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Physical Properties of Firewood by Tree Species:

Posted by loger (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 22, 13 at 16:05

Physical Properties of Firewood by Tree Species:

Firewood performance can differ from species to species. The type of tree you use for burning can vary widely in heat content, burning characteristics, and overall quality. I have created a table that presents several important burning characteristics for most species used in North America.

Definitions of Chart Terms

• Density - wood's dry weight per volume. Denser or heavier wood contains more heat per volume.
• Green Weight - the weight in pounds of a cord of freshly cut wood before drying.
• mmBTUs - million British Thermal Units. Wood's actual available heat measured in BTUs.
• Coaling - wood that forms long-lasting coals are good to use in wood stoves because they allow a fire to be carried overnight effectively.

Wood Heating Values

Common Name - Density-lbs/cu.ft. - Pounds/cd (green) - Million BTUs/cd. - Coaling

Hickory - 50 - 4,327 - 27.7 - good
Osage-orange - 50 - 5,120 - 32.9 - excellent
Black locust - 44 - 4,616 - 27.9 - excellent
White oak - 44 - 5,573 - 29.1- excellent
Red oak - 41 - 4,888 - 24.6 - excellent
White ash - 40 - 3,952- 24.2 - good
Sugar maple - 42 - 4,685 - 25.5 - excellent
Elm - - 35 - 4,456 - 20.0 - excellent
Beech - 41 - 27.5 - excellent
Yellow birch - 42 - 4,312 - 20.8 - good
Black walnut - 35 - 4,584 - 22.2 - good
Sycamore - 34 - 5,096 - 19.5 - good
Silver maple - 32 - 3,904 - 19.0 - excellent
Hemlock - 27 - 19.3 poor
Cherry - 33 - 3,696 - 20.4 - excellent
Cottonwood - 27 - 4,640 - 15.8 - good
Willow - 35 - 4,320 - 17.6 - poor
Aspen - 25 - 18.2 - good
Basswood - 25 - 4,404 - 13.8 - poor
White pine - 23 - 15.9 - poor
Ponderosa Pine - 3600 - 16.2 - fair
Eastern Red Cedar - 31 - 2,950 -18.2 - poor

This chart is at the address below or the chart link.

I have not had these experiences with North, TX woods below vs using wood to burn them. I'll pass on them due to my past experiences and feel they might be different in different regions. The variety of Elm might makes a difference since I have seen some sold mixed with Oak as a Mixed Load. Lots of Elm is passed by Firewood Salesmen. With experiences good and bad, with bad, “I feel” it's coming from low areas as Willow.

1. Sycamore
2. Silver maple
3. Cottonwood

Here is a link that might be useful: The Chart

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Physical Properties of Firewood by Tree Species:

I harvest blown down locusts and choke cherry. In the past I have burned white oak. Elm and maple arent worth the effort to buck up and split.

RE: Physical Properties of Firewood by Tree Species:

Pecan, Red Oak and Live Oak are the best Curb Side Wood from tree trimming and removal due to our small City lots with aging and storm damaged trees. My big concern is staying away from Elm and any trees dead due to beetles, insects, diseases, Etc (to try and protect our 40 yr old Pecan, Live Oak and 2 younger Red Oaks). I have burned plenty Elm cut while alive with no signs of beetles (off Ranches or New Development Sites). The Elm with rough bark and pinkish/reddish inside appeared to burn better.

The latest cool weather is dipping into my 3 cords restocked. I have spotted live 10-14” Dia Pecan and Elm taken down 6 - 10 ft from residents. My Body Is Out Of Gas! I’ll hope to get some energy before the wood is gone. Approx a mile away with Elm cut to length. The Pecan’s best 14” dia section is standing w/o any limbs but needs to be on the ground. The limbs are in my stock. This is along our walking trail that we walk 2 mi 5 days.

RE: Physical Properties of Firewood by Tree Species:

I suppose that eucalyptus wasn't in the chart because it is mostly found in only California in the states, and in Australia, but it is an excellent firewood. Branches may be bigger than many tree trunks. It splits well when fresh. Many think it won't burn because others have tried to use it after only 6 mo etc. and pass it up. It needs 18 mo drying and alternative kindling but it then burns long and hot. Perhaps too hot for some stoves. It has a reddish orange heart wood that looks great in a woodbox or stacked. It is not attacked by much and will last for years stacked.

RE: Physical Properties of Firewood by Tree Species:

I did not see sweet gum listed here, or on the Wiki entry for same.

RE: Physical Properties of Firewood by Tree Species:

I am surprised Ash (on another chart) is rated above Oaks even though they appeared to have close qualities (in weight, good coals). There might be Regional differences in the quality of these woods the chart is not addressing. Such as:

1. I have heard you can burn sweet gum and I have heard it has too much rosin as East Texas Pine. IMO East Texas Pine will burn if seasoned long enough but it appears as a chemical burn due to the rosin still present (when dry enough to burn). We always used small amounts for quick hot fires to cook breakfast in a wood burning cook stove in 1940s-50s. Next, as small pieces to liven up a bed of oak coals.

2. My experience with Silver Maple has been too light and no good coals. I know where a close pile is now that I will get some 8” select logs from to experiment with next season (if they appear heavy).

3. I could not get Sycamore to burn alone and it had good weight. It did come from a flood plane and possibly needed more seasoning.

RE: Physical Properties of Firewood by Tree Species:

My ref of North Texas Silver Maple that is too light for firewood. They deteriorate quick after dying.

A Bradford Pear was in the mix of wood. Is a Bradford Pear’s core wood yellowish? Are clusters of pods mix in with oval shape leaves on the Bradford Pear tree? Is the bark mildly rough vs slick on older Bradford Pear tree's larger base?

RE: Physical Properties of Firewood by Tree Species:

We are having a pleasant experience burning what I feel is Ash. A friend felt it was Oak (planning to use it BBQing) and wanted help splitting it. I traded him Pecan and Mesquite for what I feel is Ash. Just as dense as White Oak, burns just as good with good coals (maybe slower burning). To me the bark (attached) is not Oak, nor the smell of the wood burning.

The Central unit’s AC w/n come on two days ago (until I let it though from frost) and no problem due to the cold front coming through North, TX. This morning the heat w/n come on the 2nd time it should have due to the blower not coming on after the burner. The Tech was already scheduled for today but the fireplace is doing a good job in this mid 40 degree weather. The Tech and I feel it will be a weak Starting Capacitor since blowing is the issue “at times”. The Ash if it’s Ash is holding good.

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