There are many types of wood in the hardwood and softwood categories. However, they’re not equal regarding thickness, diameter, and hardness. There are some wood species that are a challenge to work with and should be avoided. Woods also have different characteristics, which are essential to consider. For example, some woods are stringy and others are tough. To give you some insights on picking the right type of wood for splitting, keep reading.
What Woods Should You Avoid for Log Splitting?
Three species that are easy to split, are oak, hard maple, and ash. Logs with interlocking grain, including sycamore, gum, and elm must be avoided. They’re hard to split even when using a log splitter. Also, green wood is easier to split than dry wood. Softwoods, on the other hand, are considerably easier to split than many hardwoods.
What Woods Burn Best?
It depends on the heating potential of the wood, which relies on higher wood density. You can easily find out by determining the tree species. For example, heavy and dense woods usually possess high heating values regarding BTUs (British thermal units) per unit volume vs. lighter wood species.
What is a British thermal unit? It’s a measure of the heat amount required in raising the temperature of a pound of water 1° F. For example, air-dried wood can produce almost 7000 BTUs/lb. All woods have the same value regardless of the species.
To illustrate, a unit of oak can produce almost the same heat as two units of cottonwood in terms of BTU. However, it also means that a greater volume of lighter wood species is required to emit the same heat as what hardwoods like oak can produce.
|Log Diameter||Minimum Force|
|6-Inch (Seasoned)||4 Ton|
|12-Inch (Seasoned)||7 Ton|
|12-Inch (Green)||16 Ton|
|24-Inch (Seasoned)||20 Ton|
|24-Inch (Green)||30+ Ton|
How to Choose Wood for Log Splitting
- White or red oak can burn at a high heat level. They’re less easily burned than other firewood, such as white ash. They don’t emit as much spark and smoke. However, they’re not easy to split. But if you’re looking for excellent firewood, oak is a great choice.
- Hard maple and hickory are easy to burn under high heat levels. Hickory, for instance, is the hottest burning among the most common firewood choices. However, maple and hickory are both hard to split.
- Beech is another top choice for its high heating levels, as it doesn’t emit much spark and smoke. It’s easier to split than oak, although it doesn’t burn easily. The wood is also recommended for firewood.
- Birch can burn from a medium to high heat level and doesn’t easily burn. This wood is easy to split and is an excellent choice for firewood because it doesn’t create much spark and smoke.
- White ash and black ash can burn from a medium to a high heat, and easily burns. They don’t emit much smoke and spark. Because they’re easy to split, you may also want to select it for firewood.
- Southern yellow pine: While it emits sparks and smoke, pine is good firewood, which is easy to split and burns at different heat levels.
- Redwood and cypress are excellent fuel sources. They burn at medium heat levels and are easy to burn.
- Cedar: Burns even at low heat and is easy to burn. While they emit some serious smoke and sparks, they won’t give you a hard time splitting.
- Larch or tamarack: Either can burn at medium heat levels. They’re easy to split and burn. However, both can emit some spark and smoke. They’re not the best softwoods for splitting, but they can also be fair sources of fuel if those are what’s available in your area.
Splitting wood isn’t easy, but choosing the right wood for the task can help. Start finding the right logs for splitting from our guide and keep the firewood burning! For best results, you may want to pick the right log splitter for the job based on the type of wood you’re cutting. Hope you learned some useful information on how to select the right wood for splitting.
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