Sycamore firewood

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Hearth Supporter
Nov 25, 2009
Southern Il buddy and i thought we had scored a good scrounge...but maybe not. it turned out to be a HUGE sycamore tree. the tree was extremely dry and very tough to split. (i have read that it is very hard to split) i have a wood insert and am going to be short on seasoned hardwood for this winter so i am thinking about burning it. does anyone have any experience with burning Sycamore in an insert or stove? should i mix it in with some good hardwoods? should i just keep it for bonfires in the back yard?

A couple of seasons ago I burned about 2 cords of sycamore. Several big branches from our tree in the backyard came down during a storm (barely missed the house). The wood is quite easy to split by hand once it's dried. It burned fine in our wood stove but does not give out a lot of heat.
I'm burning sycamore in my insert now. As Gunks said, if it is dry it splits easily. Burns medium fast, but does not make much of a coal-bed for me.
I've had two large sycamores come down in ice storms. It definitely splits better when dry and dries fast. I'm going to burn mine now and save the oak and hickory for the really cold days. (Is the "shoulder season" before and after the really cold season?)
As for BTUs, the stuff lights right up and with big enough splits will get my stove plenty hot. Doesn't burn very long though.
As the adage I learned here goes, the best wood is free wood.
I've always been told it's name describes how it burns. Put some in the stove and "syc some more"
I definitely like the burning properties of sycamore for our extended shoulder season. Very easy to light and dries out extremely fast but admittedly a freshly cut tree won't be ready to burn this burning season as it does carry lots of water weight.

I think sycamore is the easiest wood to process the limbs/tops that don't need splitting given they are very straight and don't have many smaller sub branches to cut.

I would probably leave the rounds intact until they get around 8" in diameter provided you use a stove that can accommodate a piece that large and separate the large stuff 5-8" rounds for your winter burn and use the smaller wood during the shoulder season. It certainly will save processing time.

As for splitting it I think it is tough as American elm and the larger rounds are tough no matter how you look at it but admittedly it is slightly easier when the wood checks. It will also be easier to split by hand if you cut the rounds 12 inches long.
Sycamore 19.5 million but's per full cord. Black cherry 19.9. Black walnut 20.2. Red elm 22.0. Red oak 24.0. Spruce 14.5. Cottonwood 13.5.
Sycamore? Nothing wrong with that! It may not be Osage Orange or oak, but it is still a nice hardwood, lots of BTUs compared to pine or spruce. Tough-to-split woods build character.
As others have said here, it's not the best, but it is decent wood. I used to be pretty particular, but as I get older, i will take almost anything.
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