Choosing the right wood to burn
Anything that burns is suitable for a fireplace, right? Wrong! Knowing which kind of wood you need for your stove or open fire could save you heaps of money and give you a crackling fire!
Alder – Gives a poor heat output and does not last very long.
Apple – Has a steady slow burn when the wood is dry and a good heat output with a small visible flame and pleasant odour.
Ash – Excellent burning wood. It gives a great heat and 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. Little flame or heat.
Elder – Generates a lot of smoke and burns very quickly, not much heat.
Elm – Commonly offered for sale. To burn well it needs to be kept for two years. 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.
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.
Oak – Does not produce very good flame and the smoke is acrid. However, dry old oak is excellent for heat, burning slowly and steadily until 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, with moderate heat – unless green.
Thorn – Quite 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.