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How to tell if you have the right kind of firewood!

How to tell if you have good firewood by species. The wood must be dry (ie less than 16% moisture content), and be stacked off the ground. The BTU’s mentioned are by a full cord, multiplied by 1,000,000 (a BTU or British Thermal Unit is the amount of energy required to heat one pound of liquid water by one degree Fahrenheit).


And the Janka Scale is defined by the following: The Janka Test is a way to measure the hardness of wood. The Janka Test was developed as a variation of the Brinell hardness test, with both tests seeking the same results. The test measures the amount of force needed to sink a steel musket ball with a diameter of just less than a half inch into the wood to a depth of half that ball’s diameter.


So with these two (or three if you consider the dryness of the wood in question) factors, one can see the ones with the highest two numbers are generally considered to be the best! Enjoy!!!!


Wood Species Hardness BTU’s per cord

Apple 1,730 27.0

Black Locust 1,770-1,790 27.9

Honey Locust 1,580 26.8

American Beech 1,330-1,390 27.5

Red Oak 1,220-1,290 24.6

White Oak 1,360-1,400 26.4

Pin Oak: 1,500 25.9

Black Birch 1,460 26.8

River Birch 1,250 28.0

Silver/Grey Birch 1,210 22.4-24.8

White Ash 1,320 23.6

Cherry 950 20.0

Shagbark Hickory 1,860 27.7

Bitternut Hickory 2,200 26.6 (Also known as Pignut Hickory)

Sugar Maple 1,450 24.0

Red Maple 875-950 18.6

Orange Osage 2,040 32.9


Japanese Cherry 950 25.3


All of these species I/we try to get at all times, with obvious reasons the ones with the higher numbers are more sought after than others, as in most cases they are rarer, and more difficult to come across!


Hope this helps in the direction of what it is you are looking for.


Best Wishes,

Phil - Huckleberry Cinders

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