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PhineasC

New England Firewood and Wood-Burning Thread

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6 hours ago, Dan76 said:

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.

Had the Blaze King Princess Insert, awesome stove, burned 12-16 hours but wasnt enough stove for my 2800 sf. The Progress Hybrid has more btus and I still get 10-12 hours between loads unless its zero.

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On 9/22/2020 at 12:39 PM, 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 don't have as much experience as burning various wood types as you, but I've found black cherry to burn very nicely. I've got some of it around and it burns a lot like oak or black locust (without the popping). I've got some seasoned balsam fir and red spruce lying around and it burns hot and fast. Red spruce is a dime a dozen on my property including some very large specimens that rise well above the ambient canopy height. 

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On 9/22/2020 at 12:39 PM, tamarack said:

others would push WB down a notch.  That wood will rot before it dries unless split, as the bark is waterproof.  

Absolutely. The town took down some WB in June and when I got to it a few weekends ago I'd say half of it was rotted or getting there. I've noticed similar with other birches but not nearly as fast.  All that being said, WB is my favorite to burn in terms of smell, easy of split, and just purdy when stacked. It's pretty rare to get around here along with beech/hornbeam and hickory. 

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42 minutes ago, PowderBeard said:

Absolutely. The town took down some WB in June and when I got to it a few weekends ago I'd say half of it was rotted or getting there. I've noticed similar with other birches but not nearly as fast.  All that being said, WB is my favorite to burn in terms of smell, easy of split, and just purdy when stacked. It's pretty rare to get around here along with beech/hornbeam and hickory. 

Gypsy moths killed three white birches in my yard, I cut them down and now have to split, its decent firewood for sure and looks purdy stacked up.

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Just keep that white birch dry and it'll be just fine and burn nice.  

@wxmanmitch I like cherry quite a bit too....seems to split pretty easy and it also doesn't rot fast either, which is nice.   

Black locust and white oak still my #1.  White Ash is good wet or dry to warm your feet by, but I feel it doesn't put out much more heat than white pine. Ya know? 

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We'd go through about 6 cords a season back at the original Pit ( 3 stoves).  Our place in ORH had a gas stove......pretty darn convenient and no ashes.  The place we just bought has a small  Jutel.  I'm getting a 1/2 cord just to lessen the burden on the mini's.

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18 hours 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. 

hope you clean your flue on the reg, creosote city

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18 hours 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. 

 

it does  

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1 minute ago, Ginx snewx said:

it does  

source? link? 

It's all they burn out west and they don't have more chimney fires.  Dryness of wood and temperature of burn are what contribute to chimney fires. 

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12 minutes ago, Whineminster said:

source? link? 

It's all they burn out west and they don't have more chimney fires.  Dryness of wood and temperature of burn are what contribute to chimney fires. 

Ok I thought you were burning green pine,  my bad. Yes dry wood and hot burns reduce creosote.  Pine pitch green is what I thought 

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26 minutes ago, Ginx snewx said:

hope you clean your flue on the reg, creosote city

I was worried about having the double wall chimney and creosote build up because the outside is always exposed to cold and never gets warm. My first time burning with that type of chimney. I swept three times last year out of precaution and maybe got a shoe box full of junk out of it total. Shined a light up and the inside still looks brand new. Some of the kits you can buy that just attach to a cordless drill are pretty fantastic for a quick 15 minute sweep. 

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1 minute ago, PowderBeard said:

I was worried about having the double wall chimney and creosote build up because the outside is always exposed to cold and never gets warm. My first time burning with that type of chimney. I swept three times last year out of precaution and maybe got a shoe box full of junk out of it total. Shined a light up and the inside still looks brand new. Some of the kits you can buy that just attach to a cordless drill are pretty fantastic for a quick 15 minute sweep. 

I once had a Better N Bens fireplace insert. Unknown to me the previous owner had wired the chimney flue up in a spot you couldn't see.  The wire broke in mid season,  you can imagine the result.  I actually took out the stove on to the mantle while it was still hot and quickly broke off the flue and then put the stove back in.  Had my wife and kids shipped to my Mom's while I blew air in from windows. Cleared the smoke in a couple of hours but for a minute it was panic city as I thought the chimney was on fire. Flue was clean though.

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14 minutes ago, Ginx snewx said:

Ok I thought you were burning green pine,  my bad. Yes dry wood and hot burns reduce creosote.  Pine pitch green is what I thought 

Ahh.  The old Ginxy bait and switch. 

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1 hour ago, PowderBeard said:

I was worried about having the double wall chimney and creosote build up because the outside is always exposed to cold and never gets warm. My first time burning with that type of chimney. I swept three times last year out of precaution and maybe got a shoe box full of junk out of it total. Shined a light up and the inside still looks brand new. Some of the kits you can buy that just attach to a cordless drill are pretty fantastic for a quick 15 minute sweep. 

Sooteater, best money you can spend, makes the job easy and depending on your set up may not even have to go on the roof.

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Just now, DavisStraight said:

Sooteater, best money you can spend, makes the job easy and depending on your set up may not even have to go on the roof.

Yup! That is it. Just open the bottom cap and go. Best money I have spent other than on Fiskars.

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15 hours ago, wxmanmitch said:

I don't have as much experience as burning various wood types as you, but I've found black cherry to burn very nicely. I've got some of it around and it burns a lot like oak or black locust (without the popping). I've got some seasoned balsam fir and red spruce lying around and it burns hot and fast. Red spruce is a dime a dozen on my property including some very large specimens that rise well above the ambient canopy height. 

I'd put black cherry between white ash and red maple for heat value, perhaps closer to the latter, but it does split nicely and makes as nice coals as anything I've put in a stove.  Very little red spruce (any spruce) on our woodlot, as the stands there have been high-graded for pine, oak and spruce for generations.  Fir was the leading species until the 2013 harvest (80% fir) which focused on the abundant mature trees, as many had blown over in earlier years.  Now red maple is slightly more abundant.

Cedar has the very best aroma of any wood burning in a fireplace 

Eastern red cedar is easily the most aromatic wood in the eastern US, with only sassafras for competition.  Northern white cedar (aka arborvitae at nurseries) is what we have around here.  It's aromatic, as are all species called cedar, but much less so.

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1 hour ago, Ginx snewx said:

I once had a Better N Bens fireplace insert. Unknown to me the previous owner had wired the chimney flue up in a spot you couldn't see.  The wire broke in mid season,  you can imagine the result.  I actually took out the stove on to the mantle while it was still hot and quickly broke off the flue and then put the stove back in.  Had my wife and kids shipped to my Mom's while I blew air in from windows. Cleared the smoke in a couple of hours but for a minute it was panic city as I thought the chimney was on fire. Flue was clean though.

Those stoves were just metal boxes that you burned a fire in, the new ones are much more efficient, the new regulations started last year and any new stove is even more efficient than the ones made 2-3 years ago. If you burn seasoned wood you shouldn't get more than a coffee can of ash in your flue.

I used to work at a store that sold better N Bens, I delivered an insert to an old couple that were hoarders, piles and piles of newspapers all over the house. They just did a slammer install (short flue), you can imagine how this story ends, it was sad when I drove by and the house was gone.

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22 minutes ago, DavisStraight said:

Those stoves were just metal boxes that you burned a fire in, the new ones are much more efficient, the new regulations started last year and any new stove is even more efficient than the ones made 2-3 years ago. If you burn seasoned wood you shouldn't get more than a coffee can of ash in your flue.

I used to work at a store that sold better N Bens, I delivered an insert to an old couple that were hoarders, piles and piles of newspapers all over the house. They just did a slammer install (short flue), you can imagine how this story ends, it was sad when I drove by and the house was gone.

That was 37 years ago for me. 

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4 hours ago, moneypitmike said:

We'd go through about 6 cords a season back at the original Pit ( 3 stoves).  Our place in ORH had a gas stove......pretty darn convenient and no ashes.  The place we just bought has a small  Jutel.  I'm getting a 1/2 cord just to lessen the burden on the mini's.

Now where is Pit1?

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I have 5 larger spruce on the property that are either dead or will be soon, thoughts on using them as firewood? I would hate to let them go to waste....

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Funny observation, when we moved in over 2 years ago I noticed a 25' ladder going up the neighbor's chimney. It has never moved since we have been here. They have a couple older smoke dragon stoves that burn anything. Split oak in the summer and burn it that winter. Needless to say the ladder doesn't move because he is always up their sweeping. Glad they are to the south of us.

 

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21 minutes ago, Spanks45 said:

I have 5 larger spruce on the property that are either dead or will be soon, thoughts on using them as firewood? I would hate to let them go to waste....

I had 4 that died from some disease, I cut them down, split and let them dry out, I used them in the shoulder season to take the chill out in the mornings, just let them season and they'll be fine.

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6 minutes ago, PowderBeard said:

Funny observation, when we moved in over 2 years ago I noticed a 25' ladder going up the neighbor's chimney. It has never moved since we have been here. They have a couple older smoke dragon stoves that burn anything. Split oak in the summer and burn it that winter. Needless to say the ladder doesn't move because he is always up their sweeping. Glad they are to the south of us.

 

Some people just don't get the concept of burning seasoned wood, doesn't matter if you have a smoke dragon or newfangled stove, they all need seasoned wood. I've talked to people that bought a new stove to replace their smoke dragon and they hate it because it doesn't burn hot, its because the wood isn't seasoned and they're trying to burn green wood, which they could in the old stove.

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Compressed wood blocks work great to add if your wood is a little wet or questionable. On really cold nights a load of these will burn hot for an incredibly long time. You have to be careful as these things can literally melt your stove. The more popular brand biobricks are actually made in CT. 

If your buying firewood these are similarly priced to a cord but 1lb equals 1.7 in firewood. No need to worry about moisture content/insects and they can be stored inside.

original_bio_2.jpg

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48 minutes ago, DavisStraight said:

Some people just don't get the concept of burning seasoned wood, doesn't matter if you have a smoke dragon or newfangled stove, they all need seasoned wood. I've talked to people that bought a new stove to replace their smoke dragon and they hate it because it doesn't burn hot, its because the wood isn't seasoned and they're trying to burn green wood, which they could in the old stove.

Any truth to newer stoves and ones with cats needing wood that is really like <15%. I've seen a lot of discussion on FWH and Hearth forums that the old <20% rule goes out the window with newer stoves. Not so much getting going but when throttling down and secondary burn time I notice a huge difference in secondary burn for wood that is 13-15% vs 18-20% MC.

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2 hours ago, BrianW said:

Compressed wood blocks work great to add if your wood is a little wet or questionable. On really cold nights a load of these will burn hot for an incredibly long time. You have to be careful as these things can literally melt your stove. The more popular brand biobricks are actually made in CT. 

If your buying firewood these are similarly priced to a cord but 1lb equals 1.7 in firewood. No need to worry about moisture content/insects and they can be stored inside.

original_bio_2.jpg

I get a pallet of bio bricks and a pallet of northeast idaho logs, they burn for a long time, good way to supplement firewood and get a clean, hot burn.

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We put in a hearth when we built our house so we could put in a free standing wood stove.  Had a logging company deliver a load of log length green hardwood for $800. Got a good 10 cords out of it. Lot of cutting and splitting, but oil heat can't compete with the heat a good stove puts out. It's not unheard of to open the windows when the stove is cranking and its 30° outside. 

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9 hours ago, NECT said:

We put in a hearth when we built our house so we could put in a free standing wood stove.  Had a logging company deliver a load of log length green hardwood for $800. Got a good 10 cords out of it. Lot of cutting and splitting, but oil heat can't compete with the heat a good stove puts out. It's not unheard of to open the windows when the stove is cranking and its 30° outside. 

30° is tropical winter when we lived in Fort Kent.  Our 1st house there was a small (20' by 18') 2-story with a center chimney.  Our Jotul 602, their smallest box stove (if they still make it) would keep the place warm if the temp was above -20, house had no wall insulation but everywhere in it was within 15' of the stove.  We had a non-airtight (understatement - the cracks could light up the basement) old parlor stove in the basement for colder mornings.  After our daughter was born my wife was active in La Leche League and hosted one meeting in late winter, temp about 30.  She made sure folks wouldn't be cold by filling the Jotul, and 14 women plus 9 babies (I was elsewhere, of course) plus the full stove made things so hot in that little place that doors and windows had to be opened. 

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