Stinky wood when sawing

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KYrob

Member
Jan 8, 2010
146
KY
I was sawing some wood yesterday and it smelled horrible when the saw started through it. Not sure what type wood it was so I figured I'd ask you guys. Any ideas?

Rob
 

smokinj

Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2008
15,980
Anderson, Indiana
Willow is the worst smell I have ever cut.
 

laynes69

Minister of Fire
Oct 2, 2006
2,671
Ashland OH
Cottonwood smells like horse crap.
 

thewoodlands

Minister of Fire
Aug 25, 2009
14,664
Foothills of The Adirondacks
KYrob said:
I was sawing some wood yesterday and it smelled horrible when the saw started through it. Not sure what type wood it was so I figured I'd ask you guys. Any ideas?

Rob


Rob can you get a picture up so we have a better idea, I'll throw in elm.

zap
 

smokinj

Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2008
15,980
Anderson, Indiana
zapny said:
KYrob said:
I was sawing some wood yesterday and it smelled horrible when the saw started through it. Not sure what type wood it was so I figured I'd ask you guys. Any ideas?

Rob


Rob can you get a picture up so we have a better idea, I'll throw in elm.

zap

LOL I bet one of us is right! Those are 3 bad stinky woods I cant think of another one off the top my head.
 

boatboy63

Member
Feb 6, 2010
192
Northeastern TN
I had some that about made me sick with the stench. It felt really slimy and sticky when it was cut. If you peel the bark, it was almost like the wet wood peeled away like wet paper. I was told it was locust. After finding that out, I was happy due to the heat output of it.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,811
Michigan
Some popple has to be thrown in there for bad smelling wood. It seems more than one on this forum would add oaks, especially red oaks. Personally though, I really like the smell of oaks.

As bad as some of this wood smells, I have to admit that most smell good to me. I miss the old days of logging and sawmill work simply because I enjoyed being around all those sweet smelling woods.
 

ANeat

New Member
Jul 2, 2010
298
SW Ohio
I too like the smell of oak, poplar as mentioned is pretty bad, I had a few poplars in the yard that died off and it stunk the place up pretty bad ;)
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,593
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I've cut poplar, elm, oak and willow (no cottonwood here) and didn't think any of them smelled particularly bad . . . however a month or so ago I was clearing some of my property and cut this sapling and egads . . . I called it a Sh!t Tree since it smelled as if someone had dropped a load right there . . . wicked bad smelling tree . . . and then to make matters worse my cat, Theodore Roosevelt, proceeded to rub his head all over the fresh cut stump so he smelled as if he was rolling around in crap. I still have no idea of what that tree/bush was . . .
 

Loco Gringo

Feeling the Heat
Jan 17, 2011
416
Western North Carolina
Us mountain folks call it piss oak. Ive had someone drive up to a pile I had outside and say "I smell dog shat". Burns great but you dont wanna stack a pile next to the fire Ill tell ya that.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Black cherry smells kind of rank to me. Especially if you go into it thinking you'll be smelling black birch...


Have we narrowed down your stinky tree yet? :lol:

Matt
 

chinkapin_oak

Member
Oct 20, 2010
102
IN
Boxelder has to be the absolute worst smelling wood there is here in indiana. You don't know what I'm talking about until you cut some. Bleh! I have heard tree of heaven is bad, but I've never cut it.
 

-PB-

New Member
Feb 28, 2010
172
MD via Philly
Ailanthus...invasive and nasty smelling. weak for burning as well.
 

scottandlorig

New Member
Dec 18, 2010
56
Davison, MI.
I cut cottonwood and willow last year and I remember the willow was stinky too.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,811
Michigan
Loco Gringo said:
Us mountain folks call it piss oak. Ive had someone drive up to a pile I had outside and say "I smell dog shat". Burns great but you dont wanna stack a pile next to the fire Ill tell ya that.

It seems every so often someone comes on and says that oak stinks. I've never found one that did stink. Simply smells like oak and it is not a bad smell either. Perhaps some types of oaks do stink. Maybe water oak? Live oak? Some of the more southern oaks are no doubt different than the northern varieties.
 

mayhem

Minister of Fire
May 8, 2007
1,937
Peru, MA
Willow is pretty stinky, I noticed it when i was splitting, but not when sawing though.

Red oak has a very powerful odor when freshly cut. I happen to like it and think it smells like money in the bank, but I've heard alot fo people accuse someone of stepping in dog crap when they were near my truck after I put a half cord of freshly sawn red oak in there.
 

billb3

Minister of Fire
Dec 14, 2007
4,679
SE Mass
Only willow I've cut was growing near a cesspool.
Had grey sap.
Smelled just like the cesspool.

It did not end up in the wood pile.
 
I

ISeeDeadBTUs

Guest
The first time I made it to KY as an adult, I smelled something pretty fine! It wasn't wood though, and I'm not going back anymore. Can't help ya with that ID, sorry.

Maybe this whole 'smelly wood' thang is yet another advantage of cutting in winter??
 

Thistle

Minister of Fire
Dec 16, 2010
4,205
Central IA
I've cut some Red/Black Oak that smelled pretty bad,a real sour smell.But White/Bur Oak always smells good IMO,unless the logs have some soft or rotten pockets,then that is quite rank.

Black Cherry & Apple are the best smelling that I've come across.
 

Loco Gringo

Feeling the Heat
Jan 17, 2011
416
Western North Carolina
Backwoods Savage said:
Loco Gringo said:
Us mountain folks call it piss oak. Ive had someone drive up to a pile I had outside and say "I smell dog shat". Burns great but you dont wanna stack a pile next to the fire Ill tell ya that.

It seems every so often someone comes on and says that oak stinks. I've never found one that did stink. Simply smells like oak and it is not a bad smell either. Perhaps some types of oaks do stink. Maybe water oak? Live oak? Some of the more southern oaks are no doubt different than the northern varieties.

Its a certain oak here. The red, white, chestnut here are all fine. Ive lived in south La and the oaks there smelled fine. Ill try and find out what species it is. Its always a sickly looking tree with some dead branches coming off of it. A layman may identify it as red oak based on the color when split. Im telling ya, it smells exactly like a steamy pile of dog crap stuck to the bottom of your shoe. But it burns perfectly leaving a perfect pile of embers after a long steady burn.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,811
Michigan
By your description of the dead branches and burn times it sounds like pin oak, which is in the red oak family. Pin oaks usually have lots of branches that grow pointing down and they die off quickly. That is the only bad thing about cutting them unless you don't like the odor. I've never found oaks to be bad smelling though.
 

Loco Gringo

Feeling the Heat
Jan 17, 2011
416
Western North Carolina
Backwoods Savage said:
Loco Gringo said:
Us mountain folks call it piss oak. Ive had someone drive up to a pile I had outside and say "I smell dog shat". Burns great but you dont wanna stack a pile next to the fire Ill tell ya that.

It seems every so often someone comes on and says that oak stinks. I've never found one that did stink. Simply smells like oak and it is not a bad smell either. Perhaps some types of oaks do stink. Maybe water oak? Live oak? Some of the more southern oaks are no doubt different than the northern varieties.

I grabbed some white oak from some friends today. They are brothers pushing 80 yrs and have logged most of their lives. They said piss oak is in fact water oak.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,811
Michigan
Ah ha. Thanks for posting that. I've always wondered why folks didn't like the smell of oak and now we know.
 
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