What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

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naegling62
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What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by naegling62 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:05 pm

I like Black Willow, splits up real easy cures out quick and the trees grow back in about 5years.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by procyon » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:49 pm

We heat with wood, and you want a mix.

Softwoods (red cedar&cottonwood is the most common on my farm) are good for quickly getting the fire going in the morning to warm up the house.
Or for days you just want to take off the morning chill without having to open all the window/doors in October/November because you turned your house into a sauna.
Standing deadwood will also do. It usually burns quickly and very hot, leaving few coals.
And most softwoods are easy to cut and split, relatively speaking.

Hardwoods are good when you need lasting heat, or lots of it if the weather turned really nasty. But it depends on what you have around.
Oak is great and lots of folks swear by it, but it burns long and slow and leaves lots of coals. So it can choke the stove off with a bunch of slow burning coals that won't keep you warm enough when the weather is horrible. But in less severe weather, it can keep a house warm all day and night without stocking the stove all the time. Oak splits straight and without a lot of fuss.
(Except red oak. That stuff is generally hard to season, and even when dry is tough to burn.)
Hard maples are good if you don't want the sap, and split easy enough if the tree didn't 'spin' when it grew. Same with most 'nut' trees (walnut, beechnut, etc).
Birch is good to, but needs a while to season, and can be tricky when splitting. As is hickory, as splitting it can get to be a lot of work with some trees.

The only wood that I hate is elm. I try to cut young ones when they are still less than 8" around the trunk, so that they don't need split and I can just feed them into the stove. The only exception to this is when you need a piece of wood to split other woods on. In this, elm is wonderful. If you have a thick elm stump, you can use it as your 'splitting stand' for decades and not tear it apart.

Fruit trees are also good to burn, but tend to be so twisted in their growth that splitting them is nearly impossible. But at least they seldom get big enough to need it. Turning them into chips for the smoker is a treat though. I love a mix of apple and mulberry in the smoker for venison jerky.

I could write about 20 pages on wood and splitting, but I have a feeling my patients and co-workers would get a little peeved.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by CitizenZ » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:22 pm

Poplar is surprisingly good for smoking meat, heating, campfires and still easy to split. Usually cheap too.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by naegling62 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:23 pm

Great info procyon, thanks! I usually cut what falls from the tornados or clearing the ponds. Sweetgum made up last years wood.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:33 pm

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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by naegling62 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:37 pm

Evan the Diplomat wrote:Natalie
I get it.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by Gixxer1237 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:02 pm

Black Locust, Honey Locust, Osage Orange, then it goes into hardwoods.

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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by gundogs » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:43 am

Gixxer1237 wrote:Black Locust, Honey Locust, Osage Orange, then it goes into hardwoods.
Years ago someone planted Osage Orange ---we call it Horse-apple-- as a hedgerow on my property.
When one dies I use it for firewood. It is the best wood I've ever burned,and that includes oak,ash & hardmaple.
Be careful when used in a fireplace as it seems to throw more sparks then other wood

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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by Anomic1 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:11 am

I never see osage here with a decent trunk usually its only 1-2' and about 5-10' long (often even less) till it gets all branchy and twisty. I like having 2'+ and nice long trunks. Pull the whole thing to where woodpile will be and buck split and stack in 1 spot. Saves a lot of extra work and productivity is way higher than messing with a lot of branches. I save the 3" and bigger branches in a pile in case i run out of wood and start cutting em up in the middle of feburary ;(


I have a TON of tulip populars around. Not the best firewood but they are HUGE and 1 tree is plenty ;) the wood is very light so it takes a bit more than the good stuff but is also easier to handle.

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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by 74 or more » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:26 am

Gixxer1237 wrote:Black Locust, Honey Locust, Osage Orange, then it goes into hardwoods.
My father-in-law heats his house with a giant wood burning stove and he's always looking for cords of Locust.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by Abuhin » Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:50 pm

Does anyone know how well Alder burns? Or is it just for smoking seafood?
I found out it improves soil while researching nitrogen fixers. I'm just considering the possible scenarios where I have to grow my own firewood and/or food. I know Alder is a hardwood that gets mistaken for soft. I'm wondering if the soil improvement is worth it if it doesn't burn that hot.

EDIT - Found it
http://firewoodresource.com/firewood-btu-ratigs/
Ok, so it's decent for quick fires and cooking, I guess. Not full-on heating.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by procyon » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:04 pm

Gixxer1237 wrote:Black Locust, Honey Locust, Osage Orange, then it goes into hardwoods.
I very seldom burn hedge. It is far to useful as fenceposts. But it never grows straight so splitting it looks to be unpleasant. What grows around us never gets that big though.

And Honey Locust is great for burning, but I am just not that big a masochist. The only reason I let one get bigger around than my thumb is if I missed it somehow. Those thorns are murder. The ground around them is usually a field of caltrops, and when they fall they scatter them all over. So you either carry it a ways to the truck (hoping not to step on it), or risk getting the thorns in the tires ($$$ !). So if you are willing, or someone will sell it to you - great. Otherwise I will pass.
74 or more wrote: My father-in-law heats his house with a giant wood burning stove and he's always looking for cords of Locust.
This.
Last edited by procyon on Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by RachelBB » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:25 pm

We also use a mix. The two most common woods we use are madrone and fir. We also come across oak, walnut, locust and pine pretty common. Softwoods to start and burn hot, hardwoods for staying power.

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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by naegling62 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:04 pm

RachelBB wrote: Softwoods to start and burn hot, hardwoods for staying power.
That's great advice. Once my fire gets going Black Willow goes way too quick.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by Rogue45 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:45 pm

Madrone is very popular in my neck of the woods. Can be tough to split though.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by ineffableone » Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:48 am

Here is a great BTU rating chart for different woods. *edit to add, I guess I should mention this is for western woods, other areas will have some differences.

http://www.madronefirewood.com/firewood-btu-chart/

From the same site
Madrone, sometimes spelled madrona, is considered by many to be the best firewood there is to burn. Whether or not it is the best, is a matter of opinion, but there is no doubt that madrone makes excellent firewood. Well seasoned madrone burns long and hot. With it’s smooth bark, this hardwood is much less messy than other types of wood, and also produces little ash, compared to oaks and many other hardwoods.
I have to agree I love burning madrone due to the smooth bark for the less messy side and it seems to burn well for me.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by Rogue45 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:07 am

Thanks for the link, I know that growing up my dad always cut as much Madrone as he could. It made up the majority of our firewood.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by RachelBB » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:52 pm

That's funny, I never thought about the less mess part. I love how madrone looks, and am always bringing home smaller limbs for perches in the chicken coop!

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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by ineffableone » Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:22 pm

RachelBB wrote:That's funny, I never thought about the less mess part. I love how madrone looks, and am always bringing home smaller limbs for perches in the chicken coop!
That was actually the part of it that got me into using it the less mess, then after using it for a bit realizing it burnt well. From the chart there are better BTU woods, but madrone has a well rounded list of pluses that makes it a good wood to burn.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by azrael99 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:32 pm

i usually go for mapple at first, burn easily but last long enough, get a nice smell then when it start to be late i like t use harder wood to make it last longer and give more heat
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by procyon » Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:17 am

The 'mess' issue is actually a pretty big one.
If you cut the wood late, then you have to get the bark off if you want it to season well. The bark was made to keep the moisture in the tree and does a good job of it.
It also is full of dirt and debris and creates a lot of ash that fills up your stove for what heat you get out of it - so stripping it off lets you get more heat out of a stove full and reduces how often you have to clean out the ashes.
So wood with lots of thick bark can be a problem if it doesn't like to peel off the wood.

On some, it can be handy to leave some with the bark on, like paper birch - as it helps to get a fire started again if you let it burn down to just a few coal.
But others with thick bark, like oak, can make it hard to get started as it tends to hold moisture.

We do use the bark. We keep a pile of it in an old cattle waterer and use it in the forge.
It burns plenty hot (when dried) to forge steel on and the extra ash tends to blow off. So the larger our bark pile, the more we work on metals.
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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by lailr » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:29 pm

Love Locust, Sycamore is of the devil

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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by Anomic1 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:16 pm

lailr wrote:Love Locust, Sycamore is of the devil
On the plus side sycamores are ugly and shed garbage all over year round!!

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Re: What is your preferred wood for cutting and burning?

Post by 88sport » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:05 pm

Procyon, could you write a long post about wood types and such and maybe we could have that made a sticky for the Self-Sufficient Living subsection? Obviously, don't write it at work because I know I really hate having to wait for doctors when I am there, but when you could get some free time. I only ask this because I am going to be relocating to my BOL in the next few months and redoing a room out there which is going to use a wood stove for the heating source and I have never really been too picky about the wood I use as long as it was free or whatever, but I do want to learn a lot more about it so that I can make better educated decisions regarding it.
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