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Its ok to be a wood (burning) snob.

If you see a wood pile, can you walk over and identify the species?  Are you in tune to how different wood burns?  Folks with saunas and wood burning fireplaces in cold climates like Alaska, Minnesota, Canada are in tune.  These folks have to be in tune.  Proper BTU management is pretty critical.  Burn crappy wood, be cold.  Burn good wood, stay warm.

My Favorite Wood to Burn:

  1. Birch – burns fairly fast, but hot.  BONUS:  birch bark is nature’s gasoline.
  2. Red Oak – a great winter burning wood.  Long lasting, compact fire, clean hot burn.
  3. Maple – not as intense as oak, yet similar properties.
  4. 2nd LAST PLACE: Jack Pine – takes up space in the fire box and emits little in return.
  5. 1st LAST PLACE: Wet wood, or unseasoned wood, or dried out lifeless wood.

What is your Favorite Wood to Burn in Sauna?:

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4 thoughts on “Its ok to be a wood (burning) snob.”

  1. Built an outdoor wood burning sauna (from scratch without a kit) in our Western Wisconsin backyard this year…with my part Finnish (from Duluth,MN) wife’s encouragement. What a great decision…we have a new routine with Wednesday being sauna night…while the weekend has become one long sauna party. So far I have burned white oak, red oak, ash, birch, hickory and maple. My rankings? 1)White Oak 2)Birch 3)Red Oak 4)Hickory 5)Ash and 6)Maple. — all have been good.

  2. I have burned White Oak, Red Oak, Cherry, Hickory, Ash, and Black Locust. I will have to say that it’s hard to beat good old Oak. White Oak seems to burn just a little hotter than Red. Hickory burns the hottest but is a bit harder to split. Cherry burns hot, smells great, but burns pretty fast.

  3. Check out this website: http://www.woodheat.org/firewood.html, here they list the BTU/cord of various species of wood. Top of the list; rock elm, shagbark hickory & white oak. Not included on the list is apple which has a similar BTU rating as beech which burns slightly hotter that red oak. In the end what you have access to is what you burn. I like to burn beech, birch, oak and cherry and mix in some kiln dried hardwood scraps (solid gasoline) from the local sawmill. Beech is a pain to split but worth the heat. Oak’s draw back is the seasoning time but is nice to split.

  4. Ostend We have a cabin in the woods of Leelanau Michigan w a nippa sauna stove that you feed from outside. The sauna is just under 10’x6’ in size and is built under the roof overhang sharing part of an exterior wall and porch overlooking a lake. We have 23 acres of mixed hardwood of mostly beech sugar maple and ash w some hornbeam mixed in. They all burn excellent but the ash is easiest to split. The hornbeam burns hottest and we only use it sparingly since I’ve read it can create stove-warping temps if used all alone.

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