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 Would you use Cottonwood for firewood if it was free??
43_North  [Member]
10/30/2011 1:32:47 AM
Let me lay the foundation for this question first..... I live in southwest Idaho and for the most part the only/majority of wood that is available to us is pine, this is what everyone here is used to burning in their wood stoves. That said I have the opportunity for some free Cottonwood. The wood is cut to about 8 foot lengths, is seasoned, and is within 2 miles of my house. I ask this question because I have read some negative opinions about using Cottonwood as firewood. As I said though I am used to using pine..... Opinions?
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SLYHUNTR  [Member]
10/30/2011 1:47:26 AM
My understanding wood is wood if it is seasoned,
skich  [Team Member]
10/30/2011 1:51:48 AM
I understand it is a bitch to split once seasoned. Also, the BTU value is low compared to other species - burns like paper. No, I would not take cottonwood if it was cut, split, stacked, and loaded into my woodstove for me.
FDC  [Team Member]
10/30/2011 2:01:18 AM
I'm of the opinion, if it's free...burn it.

When I was a kid, I would always drive around after hurricanes hit and pick up wood.

From the below link, it says it burns fast with a lot of ash.

http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/16305/#177176

This neat PDF file says it puts out almost as much heat as some pine. http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g1554/build/g1554.pdf
Autodog  [Member]
10/30/2011 2:04:56 AM
In my opinion, it was by far the worst wood I ever burned, more ash less heat- however it did keep me warm. My last choice of wood to burn.
mcnielsen  [Team Member]
10/30/2011 2:28:44 AM
Wood like that I delegate to burning in campfires once they have already have their coals going.
bubalus  [Team Member]
10/30/2011 3:24:26 AM
It may not be the best wood, less heat and more ash, but when you look at cost/BTU, you can't beat zero.
bblake00  [Team Member]
10/30/2011 3:26:47 AM
Free is free
Kibby  [Team Member]
10/30/2011 5:37:42 AM
Originally Posted By bblake00:
Free is free


Yep. Pretty much this.
UnauthorizedAccess  [Member]
10/30/2011 8:41:11 AM
Only way I would is if I had an outdoor hydronic system. This is what we call go-fer-wood. Burns fast seasoned and makes few
BTU's comparatively.
WesDesRat  [Team Member]
10/30/2011 10:09:22 PM
IME it burns fast and is ashy... But if it's free and already cut in lengths that are easy to haul.... I'd take it.

I really miss cutting, hauling, stacking, splitting, and building fires in a wood stove.
rusteerooster  [Team Member]
10/30/2011 10:17:09 PM
if it's free and doesn't clog up your chimney then burn it....free is free
jagdkommando  [Team Member]
10/30/2011 10:25:52 PM
Lots of ash. We used to set up a big hunting camp in the Powder River valley in eastern Montana. We would have these enormous camp fires with dead fall cottonwood trees. Big logs for a big fire. We didn't use it in the wood stove in the tent because it just filled it up with ash.
DanaHillen  [Team Member]
10/30/2011 10:30:21 PM
Originally Posted By jagdkommando:
Lots of ash. We used to set up a big hunting camp in the Powder River valley in eastern Montana. We would have these enormous camp fires with dead fall cottonwood trees. Big logs for a big fire. We didn't use it in the wood stove in the tent because it just filled it up with ash.


MANY folks in Montana burn cottonwood......and/or pine.

let me guess....were you around Ekalaka? Powderville??
alemonkey  [Team Member]
10/30/2011 10:36:40 PM
Tons of cottonwood where I grew up. A lot of guys use it just for getting their fires started since it burns so fast.
DesertSkorpion  [Member]
10/30/2011 10:49:08 PM
Every piece of cottonwood I have ever burned smelled like piss.
9thEnBn  [Member]
10/30/2011 11:36:37 PM
This for sure. I had it for free, and it does burn because it's wood, but not very good. It seasons like crap to-takes to long!


Originally Posted By Autodog:
In my opinion, it was by far the worst wood I ever burned, more ash less heat- however it did keep me warm. My last choice of wood to burn.


AlphaTea  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 12:23:52 AM
Originally Posted By Autodog:
In my opinion, it was by far the worst wood I ever burned, more ash less heat- however it did keep me warm. My last choice of wood to burn.


I have to second this.
Cottonwood (A.K.A. Poplar) is pretty common in this part of NY. I cut down a few several years ago and stacked it for firewood. I was amazed at the difference between it and other species of wood. It would burn OK but gave off very little heat.
Dont waste your time with it.

Madcap72  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 12:31:39 AM
It pretty much sucks out loud.


Up a hunting shack we tried burning it, and it didn't make enough heat to properly vent through the chimny. Every other wood we burn up there gets plenty hot enough to operate properly. Not saying that the fireplace is the best in the world, its not, but it shows off how huge of a difference the wood makes.
PDshooter  [Member]
10/31/2011 12:38:23 AM
Originally Posted By SLYHUNTR:
My understanding wood is wood if it is seasoned,



I concur..........Burn it!

Rockyriver  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 9:50:53 AM
I cut down a bunch of cottonwood last year and loaded it and took to my ungreatful father inlaw who said, "It don't put out heat in my wood stove like I want".
I tried it out and it seemed pretty damn hot around the wood stove to me. YMMV
However it did burn fast, I needed to reload the wood stove every 2 to 3 hours.
But free is free, and if the SHTF (or power outage) and it was needed I would take it and burn it, and thank the lord above I had it.
SteelonSteel  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 10:07:25 AM
My biggest recollection with cottonwood and aspen was the smoke burns the eyes more. I thought it was harder to get started, throws less heat, and burns a bit fast.
Ranchhand365  [Member]
10/31/2011 12:08:22 PM
Free is FREE – burn it.

I have it on my property and burn a little every year. It is not my first choice because of low energy content but perfect for light heating days.

I never had any trouble splitting 18-24" rounds by hand. Just let it season for two years and it will crack all the way thru on its own.
1fromtx  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 12:26:36 PM
Free, great. Burn it.
Lots of ash, great, spread it in your garden area, around your fruit trees or your yard.

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jagdkommando  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 4:45:50 PM
Originally Posted By DanaHillen:
Originally Posted By jagdkommando:
Lots of ash. We used to set up a big hunting camp in the Powder River valley in eastern Montana. We would have these enormous camp fires with dead fall cottonwood trees. Big logs for a big fire. We didn't use it in the wood stove in the tent because it just filled it up with ash.


MANY folks in Montana burn cottonwood......and/or pine.

let me guess....were you around Ekalaka? Powderville??


Morehead. One of my favorite places in the world. Down where the Powder crosses into Montana. I used to spend about a month each fall there. Someday I will again.
Madcap72  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 6:48:53 PM
Some standard densities, Kg/cu.m more for shipping information, but shows how much energy is available for a given volume


Cedar, red
380
Cottonwood 416
Douglas Fir 530
Oak 590 - 930
Coal, Anthracite, broken 1105
Paper, standard 1201





AlvinYork  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 7:27:22 PM
Hell, use it, just mix it in with harder woods when you burn it.
Ndenway  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 7:32:22 PM
like others posted; it burns fast, stinks, leaves lots of ash/no coals and it sounds like a pissed off cat with a bowl of rice crispys when it gets to burning good.
mnvwguy02  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 7:36:02 PM
I've done it. Be sure to split it wet, and it is really stringy and tough to split, but doable.
Feral  [Moderator]
10/31/2011 7:46:33 PM
I'd burn almost anything if my family was cold. With that said, I sure do appreciate having high quality wood to burn. Makes life a bit easier.
danc46  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 7:51:09 PM
If it's free and easy to get, use it.
If people are picky about free fuel to heat their home, I don't know what to say.
Feral  [Moderator]
10/31/2011 7:58:50 PM
Originally Posted By danc46:
If people are picky about free fuel to heat their home, I don't know what to say.


There's really nothing free about "free" wood. By the time you cut it, load it, haul it and unload it, it ain't "free." The question really is "is it worth it?" and that I can't answer as I've no experience with cottonwood.

BustinCaps  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 8:55:53 PM
I can tell a chimney that burns a lot of cottonwood a mile away. Most people don't season it properly and smolder it. It leaves a ton of ash, and fly ash that fills the flue. I burned it one year and wanted to cry. No heat, shitty burn, smelled like the balls of a dead skunk gigolo.

That said, it is perfectly fine to burn. Just be aware that it seems to take MUCH longer than even pine to properly season.

Pine is far better if those are the two options you have.
RR_Broccoli  [Team Member]
10/31/2011 9:43:54 PM
Maybe make some stump stoves out of it and sell them for $15 each?

Outdoor use... seems like a better place than a stove. Note though, if your standard is "pine", then, you are already sorta sucking the bottom of the stack on content and "mess up the flue" features.

If they can grow cottonwood. You can grow black locust. THAT is hot burning dense stuff.
43_North  [Member]
11/1/2011 12:10:12 AM
Thanks for all of the replies. I am going to go ahead and get it and at least try it out. Will post up my results....
SouthHoof  [Team Member]
11/1/2011 8:27:52 AM
My operating theory is simple. If it's cellulose it will produce BTU's when burned.

Cottonwood gets burned in my stove. I generally mix it with other species of hardwood.


FWIW, years ago I had a cutting permit for some riverbanks in the Shiawassee Wildlife Refuge. The river was lined with standing dead Cottonwoods. Some of them 36" in diameter and 80 feet tall. We dropped the trees and drove on the river (February) to fill up our trucks and trailers.

I cut them into 20" blocks and went to splitting them with my maul. I was amazed how easily it broke apart. Long straight grain & just one easy whack to split. I burned that stuff for three years. It produced heat & the cost was minimal.
HK1286  [Member]
11/1/2011 4:43:42 PM
I split a bunch of poplar by hand today. It splits like a champ for me, and its not seasoned at all. I am using it now before it gets really cold, because it does burn fast and create alot of ash. But I also am getting it free, and I need the wood for the early season. Saving my maple and cherry for the cold months ahead.
OverScoped  [Team Member]
11/1/2011 8:12:45 PM
Damn right i would.

I burn everything I get, all of it is free.

when i am splitting/stacking, i seperate my wood species. In the spring and fall, i select the least desireable wood. In the winter, i burn my locust and cherry and mix in a little of the other wood types.
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