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Burning Properties of Wood

Below is a list of the most common woods for burning, there are more. It is worth remembering that ALL wood will burn better if split.

There is an old saying, "before starting a fire - collect the right wood." It is worth learning which wood is best for your fires as it will make life a lot easier. A natural result of tree recognition is to learn the burning properties of their wood.

Wood Description
Alder Poor in heat and does not last
Apple Splendid/ It bums slowly and steadily when dry, with little flame, but good heat. The scent is pleasing.
Ash Best burning wood; has both flame and heat, and will bum when green, though naturally not as well as when dry.
Beech A rival to ash, though not a close one, and only fair when green. If it has a fault, it is apt to shoot embers a long way.
Birch The heat is good but it burns quickly. The smell is pleasant.
Cedar Good when dry. Full of crackle and snap. It gives little flame but much heat, and the scent is beautiful.
Cherry Burns slowly, with good heat. Another wood with the advantage of scent Chestnut. Mediocre. Apt to shoot embers. Small flame and heating power. Douglas Fir. Poor. Little flame and heat.
Chestnut Mediocre. Apt to shoot embers. Small flame and heating power.
Douglas Fir Poor. Little flame or heat.
Elder Mediocre. Very smoky. Quick burner, with not much heat.
Elm Commonly offered for sale. To burn well it needs to be kept for two years. Even then it will smoke. Vary variable fuel.
Hazel Good.
Holly Good, will burn when green, but best when kept a season.
Hornbeam Almost as good as beech.
Laburnum Totally poisonous tree, acrid smoke, taints food and best never used.
Larch Crackly, scented, and fairly good for heat.
Laurel Has brilliant flame.
Lime Poor. Burns with dull flame.
Maple Good.
Oak The novelist's 'blazing fire of oaken logs' is fanciful, Oak is sparse in flame and the smoke is acrid, but dry old oak is excellent for heat, burning slowly and steadily until whole log collapses into cigar-like ash.
Pear A good heat and a good scent.
Pine Bums with a splendid flame, but apt to spit. The resinous Weymouth pine has a lovely scent and a cheerful blue flame.
Plane Burns pleasantly, but is apt to throw sparks if very dry. Plum. Good heat and scent.
Plum Good heat and aromatic.
Poplar Truly awful.
Rhododendron The thick old stems, being very tough, burn well.
Robinia (Acacia) Burns slowly, with good heat, but with acrid smoke.
Spruce Burns too quickly and with too many sparks.
Sycamore Burns with a good flame, with moderate heat. Useless green.
Thorn Quite one of the best woods. Burns slowly, with great heat and little smoke.
Walnut Good, and so is the scent. Aromatic wood.
Willow Poor. It must be dry to use, and then it burns slowly, with little flame. Apt to spark.
Yew Last but among the best. Burns slowly, with fierce heat, and the scent is pleasant.




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