woodburning info

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by blessedspotfarm, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. blessedspotfarm

    blessedspotfarm Active Member

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    Does anyone have a good guild to how fast and how how hot each type of wood burns.?? IE: Pine Oak Cedar etc..?? My husband and I heat with wood and have just recently cleaned up 11 acres after loggers. We have lots and lots of wood but are not familar with which woods are not good to burn in our fisher wood stove. We have always purchased a paticular type of wood prior...
     
  2. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    Burn it all! Use your willows, cottonwood, aspen and such for day wood. Burn your....lets see, where do you live.....ok, burn your hardwoods at night.

    Here in Montana, we only have larch, pine, fir, aspen, cottonwood and such. We burn everything we can find....and have done so forever.

    I know that isnt the answer to the question you had but hey, it was free! ;)
     

  3. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    The number of BTUs of heat produced per pound of dry wood is the same for every tree species.
     
  4. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Well-Known Member

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    This is quite true, but a cord of Oak weighs approximately 4000 lbs while a cord of spruce weighs just over 2000. So it will take almost twice as much spruce to get the same BTUs as oak.

    Here's a link with the weights and BTU's per cord of various wood.http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howood.htm
     
  5. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Yup, pine burns dirty. If you burn it, you have to clean your stove pipe much more often than if you use cleaner wood. I've used pine for about 8 years without a problem (and with regular pipe cleanings) and according to the local oldtimers, that's what they've mostly used for the last 150 years here. The oldtimers also have chimney fire stories and tales of the occasional burned-down cabin.

    Oak and cedar are great to keep a fire overnight or while you're gone. Pine works best for heating while you're home and there to feed the fire. If you have something like aspen, that's great for quick heat to warm up the house in a hurry and it also burns hot enough to function as sort of a stove pipe cleaner (oldtimer advice again - start each morning fire with aspen to heat up the house and to burn off yesterday's creosote deposits). Cottonwood has been mentioned above - I burn it on occasion, but it doesn't seem to give off much heat and burns up too fast... also smells like cat pee when it burns.

    I burn everything without much discrimination (as dictated by poverty), but it's important to adjust pipe cleanings to the kind of stuff burned and if you're burning any sparky woods on a regular basis, you have to make sure that you're using a spark arrester.
     
  6. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    You can try an old trick to decide on when to burn a particular type of wood.

    Prep it as normal, split, whole chunks or whatever the state it will be burnt in.

    Weigh some sample chunks on a home bath scale. Write the weight on the ends with a magic marker. Reweigh before burning and note the water loss difference. Decide when to burn, is it seasoned enough based on sample weights rather than time? After a little use, will get to guage the potential burning characteristics very well. Can be done in one season.

    Pine burns very good if super aged (5 years or more) or treated by the "Solar Method". You can speed the aging process greatly by either building a solar shed or rigging up a solar dome of some sort over a wood pile that is exposed to full sunlite during the hot summer months. Most wood can be burnt after just one season in the solar kiln / heater. Can be as simple as some clear or black plastic, maybe some old storm windows. Rural engineering at its best. Get it up to >120 F and it cures up in a hurry. Cut in the spring, cook in the summer, burn in the fall / winter.

    I have some old pine that is probably 9 years old that was at the bottom of the wood pile and it just getting its turn. Was dry all those years, light as balsa, starts like a charm and burns hot and clean.
     
  7. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Oh for crying out loud... if that isn't the simplest idea - a solar kiln! Love it!! Wouldn't have ever thought of it. Thanks for posting that :D
     
  8. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Yup, I tried that solar kiln idea a number of years back more as an experiment.

    Had a stone wall that I used to lean old aluminum storm windows up against to make a hot house / cold frame for growing starter plants. Noticed how well it did in very cold months. The masonry absorded heat and carried well thru the night.

    After the plants were moved, one year I tried cooking green wood in there just to see if I could have seasoned it enough to burn it that winter. Nothing fancy, the windows were just overlapped on the frames, no special attempt to really make it some highly engineered kiln. Was able to hit peak temperatures of 160 F+ on really hot days. Say 90 days in the kiln would yield the desired results. Just about any type of wood, Oak, Pine, things like willow really cooked up quick.

    If I was going to attempt to build one, would try that idea of the stone wall laid up in a U shaped to form a 3 side little room. Put the wood in there and cover the top, allowing a rig to vent it. Take the fourth side to be South facing and glaze that is some manner. Using glass is the best. Sloping the glazing outward will give a larger collection area. With plastic could build a tent affair. Could even build in a Thombe Wall if your fourth side had some vertical drop in front of it. Lots of ways to do the basic idea for almost no money. Could try clear or black plastic and see what works the best. Try paving with stones in the collection area and painting them black.

    Not difficult to see why this idea works so well if you have ever done any roofing work in the summer. General rule of thumb is if things are too hot to touch comfortably they are ~130 F. Lots of things on roofs, too hot to touch in the summer, enclose that a bit and should be able to get up to ranges that can cook firewood very well. Unlike lumber, you want the most extreme drying rates possible.

    Probably legal in most locations. Other that the wall you can claim it is a temporary structure. If they are that picky, do I really want to be living there. :no:
     
  9. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    I have found that pine does create creosote, too, but that periodically getting the fire very hot and then opening the damper and getting the chimney very hot will burn out the creosote nicely. Lighter feeling woods like tulip poplar, gum, ash tend to burn kind of hot and fast, Oak is heavier and tends to kind of roast. It seems to last longer and is my favorite to burn. Hickory is in the middle.
    Use caution with pine and cedar, their vapors are flammable and sometimes ignite as they combine with the air entering the stove causing a kind of repeating mild explosion that "puffs" causing smoke and or ash to come out of the air intake.
    Be choosy with your wood choice. Use the stuff that is closest to the house easiest to get, easiest splitting, best seasoned first.
    helpful hint: If you have stuff that's hard to split like gum or ash...go out and split it when the water in the wood is frozen..it makes splitting way easier.
    ray
     
  10. jwulf

    jwulf Member

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  11. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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