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Firewood Guide BTU Rating Chart  RSS feed

 
Martin Seidel
Posts: 69
Location: Susquehanna, PA
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Saw this and wanted to share it:

http://homesteadsurvival.blogspot.com/2012/05/firewood-guide-btu-rating-chart-log.html

Type of Wood Heat Output Easy to Burn Easy to Split Heavy Smoke Sparks BTUs per Cord Rating
Ash Black Medium Yes Yes No No 19.1 Mil Excellent
Ash Green High Yes Yes No No 20.0 Excellent
Ash White High Yes Medium Np No 23.6 Excellent
Red Oak High Yes Yes No No 21.7 Excellent
White Oak High Yes Yes No No 26.5 Excellent
Live Oak High Yes Yes No No 25.0 Excellent
Beech High Yes Yes No No 21.8 Excellent
Beech Blue High Yes Yes No No 26.8 Excellent
Birch Black High Yes Yes No Medium 26.8 Excellent
Birch Grey High Yes Yes No Medium 20.3 Good
Birch Paper High Medium Medium Medium No 20.8 Fair
Birch White High Medium Medium Medium Medium 20.3 Good
Birch Yellow High Yes Yes No Medium 23.6 Excellant
Box Elder Medium Medium No Medium No 18.3 Fair
Buckeye Ohio Low Medium Medium No No 13.8 Fair
Butternut Low Medium Yes Medium No 14.5 Fair
Catalpa Low Medium No Medium No 15.5 Fair
Cedar Eastern Red Medium Medium Medium Medium Yes 17.1 Fair
Coffeetree Kentucky High Medium Medium No No 21.6 Good
Hickory Bitternut High Yes Yes No No 26.7 Excellent
Hickory Shagbark High Yes Medium No No 27.5 Excellent
Hard Maple High Yes Yes No No 29.7 Excellent
Pecan High Yes Yes No No Excellent
Dogwood High Yes Yes No No 24.3 Excellent
Soft Maple Medium Yes Yes No No 19.1 Good
Cherry Medium Yes Yes No No 18.5 Good
Black Cherry Medium Yes Yes No No 18.6 Good
Walnut Medium Yes Yes No No 20.3 Good
Elm American High Medium No Medium No 20.00 Fair
Elm Red High Medium Yes Medium No 21.6 Good
Elm Rock High Medium No Medium No 23.5 Good
Elm Siberian High Medium No Medium No 20.9 Fair
Hackberry High Yes Yes No No 21.2 Excellent
Sycamore Medium Medium No Medium No 18.5 Fair
Gum Black Medium Medium No Medium No 18.1 Fair
Gum Sweet Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium 18.7 Good
Mesquite High Medium No Medium No Good
Aspen Low Yes Yes Medium No 14.5 Fair
Basswood Low Yes Yes Medium No 12.6 Fair
Cottonwood Low Yes Yes Medium No 12.2 Fair
Chestnut Low Yes Yes Medium Yes Poor
Yellow Poplar Low Yes Yes Medium Yes 16.0 Poor
Southern Yellow Pine High Yes Yes Yes Yes Good
Douglas Fir High Yes Yes Yes Yes 21.4 Good
Cypress Medium Medium Yes Medium No Fair
Redwood Medium Medium Yes Medium No Fair
White Cedar Medium Yes Yes Medium Yes 17.5 Good
Western Red Cedar Medium Yes Yes Medium Yes 17.5 Good
Mulberry High Yes Yes Medium No 25.8 Excellent
Eastern Red Cedar Medium Yes Yes Medium Yes 17.5 Good
Juniper Medium Yes Yes Medium Yes Good
Piinon Medium Yes Yes Medium Yes Good
Eastern White Pine Low Medium Yes Medium No 15.8 Fair
Western White Pine Low Medium Yes Medium No 15.8 Fair
Sugar Pine Low Medium Yes Medium No 15.8 Fair
Ponderosa Pine Low Medium Yes Medium No 17.0 Fair
True Firs Low Medium Yes Medium No 19.5 Fair
Tamarack Medium Yes Yes Medium Yes 20.8 Fair
Larch Medium Yes Yes Medium Yes 20.8 Fair
Spruce Low Yes Yes Medium Yes 15.9 Poor
Alder Medium Fair Yes Medium Yes 17.6 Fair
Apple Medium No No Medium Few 17.6 Fair
Ironwood (Hornbeam) Very High Yes No No Few 24.7 Excellent
black locust Very High Yes No No No 26.5 Excellent
Honey Locust High Yes Medium No No 25.8 Excellent
Magnolia Medium Yes Yes No No 18.0 Fair
Madrone High No No No No 30.0 Excellent
Willow Low No Yes Fair Fair 14.5 Fair
Ratings are variable, moisture content effects results firewood should be well seasoned and dry for its optimum
BTU rating. Firewood is easier to split while it is still green.

Firewood with High or Very high heat output 1 cord = 21,000,000 - 24,000,000 BTU = 200-250 gal. of fuel oil or
250-300 cu. ft. of natural gas.

Firewood with Medium heat output 1 cord = 17,000,000 - 20,000,000 BTU = 150-200 gal. of fuel oil or 200-250 cu.
ft. of natural gas.
Firewood with Low heat output 1 cord = 12,000,000-17,000,000 BTU = 100-150 gal. of fuel oil or 200-250 cu. ft. of
natural gas.
Consider the cost of 1 cord of firewood vs the cost of fuel oil or the cu. ft. of natural gas. The cost of firewood is
usually more stable than the cost of fuel oils or gas and should prove to be a huge savings on your heating bill.Firewood Measurements1 cord measures 8 feet long, 4 feet high and 4 feet wide or 128 cubic feet


I think I'm going to go for some black locust on my next wood run
 
Jeff McLeod
Posts: 95
Location: New Hampshire
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I've been going through this fascinating sub-forum. I have a quick question perhaps someone could answer - sorry if it has been answered already but I haven't seen anything. Anyhoo .... has anyone tried burning charcoal? I was wondering if there is any gain to making up charcoal in bulk and then using it in your stove.

 
Shane McKenna
Posts: 50
Location: Utah
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We are pretty much limited to poor/fair/good wood btu quality out here in the Rockies. Our most common burn species available are Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir, Spruce, Cottonwood, Box Elder, Juniper, and Aspen. No excellent choices in any significant quantity to be had. Hmmmm, I wonder about scrub oak, it seems pretty light when I have picked it up, so it is probably low as well.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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McLeod Jeff wrote:I've been going through this fascinating sub-forum. I have a quick question perhaps someone could answer - sorry if it has been answered already but I haven't seen anything. Anyhoo .... has anyone tried burning charcoal? I was wondering if there is any gain to making up charcoal in bulk and then using it in your stove.



When you take a volume/cord of dry wood and turn it to charcoal, you lose 2/3 of the hydrocarbon in it.
It is now less dense and has less energy/btu per volume/cord.
However if you are measuring the energy/btu per pound it is higher. ex if 10lbs of wood gives you 1,000btu, then 10lbs of charcoal =20,000btu
 
Marianne Cicala
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Hmmmm, I wonder about scrub oak, it seems pretty light when I have picked it up, so it is probably low as well.

We use scrub oak as kindling for ramp up the morning fire. If you have pines you should also look for "fat wood" aka fallen cedar/pine heartwood that smells like turpintine which we use as a starter - you only need a couple splinters and this is the time of year to find it. We also use green wood as the last logs we put on the fire for the night. They are a very slow burn (yeah, obvious) but in the a.m. there's a smoldering dry log to add a couple fatwood splinters to and pump up the heat in an instant.
 
Alder Burns
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It would be interesting to see a chart like this expanded to include more species, especially as this is a worldwide forum. Casuarina is supposed to be excellent firewood. What about eucalyptus and acacia in all their diversity? There is also a whole suite of other "invasive exotics", for which fuel might be about the only use, and which coppice readily. Generally, the heavier a wood is, the better it's burning quality. Often, but not always, that means a slow growth rate. Growth rate and coppicing ability would be interesting columns to add, as well. There are relatively few trees that offer a good compromise between fast growth and high heat (ash and casuarina come first to mind.....)
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Weight for weight almost all wood have the same energy density due to the fact that they are made from exactly the same thing.
Its just with volume that they vary.
 
allen lumley
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BUMP !!! Big Al
 
John Polk
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Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Here is a link to two side-by-side charts, one by BTU value, (best to worst) & the other by species (alphabetical).
Probably the best chart I have found. From The Chimney Sweep, a local WA company.
Firewood Ratings
 
Richard Wood
Posts: 19
Location: East coast USA
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S Bengi wrote:Weight for weight almost all wood have the same energy density due to the fact that they are made from exactly the same thing.
Its just with volume that they vary.


most people miss this a pound equals a pound.

The question of the day, we use this chart for comparison of different woods. most charts were meant considering old style stoves , fireplaces.

The machine that tests these values uses oxegen rich to burn this wood.
I do not know if it gasses it, and burns off like a gasser stove or just burns it with no gasifaction other than what normally happens.

SO, for us gasser guys, that like beech, and other fast burning logs,

Is this chart BS for what we are burning inside?

will some logs accually increase on the chart?
 
Topher Belknap
Posts: 205
Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
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Richard Wood wrote:
S Bengi wrote:
most people miss this a pound equals a pound.
The question of the day, we use this chart for comparison of different woods. most charts were meant considering old style stoves , fireplaces.


The majority of the energy from burning wood comes from cellulose, which is the same for all trees. Buy your wood by the pound, and no longer care what species it is. Or if particular woods burn in a way you like, feel free to buy that kind. If you are cutting your own wood, choose trees that are dying, or are otherwise sub-optimal.

Water weighs a lot, so make sure your wood is thoroughly dry before weighing (or burning)!
 
Alder Burns
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I would guess that one exception to the "pound for pound" guideline is woods high in resin. When I lived in Georgia we used to look for what we called "fat lighter", which was the heartwood of old pine trees. This is almost imperishable and can be found even in old stump holes buried in the ground. Some of it is so impregnated with resin that it shatters on impact, like glass. Not only is it excellent starter, igniting readily even when dripping wet, but its really easy to get your stove glowing red, or worse, by putting on too much at once!!
 
allen lumley
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Topher Belknap : Buying wood by the pound sounds like a good idea, except- Then It becomes your responsibility to use a tester that will give you an instant
readout on the Moisture Content of your fuel wood, Adulteration would just be to easy and tempting to not be considered.

I generally like and trust my fellow man but, Just simply cutting the wood I was buying into fire wood lengths, and then allowing them to set on waterlogged
earth for 24- 48 hours or more before loading and delivery would be a very simple way to quickly add water weight to my purchase!

Only if i were getting a single species of tree for my fire wood, so that I could have a known range of water content, and the expectation of the right to refuse
a high moisture content wood fuel would i consider buying by the pound !

The Romans had a phrase for it, "Caveate Emptor ' , ' let the buyer beware'' For the good of the craft ! Big AL !
 
Topher Belknap
Posts: 205
Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
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allen lumley wrote:Topher Belknap : Buying wood by the pound sounds like a good idea, except- Then It becomes your responsibility to use a tester that will give you an instant
readout on the Moisture Content of your fuel wood, Adulteration would just be to easy and tempting to not be considered.


If one is worried about adulteration, one should be doing that anyways. Green wood is about $50 cheaper per cord around here. If one is buying dry, and getting green one is getting cheated. Most wood dealers around here also deliver in a truck and dump a pile on the lawn, so buying by volume is also subject to that sort of adulteration. And, buying oak and getting poplar will drop the heat content by around 27%. Buying by weight thus removes one variable, and one way to get cheated.

Sadly, getting that weight is not simple.

Thank You Kindly,

Topher
 
allen lumley
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Topher Belknap : Here in Norther New York We buy wood 'by the Cord', without thinking that we are buying by the face cord ! I expect that north of
Portland Me. that you are buying a true Cord 4' x 4' x 8', and priced accordingly ! This is a local market condition and one buys a cord mostly on faith
that you are getting honest volume!

I can tell the difference between Maple and poplar (Cottonwood ), and between Apple and cherry ! When the Dump Truck shows up I am there to
'spot the load' and see what I am getting !

I just took a look at the www.woodworkers.com site and the price range for detecting wood moisture levels, ease of use and accuracy vary widely,
Every thing else being equal I will buy by the cord with the meaning of the term already agreed to and stack the wood my self, if i am not satisfied
with the volume, I am probably still better off than trying to guestimate the % of Moisture content !

Again while I trust my fellow man as a general rule, I expect that buying by the Pound is a good way to insist on buying High Moisture content fuel !

For the good of the Cause/crafts Big AL !
 
Topher Belknap
Posts: 205
Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
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allen lumley wrote:
I just took a look at the www.woodworkers.com site and the price range for detecting wood moisture levels, ease of use and accuracy vary widely,
Every thing else being equal I will buy by the cord with the meaning of the term already agreed to and stack the wood my self, if i am not satisfied
with the volume, I am probably still better off than trying to guestimate the % of Moisture content !

Again while I trust my fellow man as a general rule, I expect that buying by the Pound is a good way to insist on buying High Moisture content fuel !


I apparently didn't make my point clear. You need to know the moisture content ANYWAYS. I can't imagine a reason to trust on volume and burnable moisture content, but not on weight and weighable moisture content. Moisture meters can be had for around $20. If you live in a wooden house, or burn firewood, you would be advised to have one.

Do you know off the top of your head, the various BTU / cord values for the various woods that get in your mix? Can you do the calculation in your head for total BTUs in a cord of 50% oak, 10% cherry, 5% cottonwood, 15% birch, 20% ash? Do you think your wood provider can? Or cares?

 
allen lumley
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Topher Belknap : One of the ways I judge whether or not I have kept my head above water, is checking to see If I have successfully used Less than 1/2 the wood
and 1/2 the hay come Candlemas Day, and for the last 5 years I have been burning mostly 5''-10'' cherry due to a large windfall on my neighbors property that I
am providing access to !

Generally I get to store my wood for 2 summers before I burn it and it is tinder dry when I burn it!

I love burning Cherry, I think I could go at least 10 years w/out cleaning a rocket mass heater if run only with Cherry ! Unfortunately I see a lot of Ash in my
future !

This is were I state that I will continue to use the cord as a unit of measurement for determining my needs. This is my personal opinion, But-Buying wood by
the pound, I will always be paying a premium for the wood I use.

I have checked my Personal B.S./'But we have always done it this way' Meter and see nothing but future heartburn from a change to buying Wood by the pound !

It has taken me 3 years to convince my neighbors logger that I was interested in The rotten and hollow and Wind-shook/Barber chair Logs that got left on the
loggers landing as having no commercial value, now I get phone calls from other loggers who will deliver Tri-axle Dump truck loads of Hugel logs for the cost of
the fuel, as they are trying to leave a 'clean looking landing' Behind at the end of the job as it can be a selling point in getting the next logging contract ! For the
good of the craft ! Big AL
 
Topher Belknap
Posts: 205
Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
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allen lumley wrote:I have checked my Personal B.S./'But we have always done it this way' Meter and see nothing but future heartburn from a change to buying Wood by the pound !


I was sort of hoping that there was a reason, rather than a gut feeling. Ah well.

I love burning ash, it was considered one of the premium burning woods back in the day, hopefully you will find it so as well.

Thank You Kindly,

Topher
 
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