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Box Elder Good Firewood?

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Ductape, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. Ductape

    Ductape Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Can anyone tell me if Box Elder makes decent firewood? I have the opportunity to get a bunch free that came down in a recent storm. I'm unfarmiliar with it.... didn't realize it grew around here. My FIL says to pass on it..... but i was hoping for a second opinion.

    Thanks !
     
  2. kevinj

    kevinj Whatarya, Goofy?

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    I only burn boxelder in the fire pit for camp fires.
    Wood turners like it for some of the red colors throughout the grain.
     
  3. computeruser

    computeruser Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If you do a search of old posts, you'll see that this topic comes up pretty often. I think that the consensus is that Box Elder is a mediocre firewood, but if the price is right (free!) then it is worth using. It will never be a good overnight wood, but for a Saturday or Sunday when you're home and able to keep the fire fed, it works pretty well. I've found that it dries out pretty quickly when split to a small or medium size, but larger pieces hold their water at least as much as other "true" maple species.
     
  4. Dr. Hackemoff

    Dr. Hackemoff ArboristSite Operative

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    BE doesn't coal well. But if that's all you can get, it does burn and give off heat, at least for a little while. What other species do you have available?

    Da Hack
     
  5. Ductape

    Ductape Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I generally scrounge any hardwoods i can. Not having come across it before, i'm unfarmiliar with it. Put in a call to my FIL (who grew up on a farm), who also new nothing about it. He called a forrester friend of his, who recommended we not bother with it. He said the core is very soft, and tends to rot quickly. I do have a bunch of silver maple that was given to me.... would it compare to the silver? My FIL sort of made a comparison to poplar... burn quality wise. I don't have any real issues with a little poplar.... but i might not be so thrilled to spend my day working on a large amount of it. I do have other wood that i could be collecting..... but the BE is going to be time sensative. It will be given to someone else if i don't act on it in a day or so. Just wanted to get more opinions on it before i passed on it.... or acted on it.

    Thanks,
    Scott
     
  6. Dr. Hackemoff

    Dr. Hackemoff ArboristSite Operative

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    I agree on the rotting - most any decent size BE branch has some rot somewhere right off the cut. I can't believe it would store well.

    I've burned a lot of silver maple. It doesn't coal up so great either but it stores pretty well. I have eight cords of logs sitting on my yard to cut up. I plan to burn it mostly in the fall and spring and mix it with ash and oak in the winter.
     
  7. kd460

    kd460 ArboristSite Operative

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    I just can't stand the smell of boxelder when burning. I can handle diesel, gasoline, hunting buddies after 5 days into deer camp, wife's cooking, but not Boxelder.

    It burns similiar to silver maple maybe a little faster, I would much rather burn maple. I stay away from box elder, but if it's all you got then theres your answer. KD
     
  8. Ductape

    Ductape Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Well.... at this point i'll only go grab a load of the boxelder if it turns out to be very convenient. I have more than enough wood for next season..... and i'd say i'm well into the winter after. I guess i was hoping it would be better firewood than it is. I'm no firewood primadonna, but if it smells bad, rots fast, and burns fast..... then perhaps my time is better spent on better wood.

    Thanks to everyone who responded!
     
  9. jrclen

    jrclen ArboristSite Operative

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    It burns and it gives off heat. We call it gopher wood. Put some on the fire and go-fer some more. It's softwood, cuts and splits easy. I'd take it for free, no problem.
     

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