the nails just jump up out of the dirt and on to the bottom of the paint bucket. I then walk over to a garbage can, remove the magnet from the inside of the paint bucket and the nails drop off.

FYI to cut off the planks from 200 pallets will take 3600 cuts through nailed joints. You may want to get a couple of blades. But I don't want to down play the value of these pallets. They are hard, dry wood. The same amount of work/time spent cutting up a fallen tree would yeild half the BTUs and would not be ready to use.

For me though, its just more fun to use my chain saw than a saws all.


New Member
Jun 26, 2008
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
I totally agree that pallets are a great score. Even if you are pulling the nails, they're still well worth the work. The newer looking pallets come apart easily with a hammer and pry bar. Pallet wood is nice and dry, and makes great kindling for those initial coal beds and fills gaps in the stove when you're trying to stuff it full of wood and all you have is huge splits.


Minister of Fire
Sep 10, 2007
Rochester, Mass
My $.02

Pallets are a pain in the arse. I cut and burn them when I need good kindling. A lot of work goes into makeing a decent pile of pallets. The best tool for cutting them down is a circular saw with a cheap/already dull blade. Sawzalls take too much time.

The only problem with pine cutoffs is that they don't leave you any coals after they burn down. But beyond that I use them for kindling and quick startups on a cold morning (mixed with pallet wood too)


Minister of Fire
Jun 23, 2008
Mid Atlantic
I collect a few pallets every month. Most I keep for stacking splits on. A few are weak and can break if you walk on them. Those I cut up and burn. I have found that the vertical 2x4 boards are usually hardwood like Oak. The horizontal slats are usually very light, soft wood, similar to pine. Both kinds burn great after drying a little, if needed. (I have seen some that are all hardwood. Those are definitely keepers, for stacking)

BTW I have found that I'm not having to saw any nails. That's a lot of work even for a bimetal blade in a Sawzall. I say better to just leave them sticking out (the head ends), or to smack them down flat with a hammer. I saw all this wood to length on a compound miter saw (chop saw), watching carefully to avoid nails.

I like the idea of the dull circular saw. Will try that. I have been whacking them with a hammer or pry bar, and letting the slats just break any way they want to. It would be neater to make straight cuts with a circular saw and leave those little pieces of the slats still nailed to the 2x4 boards. You can do the magnet pickup thing later to pull the nails from the ashes.

Chris S

New Member
Jan 22, 2008
Orange County NY
It all good advice except for the dull saw blade part. Just like a dull saw chain, you're much more likely to get hurt with a dull saw blade, knife etc. If you're worried about hitting nails get a demo blade, or a blade with few teeth - 18 on a 7 1/4" saw typically, will usually have large chunks of carbide for teeth. These blades are still worth sending out to be sharpened too. The inexpensive carbides will start to chip and lose teeth as you hit nails. We fianlly gave up on getting these sharpened just toss them.
Not open for further replies.