Wood ID Help

Caw

New Member
May 26, 2020
30
Massachusetts
Hi Folks,

I'm a brand spanking new wood burner and happy to have found this forum. I have an Osburn 1600 insert (1.8 cu ft box) in a 2 story cape. I've learned a ton already and now it's time for my first post!

I recently purchased a new house here in MA and on the property I found a good sized pile of logs that seemed to be in OK shape. I bucked them up and fired them through the splitter. Here are pics of a few of the splits:

20200526_113349.jpg

20200526_113355.jpg

20200526_113410.jpg

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20200526_115123.jpg


A few observations of the wood:

1. Its EXTREMELY light. I feel I could chuck a spiral 20 yards with one split. I bucked, split, and stacked 2 cords if red/white oak last week and this wood is easily 3x lighter.

2. The wood seems soft. Not balsa soft, but it feels different than all the oak/maple I'm used to. Perhaps this is just from aging for a long time? I have no idea how long they were stacked out back.

3. Some pieces are too punky and I just tossed them into my firepit pile. Mostly the bottom of the stack as they were on the ground. Some are on the edge or partially toast while some seem perfectly fine.

4. The moisture meter has them all around 18% which is about as dry as anything is ever gonna get outside here.

Based on what I could find online have a few guesses on what it could be:

- Chestnut Oak
- American Elm
- Basswood

I'm a little hesitant to use it as I feel like it's just going to turn into an inferno in the stove. Perhaps I'll mix it in as starter logs for my hardwoods?

What do you think?

Thanks for the help and keep up the good work on the forums!
 

gzecc

Minister of Fire
Sep 24, 2008
4,663
NNJ
Split them small and use for kindling
 
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firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,079
Unity/Bangor, Maine
My best guess would be something in the aspen/cottonwood family.
 
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Caw

New Member
May 26, 2020
30
Massachusetts
My best guess would be something in the aspen/cottonwood family.
I definitely have poplar trees here, I just took one down actually, but I've never seen poplar with a dark core. The bark on this has a lot of ridges and I thought big tooth aspen but again with the color. I also thought black walnut but I'm too far north for those.

It's not gonna be good stove wood, likely kindling as recommended above...I just want to know what it is it's killing me!
 

Caw

New Member
May 26, 2020
30
Massachusetts
Too far north isn't 100% accurate but it would be a very rare tree where I live and a crime to let such beautiful wood go to waste.

I'm just gonna make kindling out of it but not knowing what it is is still driving me crazy. I'm going to call it super old elm until someone smarter tells me otherwise!
 

hickoryhoarder

Feeling the Heat
Apr 5, 2013
440
Indiana
Elm would be kind of heavy. Chestnut oak feels like the heaviest oak to me, a bit heavier than your white oak. I've got no experience with basswood as firewood. But the bark maybe does look like basswood?
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,783
Eastern Ontario
The bark looks like some of the big old popular around here
And they have a dark heart wood
 

CincyBurner

Feeling the Heat
Mar 10, 2015
485
SW Ohio
Ginkgo ?
 

hickoryhoarder

Feeling the Heat
Apr 5, 2013
440
Indiana
It’s a popular landscape tree.
Yeah, grows wherever people plant it. Not unusual on Midwest streets and campuses. I don't recall if it's planted much in New England. Does seem to like the Ohio/Indiana climate.
 

Caw

New Member
May 26, 2020
30
Massachusetts
It’s a popular landscape tree.
Everything I'm seeing online shows a more uniform light color grain. This is definitely a thin light sapwood and dark large heartwood. Also this was a big tree. 10+ 10-15" x 4' logs before I bucked.

Yesterday I turned it all to kindling and I noticed that while it split easily due to being old, it was still fairly stringy. More than I expected.
 

Caw

New Member
May 26, 2020
30
Massachusetts
Gingko_Biloba_1313_Ps.jpg

Here is a cross section of Ginko. This does look similar. I live in a heavily wooded deciduous area so it's just surprising to me. It's all oak, maple, poplar, and elm here with tons of huge pines mixed in.

I wish I could find a split picture.

I agree with everyone and think it's likely a poplar variety or this ginko. I have two gigantic 4+ foot eastern poplars on the property so poplar makes sense.
 
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PA. Woodsman

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2007
2,082
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
I looked it up in the National Audubon Tree book and I think you might be right!
Now I also saw in this book that they have two pictures of Eastern Cottonwood, and the second picture looks very much like the first picture that you posted so who knows?
 

Caw

New Member
May 26, 2020
30
Massachusetts
ufwu8zhk9sb21.jpg

I was finally able to dig up a picture of Eastern Poplar splits and voila...its settled. My wood is definitely very old Eastern Poplar aka nice kindling for my Red Oak stash :)

Thanks for all the replies!
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,208
Downeast Maine
Looks like basswood or poplar to me. We have several basswood on the property and I prefer to look at them rather than burn it. It's a nice species for wood working as well.
 

CincyBurner

Feeling the Heat
Mar 10, 2015
485
SW Ohio
I agree, not ginkgo, since ginkgo has white ring on inner bark and typically a landscape planting not found in wooded, natural ares.
 
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