Your favorite wood

hickoryhoarder

Feeling the Heat
Apr 5, 2013
304
Indiana
Red oak. The best overall firewood.
 
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Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,536
Indiana
I have access to red/white oak and beech, if you could only have 1 what would your choice be?
You have them listed in my order...
 
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KC Matt

Burning Hunk
Oct 29, 2016
116
Kansas City
Honey Locust, hands down.

Better BTU than Oak, but seasons fully in 1 year. Almost the BTU of Hedge but grows straight as an arrow. Resistant to pests and rot. Splits like silver maple. Grain is straight, stacks perfectly. Smells great green and burning. Few branches, few crotches. Thin bark. Coals perfectly, not too long like Hedge but lasts long enough to relight the fire. Nobody wants it. Easy to obtain. Grows quickly but tops off around 24" around here so it's big enough to make tons of wood but not so big you can't handle the rounds.

For the trees with thorns, just ring the tree and come back in 5 years. Everything that's left is firewood and it's almost ready to burn. Ranchers will be thrilled you took the trees.
 

KC Matt

Burning Hunk
Oct 29, 2016
116
Kansas City
Oh crap I see I totally ignored the OP. Well, if you have only those two I say get both. Beech will be ready in a year and Oak will be ready in 3 or 4. So cut 3 years worth of Beech and then start piling up Oak because Oak is a hell of a lot better than Beech. Oak would be the perfect firewood if it didn't take 3 years to season.
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,359
Central Mass
Beech, highest btus and less messy than oaks.
 
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gzecc

Minister of Fire
Sep 24, 2008
4,608
NNJ
Beech, then Beech then Beech. In that order
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,628
Northern NH
Both are great firewood. I think it comes down to variations of the specific wood.. if one variety comes from regenerating second growth young trees the ring count is going to be low.and the overall density of the wood will be low relative to large diameter wood taken out of a mature stand. A secondary concern is dependent on where you are getting the wood from, beech can be impacted by beech bark scale which in its end stages will leave a lot of rotted bark which could lead to rot in the stacks especially if its not covered well. Oak does not typically have this issue. Oak does seem to have bit better PR and folks on occasion will pay a premium in areas where its not a dominant species. Beeches can grow tall and straight but their branche tend not to be straight. That can mean hard to split compared to oak branches.

Either species take a long time to dry properly and both can be real PITA to try to burn wet. so some individuals can have a bad experience with less then dry wood of either species and have permanent bias against it.
 
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johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,260
Eastern Ontario
White Oak it has the highest BTU rating
of the three . For drying time Beech
Then again most of my fire wood is sugar Maple
 
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firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
18,901
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I don't think you can go wrong with any of the choices you have listed.
 
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BIGChrisNH

Feeling the Heat
Dec 16, 2015
372
New Hampshire
Black Birch is my favorite. Seasons quickly and gives off good heat.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,628
Northern NH
Eastern Hop Hornbeam is a very impressive firewood but its pretty rare to see anyone selling it. https://www.bates.edu/canopy/species/eastern-hophornbeam/ Its super dense, when dry its but rarely gets big enough to split it anymore than in half. Its pretty rare in woods being pretty particular on where it grows and once its cut it takes a long time to regenerate, if it ever does its in someone else's lifetime. Its not shown on most charts but this one has it. http://firewoodresource.com/firewood-btu-ratings/ Its one of the highest btus/cord from a density basis and 8% more btus when dry than the oaks and beeches. I expect it is usually only cut when someone is clearing a lot or it gets mixed in with some nearby hardwoods. I expect for my northern climate its the ultimate all night wood.

Trades offs are it feels like a brand new out of the box chain is dull when cutting it green, when dry its worse. It has supertight grain as it usually grows under a closed in canopy in my area. If it grew into a bigger diameter it would make a great splitting block as its will not split by hand even though its straight grain. A dual stage splitter can usually split it due to the smaller diameter rounds but expect it would be one reason why a 30 ton splitter might be useful. Some folks use it for handles on things like Peaveys where ash may not be strong enough. It makes lousy ax handles as its "dead" somewhat similar to an aluminum baseball bat compared to an wooden one. I have seen some pretty impressive mallets made with it.

I have some small patches in the understory of maples on my property. I usually find it on steep bony slopes where they may be some openings in the canopy due to ledges and boulder fields. I expect I would be hard pressed to get more than few cords out of some of my patches so I leave it alone unless its in the way and when I do find a piece mixed in I just buck it and let it dry without splitting. It does have an interesting grain but its hard on circular saw blades and high speed steel jointer blades. My carbide insert jointer blade handles it as long as I use a very shallow cutting depth. Reminds me of some of the dense tropical woods.
 
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johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,260
Eastern Ontario
Eastern Hop Hornbeam is a very impressive firewood but its pretty rate to see anyone selling it. https://www.bates.edu/canopy/species/eastern-hophornbeam/ Its super dense, when dry its but rarely gets big enough to split it anymore than in half. Its pretty rare in woods being pretty particular on where it grows and once its cut it takes a long time to regenerate, if it ever does its in someone else's lifetime. Its not shown on most charts but this one has it. http://firewoodresource.com/firewood-btu-ratings/ Its one of the highest btus/cord from a density basis and 8% more btus when dry than the oaks and beeches. I expect it is usually only cut when someone is clearing a lot or it gets mixed in with some nearby hardwoods. I expect for my northern climate its the ultimate all night wood.

Trades offs are it feels like a brand new out of the box chain is dull when cutting it green, when dry its worse. It has supertight grain as it usually grows under a closed in canopy in my area. If it grew into a bigger diameter it would make a great splitting block as its will not split by hand even though its straight grain. A dual stage splitter can usually split it due to the smaller diameter rounds but expect it would be one reason why a 30 ton splitter might be useful. Some folks use it for handles on things like Peaveys where ash may not be strong enough. It makes lousy ax handles as its "dead" somewhat similar to an aluminum baseball bat compared to an wooden one. I have seen some pretty impressive mallets made with it.

I have some small patches in the understory of maples on my property. I usually find it on steep bony slopes where they may be some openings in the canopy due to ledges and boulder fields. I expect I would be hard pressed to get more than few cords out of some of my patches so I leave it alone unless its in the way and when I do find a piece mixed in I just buck it and let it dry without splitting. It does have an interesting grain but its hard on circular saw blades and high speed steel jointer blades. My carbide insert jointer blade handles it as long as I use a very shallow cutting depth. Reminds me of some of the dense tropical woods.
AKA Iron Wood for all the reasons above . it grows large around here and the only time
I will take one is if it is dead . My splitter (22 ton) will handle it . I have had
rounds of better than 24 inches . Use 2 (splits) in the furnace at bed time get up in the morning
and you have a glowing lava pile add 3 sugar maple and were off to the races . Old timers
would not burn it wives tail is that it will burn out your stove . I wish there were more to cut
but the ones I have taken are over 100 years old . I love it for super cold winter nights.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,628
Northern NH
Wow, never heard of them getting so big. About the biggest I have seen in my area are 10" DBH. I don't think they would be a great match for my boiler as I want a hot fire fast. Most of the woods in my area have been cut at least once around the 1900's so it just may be that the ones I see are just "youngsters" that re-established them selves once the canopy got well established.
 
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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,061
Woolwich nj
My favorites are oak.. any i dont care ... and cherry..love me some black cherry.. i like the look of cherry.. the smell of cherry buring and during the seasoning process.. i heat with both and i run both through the smoker..
 

Locust99

New Member
May 11, 2017
88
Upstate, New York
Black Locust is definitely my favorite firewood that I have access to. It is extremely dense, and throws a lot of heat. If you find it standing dead with the bark off, it could be already ready to burn. Next is sugar maple, good btus and it dries fast. Also Ash, a decent btu wood that dries very fast. Oak I haven’t had much experience with ( not common in the woods I cut), from what I have had though it is the slowest drying wood I’ve found.
 

Drewman

Member
Aug 10, 2015
80
Ohio
Beech

I have 30 acres of mixed hardwoods, including American Beech. I favor the beech because it is the lightest to move around when wet/green, it dries quicker in my opinion, splits much easier as well, I can't sale it for as much as the red or white oak when considering lumber prices. These arguments are subjective in my opinions, I have no literature to support drying time or weight just my experience.

Burns wonderful, comparable BTU too:
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