Worst wood to split

  • 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.
Status
Not open for further replies.

antknee2

New Member
Hearth Supporter
Oct 7, 2007
253
NY
I had a nice size load of logs delivered last year , just started to process the wood . Some of the wood is so nasty and will not split , it just gets ripped by the splitter . Could anybody help me identify this wood and understand why it is so wet and fibery .
Thanks Anthony
 

Attachments

  • Worst wood to split
    DSC01041.jpg
    79.2 KB · Views: 1,107
  • Worst wood to split
    DSC01042.jpg
    62.2 KB · Views: 1,125
  • Worst wood to split
    DSC01043.jpg
    53.9 KB · Views: 1,724
  • Worst wood to split
    DSC01044.jpg
    53.8 KB · Views: 1,496
Some trees, like elm, twist when they grow. Sometimes to follow the sun.

I hate elm.
 
I would like to know what kind of wood that is! I posted it in October or November, The closest I was able to get was some kind of Gum. I have never had trouble identifing trees in my area, this one got me. I know there are more of them at the site, so when the leaves come out I will get some leaves for ID. Once it seasons it weighs almost nothing and burns very quick, but when it's green it is the heaviest wood ever. Good luck!
 
Well I cant tell ya what it is now but after its seasoned Id have to say its firewood. Sorry had to do it... Good luck. %-P
 
webby3650 said:
I would like to know what kind of wood that is! I posted it in October or November, The closest I was able to get was some kind of Gum. I have never had trouble identifing trees in my area, this one got me. I know there are more of them at the site, so when the leaves come out I will get some leaves for ID. Once it seasons it weighs almost nothing and burns very quick, but when it's green it is the heaviest wood ever. Good luck!

I think you just described sweetgum to a 't'.

To the OP, what you have does not look like sweetgum and the grain of the wood does not look right. Based other pics in the past the wood definitely looks like elm when split.
 
myzamboni said:
webby3650 said:
I would like to know what kind of wood that is! I posted it in October or November, The closest I was able to get was some kind of Gum. I have never had trouble identifing trees in my area, this one got me. I know there are more of them at the site, so when the leaves come out I will get some leaves for ID. Once it seasons it weighs almost nothing and burns very quick, but when it's green it is the heaviest wood ever. Good luck!

I think you just described sweetgum to a 't'.

To the OP, what you have does not look like sweetgum and the grain of the wood does not look right. Based other pics in the past the wood definitely looks like elm when split.
Whatever I had is for a fact the same wood pictured above. I just restacked some leftover today, same stuff. Twisted all the way through, top to bottom, even the limbs! :ahhh:
 
If it is Elm I hope I did not introduce Dutch Elm disease into the neck off the woods . This may be the reason the tree service wanted to get this load to me in a big hurry and at a discount .
Anthony
 
Sure hope you didn't pay too much for it, it burns about like paper when it dries. It requires no kindlin to start, it's covered with it. I am sure it is not Elm, at least no Elm I have ever seen or heard of.
 
Anthony D said:
If it is Elm I hope I did not introduce Dutch Elm disease into the neck off the woods . This may be the reason the tree service wanted to get this load to me in a big hurry and at a discount .
Anthony

Dutch elm disease is for Dutch elms and is carried by bugs (some of which fly) so I don't think you are spreading the disease especially when you burn the wood. Elm can have a faint un-pleasant odor and is stringy as in the pictures you have but it is not a bad burner. White elm is around 18 million btu per cord (1 million better than pine) and red elm which is usually considered Dutch in my area has about 21 million btu per cord (about 3 million less than red oak). Check out this link: http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howood.htm
I can't say that I have ever seen gum but I hear that it is a good burner but splits hard like elm. Either way in winter it's a warm prospect but knowing what wood your buying and its characteristics helps decide the price you are willing to pay for the work you are going to do.
 
My Father drilled into my head the saying ( A BTU is a BTU ) (A BTU is a BTU ) as I drive around my county all I see is BTU's going to waste as blow downs that nobody wants or has any clue to how much free energy they have around there property's . It will be interesting to see how this wood burns in a couple years . I use a Super Split log splitter with the production table for all the smaller rounds , this wood has the ability to absorb multiple hits from the ram . The splitter has such a sharp and thin wedge , that it actually rips through the wood . Really slows down production .
Anthony
 
Quite a few years ago I cut down a large elm, over 3' base. I cut the larger base logs to 16 inches and buried wedges in it. I cut them down to 8 inches and still couldn't split it. I ended up cutting the 8 inch by 3 foot rounds into blocks and burned them in a wood furnace mixed with oak and some hickory. The elm cubes would be large glowing blocks and would take 12 to 13 hours to burn down. They were dried about 10 months so not perfectly dry but would ignite fairly easily. Not too bad a wood to burn if you could stand the smell. IMOH ROB
 
Anthony D said:
If it is Elm I hope I did not introduce Dutch Elm disease into the neck off the woods . This may be the reason the tree service wanted to get this load to me in a big hurry and at a discount .
Anthony


I do not know what it is but would have to agree the inside looks just like elm but the bark definitely does not. Doesn't look like fun to split. Here is a little info on dutch elm disease http://na.fs.fed.us/fhp/ded/ . Around here the elms rarely grow to 12" on the stump before they die unless they are isolated along a roadside or in the middle of a large meadow. There they will grow to well over 3' on the stump.
 
My first guess would be black gum also.

To get into why some woods are hard to split and are stringy versus other woods you would be getting into botany/dendrology which I am sure no one wants to hear about.
 
The wood is stringy like Elm but is very white, tears apart in segments, looks very strange. It has a smell unlike Elm, it is very nutty smelling and then looses all smell within a month.
 

Attachments

  • Worst wood to split
    IMG_0883.JPG
    83.1 KB · Views: 792
  • Worst wood to split
    IMG_0886.JPG
    88.8 KB · Views: 691
webby3650 said:
The wood is stringy like Elm but is very white, tears apart in segments, looks very strange. It has a smell unlike Elm, it is very nutty smelling and then looses all smell within a month.

That is defiantly the culprit . I checked the end grain of the big load of log length rounds and found plenty more hiding under the good stuff . Hopefully the spring sun will dry the wood enough to make it more manageable .
PS Thanks everyone for all the great information .
Anthony
 
Boxelder is similar... sucks to split because its so stringy and twisted. Its a "weed" tree, grows very fast and in all kinds of crazy directions.
 
Another vote for Not Elm . . . split some elm this weekend . . . definitely a different experience from last year when I had some very dead standing elm. The very dead standing elm (no bark for a couple of years) split very easily . . . the dead elm I split this year was wicked stringy . . . and not very pretty looking . . . but I figure when it's dry it will burn just as fine as the purty-looking maple and ash I have.
 
Looks a bit like some of the sourwood I've seen go through the splitter. It just tears. There is no way to split that stuff. I hate "splitting" sourwood and black gum.

A small piece of sourwood:

Worst wood to split


Worst wood to split
 
Sweet gum has monkey balls which are prickly little balls the size of a golf ball. see if these are on the ground near the tree. sometimes some will stay on the tree through the winter too. Also a leaf that looks somewhat of a maple with (5 points). I just split some and your pics look just like it. black gum have no balls but has black berries and dark green crunchy foot ball shaped leaves. Just telling about the leaves for future reference. Is the log in your pic about 8" wide?
 
forest pirate said:
Sweet gum has monkey balls which are prickly little balls the size of a golf ball. see if these are on the ground near the tree. sometimes some will stay on the tree through the winter too. Also a leaf that looks somewhat of a maple but with 3 points. I just split some and your pics look just like it. black gum have no balls but has black berries and dark green crunchy foot ball shaped leaves. Just telling about the leaves for future reference. Is the log in your pic about 8" wide?

Wish I could give more info about the tree in question , the logs were dropped off by local tree service . They mix their loads of lumber , kind off hit or miss . The log in the pic is about 8'' in dia . One good thing about splitting this wood , it leaves lots of rippings below the splitter nice fire starting material , once dried .
Thanks Anthony
 
Sorry that I don't have any bark to compare to, but the splits look a lot like this...and its elm.
 

Attachments

  • Worst wood to split
    100_1028sm.jpg
    74.8 KB · Views: 592
Jags said:
Sorry that I don't have any bark to compare to, but the splits look a lot like this...and its elm.

Yup!

The way I put it, it looks like someone put a cherry bomb in the middle and lit it. Nasty, nasty stuff to split.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.