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PhineasC

New England Firewood and Wood-Burning Thread

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21 minutes ago, Brewbeer said:

This is a challenging scenario, to get the heat out of the great room and into the rest of the house, especially with it set up having high ceilings and limited connection to the rest of the home.  Initial thought is to get a decorative pellet stove for the great room, and get a wood stove for the basement.   Pellet stoves are a bit easier to control especially if you have more of the modern ones, some of which can even be hooked up to a thermostat, that will help keep it from over heating the space. 

Seriously. It takes forever to figure out how to move the heat around.

 

Our stove is in the back and in a corner so a third of its output is blocked. And there is a second wall separating the room from the rest of the house except a large opening where a window used to be that looks into the kitchen. We have 12' ceilings in the stove room and use the fan to pull cold air up. Then a small fan angled to blow heat from the stove room into the remainder of the house. I also have a box fan on the floor to blow cold air from the front of the house (and least used) into the stove area. That said our front room will be 4-5* cooler than the stove room but not a huge deal when the back room is in the mid to upper 70s. 

1st floor layout.png

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1 hour ago, PhineasC said:

I have a pellet insert in the basement fireplace already. It's great down there.

Best way to distribute heat with a stove is to get a box fan and point it at the wood stove from a few feet away, that way the cool air will be displaced by warm air and circulate.

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13 hours ago, DavisStraight said:

Big enough to put  free stander instead of an insert, you get much more heat from a free stander than an insert and you don't have to rely on electric for the fan for an insert. I heat 2800 sf with my stove, use one tank of oil a year and that's mostly for my hot water.

Will probably need to extend the hearth or place an insulated fireproof mat on the floor with a freestanding insert, unless the floor is stone (maybe even then as stone conducts heat well.)
White ash is the best wood if one has to burn green stuff.  Some years back the annual "Forest Trees of Maine" included a firewood poem.  I can only recall 2 of the dozen couplets:  "Elmwood reeks of muck and mold; even the very coals are cold."  (One can get really hot trying to split the stuff, however.)  And the final couplet was, "Ash wood green or ashwood dry, a king shall warm his slippers by."   I'd nominate balsam poplar as the very worst wood to burn when green.  Many years back when discussing green firewood with loggers over lunch in the Allagash, one older fellow said, "You couldn't afford the oil it would take you to burn balm o' Gilead!"  I've longed for safety glasses with windshield wipers when splitting that species.

Charts of firewood value show some variation, but for me the priority for seasoned wood available in NNE goes something like this:

Top level:  Hophornbeam (ironwood), white oak group (white, burr, swamp, etc), hickory, possibly black birch  
Excellent:  Red oak group (red, black, pin, scarlet, etc), sugar maple, beech, yellow birch, black birch if it's not in the top level.
Very good:  White ash, green ash.  Some would drop yellow birch to here.  Not me, though its often tough splitting makes it less desirable to work up than other good/excellent species.
Good:  Red maple, brown ash, white birch.  Some would add elm, others would push WB down a notch.  That wood will rot before it dries unless split, as the bark is waterproof.  Norway maple probably fits best at this level, though IMO it all should be burned, even if it's July and still standing.
Fair:  Elm, silver maple, striped maple (moosewood), tamarack.  Some would put tamarack slightly higher - it's clearly tops among NNE conifers.  Eastern red cedar may belong here; almost unknown in Maine.
Poor:  Gray birch, all aspens/poplars, willow, basswood, all conifers other than tamarack.  Some would bump up well-seasoned hemlock; green, it's as wet as balsam poplar.

Couple of conifer notes:  Because red spruce has such a low moisture content when green, I've seen it rated 2nd to white ash for cut-today-burn-tomorrow.  Northern white cedar is the lightest of all NNE species, but it makes great kindling.  For that I put some white birch outer bark (burns hotly, even when wet) under kindling made from V-match white pine taken down during a reno 2 years ago.  We have a Jotul combi-fire now; had to replace the old one 3 years ago because the door mechanism broke, and since the model ended production in 1990, replacements were not to be found.  Even my wife's cousin from near Oslo couldn't dig up one.  Thanks to Uncle Henry we found a used (barely) one 2 towns this side of BGR.

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2 minutes ago, tamarack said:

Will probably need to extend the hearth or place an insulated fireproof mat on the floor with a freestanding insert, unless the floor is stone (maybe even then as stone conducts heat well.)
White ash is the best wood if one has to burn green stuff.  Some years back the annual "Forest Trees of Maine" included a firewood poem.  I can only recall 2 of the dozen couplets:  "Elmwood reeks of muck and mold; even the very coals are cold."  (One can get really hot trying to split the stuff, however.)  And the final couplet was, "Ash wood green or ashwood dry, a king shall warm his slippers by."   I'd nominate balsam poplar as the very worst wood to burn when green.  Many years back when discussing green firewood with loggers over lunch in the Allagash, one older fellow said, "You couldn't afford the oil it would take you to burn balm o' Gilead!"  I've longed for safety glasses with windshield wipers when splitting that species.

Charts of firewood value show some variation, but for me the priority for seasoned wood available in NNE goes something like this:

Top level:  Hophornbeam (ironwood), white oak group (white, burr, swamp, etc), hickory, possibly black birch  
Excellent:  Red oak group (red, black, pin, scarlet, etc), sugar maple, beech, yellow birch, black birch if it's not in the top level.
Very good:  White ash, green ash.  Some would drop yellow birch to here.  Not me, though its often tough splitting makes it less desirable to work up than other good/excellent species.
Good:  Red maple, brown ash, white birch.  Some would add elm, others would push WB down a notch.  That wood will rot before it dries unless split, as the bark is waterproof.  Norway maple probably fits best at this level, though IMO it all should be burned, even if it's July and still standing.
Fair:  Elm, silver maple, striped maple (moosewood), tamarack.  Some would put tamarack slightly higher - it's clearly tops among NNE conifers.  Eastern red cedar may belong here; almost unknown in Maine.
Poor:  Gray birch, all aspens/poplars, willow, basswood, all conifers other than tamarack.  Some would bump up well-seasoned hemlock; green, it's as wet as balsam poplar.

Couple of conifer notes:  Because red spruce has such a low moisture content when green, I've seen it rated 2nd to white ash for cut-today-burn-tomorrow.  Northern white cedar is the lightest of all NNE species, but it makes great kindling.  For that I put some white birch outer bark (burns hotly, even when wet) under kindling made from V-match white pine taken down during a reno 2 years ago.  We have a Jotul combi-fire now; had to replace the old one 3 years ago because the door mechanism broke, and since the model ended production in 1990, replacements were not to be found.  Even my wife's cousin from near Oslo couldn't dig up one.  Thanks to Uncle Henry we found a used (barely) one 2 towns this side of BGR.

I love oak, red or white but my favorite is black locust and beech, hard to come by where I live so I stock up on oak and ash. Ironwood is rare where I live, I got a small amount once and loved it but I cant count on getting much.

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58 minutes ago, DavisStraight said:

I love oak, red or white but my favorite is black locust and beech, hard to come by where I live so I stock up on oak and ash. Ironwood is rare where I live, I got a small amount once and loved it but I cant count on getting much.

Black locust would fit in the top level, but it's an exotic and generally a planted tree with some escapees via root sprouts, nowhere near as invasive as Norway maple.

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21 minutes ago, BrianW said:

Best stuff I ever burned was honey locust. Absolutely incredible heat and the coals lasted for hours. 

Yeah, my regular wood guy passed away in January and he always gave me half oak / maple and half black locust.

Locust is high BTU.    I’m hoping his nephew carries on the business next year. 

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To all the other CT wood burners there are so many ads on Craigslist like this for free firewood. You can also call tree companies and they will dump it for free in your driveway/yard if they are in the area. I was on a list with a few companies and they would call me all the time. 

Its unreal how much free wood there is around here.

 

Screenshot_20200922-141552_Chrome.jpg

 

Screenshot_20200922-142016_Chrome.jpg

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8 minutes ago, BrianW said:

To all the other CT wood burners there are so many ads on Craigslist like this for free firewood. You can also call tree companies and they will usually dump it for free in your driveway/yard if they are in the area. I was on a list with a few companies and they would call me all the time. 

Its unreal how much free wood there is around here. 

 

Screenshot_20200922-141552_Chrome.jpg

 

Screenshot_20200922-142016_Chrome.jpg

Wish I still had my truck, damn deer totalled it.

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We heat our home by oil and wood.  We buy  3 or 4 cords of green each spring and let it season over the summer.  It's ready to burn by fall.  I find that wood gives off a much more even heat.  The oil furnace makes it too warm then too cold as it cycles on and off.   We have 2 wood burning stoves.  The one we use the vast majority of the time is in the living room.  The old 1910 kitchen stove really blasts heat and we only turn it on to impress the Boston friends.  

Here is our wood stacked and the 2 stoves.  (and the electric bikes which are fantastic) The past few mornings we have lit the living room one with some scrap wood.  Takes the chill out of the house quickly.

wood.jpg

Lr stove.jpg

kitchen.jpg

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2 hours ago, Dan76 said:

Great site https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?board=80.0  Tree guy always looking to unload wood for free down here  

 

DSC00236.JPG

You actually do the tree company a huge favor as it cost them hundreds of dollars to dump the wood. Around here there is so much free roadside wood. The utility tree trimmers cut it to log length and leave it right on the side of the road for really easy pickup.

Do tree companies do that in NNE as well? Can you get on a list where they just drop off log loads for free?

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2 hours ago, wxeyeNH said:

We heat our home by oil and wood.  We buy  3 or 4 cords of green each spring and let it season over the summer.  It's ready to burn by fall.  I find that wood gives off a much more even heat.  The oil furnace makes it too warm then too cold as it cycles on and off.   We have 2 wood burning stoves.  The one we use the vast majority of the time is in the living room.  The old 1910 kitchen stove really blasts heat and we only turn it on to impress the Boston friends.  

Here is our wood stacked and the 2 stoves.  (and the electric bikes which are fantastic) The past few mornings we have lit the living room one with some scrap wood.  Takes the chill out of the house quickly.

wood.jpg

Lr stove.jpg

kitchen.jpg

Love the old kitchen stove, bet it throws some heat. I've been bugging my wife to get electric bikes, any advice on what to get?

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12 hours ago, Baroclinic Zone said:

The idea is your sealing off the traditional open firebox that we've grown accustomed to growing up with one that has a sealed combustion chamber.  They will burn more efficiently and give off more heat thus your burn less wood for the same return.  Some also have a blower which will direct the heat outwards into the space.

Any new wood burning fireplace we show on any of our new construction plans have to have a sealed combustion chamber due to the energy codes and how we have to limit air loss to the outside..

We have an RSF fireplace at my house: https://rsf-fireplaces.com. I absolutely love it. Extremely efficient, and look great

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7 hours ago, tamarack said:

Will probably need to extend the hearth or place an insulated fireproof mat on the floor with a freestanding insert, unless the floor is stone (maybe even then as stone conducts heat well.)
White ash is the best wood if one has to burn green stuff.  Some years back the annual "Forest Trees of Maine" included a firewood poem.  I can only recall 2 of the dozen couplets:  "Elmwood reeks of muck and mold; even the very coals are cold."  (One can get really hot trying to split the stuff, however.)  And the final couplet was, "Ash wood green or ashwood dry, a king shall warm his slippers by."   I'd nominate balsam poplar as the very worst wood to burn when green.  Many years back when discussing green firewood with loggers over lunch in the Allagash, one older fellow said, "You couldn't afford the oil it would take you to burn balm o' Gilead!"  I've longed for safety glasses with windshield wipers when splitting that species.

Charts of firewood value show some variation, but for me the priority for seasoned wood available in NNE goes something like this:

Top level:  Hophornbeam (ironwood), white oak group (white, burr, swamp, etc), hickory, possibly black birch  
Excellent:  Red oak group (red, black, pin, scarlet, etc), sugar maple, beech, yellow birch, black birch if it's not in the top level.
Very good:  White ash, green ash.  Some would drop yellow birch to here.  Not me, though its often tough splitting makes it less desirable to work up than other good/excellent species.
Good:  Red maple, brown ash, white birch.  Some would add elm, others would push WB down a notch.  That wood will rot before it dries unless split, as the bark is waterproof.  Norway maple probably fits best at this level, though IMO it all should be burned, even if it's July and still standing.
Fair:  Elm, silver maple, striped maple (moosewood), tamarack.  Some would put tamarack slightly higher - it's clearly tops among NNE conifers.  Eastern red cedar may belong here; almost unknown in Maine.
Poor:  Gray birch, all aspens/poplars, willow, basswood, all conifers other than tamarack.  Some would bump up well-seasoned hemlock; green, it's as wet as balsam poplar.

Couple of conifer notes:  Because red spruce has such a low moisture content when green, I've seen it rated 2nd to white ash for cut-today-burn-tomorrow.  Northern white cedar is the lightest of all NNE species, but it makes great kindling.  For that I put some white birch outer bark (burns hotly, even when wet) under kindling made from V-match white pine taken down during a reno 2 years ago.  We have a Jotul combi-fire now; had to replace the old one 3 years ago because the door mechanism broke, and since the model ended production in 1990, replacements were not to be found.  Even my wife's cousin from near Oslo couldn't dig up one.  Thanks to Uncle Henry we found a used (barely) one 2 towns this side of BGR.

I have a ton of white ash. Found some EAB in one today so that’s why they all look so sick I guess. Used the moisture meter on it and it read 11-15% so that’s already burnable. 

I actually have several hophornbeam trees here. I can see why it’s called ironwood. It chewed up my chain. I will take down some others eventually. The ash is way easier to deal with. 

I also am very rich in white/paper birch and quaking aspen. 

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2 hours ago, Hoth said:

That's awesome. Is there any advantage to that method?

Supposed to be space saving and dry better 

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11 hours ago, PhineasC said:

I have a ton of white ash. Found some EAB in one today so that’s why they all look so sick I guess. Used the moisture meter on it and it read 11-15% so that’s already burnable. 

I actually have several hophornbeam trees here. I can see why it’s called ironwood. It chewed up my chain. I will take down some others eventually. The ash is way easier to deal with. 

I also am very rich in white/paper birch and quaking aspen. 

white ash is the best. Cut it down and burn it same day.

white birch will rot out in no time, so don’t let it hang out too long before you burn it. mine got all mushroomy and soft before I could even split it, about a year.

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12 hours ago, DavisStraight said:

Love the old kitchen stove, bet it throws some heat. I've been bugging my wife to get electric bikes, any advice on what to get?

We have Magnum's.   Bought them last year at New England Electric Bikes off of Rt 93 in S NH.  They said these bikes get the most bang for the buck.  LOVE them.  We have ridden around 800 miles this past year.  So easy to go up hills.  Even has a throttle so if you get tired of pedaling you can press the throttle and they will just go on their own.  Costs $1999 but are worth it 100%.  I hated riding regular bikes up hills.  Your fanny will give out before the batteries!

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12 hours ago, PhineasC said:

I have a ton of white ash. Found some EAB in one today so that’s why they all look so sick I guess. Used the moisture meter on it and it read 11-15% so that’s already burnable. 

I actually have several hophornbeam trees here. I can see why it’s called ironwood. It chewed up my chain. I will take down some others eventually. The ash is way easier to deal with. 

I also am very rich in white/paper birch and quaking aspen. 

There are several insects that attack ash.  If that's truly EAB, or if you're unsure, I recommend contacting whichever state agency that has responsibility for the health of NH forests.  The major EAB infestation in NH has been 100 miles south, in the CON area, from which it spread into SW Maine 3 years ago.  An infestation in your area would be a huge leap.  (It also would be about 50 miles closer to my ash-rich woodlot than the York County EAB.)   Worth noting that apparently some white ash are tolerant or resistant to EAB, while green ash (more common in the midwest) and brown ash have unfortunately shown no such behavior.  Our woodlot has both, and in total they're the 3rd most abundant species there, behind red maple and fir.

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I burn whatever I can get my hands on. Got a lot of white pine right now.  Starts easy, burns super hot, leaves little ash.  Or course you're constantly loading the stove but that's fun for me.  

Get a log splitter if you burn wood....they're like $900 for a 24 ton at the big box stores and TSC....would never go back. 

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17 minutes ago, Whineminster said:

I burn whatever I can get my hands on. Got a lot of white pine right now.  Starts easy, burns super hot, leaves little ash.  Or course you're constantly loading the stove but that's fun for me.  

Get a log splitter if you burn wood....they're like $900 for a 24 ton at the big box stores and TSC....would never go back. 

I'm always amazed at the folks who insist pine causes chimney fires. It's the perfect wood for cold/spring fall mornings when it is 35* out but will get into the upper 60s/low 70s.

For splitting, the Fiskar x27 and IsoCore maul have been my go tos. Great work out too. Can take out any fresh ash or red oak round in a couple swings. Birch and Pine I wait to freeze or give a few months. I avoid elm when I can but there was a ton of it last year being given away. It's like trying to pull apart steel wool. 

 

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5 hours ago, Chrisrotary12 said:

I have natural gas. Is it worth me to install a woodstove in my fireplace? How long would it take for me to realize a financial benefit?

If you use the fireplace a lot than it would be worth it, plus you'll save on firewood. https://www.blazeking.com/category/products/wood-inserts/  I have a blazeking free standing in my  shop amazing stove.

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On 9/22/2020 at 10:22 AM, PowderBeard said:

Anyone know anything about stove paint? We have friends put in a new soapstone stove two years ago and they just gave us (yup, amazing folks) their 15 year old Jotul - no cats but great secondary burn tubes. This area was once occupied by a TV but ye old man @MBRI and I turned it into this. All the stone and materials cost about $300, the double walled chimney we installed, thimble, etc was ~$900 (given half the house is electric it paid for itself in less than a winter). I just really want to make the stove a nice black again to go with the stone. The aged color of it irritates me a bit - and the damn stickers are impossible to get off without scratching the single wall pipe. 

119905491_1033073780472331_4185975342365260849_n.jpg?_nc_cat=111&_nc_sid=b96e70&_nc_ohc=Gpi_gwuUAFUAX8FDoYV&_nc_ht=scontent-iad3-1.xx&oh=4352b03dff9ea379063a4a1a641d3892&oe=5F8E853F

I did my wood stove with the stove paint last year and i came out great.  just make sure you wear gloves.

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1 hour ago, Whineminster said:

I burn whatever I can get my hands on. Got a lot of white pine right now.  Starts easy, burns super hot, leaves little ash.  Or course you're constantly loading the stove but that's fun for me.  

Get a log splitter if you burn wood....they're like $900 for a 24 ton at the big box stores and TSC....would never go back. 

or $40 to rent for a day

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47 minutes ago, PowderBeard said:

I'm always amazed at the folks who insist pine causes chimney fires. It's the perfect wood for cold/spring fall mornings when it is 35* out but will get into the upper 60s/low 70s.

For splitting, the Fiskar x27 and IsoCore maul have been my go tos. Great work out too. Can take out any fresh ash or red oak round in a couple swings. Birch and Pine I wait to freeze or give a few months. I avoid elm when I can but there was a ton of it last year being given away. It's like trying to pull apart steel wool. 

 

Yeah but I get a lot of 24" dia. free stuff with knots, that's when a splitter comes in handy.  Red oak with no knots in cold weather I pop with a fiskars, great maul.

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