I am starting to accumulate too much hemlock

Prof

Feeling the Heat
Oct 18, 2011
411
Western PA
The word has gotten out that I will take hemlock for fire wood. I seem to have a relatively endless supply. I'm almost 4 years ahead at this point, with about 3/4 of it being hemlock. People call me every month and ask me to come and load their trees. I mostly go along with the requests as long as there is easy access.

The most annoying part if when they voice the assumption that I have an outdoor boiler of some kind. Then there is the shock that I burn it all in my stove and masonry heater. I ever so briefly discuss the misconception about the link between conifers and creosote--as I have found that this largely falls on deaf ears. I often load my truck as the heads shake in disbelief. I then listen to stories of chimney pipes being clogged when they burned anything but cherry and other such tales. I might make a reference to needing to burn seasoned wood. I then hear another story about how stacking wood is a waste of time and that it seasons as well in a big pile in a field. I mostly hold my tongue, but let out a stifled plea to buy a moisture meter. For the love of God, buy a moisture meter!!

So, at my heart I am an educator---I find that burning hemlock takes a toll on my soul that is not related to the labor of cutting, splitting and stacking. I am happy to do this, yet it comes at a personal cost. Oh well, I persist.
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,430
Marshall NC
Don't y'all have oak up there in Pennsylvania?
 

Prof

Feeling the Heat
Oct 18, 2011
411
Western PA
Don't y'all have oak up there in Pennsylvania?
We do. Interestingly, the guy who recently gave me a bunch of hemlock is clearing a building lot. He had a few oak trees and had them cut up. He said that by putting the rounds in a field for a year they will be ready to be burned next year. He laughed as I suggested a moisture meter and told me how long he has been burning wood. People in my area grab up the hardwoods like it is cash on the street and treat hemlock like a rabid dog.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,479
SEPA
The word has gotten out that I will take hemlock for fire wood. I seem to have a relatively endless supply. I'm almost 4 years ahead at this point, with about 3/4 of it being hemlock. People call me every month and ask me to come and load their trees. I mostly go along with the requests as long as there is easy access.

The most annoying part if when they voice the assumption that I have an outdoor boiler of some kind. Then there is the shock that I burn it all in my stove and masonry heater. I ever so briefly discuss the misconception about the link between conifers and creosote--as I have found that this largely falls on deaf ears. I often load my truck as the heads shake in disbelief. I then listen to stories of chimney pipes being clogged when they burned anything but cherry and other such tales. I might make a reference to needing to burn seasoned wood. I then hear another story about how stacking wood is a waste of time and that it seasons as well in a big pile in a field. I mostly hold my tongue, but let out a stifled plea to buy a moisture meter. For the love of God, buy a moisture meter!!

So, at my heart I am an educator---I find that burning hemlock takes a toll on my soul that is not related to the labor of cutting, splitting and stacking. I am happy to do this, yet it comes at a personal cost. Oh well, I persist.
I like hemlock, will have a bunch when I finally take the 12 or so big ones down around the house. They are all on their last legs due to the wooly adelgid. Not easy to split, will be a good workout. All the knots! Also lots of pitch oozes out, extra BTUs once dried.
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,430
Marshall NC
For God's sake, be careful with that hemlock!


"The death sentence of Socrates was the legal consequence of asking politico-philosophic questions of his students, from which resulted the two accusations of moral corruption and of impiety. At trial, the majority of the dikasts (male-citizen jurors chosen by lot) voted to convict him of the two charges; then, consistent with common legal practice, voted to determine his punishment, and agreed to a sentence of death to be executed by Socrates’s drinking a poisonous beverage of hemlock."
 

Prof

Feeling the Heat
Oct 18, 2011
411
Western PA
For God's sake, be careful with that hemlock!


"The death sentence of Socrates was the legal consequence of asking politico-philosophic questions of his students, from which resulted the two accusations of moral corruption and of impiety. At trial, the majority of the dikasts (male-citizen jurors chosen by lot) voted to convict him of the two charges; then, consistent with common legal practice, voted to determine his punishment, and agreed to a sentence of death to be executed by Socrates’s drinking a poisonous beverage of hemlock."
It's apt that you mention this. Several years ago my in-laws were visiting. I came in from cutting some hemlock and I had a piece of sawdust in my eye. My in-laws, one of which is a nurse, insisted that I should go to the ER. I explained that simply washing my eye out with some water will take care of my circumstance. After a lengthy conversation, I was close to grabbing a piece of hemlock bark and taking a bite to prove my point! In retrospect, making a tea (rich in vitamin C) from the needles would have been a more civilized course of action. Nevertheless, I'm still here.
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,363
Central Mass
I remember the reaction I got from a wood burner when I told her I burned pine in my blaze king, thought she was going to call the authorities on me.
 

Prof

Feeling the Heat
Oct 18, 2011
411
Western PA
I remember the reaction I got from a wood burner when I told her I burned pine in my blaze king, thought she was going to call the authorities on me.
I know. It would be nice if we'd invite these people to our chimney cleanings. I clean my pipe once a year because "I should" not because it needs it. The creosote I get wouldn't fill a soda can. One guy told me a story about cutting dead trees that were still standing and immediately split and burned the wood. He said his pipe was completely clogged in 2 weeks. I suggested that perhaps the wood was not dry just because it is dead and dry-looking on the outside. If some of the myths weren't dangerous, I wouldn't care.
 
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Bushels20

Feeling the Heat
May 20, 2018
378
OH
We do. Interestingly, the guy who recently gave me a bunch of hemlock is clearing a building lot. He had a few oak trees and had them cut up. He said that by putting the rounds in a field for a year they will be ready to be burned next year. He laughed as I suggested a moisture meter and told me how long he has been burning wood. People in my area grab up the hardwoods like it is cash on the street and treat hemlock like a rabid dog.
I’m guessing we aren’t but a couple hours from one another. I see the same thing around here. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy burning oak, cherry and the rest of the hardwoods, but I also have a cord of pine waiting for next month as well.

Most recently AEP came through last year and cleared the power lines and left a lot of pine in the yards of multiple homes. I usually don’t scrounge anymore but I specifically went and got it because it was pine. I needed shoulder season wood and my supplier usually only supplies hardwood. Homeowners thought I was crazy!
 
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Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
511
Palmyra, WI
My aunt got me several of those creosote logs when I first started out. She went on and on about creosote fires, quite a lot of anguish, over how the boys had to get up on the roof and beat through to the attic on fire, 1930s, cook stoves, soft woods, don't do it. Now she's better, asks how the kitty is doing, does she like it by the fire, calm. Took a long time to get the sidways looks to go away.
The logs are still on the closet shelf, in case anyone wants them.
 
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firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
18,909
Unity/Bangor, Maine
It's apt that you mention this. Several years ago my in-laws were visiting. I came in from cutting some hemlock and I had a piece of sawdust in my eye. My in-laws, one of which is a nurse, insisted that I should go to the ER. I explained that simply washing my eye out with some water will take care of my circumstance. After a lengthy conversation, I was close to grabbing a piece of hemlock bark and taking a bite to prove my point! In retrospect, making a tea (rich in vitamin C) from the needles would have been a more civilized course of action. Nevertheless, I'm still here.
Could have also explained how the hemlock tree is quite different from the hemlock plant . . .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conium_maculatum
 

MNTIM

New Member
Oct 7, 2018
41
Minnesota
I often get free 4”x12” lagging boards (untreated and of kiln dried) yellow pine and even cedar which I split up for for the stove. My coworkers think I’m crazy. No problem guys. I’ll take them all. The majority is local hardwoods but I happily accept this and some local poplar or aspen for shoulder seasons
 

Prof

Feeling the Heat
Oct 18, 2011
411
Western PA
I often get free 4”x12” lagging boards (untreated and of kiln dried) yellow pine and even cedar which I split up for for the stove. My coworkers think I’m crazy. No problem guys. I’ll take them all. The majority is local hardwoods but I happily accept this and some local poplar or aspen for shoulder seasons
Nice to have easy access to really dry stuff!
 

MNTIM

New Member
Oct 7, 2018
41
Minnesota
It really makes it easy for my wife to get good hot fires going. I have allot more patience and care with how I load and the logs I start with.
 
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twd000

Feeling the Heat
Aug 28, 2015
382
Southern New Hampshire
I remember the reaction I got from a wood burner when I told her I burned pine in my blaze king, thought she was going to call the authorities on me.
It's almost like telling people that you married your sister or something. Sometimes I don't even admit that I plan to burn their pine indoors in my Blaze King. Most of the Craigslist ads say "outdoor boiler wood only" or "campfire wood" - I don't bother to correct them
 
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Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,430
Marshall NC
Y'all in Oregon don't have oak, right? Pine is about all you can get, I think.
 

Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
314
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
Y'all in Oregon don't have oak, right? Pine is about all you can get, I think.
Plenty of oak and other hardwoods on the west side of the state, however most of what we have on this side of the mountains is pine.

upload_2019-9-9_16-48-23.png
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,430
Marshall NC
Yeah, I lived in Washington right on the Pend Orielle River, right on the Idaho border for a year, I was telling the guys about the miracle wood oak they thought I was kidding.
All they had to burn was pine.
 

walhondingnashua

Burning Hunk
Jul 23, 2016
192
ohio
I don't burn conifers because they just aren't that readily available to me and I can get all the hardwood I want, but I would have no issue burning it. My grandpa used to say it doesn't matter what kind of wood it is, as long as it is dry. Trust me, as a teacher, I understand how hard it is to convince people that they "think" is incorrect, even if there are facts that prove otherwise.
 
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blacktail

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2011
1,309
Western WA
Y'all in Oregon don't have oak, right? Pine is about all you can get, I think.
West of the mountains here in WA, the most available firewood species are doug fir, western hemlock, bigleaf maple, and red alder, in no particular order. Some locales will have madrone, paper birch, and mountain hemlock. And I think there's an oak species native to some areas (oregon oak?).
I have a neighbor about 70 years old who will burn conifers but believes they dirty the chimney more than hardwoods. He also cuts his wood in the summer for the following burn season
 
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