What are the different types of firewood? (with photos)

Stacked firewood.

Homeowners who heat with firewood or just enjoy the ambiance of an open fireplace should be aware of the various types of firewood available, as well as the differences between the woods. Using the best wood can produce more heat with less smoke, and some woods are easier to handle than others. Pine is usually good for burning, while hardwoods are better for regular burning.

Wood for sticks.

Kindling, or the small pieces of wood used to start a fire, can come from many sources and can be of many types. In many parts of the United States, blocks of what is called “starter pine” are sold. Since pine burns hotter and is often easy to light, it is often used as firewood. Many stores also sell commercial starter logs that can be made from wood or other materials. Fire starter pinecones can also be purchased or made at home following a prescribed formula.

Hardwood is the best choice for regular burning.

Hardwoods such as ash, oak, birch, beech, walnut and hard maple are ideal for wood burning purposes, including in wood burning stoves and open fireplaces. These woods burn well and give off high heat with little or no smoke. They are also easier to split than many other varieties. The availability of these woods may depend on location, as some woods are native to specific areas and others are not. Walnut and oak, for example, are found in many areas of the United States, but birch and beech are more common in the northeast of the country.

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Hardwood is the best choice to use in a home wood stove.

Other types of firewood suitable for home use include soft maple, black cherry, and yellow pine. These woods are a little harder to split and produce a greater amount of smoke. Basswood, poplar and white pine are also used with good results.

Elms and sweet gum trees can also be used as firewood, but their use is recommended only in the absence of other more desirable options. Elm and chewing gum do not burn as easily or as well as other woods and are difficult to break.

Firewood is generally obtained in one of three ways. One is for the user to cut the wood himself, which is best for landowners with wooded areas who are experienced in cutting wood safely and effectively. Not recommended for inexperienced woodcutters due to associated hazards. This is the most difficult method because it requires individuals to cut down a tree, cut the wood into pieces, split the wood, carry the wood home, and stack the wood.

A second option is to collect wood from forests, with the appropriate permission. Most of this wood is already in the ground, but it is necessary to cut the wood to the proper lengths and then split it for use.

Probably the most common way to get firewood, at least for the city’s street vendors, is to order it from lumber brokers or lumber delivery services. Often, rural woodcutters bring in loads of wood for sale and sometimes deliver to urban areas.

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