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.