using locust for firewood?

sullystull Posted By sullystull, May 15, 2008 at 12:54 AM

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  1. sullystull

    sullystull
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    May 7, 2008
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    Anyone burn locust? I am a big fan of cutting "standing dead locust trees" and using them for firewood. In fact, about 70% of the wood I burned last year was locust. Well, I was talking to my neighbor the other day and he told me that locust was bad to burn because it was too "oily". He said it would cause my chimney to build up excessive amounts of creosote. Instead of defending the wood that has kept me warm on many a cold night, I let it blow by and didn't comment back. So, is he off his rocker or do I need to go across the street with my tail between my legs and tell him he's right?
     
  2. oilstinks

    oilstinks
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    Jan 25, 2008
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    I do. Thats all my dad will burn. He wont burn anything else but yellow locust but he buys his. I just happen to get it when i get a tree in road call for the fire dept then i bring it home. Feel free to ship me all you want as someone said in another thread.
     
  3. skinnykid

    skinnykid
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    May 6, 2008
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    thats funny, The first I heard about this tree was a little while ago on another forum. The guy over there was saying he burns it alot I guess.
     
  4. sapratt

    sapratt
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    May 14, 2008
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    I've never heard of it being to oily. I've read on different web sites that locust is better than oak because its so hard.
     
  5. oilstinks

    oilstinks
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    Jan 25, 2008
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    I dont no maybe its a geological difference but around here yellow locust is the gold mine. Some locust plots are sold just to cut fire wood. My father has burned it for years.
     
  6. oilstinks

    oilstinks
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    Jan 25, 2008
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    I have had locust hold coals for 8 hrs in an old plate steal sierra.
     
  7. Burd

    Burd
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    Feb 29, 2008
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    Ive heard it burns a long time and hold red coals longer then oak.Aslo heard you need to season it longer Just like your oak. I wish I could get my hands on some. Hickoy is another long burner
     
  8. hornett22

    hornett22
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    Mar 1, 2007
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    it does have an oil in it but it actually gives the wood it's heat value.if you have been burning it,look in your chimney and see what it looks like.there should actually be less creasote because it burns hotter.it weighs nothing after the moisture has left it.it does need to season a little longer like oak.

    sounds like your neighbor has no experience burning it.
     
  9. jadm

    jadm
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    Dec 31, 2007
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    Sounds like your neighbor wants your locust....Talks you out of it and then offers to take it off of your hands...

    I can't get locust from my supplier because he has his guys put any locust they get directly into his wood burning stash while we, his humble customers, get everything else.....
     
  10. Todd

    Todd
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    Nov 19, 2005
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    I burned some this year for the first time and it does burn long and hot, but it's hard to get going. I had very little ash left, but didn't think it coaled quite as good as the Oak I was burning. I have 6 cords of Black Locust to burn up the next couple seasons and I'd get more if I could.
     
  11. Ken45

    Ken45
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    Feb 21, 2008
    545
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    Loc:
    southern Ohio
    Properly seasoned, it's one of the best firewoods, especially if you are talking black (or yellow) locust (small thorns). Honey locust (BIG thorns) is a totally unrelated species, but is still a very good firewood.

    Ken
     
  12. savageactor7

    savageactor7
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    Jan 25, 2008
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    Limited experience with black Locust ...cut down a half dz trees around my house that became so huge they were a nuisance The heat value was good but the stove filled up with coals that lasted... like forever.

    Burning Locust worked better after I started mixing in some ash and maple. Just say'en the only time I fully loaded with Locust was when we went away for the day that way I didn't have to work around the lingering hot coal buildup.

    I always wondered if I let it season a third year if it would have burned differently but the wood gave every appearance of being seasoned. Never burned OAK but from what I read here the woods so dense it takes a couple of years to season.

    I do miss the locust blossom aroma that filled the house ever spring though...

    ...I don't think I'd ever plant a tree of this variety though as I once got a flat tire from its thorns. Matter of fact if I see a locust growing now I cut it down...just something about 'em that I don't want 'em taking space in my wood lot.

    It's hard, hard wood...that just doesn't burn like the hard wood I've grown accustomed too.
     
  13. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1
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    Dec 5, 2006
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    black locust, one of the best burnin' woods I've ever had, got some standin' in my woods, will burn any and all of it I can find :)

    I had a pile of locust post I found buried on my property, under dirt, for at least 50 years, dug 'em out, sawed 'em up, and burned 'em in my Oslo.

    Locust can sit a long, long, time.......years, and still be good for burnin'.

    Tell that neighbor if he has locust and it ain't worth a crap to burn just drop it off over in your yard, for sure!
     
  14. Ken45

    Ken45
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    Feb 21, 2008
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    Loc:
    southern Ohio
    There is a country witicism about locust posts. "How do you know when a locust fence posts needs replacing? When you set the post, put a stone on top of it. Every year, check the stone. When the stone has deteriorated, it's time to start inspecting the post." ;-)

    Ken
     
  15. Pine Knot

    Pine Knot
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    Nov 10, 2007
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    It"s not unusual for farmers to use a Locust post for 30 years in a fence until it rots off at the ground and then cut up the top and burn it for winter heat.
     
  16. oilstinks

    oilstinks
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    Jan 25, 2008
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    western NC
    peel the bark off the posts. Learned the hard way. They will rot after about 15years with the bark on in the ground. Don't know why but they will. usually replace barbed wire before post.
     
  17. Ken45

    Ken45
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    Feb 21, 2008
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    Thanks for the heads up. Previous owner of our farm did not peel the bark off.

    Ken
     
  18. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh
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    Jan 25, 2007
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    Everyone around here loves to burn oak. Don't blame them. I suspect many people don't even know black locust when they see it. I picked up about three cords that someone was giving away last year on Craigslist. She actually had people tell her she was misrepresenting her "good firewood" ad with "that crap" When it's really, really cold out, my stove gets filled with black locust or oak. Oh yeah, someone else told me it emits poisonus gasses too. Geez!!
     
  19. Ken45

    Ken45
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    Feb 21, 2008
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    Carbon dioxide? I'm sure anyone who sticks their head in the flue long enough will be very sick from the gasses ;-)

    ALL combustion processes (except hydrogen) give off poisonous gasses.

    Ken
     
  20. adrpga498

    adrpga498
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    Nov 18, 2005
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    Everyone seems to run right for the oak. I'll walk for the secret locust anytime. The more its ignored the more available for me.
     
  21. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot
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    Feb 19, 2007
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    Yeah...I had a friend of a friend who's a big outdoorsman allege that "locust gives off poisonous gases." I forget what the physical symptoms of breathing these gases were supposed to be, but I think he said it caused some mental deficiency, IIRC. Amnesia? LOL

    But as I said to him: I'm burning it in the stove, not out in my living room--even if it DOES give off these somehow-more-poisonous-than-other-woods'-gases, I'm not breathing them! (Unless the allegation is that even the merest whiff, while loading the stove, is toxic? Dunno, but never noticed any problems.) Locust smoke does have a distinctive smell, however, IMO--perhaps that's the source of the "poisonous" rumers? It's been a while, but I might characterize the smell as more acrid than the smoke of some woods--does that make sense?

    Locust (yellow) is my favorite wood to burn--but then I've never tried black locust.

    Yellow locust burns HOT--I've actually had my little, uninsulated cottage as warm as 105F, briefly, up near the ceiling (in the room with the stove in it--not the whole, 480 sq. ft. cottage), in my stamped-steel, shipped-in-a-flat-box/bolt-together, no-name, small smoke dragon stove. Of course, it's a small, low-ceilinged room, and I probably could have done the same with well-seasoned oak, if I tried--but IIRC--I wasn't trying. LOL Of course, a 10'x12' room heats up quick, with some other rooms closed off. But I've always preferred to burn locust, up at the cottage--there's plenty of it, and I believe it splits easier than most other woods--it tends to come apart cleanly, with less of the "stringy-ness" of the red oak we have up there.

    Yellow locust, when it is getting toward the "coaling" phase, actually gives off a blueish flame that I have not observed with other woods--or at least not nearly as often. And this is NOT in a secondary, EPA-certified stove with burn tubes; rather, it's a simple smoke dragon, and the low, blue flames are right above the wood itself. Has anyone else noticed this? It reminds me of watching a natural gas flame burn....

    I do think there may be more "leftovers" or "clinkers," after the fire is out, than with other woods, as was stated here. But IMO, that's a small price to pay, for the intense heat and even burn quality.

    Also as was noted here--yellow locust seems unusually light, even when cutting it green, but even more so, when fully seasoned. I've always wondered how it could put out so much heat when it obviously doesn't weigh as much as oak, for example. I've always assumed the heavier the wood the bore BTU content, but yellow locust seems to disprove that. Any thoughts on the rationship between weight and BTU content?

    Could the aforementioned "oilyness" of locust be the cause of it's excellent heating qualities, despite it's lesser weight?

    It's a little coincidental that locust should come up as a topic here, now--yesterday (Thursday) the neighbor had the arborist who gives me free wood come and take out or "elevate" about 8 trees--we can actually see his house now, from the road! But one of them was a large locust tree, perhaps 60-70' tall, that had a major split and was threatening his house. The six-man crew made short work of the whole job--very impressive. The best part, however, was watching the arborist's crew hand carrying freshly bucked chunks of a 2'+ diameter locust tree, from the neighbor's, directly to my wood pile--a good feeling indeed!

    I just love locust....
     
  22. njtuna

    njtuna
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    Feb 14, 2008
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    Northern NJ
    i believe black and yellow locust are the same tree, just called by different names in different parts. black locust is bright yellow when the wood is green...
     
  23. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno
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    Nov 7, 2006
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    Loc:
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    More than one person on the forum has reported finding locust to be surprisingly light. Not sure what to make of that, because all the black and honey locust I've got is pretty heavy green or seasoned. Possible theories:
    Regional variation.
    Green (as in fresh) locust might be a little lighter than green red oak just because the oak has a lot higher percentage of water.
    Pieces with a lot of bark are light just because the bark is so thick.
    ??

    I've seen that blue flame myself, locust seems to provide a lot more heat in the coal stage than other woods, and I find that the coals burn down completely to fine ash with minimal primary air unlike some other species (I'm looking at you, hickory and cherry.)

    I'm doing better than usual on locust this year, 2.5 truckloads of black and a heaping truckload of honey, plus a line on a big black locust that the county has marked for removal. Plenty for the few really cold nights around here, although I'd burn it most of the time if it was more available.
     
  24. Todd

    Todd
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    Nov 19, 2005
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    Loc:
    Lake Wissota
    Just split a face cord of free Black Locust this morning. It was very light probably because it was dead and full of carpenter ants. I don't know how those little buggers can eat through that hard wood when it dulls my chains so fast.

    I also noticed more blue flames than other woods and very little ash.

    I have 6 cords of it and working on more.
     
  25. bmwloco

    bmwloco
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    Jan 17, 2008
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    Loc:
    Asheville NC
    3 years ago, a neighbor across the street was moving. He was looking to rid of some "good stuff" and he knew I had a wood stove.

    I got probably a 1/4 cord of very old locust. Old fence posts, a couple 4 footers. I went through two chainsaw blades paring it down to Resolute II size, but come winter...

    We were warm as toast. It burns much, much longer than seasoned oak. After stacking it for the night, I'd wake in the morning to hot coals and in moments I'd have a good fire going again. As my mountain boy friend says "...be careful with locust, you can burn the bottom out of your stove...

    Not likely in my Vermont Castings Resolute II, but still, I don't stuff the box with it.
     
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