Is Gum a hard or soft wood...

Status
Not open for further replies.

Wood Duck

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2009
4,790
Central PA
Gum is OK to burn and a hardwood, if you use the definition LEE quoted. I think either Black Gum or Sweetgum is a relatively low-density hardwood. I'd be happy to add either one to the stacks here. Down there in Virginia I guess Sweetgum is what you have. I have heard it is tough to split, but you'll know for yourself soon.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
I had some doublemint that got pretty hard. I chewed it anyway.


Lee is right. Even popple is technically a hardwood. How about bass? Same thing but we still refer to it as a soft wood.
 

bigtall

Member
Oct 30, 2009
157
West Georgia
You would be better off with the BBQ. Sweet gum is miserable stuff. Awful to split. If you split by hand, forget it. It burns very fast, more so than pine. It is technically an "invasive" species that provides absolutely no benefit to any ecosystem. It spreads rapidly and will choke out any native species. When I find them on my land, I lay them down.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,243
Schenectady, NY
And then you have deciduous conifers such as your larches. They are kind of pretty this time of year with their yellow needles.

Matt
 

FLINT

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2008
532
Western VA Mtns.
bigtall said:
You would be better off with the BBQ. Sweet gum is miserable stuff. Awful to split. If you split by hand, forget it. It burns very fast, more so than pine. It is technically an "invasive" species that provides absolutely no benefit to any ecosystem. It spreads rapidly and will choke out any native species. When I find them on my land, I lay them down.

Hmmm, that's not all true.

sweet gum is a native species to the southeast. it is not an invasive species. However, it can be a pioneer tree species, and will be one of the first species to recolonize an open area, but if you leave succession to do its part, you will see that sweet gum certainly do not 'take over' in the long run.


If the original poster is from Virginia, the gum he is referring to could either be sweet gum or black gum. Sweet gum is common east of the blue ridge - but not usually west of the blue ridge that I'm aware of. Black gum occurs throughout the state.

Both species burn fine. Black gum may be a little denser wood, but even sweet gum burns fine - it does dry pretty light - probably something like red/silver maple. Heavier than tulip poplar.

if you do have sweet gum, try to split it when its green if possible, unless you have a log splitter, then it doesnt matter.
 

bsearcey

New Member
Oct 7, 2009
181
Central VA
Flint covered everything I was going to mention. I do know that if the wood you have is Black Gum. Good luck splitting it even with a splitter. I cut some out of my yard about 4 years ago. It was impossible to spit with a maul or wedge. The splitter I used could not event split it. A few pieces I managed to work enough with the splitter that in the end it was more like I had ripped it apart. In the end I just stacked it up in rounds. This year with my newly purchased FSS I thought I'd be able to split it (4 years siting, bark falling off, punky, wood borers having at it, etc.). Nope. Finally I just noodled it into quarters. Terrible terrible stuff. I don't know if Sweet Gum is the same, but if I were you and you have the same issues I did, I would just quarter it with the chainsaw. It will dry fast though.
 

myzamboni

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2007
1,071
Silicon Valley
yes, the difference is ease of splitting between green and seasoned is mind-boggling. I split by hand and, when seasoned . . . forget it.
 

WOODBUTCHER

Minister of Fire
I have a bunch of sweet gum for next year, it burns like Red Maple and Cherry.

WoodButcher
 

Pagey

Minister of Fire
Nov 2, 2008
2,433
Middle TN
Get it in the dry, too. Gum goes punky notoriously fast, especially if left in the round and on the ground.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.