Choose the best wood to burn
“Can I burn anything?” Take a moment to look at this list. Knowing the burn effects for different types of wood could save you money and choosing the right wood will give you a cracking fire! Remember that wood to be burnt must have a moisture content of 20 per cent or less (use a moisture thermometer to check).
Alder – Poor heat output and doesn’t last very long.
Apple – Steady slow burn when the wood is dry. A good heat output with a small visible flame and pleasant odour.
Ash – Excellent burning wood. It gives a great heat/flame output and also burns when green. Best heat output gained when wood is dry.
Beech – Good heat output but only fair when wood is green. This wood is prone to shoot embers whilst burning.
Birch – The heat is good but the wood burns quickly, however a pleasant odour is produced.
Cedar – Produces little flames but great heat and a wonderful odour. Provides a splendid noise when burned.
Cherry – A slow burning wood that produces good heat and a pleasant odour.
Chestnut – Produces small flames and normal heat, prone to shooting embers.
Douglas Fir – Poor with little flame or heat.
Elder – Generates a lot of smoke and burns very quickly, not much heat.
Elm – Commonly offered for sale and needs storing for two years before burning. Even when dry it is liable to smoke.
Eucalyptus – Good dense hardwood, should be properly seasoned before use but will produce good heat.
Hazel – Good to use.
Holly – Good, will burn when green but best when kept a season to dry out fully.
Hornbeam – Comparable in many aspects to Beech.
Laburnum – Totally poisonous tree, acrid smoke, taints food, best avoided altogether.
Larch – Crackly, scented and fairly good for heat.
Laurel – Has a brilliant flame.
Lime – Poor. Burns with dull flame.
Maple – Good to use.
Oak – Does not produce very good flames and the smoke is acrid. However, dry old oak is excellent for heat, burning slowly until a whole log collapses into ash.
Pear – Provides good heat and an extremely pleasant scent.
Pine – Burns with a splendid flame but is liable to split.
Plane – Burns pleasantly but is naturally given to throw sparks if very dry.
Plum – Good heat and aromatic.
Poplar – Not recommended.
Rhododendron – The thick old stems, being very tough, burn well.
Robinia (Acacia) – Burns slowly with good heat, but is unfortunately accompanied by an acrid smoke.
Spruce – Burns at an extremely fast rate and creates many sparks.
Sycamore – Burns with a good flame and moderate heat, unless green.
Thorn – One of the best woods. Burns slowly, produces great heat with very little smoke.
Walnut – Good, and so is the scent. A very aromatic wood.
Willow – Poor. In a dry condition burns slowly, with a little flame. Liable to spark.
Yew – Has a slow burn with great heat and a pleasant scent.