How well does maple burn?

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zmender

Feeling the Heat
Dec 27, 2021
283
CT
I saw someone selling pure maple cord wood at reasonable price on CL. I don't have much experience with burning maple and see what you all think.

1) How fast does it season? Assume the tree was cut + split during winter this year, is 1 year enough to bring maple to <20% burn by end of this year?
2) Is it a fast burning wood like poplar and birch, or is it more slowly like oak and locust?
3) BTUs seem to be all over the place online.. ranging 19k to 26k. Here in NE (CT to be specific), assuming seller doesn't know, are there any characteristics I can look out for to see which species it is?
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
8,117
NE Ohio
It all depends...it can be just "ok" to "dang good", depending on the exact type it is...have any pics?
 

EatenByLimestone

Moderator
Staff member
So, its impossible to answer your question as there are many different types of maple. Each species has different characteristics. All burn well, but "softer" maples such as red and silver maples have lower btus and drying times than "hard" maples such as sugar maples. The denser the wood, the more btus it possesses and the longer it'll take to dry.

All wood has roughly the same btu/lb. Itll all burn.
 

zmender

Feeling the Heat
Dec 27, 2021
283
CT
This is the photo from CL posting...

1647547319785.png
 
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EatenByLimestone

Moderator
Staff member
How would one even know if that is maple? I don’t know that it would matter much though. If you need wood, and the seller has it for a good price, get it. It beats a winter of cold.

You can always split it down further to speed drying.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
8,299
Northern NH
If its from an urban area, its probably silver maple or norway maple, both soft maple. If its from a wet area it could be red maple. Sugar Maple usually comes out of large forestry lots, it does not propogate well if at all in soil that has ever been cultivated. Looking at the limbs piled up against the fence, My guess is silver maple.

Soft maple is less dense but dries quicker than head maple (sugar maple), so if you need the wood soon, soft maple is not bad if the price is right.
 
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Dix

Minister of Fire
May 27, 2008
6,652
Long Island, NY
if it's a reasonable price I'd take it.

Maple is a decent firewood, and it looks similar to what I have here down on the island.

Getting ahead, is getting ahead.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
1,131
NW Wisconsin
We have been burning silver maple for a few years. It dries fast and you burn more of it, but it's easy to light and burns well. It's great wood for spring and fall when you want to warm the house to take the chill out. We burn 1.5-2x more soft maple than hardwood to get the same heat. Sugar maple is a different animal and is a very high btu wood.
Most of ours is gone now and we are trying to get more hardwood and split bigger for better burn times and more even heat.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
8,117
NE Ohio
I like all maples for firewood...I especially like to mix silver maple into a load with other species...really burns nice!
 

qwee

Feeling the Heat
Jan 17, 2013
328
Idaho
Ya, from what I've heard there are 2 'species' of maple, 1) hard maple and 2) soft maple. It sounds like hard maple is excellent firewood, and soft maple is just average firewood. I don't see much maple.

I had some silver maple logs on top of some honey locust logs so I grabbed some of it. I had no idea about how good a wood it was for firewood. I did notice it was going punky in some spots. But as said, mid-btu wood has its time & place.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
1,131
NW Wisconsin
Silver maple does not last long. We had many loads of it and it started to spalt before we got it split. It dries fast. Really fast. Just set it in the sun and it's ready to go.
 

zmender

Feeling the Heat
Dec 27, 2021
283
CT
Thanks everyone, I'm getting in touch with seller to get some history on the tree. Around here we pay $300 per cord for mixed hardwood, this seller is selling for 550$ for what looks like a bit over 2 cords. It will be a bargain if it is hardwood, not so much if it's softwood.
 

EatenByLimestone

Moderator
Staff member
Soft maple is a hardwood.

Softwood only means conifer, hardwood means deciduous. A bit confusing since many softwoods are denser than some hardwoods.

$300 is a great price. Scoop that up.
 
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ohlongarm

Minister of Fire
Mar 18, 2011
1,606
Northeastern Ohio
I saw someone selling pure maple cord wood at reasonable price on CL. I don't have much experience with burning maple and see what you all think.

1) How fast does it season? Assume the tree was cut + split during winter this year, is 1 year enough to bring maple to <20% burn by end of this year?
2) Is it a fast burning wood like poplar and birch, or is it more slowly like oak and locust?
3) BTUs seem to be all over the place online.. ranging 19k to 26k. Here in NE (CT to be specific), assuming seller doesn't know, are there any characteristics I can look out for to see which species it is?
Sugar maple is primo, burns very hot and lasts a good while, takes a year and a half direct sun to get where it needs to be.
 

old greybeard

Burning Hunk
Oct 29, 2018
159
PA
We burn alot of sugar maple. Burns well, good heat. But coals are a issue. Heavy burning during extreme cold I often have to remove hot coals for a new needed load. Oak does not have this issue.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
1,131
NW Wisconsin
If you are getting a lot of coals, add a bit of air on the next load. They will burn down. Less air means more coals and more air means less coals. Coals give a lot of heat, so letting the stove set can burn them down and recover more heat. If you need more heat to where you are forced to reload, just open the air more and it will balance out.
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,631
Massachusetts
I burn primarily red maple and red oak here. Everyone has outlined the differences in the maples quite well. While sugar maple is best the other "soft" maples still make good firewood, especially during shoulder season when you might not want the long oak fire. I like to mix woods depending on the forecast.

The one thing I'll add though is soft maple makes a LOT of ashes...more than ash, oak, or cherry. You'll be cleaning out your stove every few days. It's not a big deal just be prepared for it. The way I do it is to rake all the hot coals to one side, scoop out a few shovels of ash, then move the coals back over the freshly cleaned spot and get the other side. That way you're preserving your hot coals.

Around here a cord of any kind of maple will cost $300/cord green + delivery. Idk about seasoned because it rarely ever is. I personally get mine log length delivered to the driveway for $100/cord. Soft maple c/s/s in a good spot by April will be ready by fall. It dries fast which is handy. Hard maple needs closer to two seasons and my oak takes 2+ seasons depending on size.

Good luck! Honestly any maple is a good get outside of maybe box elder. Sugar, red, and norway are great. Silver is meh. Box elder is more of a shoulder season very light wood. It's also a SOB to split.
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
8,117
NE Ohio
Honestly any maple is a good get outside of maybe box elder. Sugar, red, and norway are great. Silver is meh. Box elder is more of a shoulder season very light wood. It's also a SOB to split.
I have used a lot of Boxelder the last few years, just because I was paid to clean them up at work, and I have been on a long dry spell for silver maple...I like the silver a lil better, but BE makes plenty of heat too (until it gets to those long cold January days anyways) and you are right, BE can be a twisty gnarly mess to split
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
1,131
NW Wisconsin
I don't know why people complain about splitting some woods, unless they are doing it by hand. I have only had a couple of pieces in my life that stopped my splitter, and that may have been because of a worn out pump. Granted, I did try to split them in the toughest spot....

Do splitters have that much trouble with some woods?
 

Caw

Minister of Fire
May 26, 2020
1,631
Massachusetts
I don't know why people complain about splitting some woods, unless they are doing it by hand.

I split just of my wood by hand. Box elder and elm are the worst but cherry and apple can be difficult too depending on the tree. Oak, maple, and ash are nice and easy.
 

woodey

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2018
362
ST. Lawrence Valley N.Y.
I saw someone selling pure maple cord wood at reasonable price on CL. I don't have much experience with burning maple and see what you all think.

1) How fast does it season? Assume the tree was cut + split during winter this year, is 1 year enough to bring maple to <20% burn by end of this year?
2) Is it a fast burning wood like poplar and birch, or is it more slowly like oak and locust?
3) BTUs seem to be all over the place online.. ranging 19k to 26k. Here in NE (CT to be specific), assuming seller doesn't know, are there any characteristics I can look out for to see which species it is?
I saw someone selling pure maple cord wood at reasonable price on CL. I don't have much experience with burning maple and see what you all think.

1) How fast does it season? Assume the tree was cut + split during winter this year, is 1 year enough to bring maple to <20% burn by end of this year?
2) Is it a fast burning wood like poplar and birch, or is it more slowly like oak and locust?
3) BTUs seem to be all over the place online.. ranging 19k to 26k. Here in NE (CT to be specific), assuming seller doesn't know, are there any characteristics I can look out for to see which species it is?

AAA0CD80-3729-41A0-BE6E-702172F8D8F1.png
 

LogCabinFever

Member
May 24, 2021
78
CT, USA
Burned some sugar maple this year and it was great. It seemed to me even denser than the white oak I had but that chart denies it. It put out really good BTUs.