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Author Topic: Need firewood advice  (Read 2932 times)

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Offline mf40diesel

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Need firewood advice
« on: August 09, 2017, 03:04:49 PM »
Hello all.   Need some advices If i may. Swore that I would do better this year, but seemingly didn't. I cut a view lot for some neighbors, they got their view back, we got the wood. All told it was about 17 cords of wood we got. This was intended to be our firewood for the year. (Owb, burned about 9 cords last year).

Problem is, when we started on one side of the lot, it was nice wood. Mostly red oak, rock maple, ash and beech. As we moved further in (which were the trees more blocking the view) it became more and more poplar. At first it was a few sticks, and I didn't bother separating them as I didn't think we'd get enough to sell a load of pulp, then as the job progressed, it became more. Tried pulling them from the pile, which made a mess.

I guess you can tell where I am going. Now we have 12-15 cords of wood, and it is probably close to 1/2 poplar.

I am thinking about buying 4 cords of good hardwood (which I vowed I wouldn't do again) to put in the middle of my woodshed. For hopefully the "meat of the winter."  Should I do that? Or just crank through the existing pile and see what happens?  Being that poplar is such poor fire wood, I'm concerned that on real cold nights the boiler will chew through a whole belly full of poplar and be nearly out in the morning. Am I over thinking it?
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Offline E Yoder

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 05:52:43 PM »
Would depend on what burn times you get with oak, in other words, how your OWB is sized. A firewood BTU chart would give an idea what % shorter burn time you'd get I imagine. I would guess 30% shorter burn time with  poplar perhaps.
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Offline North River Energy

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 08:07:53 PM »
Assuming your work schedule is similar to last year, I'd fix this particular problem with the cheque book.
Resolution notwithstanding, what's the value of peace of mind and a warm house/family?
You can use this particular 'inventory mishap' as an opportunity to chart the burn rate of the poplar without worry, and use that information for future situations.

Offline mf40diesel

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 09:00:26 PM »
Sound advice....  as always. Buying some wood again!  Felt like such a numbskull when I started seeing just how much poplar invaded my cache.  I. Believe I'll try for 4 cords and mix it in. 

Also, yes, I am still working the same schedule.
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Offline barbender

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 10:10:23 PM »
Which poplar is this? Aspen? If it's aspen I'd say burn it on the warmer days, or mixed with the better hardwood to suit depending on temps. Aspen burns great, just not for very long😊
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Offline mf40diesel

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 12:10:40 PM »
I believe it is quaking aspen, of which we have a fair amount.

I have ordered from a friend/firewood dealer another 4 cords of good dry hardwood. So I'll have probably 17 cords or so. I'll mix the predominant hardwood in a couple rows so that hopefully we get into the better wood in late December thru February. At least that's my plan. Thank you
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Offline Ivan49

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 01:37:57 PM »
I believe it is quaking aspen, of which we have a fair amount.

I have ordered from a friend/firewood dealer another 4 cords of good dry hardwood. So I'll have probably 17 cords or so. I'll mix the predominant hardwood in a couple rows so that hopefully we get into the better wood in late December thru February. At least that's my plan. Thank you
How long has it been cut? I burned a lot of popular here in northern mich and if it was less than 6 months old it held a fire fairly well. In the cold monhts I checked it 3 times a day and usually at noon just thru a couple pieces in. Mix it with your other wood and use it up

Offline Stoneyacrefarm

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 03:19:20 PM »
Ditto on the last 2 posts.
I've burned a lot of poplar mixed in with dry hardwood.
It will burn decent if it isn't too dry.
Can't go wrong having a little extra dry wood around anyways.
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Offline mf40diesel

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2017, 10:30:03 PM »
Thanks for the advice...  I agree. My concern was when I am at work, that if the boiler was full of nothing but poplar on the real cold nights the boiler would be empty when my wife went out in the morning.

As you said,  it clearly burns, so burn it up. Funny story, meant to insult no one,...  a buddy of mine is a real old time Mainer. Super strong accent and all used to cut/sell firewood. He was talking to a "person from away," that owned a real nice camp on one of the lakes in town. The guy wanted to buy some wood, but said. "I only burn 2 year seasoned oak or ash, with his nose somewhat in the air."  My buddy had nothing aged that long, or probably at all for that matter, the guy said to him what do you burn, you live here?  He replies, "jaysus, I'll burn anything I can fit in the stove if its cold enough!" 

Probably not a real good story, you'd have to be there and hear him tell it. Point is....  I'm probably overthinking it.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2017, 05:46:36 AM »
My Father use to say,It's not the quality of wood,but the quantity of wood you need.  ;D
I can undersatnd the concern with you be away. I am like your buddy,I burn anything I get my hands on. I am cutting in the bog now. Lots of dead trees,cedar,fir and it's going to be burnt this winter. Some cedar is all ready limbed out.  ::)
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Offline mf40diesel

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2017, 08:20:31 AM »
Dead Dry standing pine...  my boiler likes it. Plus it's fun to head in the woods and cut a quick little hitch to pull back, buck up quick and cram in the boiler.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2017, 12:50:26 PM »
mf40diesel,that is why I got a OWB.I needed something to get rid of my dead wood. I chased down my dead pine,still have some more. But seem to have a never ending supply of fir. Fir does not grow good on my land. I cut just about every one I see. Let something else grow.
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Offline ppine

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2017, 12:57:09 PM »
You have 17 cords of woods and so now is not the time to buy more.  Burn all of it during the day in normal weather.  Pull aside the good hardwood for cold days and at night.  I know Maine is cold, but 9 cords sounds like a very inefficient stove set-up.  A newer more modern stove would pay for itself quickly.
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Offline mf40diesel

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2017, 02:13:15 PM »
My boiler is brand new. It heats our whole 2800ft2 house, domestic water and garage. I think for what it's doing and we were are, it would be tough to beat it. And we heat steady from Oct till mid-apr. so a little over 5 months steady burning.
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Offline mf40diesel

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2017, 02:14:40 PM »
I'll have close to two years worth now. My whole issue was just how much of was poplar, which is not a real good wood.
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Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2017, 05:42:45 PM »
my 2 cents

sounds like 1/2 is popular, the other 1/2 oak

so for the OWB season start with the popular, then in the coldest months use the oak you have and the wood you buy, then the last of the popular.
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2017, 10:15:34 AM »
As long as the popple dosent sit on the ground to long. If so it rots fast or if it's split  it's fine. It all make smoke. 9 cd  in a out door boiler isn't much. I use twice that

Offline TKehl

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2017, 12:47:54 PM »
Can you set some of the better stuff to the side for when you need it?  That's what we do.  Been burning a ton of Elm due to timber stand improvement, but keep a stash of Oak, Locust, Hickory, and Hedge to the side.  "Can't keep the house warm no matter how full I stuff the box with Elm if lower than 15F outside."

This system works well for us until my wife gets into the hedge on accident.  "Honey, why is it 85F in the house?" 
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2017, 08:19:44 PM »
All wood from balsa to osage orange has the same btu by weight .Poplar you just have to burn more of it is all .You want it to burn faster,split it smaller .
Outside burners are neat .All the mess is outside,you can heat water ,pipe the heat where ever you want,heat several buildings -----but they do have an appetite for wood .

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2017, 08:25:12 PM »
What others have said. Burn the aspen during the warmer weather and in starting your fires. Mix it with the hardwoods as the weather gets colder for burning just the hardwood.

Offline mf40diesel

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2017, 09:35:48 PM »
Thank you all for the advice. Appreciate it very much. Using the poplar/aspen as shoulder wood.... starts the year, ends the year.

I'll keep you posted.
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Offline Logging logginglogging

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2017, 09:05:49 AM »
You know since you have the equipment, i would just cut my way through it picing out the poplar logs and getting rid of them.
yes its more work, but if you have the equipment i could be done.

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2017, 03:59:26 PM »
I'm a little confused here .I thought most if not all outside burners had a thermostatically  controlled force draft blower .If that's the case I would thing it doesn't make much difference what it burned .It would make sense poplar wouldn't last as long as oak though .Although trotting out into 15 below at 1 AM in the morning to restoke it wouldn't be very much fun .

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2017, 06:13:36 PM »
Al,I think I read,he's concerned about the burn time. Yes,it will burn the poplar,put out heat,but he concerned it won't last like oak or maple. He don't want the wife to be cold.  ;)
I burn dead standing cedar. Sometimes it's all limbed too.  ;D  I know that won't hold a fire like good hardwood. Won't be much for coals either.
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Offline mf40diesel

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2017, 08:47:25 PM »
The boiler will burn any wood, really, and while it is pretty forgiving, it should be pretty dry. My concern with all the poplar was exactly what thecfarm said. Don't want mumma to go out in the morning on those wicked cold mornings (when I am at work) to find the boiler about out even after stuffing it full.

I think I got a decent plan going forward. One things for sure though, I will be much more cognizant of separating poplar as I yard it out. I definitely had enough to sell a load, and even if not, it would be better to keep them separated for better control.
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Offline hedgerow

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2017, 03:22:36 PM »
I guess I am spoiled or old and lazy. Any more when cleaning up pastures. I only save hard wood the rest go to the brush piles and get burned. I burn 10 to 15 cord a year of locust and hedge and by the time I get that processed  I sure don't want to process any elm or cotton wood that will that another five more cord to do the same job as hard wood will. The last time I brushed some elm out thinking someone would take it for free it took two years to fine takers and some of it still went to the burn piles.

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2017, 03:52:31 PM »
Now on that elm first it's a chore to split,doesn't make the best fire .However it makes the best loading planks because it will nearly bend in two before it breaks .As it dries it gets lighter,oak never gets light .Finding an elm large enough to mill into planks might be a chore though .

Offline Gary_C

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2017, 01:44:56 AM »
I have burned a lot of very dry and punky aspen in the fall and noticed one thing to look out for is if there is no other dense hardwood in the mix there will be no coals to restart the fire when you refill the OWB. Aspen does not leave many good coals when it burns.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2017, 06:03:39 AM »
Nothing leaves a coal bed like oak ,even hickory falls a little short of that .On the other hand if I toss a gnarly chunk of oak in the last fill up at night it will start right off next morning .
The only poplar around here is cottonwood and tulip .They aren't burned much for firewood .Cut green they are like lifting concrete .2 months later about like balsa.

Offline gspren

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2017, 08:23:18 AM »
 I burn whatever dies in my woods so quite a mix including poplar. I've learned to stack the poplar separate from the oak, locust, hickory, etc. Like Al said burning all poplar the stove won't always relight it's self due to no coals and that's even worse in shoulder season with longer idle times, so in early season I may load one piece of oak and six pieces of poplar gradually changing to mostly oak with a few pieces of poplar in cold weather depending on my supply at the time but I always have a piece or two of the good stuff in there. I treat the soft maples like poplar.
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Offline LittleJohn

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2017, 08:30:29 AM »
Which poplar is this? Aspen? If it's aspen I'd say burn it on the warmer days, or mixed with the better hardwood to suit depending on temps. Aspen burns great, just not for very long😊

Typically I like to burn the "junkier" wood during the shoulder months, when you only need a minimal amount of heat

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2018, 01:52:11 PM »
In a cruel twist of fate, people in Alaska only have spruce and aspen to burn and very few hardwoods.  In the coldest state, people stay warm with crummy firewood. 

Be smart.  Use your best wood at night and during cold spells. 
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Offline KEC

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2018, 08:57:10 PM »
Currently, I have a decent supply of mostly high heat value wood, but some years I burned a lot of low value; box elder, cottonwood, pine, etc. I saw a show on TV once about people in an  impoverished area in Africa who took cattle manure, rolled it into what looked like pizza dough and dried it to burn in cook stoves. But, they had so little cash for medicines and other necessities that they had to sell the dried manure to have cash. Made me look at some of that low heat value wood much differently.  

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2018, 02:38:37 AM »
I saw a documentary on how they build a chamber to put the animal dung into. then let it ferment to produce gas that was piped to heat or cook with.

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Offline 1countryboy

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #34 on: November 11, 2018, 07:56:20 AM »
Firewood advice/   I was looking at where responders live.   Each of us will use what nature provides is our 'AREA'.  I always have a choice of dead wood in my managed tree farm.   My firewood can not be cut until I have the crops off and have access the my woods. I have a supply of white pine slabs from my mill and lots of seed corn bags from the spring plantings to start early fires.   Then the softer hardwoods are processed before they get punky.  White oak will last for many years and still burn long and hot with lots of coals for a cold morning start.   I do not sort by species--it all burns and makes heat.   JUST different amounts of BTU'S.   Diseased trees always go first.   
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2018, 10:30:26 AM »
I saw a documentary on how they build a chamber to put the animal dung into. then let it ferment to produce gas that was piped to heat or cook with.
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Offline Gearbox

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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #36 on: November 12, 2018, 09:15:11 PM »
I heat my house and shop with a OWB It's filled with 3 year old stored inside Red Oak at night . During the day its what ever junk wood I have . The only thing I won't put in the wood shed is Balsam . By the time the bugs and worms get done with it there is nothing left but dust .
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Re: Need firewood advice
« Reply #37 on: November 12, 2018, 10:05:07 PM »
I find basswood the worst wood I have.  So far this heating season I have kept the house warm with pine slabs and half rotten box elder. Saving better wood for cold weather.  23 and windy now.
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