Comparing Less Common Types Of Firewood
There are many species of tree that would make good firewood. In this article we will talk about less well-known types of firewood.
When it comes to firewood, some people just don’t care what it is as long as it’s dry enough to burn properly. Nonetheless, there are many different types of firewood to choose from: green and seasoned, kiln-dried and air-dried, hardwood and softwood. But now we will focus on various species of tree and what kind of firewood they give.
Due to its abundance and ubiquity, maple firewood is among the most common types of wood to land in a fireplace. There are five main species of maple: Sugar Maple, Black Maple, Red Maple, Norway Maple, and Silver Maple. Sugar and Black Maple, though quite hard to split, give a lot of heat and make some of the best firewood available. Norway and Red Maple have an average heat-to-volume ratio, lower than that of the above two species, yet are easier to split. Silver Maple firewood has the lowest heat output of the five, and is generally only recommended for use if mixed with other species.
Hickory firewood is often said to be the ultimate firewood, and for a good reason. Dense, hard, and shock-resistant it has been prized for centuries both as firewood and as a material for tool handles. It burns long, hot and leaves very good coals. Additionally, its smoke has a pleasant aroma, so it is also widely used for barbecues and food smoking. So, if you see any hickory firewood for sale, be sure to at least consider buying it.
One of the more exotic types, eucalyptus firewood, is somewhat controversial. It burns hot, but fast, and doesn’t leave lasting coals. It is notoriously hard to split when dry, and has to be seasoned longer than many other species due to high water content. It is also rich in oils, which means that while its aroma is pleasant and an effective mosquito repellant, it also produces heavy sparks and leaves a lot of creosote in chimneys. It is recommended for use only as an addition to slower-burning, less oily wood.
Is elm good firewood? Well, that depends on your definition of “good firewood”. Elm firewood has an average heat output, but the twisted grain makes it nigh impossible to split by hand unless you know how to identify weak spots. Red elm firewood is the easiest species of elm to split. Dry elm absorbs water readily and must be sheltered from it. Elm is also susceptible to some diseases and parasites. Generally, elm is an OK firewood but should only be turned to if you have a wood splitter or the necessary skills to split it by hand.
Another type of species of tree not commonly thought of as firewood, cherry, can pleasantly surprise you. Cherry firewood burns long, with a good heat output and low fire. Expect moderate sparking. It doesn’t produce much smoke, but does produce a pleasant aroma. Cherry can even be used as firewood for a barbecue to add a slight fruity aroma to the food.
Is cedar good firewood? As the main fuel for the fire, probably not. However, cedar firewood is one of the best choices for kindling. It heats up quickly and burns hot and fast. You also get an unmistakable aroma of cedar as a bonus. It is also very easy to split, as long as you don’t run into any knots. However, as cedar is an oily wood, it is prone to popping and sparking – be sure to place a guard in front of the fireplace.
Birch species vary quite a lot in their properties, so you need to look at them separately. The four main species are Black, Yellow, Grey, and White Birch. All species of birch are split quite easily, although Yellow and Black require a bit more effort. In terms of heat output, Yellow and Black birch firewood is above-average and burns quite long. White and Grey birch are average species, and also present a few problems. In particular, White birch firewood must always be kept dry as it will quickly pick up mold and rot away otherwise. Birch also has a long seasoning period. If you see birch firewood for sale, make sure it’s properly seasoned.
Almond is another one of the more obscure and better types of firewood. Heavy and hard, almond firewood burns long and hot. It also produces a slightly sweet smoke that makes it superb for smoked and barbecued meat. However, performance depends a lot on proper seasoning. You should always check if almond firewood for sale is dry enough.