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Wood smells.

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Dahmer, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Dahmer

    Dahmer Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Had a work day at the church this morning and naturally I was elected to cut down some dead trees near the road. Cut them down and the Pastor asked if I would clear a big patch of sumac. Since I’ve never cut sumac for firewood I was surprised
    at the smell. Most were 2-3” dia and smelled like peanut butter on hot toast. Smelled way better than that gut wrenching black locust although the locust is a superior firewood. And before you ask, I quit doing illegal drugs 40 years ago.
     
  2. c5rulz

    c5rulz Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If you are going to the trouble to clear sumac, treat ASAP with Tordon or you are wasting your time.
     
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  3. Dahmer

    Dahmer Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I will pass that on, thank you.
     
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  4. svk

    svk Firewood and Saw Collector

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    I like the smell of cutting birch, maple, black cherry, ash, and Cedar. I don’t like cutting boxelder. Cottonwood varies from fruit/wine on the good end to rutting buck to crappy diaper depending on the tree.

    Evergreens small great but it also means you are about to get sap over everything so I’m not a fan of it.
     
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  5. James Miller

    James Miller Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Never had a smell from locust. But the oak I'm working on smells pretty awful.
     
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  6. Dahmer

    Dahmer Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Beginning to believe a lot of it has to do with soil nutrients and ph.
     
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  7. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Are you sure that was Staghorn Sumac and not Ailanthus Altissima (aka "Tree of Heaven")?

    Both species look very similar but Ailanthus has that rancid peanut butter smell to the bark and leaves. Then the wood when split smells like someone pissed on it. After it dries the smell goes away and it's actually decent firewood, and it splits easy. Similar to ash in both respects. If only it wasn't so invasive, I wouldn't mine having it around and dealing with the smells.
     
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  8. Dahmer

    Dahmer Addicted to ArboristSite

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    This stuff looked like all the sumac I’ve see my whole life. Growing in a thick patch. The smell was pleasant to me, not rancid.
     
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  9. svk

    svk Firewood and Saw Collector

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    Possibly but I’ve cut trees right next to each other, of similar size and one smelled good and the other terrible
     
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  10. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    I've never cut Sumac either so I have no idea what it smells like, but if it was pleasant and not rancid, then it can't be Ailanthus. Both species look very similar, the only way I can tell is by the large vertical cone shaped red flower clusters on the sumac. The ailanthus flowers grow in clusters too, but kind of droop and are more light red/piink hue to them.
     
  11. Dahmer

    Dahmer Addicted to ArboristSite

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    So much for my theory.
     
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  12. Picaso

    Picaso ArboristSite Member

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    sooo... an easy way to differentiate with sumac vs tree of heaven is to put a freshly cut end under black light. It (sumac) will glow an interesting blue color.

    that is, im assuming unless you can see the long staghorn fruit still on the tree in which case no need.

    as an aside, native americans made a type of drink from those sumac staghorns and if you do have any left i can pass along a recipe.

    Tree of Heaven sucks.
     
  13. c5rulz

    c5rulz Addicted to ArboristSite

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    The smell of oak sawdust kind of grows on you. I used to think that way but now like the smell of oak aging.
     
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  14. GVS

    GVS ArboristSite Guru

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    The old folks made a cough syrup from the stag horn sumac.A doctor ,who's mother made the syrup, said it was very effective.
     
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  15. panolo

    panolo ArboristSite Operative

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    Love the smell of oak.
     
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  16. svk

    svk Firewood and Saw Collector

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    I find oak pungent but pleasing.
     
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  17. Tiewire

    Tiewire ArboristSite Operative

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    I enjoy the smell of white oak, find it pleasant. The smell of red oak can go from ok to nasty from one end of a tree to the other.
     
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  18. Multifaceted

    Multifaceted Firewood Hoarder, Axe Junkie

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    Interesting... I'd have to dig up my black light from my teenage years for that demo. When Dahmer nentiomen "peanut butter" I instantly thought if Ailanthus (I refuse to call it "tree of heaven" more like invasive weed from hell), but it suppose I regarded the word "smell" with a negative connotation; whereas it was a pleasant smell. Ailanthus bark can be smelled easily at close proximity, it's like a stale peanut butter and rancid oil smell.

    A pest to deal with, but the wood is decent if straight grained and dry. I used a bunch of it up as kindling last season, and even burned some in the stove when in a pinch.
     
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  19. Streblerm

    Streblerm Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Stag horn sumac has a toothed leaf while TOH has a slightly wavy leaf with a couple of teeth at the base. TOH is a more prolific grower but Sumac seems to grow in similar patches. I consider them both invasive. They both stink to my nose.
     
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  20. Polish hammer

    Polish hammer ArboristSite Member

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    I recently got some linden wood for free fresh cut. to me that stuff smelled like cow
    Manure bad
     
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