Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let's Talk Firewood...!

I know that those of you that use firewood for heating and cooking probably already know this.

Still, for those that may just be getting started using wood in the stove every day might find this interesting!

Either way, it never hurts to have this information around to refer back to. Who knows? It may just come in handy someday!

Firewood Tips and Best Bets

Did you know that one cord of wood burned as firewood provides the heat equivalent to that produced by burning 200 to 250 gallons of heating oil, depending on the type of hardwood you are using?

Here is a list of hardwoods in descending order of heat value:

* Elm, rock
* Hickory, shagbark
* Oak, white
* Hickory, butternut
* Beech
* Oak, red
* Birch, yellow
* Elm, red
* Ash, white
* Elm, white
* Mesquite
* Hop hornbeam
* Locust, black

Firewood Tips

* Freshly cut wood contains up to 50 percent moisture and must be seasoned to 20 to 25 percent moisture content before burning. Wood containing more than 25 percent moisture is wet, or green, and should never be burned in a fireplace or wood stove.

* Wet wood is easier to split than dry wood.

* Wood must be split into pieces and stacked out of the rain for at least six months to season properly.

* If steam bubbles and hisses out of the end grain as the firewood heats up on the fire, the wood is wet, or green, and needs to be seasoned longer before burning.

* Well-seasoned firewood generally has darkened ends with visible cracks or splits. It is relatively lightweight and makes a sharp, distinctive "clink" when two pieces strike each other.

* Limit the amount of pine you burn. It's a resinous softwood.

Now that we have that out of the way, why don't we get some fresh coffee and sit inside for a bit? We can start a fire and check out if this list is right!


Sixbears said...

Dry firewood splits pretty good when it's below zero -as it was this morning. I split it smaller for my kitchen stove.

Now it's time for that coffee to warm me up!

Kelle said...

Okay I confess, after years and years of spliting wood( mainly my hubby) with a maul or axe we now have a hydraulic splitter that my hubby made and it works GREAT!

As for your list of hardwoods well...
Elm, rock: We have access to some elm
* Hickory, shagbark: None here
* Oak, white: None here
* Hickory, butternut: None here
* Beech:None here
* Oak, red: None here
* Birch, yellow: in some areas of MT, not ours though
* Elm, red: some avaliable, but not much
* Ash, white: some avaliable
* Elm, white: some avaliable
* Mesquite: None here
* Hop hornbeam: none here
* Locust, black: some avaliable, but rare

Now we do have Russian olive, Cedar, Ponderosa pine, a variety of Cotton wood and Applewood that are plentiful in our area.

We choose not to use pine, for the reasons you mentioned and although it does burn hotter than Cottonwood it creates cresote issues. Many people don't like Cottonwood varieties because of the ash left behind but we don't mind as we use this in our chicken yards for dusting, as well as a wonderful garden amendment.
We also burn apple wood from time to time, as our area is full of old orchards and as the trees die off we sometimes have the opportunity to harvest some. Apple wood, Cedar and Olive all burn very hot and for a long time and are valued as overnight logs.

This is probably more info. than you wanted*wink*
Hermit, consider yourself invited to MT to sit a spell by our wood cookstove and enjoy your choice of coffee, herbal tea,home pressed hot cider( we have some hard cider too*wink*) or homemade cocoa :o)

JoJo said...

Good morning My Special Friend
I love a nice fire and sitting around it drinking what ever is available. I bought a fake wood burning stove for up in the mountains it gives off electric heat but it sure looks real just no popping sounds.

Dizzy-Dick said...

When I lived up in Pennsylvania, I cut, seasoned, and burnt a lot of wild cherry. Less sparking than Oak and burned clean and hot. And, it was a "trash" tree so everyone wanted them removed. Throw me in the brier patch, right? I'll take them.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
I've always heard that wood warms you three times: when you cut it, when you split it, and when you burn it!

I miss having a wood-burning stove and the smell of a good wood fire!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

Hey Kelle...
I had the chance to use a log splitter before, and I can sure see where it would be nice to have!

Bet hubby appreciates having it as well!

I appreciate all the information this morning and the invite! Might have to take you up on it one day!

Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!

Hey JoJo...
Something very calming about a warming fire in the room! The looks, the sound, and the smell!

Too bad it has to be cold to enjoy it!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
Bet you are glad you aren't in Pennsylvania right now!

Winter in the South is so much easier on the old joints than Winter in the far north!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

Marjie said...

I don't use our fireplaces, because I can't abide the smell of smoke in the house. Of course, I have heavy drapes and lots of heavily upholstered furniture that holds onto smells! I'm also not going to go outside to grab a few logs; I just want to be warm. We are having a bunch of trees cut down this winter, so you're welcome to the wood if you want it!

HermitJim said...

Hey Marjie...
I can see where some folks don't want the smell of smoke in the house, but I like it!

Of course, I live alone so I don't have to please anyone but me!

If I was closer, I'd take you up on the free wood, but that's a long way from the Texas coast!

I really appreciate you coming by today!

Ted said...

I remember back in the late 30's on the farm that wood an coal was the only heat we had.Bois d'arc relly burned hot.Mother had a coaloil cook stove.

HermitJim said...

Hey Ted...
Does seem a little primitive by today's standards, but folks back then knew how to get by with what they had...and be thankful for it!

We could learn quite a bit from that generation, I think!

Hey, thanks, my friend, for coming by today!

Frugal Canadian Hermit said...

Most of those hard woods mentioned, I don't see around here. There is a fair bit of birch scattered around. I'm not real experienced with the wood burning, but I'm quite sure I'll be alot more knowledgeable about it in the near future.

Bob Mc said...

I'd never part with my wood stove. When the Monitor kerosine heaters first became available here lots of people took out there old wood burners and installed the new heaters in their place. Trouble is, the new heaters also need electricity to run them. It's a rare winter when we don't lose power here, sometimes for days at a time. I just throw another log in the stove. :)

Ken said... the sayin'about wood warmin'ya three times...tis true,we got a couple hickory,a few pecan trees,that gave up a good amount of wood,from limbs and branching/pruning,these last couple seasons...some mixed small oaks,and elms fell,and are stored from this seasons clearing of the yard,but i'm about out of "my own"

HermitJim said...

Hey Hermit...
Experience is sometimes the best teacher when it comes to wood!

I'm sure you'll learn what works best in your neck of the woods! (pun intended)

Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by this morning!

Hey Bob...
While I like the kerosene heaters, I wouldn't have them for my only heat source, if I could help it!

Wood has always been my favorite, I think!

I appreciate you coming by today!

HermitJim said...

Hey Ken...
May just be the time to make a "wood raid" somewhere!

This is when it would be nice to live close to a national park, ya know?

Hey, buddy, thanks for coming over!

Anonymous said...

They always recommend us to mix oak and beech with other not as good firewood over here. Beech and oak is a bit too good actually :-9 But it might be that our trees gets so dense since they grow in this cold climate.

I prefer birch myself when I buy firewood, but now days I´ve bought Fire or heat logs instead. It´s mostly saw dust that they have pressed together in cubes. A bit more expensive but much less work involved :-)

Have a great day now!

HermitJim said...

Hey Christer...
One thing about it, you have a good source for wood pretty close to your cabin!

Now, if you could train the dogs to pull a sleigh with the wood loaded on, that would make it a lot easier!

You stay warm, my friend, and thanks for coming by today!

edifice rex said...

Hhhmm, whoever said green wood is easier to split than seasoned apparently never split green hickory. To me, it is much easier to split after it has dried. But that's just me.

HermitJim said...

Hey Ann...
I'm thinking that maybe they meant "wet" and not "dry". Either way, I'd rather split it with a log splitter than by hand! Lazy, I guess!

Both ways, you're right about the hickory being hard to split.

Sure do appreciate the card...and the visit!

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