Wikipedia in hard vs soft wood

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
466
California redwood coast
When working on my wood pile today I had to cut through some yew I had scavenged. Very dense, hard , with tight rings. It got me thinking about how there are some darn dense softwoods. (For example bristle cone pine, which should never be on a burn list). Anyhow, that lead to a visit to wikipedia ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardwood ), and yes, yew, despite being a softwood is harder than many hardwoods.

Anyhow, the botany science was interesting to read. I don't seem to hear fights in these forums about whether one should only burn angiosperm trees because gymnosperm trees will create too much creosote! Or, "I only burn trees that flower."
 
Last edited:

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,931
Long Island NY
Creosote is produced due to insufficiently dried fuel, improper burning habits (too smoldering), or an improper chimney system (too cold) or a combination thereof. Not due to some type of wood.
 

hickoryhoarder

Minister of Fire
Apr 5, 2013
658
Indiana
There are parts of the Northwest and Northeast where woods like Douglas fir and spruce are pretty abundant. While oak and ash could be hard to find. Where I live in the Midwest we can be kind of hardwood-oriented because there's a lot of oak, hickory, sugar maple, beech, and ash. As stoveliker said, it's more about seasoning and the fire. I've burned white pine and tulip poplar at times with no creosote problems. I use a lot of black cherry, which is kind of a tweener.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
466
California redwood coast
I guess what I was trying to highlight with failed humor was differences between hard and soft woods irrespective of their burning characterisics. (If I have it, I burn it as long as it's seasoned.) Softwoods are angiosperm and flower while softwoods are gymnosperms and don't flower. The wood in hardwoods is a more complex structure.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,202
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
The way I see it, Pine is a far superior firewood to Oak. Why you might ask? Pine grows in the forests here, trees that grow in the forest can be cut down, dried and used for firewood. Oak is a mythological tree that can only be purchased as pre-milled boards for ungodly sums at the local hardwood dealer, suitable, in theory at least, for construction of the finest of furniture.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,931
Long Island NY
The way I see it, Pine is a far superior firewood to Oak. Why you might ask? Pine grows in the forests here, trees that grow in the forest can be cut down, dried and used for firewood. Oak is a mythological tree that can only be purchased as pre-milled boards for ungodly sums at the local hardwood dealer, suitable, in theory at least, for construction of the finest of furniture.

Lol, I'm splitting the last of 2.5 cords of your magic wood that appeared for free on my driveway...
 
  • Like
Reactions: ABMax24

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,578
Southeast CT
I guess what I was trying to highlight with failed humor was differences between hard and soft woods irrespective of their burning characterisics. (If I have it, I burn it as long as it's seasoned.) Softwoods are angiosperm and flower while softwoods are gymnosperms and don't flower. The wood in hardwoods is a more complex structure.
I’ve read that there’s a lot of diversity within tree species related to wood density. You may get a slow growing softwood low spruce that could end up being denser than a hardwood. More BTU’s in the softwood in that case.