What size limbs are too thin for you to burn?

Dmitry

Minister of Fire
Oct 4, 2014
973
CT
What is your rule of thumb for throwing limbs without cutting and burning them?
I throw away anything smaller than a beer can or a bit larger. Wondering what you guys do.
 

GadDummit

Burning Hunk
May 27, 2017
240
Oklahoma
I use all the way down to broomstick size. I like using the smaller ones to get things going then work my way up to the quarter rounds. Though I admit I've thrown lots of broomstick sized ones in the chipper when I had an abundance of stormfall to clean up.
 

MongoMongoson

Member
Feb 6, 2021
77
Wisconsin
Depends... Last weekend we were felling small dead choked-out sugar maples and skidding them out of the woods with a 4-wheeler, right next to where we were stacking. Then, cutting them to firewood lengths. It was going so fast and the handling was minimal so there was no reason not to cut up the stuff that was the diameter of my thumb. Even those portion of the trees were straight. If the stuff is all gnarly so there are limited lengths of straight small branches or we have limited time that day, I'll be more selective and closer to your beer can rule.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,173
Northern NH
2" dia unless its crooked. I used to cut on other peoples property and wanted to leave a good impression that I was not wasting the wood. These days I cut on my own land but still use the 2" guideline. On the other hand I dropped a poplar (big tooth aspen) and left the crown after grabbing a few sawlogs. I just dont waste my time with poplars.
 

andym

Feeling the Heat
Feb 6, 2020
396
Hicksville, Ohio
I generally cut anything 1-1/2" or bigger. Like others mentioned though it varies a bit depending on how much I will need to handle them. If I'm along a field or somewhere that I need to be handling the brush anyway I'll go smaller. If I have to carry them 75-100 ft to the trailer I'll pass.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,152
Ottawa, ON
1 1/2 to 2 are perfect fillers and they should be a bit shorter than you avg splits.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,173
NE Ohio
I'll go down to 1" - 1.5" as long as its straight and doesn't have too much "brush" to trim off it...
 
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Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,152
Ottawa, ON
I love those 1 1/2 fillers.
 

gzecc

Minister of Fire
Sep 24, 2008
4,798
NNJ
If its splits I keep it. If it doesn't I heave it.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
421
California redwood coast
1 1/2 to 2 are perfect fillers and they should be a bit shorter than you avg splits.
Why do you say shorter? I was thinking the same thing, but so I can put them in east-west when using them for a top down fire start.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,173
NE Ohio
If its splits I keep it. If it doesn't I heave it.
Man, you are giving up a lot of easy heat...the 3-4" rounds that don't need split...not to mention that limb wood is more dense than trunk wood.
 
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Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,152
Ottawa, ON
Why do you say shorter? I was thinking the same thing, but so I can put them in east-west when using them for a top down fire start.
Many of my splits are uneven and shorter filler work well when squeezing them in.
 

Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
996
SW Missoura
I generally throw everything that is 3" and under in diameter in the brush pile....but I am cutting on my own place. If I was cutting on someone else I would be inclined to take smaller stuff so I didnt look wasteful.
 

Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,553
Midwest
If I have to cut/haul it, it sort of depends on the wood. With hedge, I'll grab stuff down to 1 or 1-1/2". If it's cottonwood... well, I don't know that I'd even go out to haul cottonwood... but some lighter species, I might not even bother with anything under 2-3" unless its really straight and easy cutting.

If the stuff falls in the yard, I bin it all up in the hot dry days of summer, then I have plenty of sticks, twigs, branches, etc for kindling and those great top-down fires.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,380
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Growing up we didn't bother with the small stuff . . . it was a lot of work and we had plenty of land with lots of trees. My thinking changed somewhat when I began cutting my own wood off my own land and/or scavenging wood. I figure the tree did its part in growing . . . I might as well use up the most of it so I keep most stuff down to 2 inches or so . . . the rest being a good home or meal to critters.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,173
Northern NH
One thing I do with straight branches is I set long ones aside and cut them double or triple length and mix them in while stacking. I leave an air gap between my rows to let the air get into the stack and by dropping a long one to bridge the gaps every so often it really stiffens up the wood pile.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,173
Northern NH
My work here is done ;)

I learned the hard way after a few stacks fell over :(
 
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tymbee

Member
Dec 2, 2011
90
Upstate NY
Probably thumb size or so. When I get bored cutting it because its do small.
Yep-- you cut up the real little stuff CUT CUT CUT... then pick it all up PICK PICK PICK... then you stack it STACK STACK STACK... then turn around to see that for all your labor you end up with only paltry pile of wood. Don't ask me how i know. :)

But hey, can never have too much of the little guys to either get a fire going or to stoke up a dying fire.
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,152
Ottawa, ON
There is a bit of art to these 2” sticks. I never stack them together....that would indeed be a depressing pile to look at after all that work. I strategically place them among the splits/stacks, so as I move the seasoned wood indoors for burning, there are always few fillers in my armloads.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,737
07462
3 or 4" now, anything less goes into the fire pit and I've been know in the neighborhood to hold some nice rippers on a Friday or Saturday night.
 
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Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,152
Ottawa, ON
I love rippers. Too many open fire restrictions at my lake. I will stick with strippers.
 

kborndale

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2008
252
LI
I keep down to about an inch. None of anything that small makes it to the stove but it is great for the chimnia and the smoker.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,759
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I bought a load of logging waste tops. Down to 4”. Gotta say, that sucked. If you’re trying to fill a 5 cord shed you don’t want little pecker poles. I’ll go “as small” as 4” but prefer 12-36” stems for most of the logs.

The chippers all eat 4” stuff, some much bigger.