locust performance

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aaron1

Member
Oct 9, 2012
156
Poughkeepsie, NY
Hey, I've been burning some locust this year and my moisture meter says it is around 12% moisture. i don't know if it is black or honey locust. i've used locust with fantastic results for years now, but it seems like this locust is kind of slow to heat up the stove and doesn't make big flames with high air setting on the stove. it's very strange to me. it makes me doubt my primary air setting sometimes. I just threw in a piece of sugar maple with the locust that i had started the stove with and put the air intake on high and it went up in temp pretty quickly. Is there something weird with locust that it sometimes burns better if it's with other wood species? I'm confused by this!
 
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aaron1

Member
Oct 9, 2012
156
Poughkeepsie, NY
maybe it varies by tree too? or exact type of locust? i feel like this locust is behaving differently from other locust i've used.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,291
07462
I can only be successful with locust when I load it on hot coals or mix with other woods, it will fight me if I try to make a fire solely using it or if my coal base is shallow. Other then that, I love the stuff and always separate it when I come across it, save it for those arctic blast times.
 

all night moe

Member
Nov 19, 2015
93
earth
I get a lot of black locust. It burns just like jatoxico described. I don't know why but I have no memory of burning honey locust. It's dense and heavy like the black though. Black locust has thick and pronounced bark. Honey, while scaly, is much thinner.
I find black locust, seasons rather quickly. I don't know how well the honey fares.
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,366
Long Island NY
The variety here is called Ship Mast. Grows pretty dead straight and compared to most of the other common hardwoods I have burnt, it is tough to get a fire going from a cold start. A little pine or poplar mixed in sure helps. It also does not burn as "lively" but is plenty hot. Its coal in tree form.
 

aaron1

Member
Oct 9, 2012
156
Poughkeepsie, NY
well fortunately i have a ton of sugar maple and a ton of locust, so i guess i'll mix them. the sugar maple burns well no matter what but it is much more of a pain to make into smaller splits with my kindling cracker. it's got a very meandering grain. the locust is the straightest grain i've ever seen.
 
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GreenMountainBoy

New Member
Aug 17, 2020
20
Western MA
I’ve had black locust like that before. Burr oak does that for me too, sometimes. I have to mix them with other woods, like ash and hackberry.
I have the same problem with hickory. The ignition point is so much higher than other woods that I just can't get a fire going from scratch without paying close attention and adding kindling over and over. As someone said, better to get a good bed of very hot coals and then throw the wood on. With the hickory I have, I don't get a bunch of flames, but once it ignites, a 1/4 log piece will burn and throw heat for a good 2 hours all by itself, so it's great for overnight.
 

all night moe

Member
Nov 19, 2015
93
earth
I have the same problem with hickory. The ignition point is so much higher than other woods that I just can't get a fire going from scratch without paying close attention and adding kindling over and over. As someone said, better to get a good bed of very hot coals and then throw the wood on. With the hickory I have, I don't get a bunch of flames, but once it ignites, a 1/4 log piece will burn and throw heat for a good 2 hours all by itself, so it's great for overnight.
I am a @hickoryhoarder as well. I have three seperate piles of it that I have instructed the wife not to touch. Love the stuff ..... like Locust.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
2,879
Long Island NY
Good to learn; I have about half a face cord of black locust for 23-24. I thought to keep it for cold snaps, but I see I better not fill the firebox with only locust.
 

aaron1

Member
Oct 9, 2012
156
Poughkeepsie, NY
Good to learn; I have about half a face cord of black locust for 23-24. I thought to keep it for cold snaps, but I see I better not fill the firebox with only locust.
there must be a difference in different kinds of locust or something. i've never had this issue with locust until this part of this stack.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
2,879
Long Island NY
Mine has the bark deeply ridged, almost 2" thick at the thickest part. I thought that to be black locust. Is yours the same?
 
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aaron1

Member
Oct 9, 2012
156
Poughkeepsie, NY
Mine has the bark deeply ridged, almost 2" thick at the thickest part. I thought that to be black locust. Is yours the same?
mine doesn't have any bark on it. this batch i think i got from a friend who had cut up some really old logs and the bark just all fell off, as it does when it's been dead awhile. by the time he gave it to me i was able to just load barkless, stove-length logs into my trailer. either that, or it's some stuff i got where the bark just all came off as i was cutting it up. i have so many stacks it's getting hard to remember sometimes. i need to make a little diagram i think, lol.
 
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all night moe

Member
Nov 19, 2015
93
earth
Mine has the bark deeply ridged, almost 2" thick at the thickest part. I thought that to be black locust. Is yours the same?
That is black locust indeed. I keep a separate set of tree gaffs, with aggressive ''hooks,'' that I reserve for BL. They are completely made of steel and are heavy. I only wear these when climbing a lot of BL in a given period.
mine doesn't have any bark on it. this batch i think i got from a friend who had cut up some really old logs and the bark just all fell off, as it does when it's been dead awhile. by the time he gave it to me i was able to just load barkless, stove-length logs into my trailer. either that, or it's some stuff i got where the bark just all came off as i was cutting it up. i have so many stacks it's getting hard to remember sometimes. i need to make a little diagram i think, lol.
I come across a lot of BL without bark, or it may come off with handling. It seems to come loose after awhile of being fresh cut. Honey locust bark, from what I recall, tends to remain intact.
 
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hedge wood

Burning Hunk
Mar 1, 2009
239
Eastern NE
In my area we have mostly two locust types honey with or with our thorns and black locust. Back before my Garn and I heated with stoves we would split the locust down a little smaller and never start the stove with locust and mostly use locust for the cold part of the winter. The Garn gets a steady diet of locust and hedge wood year around. It loves locust. Locust makes great firewood it just needs to get split so it can season and dry out.
 

creek chub

Member
Sep 28, 2015
91
Va
Locust is great firewood and nearly steel like. There’s hundreds of yards of locust fence posts that are over 75 years old. It was used as structural beams and poles in our barns. One locust pole fell last year and hit me in the head. It knocked me out cold and I had to get 7 staples in my head. I smile every time I burn it lol
 

aaron1

Member
Oct 9, 2012
156
Poughkeepsie, NY
Locust is great firewood and nearly steel like. There’s hundreds of yards of locust fence posts that are over 75 years old. It was used as structural beams and poles in our barns. One locust pole fell last year and hit me in the head. It knocked me out cold and I had to get 7 staples in my head. I smile every time I burn it lol
my friend says the old docks in the river used to be made of locust even. crazy stuff. i've cut up locust that was lying on the ground in rain and snow for years and it's beautiful inside.
 

creek chub

Member
Sep 28, 2015
91
Va
my friend says the old docks in the river used to be made of locust even. crazy stuff. i've cut up locust that was lying on the ground in rain and snow for years and it's beautiful inside.
I love locust. Unfortunately there isn’t too much left on the family farm. There’s a few live locust but not many.
 

all night moe

Member
Nov 19, 2015
93
earth
There’s hundreds of yards of locust fence posts that are over 75 years old.
I can vouch for this. There are some fence posts that were installed shortly after WWII. They're still there. As the old timer told me years ago, "The trick is you have to skin the bark before putting them in the ground."

I call it. "Nature's PT lumber."
 
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jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,366
Long Island NY
Locust around here was laid on the ground as a foundation. Friend of mine bought the "old school house". Not sure exactly but somewhere around 100 years on the ground. When it came time to rebuild the extension it was still mostly solid.
 
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MrCool1

Member
Oct 6, 2021
54
OR
I have always been impressed by the black locust we have a bit of around here. I was gifted a pickup load a few years ago - "cut to length" - but not the length for my stove, unfortunately - pain to fix that, but another story. would have loved it in logs to use on the homestead.
I was starting to like it better than oak for overnight burns. lot less ash leftover in the mornings.
then I had a guy - would call him an old-timer - but I am that age now - tell me that the reason Black locust lasts forever in and on the ground is the natural "PT" - he said it is full of oils and stuff and is bad to burn - for the air and the stove.

I still have a half a pickup load of that locust- stashed, waiting to find out if this is true? anyone know anything about this?

side note - I was just gifted and finished putting away last night - just over two full size pickup bed level loads of 4 year old since split and stacked under cover oak. got no worries for this year at all! was thinking I might not have enough fully aged, was already planning where I would steal from next years wood to get by.....
 
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MrCool1

Member
Oct 6, 2021
54
OR
You been in the wood pile a long time--welcome back old clancey
Thanks - it seemed I was taking a post the wrong direction - i needed to step back, then I got crazy busy moving a building - it is here now, and time to set it up....
hope you got to use your stove at least a little? and I hope you love it!
R
 

Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,748
Indiana
I have always been impressed by the black locust we have a bit of around here. I was gifted a pickup load a few years ago - "cut to length" - but not the length for my stove, unfortunately - pain to fix that, but another story. would have loved it in logs to use on the homestead.
I was starting to like it better than oak for overnight burns. lot less ash leftover in the mornings.
then I had a guy - would call him an old-timer - but I am that age now - tell me that the reason Black locust lasts forever in and on the ground is the natural "PT" - he said it is full of oils and stuff and is bad to burn - for the air and the stove.

I still have a half a pickup load of that locust- stashed, waiting to find out if this is true? anyone know anything about this?

side note - I was just gifted and finished putting away last night - just over two full size pickup bed level loads of 4 year old since split and stacked under cover oak. got no worries for this year at all! was thinking I might not have enough fully aged, was already planning where I would steal from next years wood to get by.....
Totally false!.I have burned locust for years with no problems what so ever...i have a old timer friend who has only burned locust for the last 30 years plus...his 40 acres is almost entirely locust...like any wood make sure the moisture content is right and burn away and enjoy!
 
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