Best burning firewood. (1 Viewer)

DaveXA

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So, I'm fairly new with using a fireplace. The home we recently moved into has a good fireplace and I've been using it a good bit. We're enjoying it.

What is the best wood to use? I don't know the kind of wood the owner had stocked here, but we used all of it and it was not too hard to keep going. Then found some free wood. I think it's cherry. It was from a tree that had what i guess were carpenter ants. It's really solid and I'm having a hard time keeping that burning for any length of time. What would you suggest is the best wood to use in a medium sized wood fireplace?
 

faceman

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He was asking how to keep the fire lit. The sap in conifers is flammable as hell.
Douglas fir, hemlock and cedar are about all we have around here, you can start a fire with those no matter how crappy your technique is.
My friends dad used what is known as lighter knot to start the fire. It is the core of decaying pine trees. It's usually found in the stump. It doesn't take very much to start a fire
 

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I have a bit of pine I use for kindling and such, but here I burn nut wood out of orchards or oak. Cottonwood burns hot and complete, but doesn’t too long.
 

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My friends dad used what is known as lighter knot to start the fire. It is the core of decaying pine trees. It's usually found in the stump. It doesn't take very much to start a fire
I make my own fatwood. I cull my firs in the early spring just as the sap starts to rise. With no tree to distribute it to, it impregnates the stump with resin. It goes up like a match.
 

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I make my own fatwood. I cull my firs in the early spring just as the sap starts to rise. With no tree to distribute it to, it impregnates the stump with resin. It goes up like a match.
Sometimes I'm lame and will just cut a cross section of a starter log for kindling :hihi:
 
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Pine or conifers should only ever be used as kindling & that's only what's called fatwood or heart pine. It's where when the tree dies, all the resin in the tree draws to the center of the tree and hardens nearly rock solid as the rest of the tree rots away. The stuff is great for starting fires when cut into small strips and will even light when it's totally wet because the resin also waterproofs it. That said, when burning dry pines & conifers, that same resin that makes it easy to burn will go up your chimney and stick to the sides building up over time creating a very flammable layer going all the way up your chimney. Pines also burn much dirtier than hardwoods creating more smoke.

As others have said, any dried hardwood is your best bet. Oak is very long lasting, but is sometimes a pain to get started even when it's completely dried and you're using good kindling. I've started fires that look like they're raging only to burn themselves out a few minutes later. Any brittle woods like pecan or fruit woods are great and generally light pretty easily, but they'll burn quicker & require more tending. Another benefit of those is the aromas are generally more pleasing. What I've always done is start off with something that is easier to catch & then when the fire gets good & going then I'll start throwing on something more dense like oak to keep it steady.

For good ideas on specific woods you can usually look it up online and there will be ideas on what woods are good for what purposes and how they perform. For instance, I cut down a mimosa that died in my back yard and was surprised to find out that it was decent for smoking meat having a fruity flavor to it, but that it burns fairly quickly and doesn't produce a lot of heat. What was really great about it was that it split extremely easily, so without a lot of work I stocked up one side of my fire pit wood rack with it & use it to get my fire pit going and/or when I don't want to be out there all night waiting for the pit to burn out. Great for when the family just wants to sit for an hour or so & roast a few marshmallows.
 
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Another thing I'd like to add, which may be obvious. If you're going to have a wood burning fireplace then you want a good, large wood rack that will keep it dry, well off the ground & out of the weather. Wood that gets damp without an opportunity to fully dry will rot as well as attract termites, roaches & other bugs. It also can harbor mice & rats so as much as you'd like it to be close to the house it's not really a good idea. Another tip is never throw new batches of wood on top of the older stuff. A lot of times when you buy fire wood from people, they will tell you it's seasoned when it's really not or not enough. So, when you go to throw it on the fire it won't light. What I like to do is section my wood rack for use, putting the easier burning stuff such as pecan in one pile, the denser stuff like oak in another and the newer stuff in another and just rotate it out as I buy more. It just makes it easier to grab what I want and go and gives the new stuff time to season. When winter time is here and you are using the fireplace more often, get yourself a firewood basket or small portable rack to carry back & forth from the rack to the house. Usually it will hold enough wood to keep the fire going for quite a while.
 

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Another thing I'd like to add, which may be obvious. If you're going to have a wood burning fireplace then you want a good, large wood rack that will keep it dry, well off the ground & out of the weather. Wood that gets damp without an opportunity to fully dry will rot as well as attract termites, roaches & other bugs. It also can harbor mice & rats so as much as you'd like it to be close to the house it's not really a good idea. Another tip is never throw new batches of wood on top of the older stuff. A lot of times when you buy fire wood from people, they will tell you it's seasoned when it's really not or not enough. So, when you go to throw it on the fire it won't light. What I like to do is section my wood rack for use, putting the easier burning stuff such as pecan in one pile, the denser stuff like oak in another and the newer stuff in another and just rotate it out as I buy more. It just makes it easier to grab what I want and go and gives the new stuff time to season. When winter time is here and you are using the fireplace more often, get yourself a firewood basket or small portable rack to carry back & forth from the rack to the house. Usually it will hold enough wood to keep the fire going for quite a while.
There's a tribe of lizards that's been living in our woodpile for five years now. They just burrow down and move around as we add/remove logs.
 
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There's a tribe of lizards that's been living in our woodpile for five years now. They just burrow down and move around as we add/remove logs.
I've been dealing with field rats getting in mine coming from the neighbor's dilapidated shed. The wood pile gives them a lot of places to hide, forage for bugs and store food. I wouldn't really care so much as long as they aren't trying to get in the house, but they poop all over the place so I don't really want to grab from the pile bare handed. We also started having a big problem with them storing acorns in the engine compartments of our cars, so I had to start trapping them It was much worse last year when I caught about 12 of them in my traps. This year they started to come back, but after catching a few they have nearly disappeared again. One cool thing from the whole escapade was coming home one night finding a dwarf owl perched on my fence after making a kill. I also saw a young hawk that got one, but I couldn't get a pic of that one before he flew off.
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Growing up in Montana all we burned was pine. 4-5 cords a year. Biggest thing with it is you have to burn it hot and get your chimney cleaned routinely. You cannot do long slow smoldering fires. Start with a clean chimney, then load it up to a small inferno then bring it down. We never had any issues with it, but at the same time burned it a certain way and had chimneys cleaned regularly also.
 
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Growing up in Montana all we burned was pine. 4-5 cords a year. Biggest thing with it is you have to burn it hot and get your chimney cleaned routinely. You cannot do long slow smoldering fires. Start with a clean chimney, then load it up to a small inferno then bring it down. We never had any issues with it, but at the same time burned it a certain way and had chimneys cleaned regularly also.
The problem here is most people don't use a fireplace enough or like the OP not enough experience to know how to maintain them safely. You get 3 or 4 years of burning the type of pine we have down here without having it cleaned then you're likely to burn your house down so I typically tell people not to do it at all.
 

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Where I’m at a woodpile is a magnet for black widows. I’d rather the rats
I'd rather the non poisionous snakes. Natures greatest control against rats. Rats spread some pretty nasty diseases
 

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I'd rather the non poisionous snakes. Natures greatest control against rats. Rats spread some pretty nasty diseases
I have a barn owl that always raises his family in the neighbors palm tree. Vermin have a short life span in this neighborhood. Of course puppies and kittens are high on the take out menu also. (Wife’s doxie flew away one evening right in front of us)
 

faceman

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I have a barn owl that always raises his family in the neighbors palm tree. Vermin have a short life span in this neighborhood. Of course puppies and kittens are high on the take out menu also. (Wife’s doxie flew away one evening right in front of us)

I have a 20lb wire terrier meaner than any snake. He has two coyotes and a bald eagle taken to my front door.
 

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