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Blank Space
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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a number of different trees and shrubs and if I can cut it, I'll burn it. I've even used dried rose canes for kindling.

I don't care about excess smoke, smell, creosote potential, etc. I can guard against or deal with issues there.

But I got to wondering. For example, Poison Ivy smoke can cause problems.

Are there any woods that might cause similar problems, or possibly spread disease?
 

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I don't know about disease, but you are right on about the poison ivy. That steroid ring structure is very strong. When I was a kid our next door neighbor ended up in the hospital from burning and breathing poison ivy smoke. I would imagine the same is true with poison oak or sumac but I'm not sure.
 

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Evergreens will coat the inside of the chimney with particles that will burn again, causing chimney fires...cedars, pines and stuff like soft maple will ooze saps and resins will also cause the chimney problems...

As for processed wood,
'Chip Core' or 'Fiber Processed' wood all has glue holding it together, so breathing that smoke is a BAD IDEA!
That includes plywood.

Pressure treated wood should NEVER be burned where you will get in the smoke!
The pressure 'Treatment' is a cocktail of toxins, most of which can be ingested through the smoke!
 

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Senior Moment
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Other than poison ivy/oak/sumac you are pretty safe burning any north American woods... Including pine and the like. They are just different. Many places in the US that's all there is and those guys do fine.

There are a few tropical woods that aren't all that great to breath the smoke from, but you won't run into those around here. (unless you plan on burning furniture/guitars/Asian or African carvings/whatever)

And if you plan on burning lumber, yeah stay away from treated and painted wood.
 

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I have burned a lot of pallets and some I get from a grave stone place came from overseas from various countries,and the wood varies from olive trees to lemon trees,and quite a few species I dont know what it is exactly..from places like Italy,Spain,and some third world countries..

Some of them burn poorly even after being bone dry,takes a long time to finally get it going good,and makes a thick smoke that'll gag you,it stinks too--some of the wood smells like menthol when you saw or split it.....they aren't chemically treated either,I now take care not to take any pallets that have MB burned into the wood,that stands for Methyl Bromide,which is a toxin--most pallets are now HT which means "heat treated" to kill any insects and prevent some forigen species from hitching a ride here..

I'm also leery now of burning many of the cherry and other trees in my yard that had poison ivy vines growing on them as thick as an inch--the vines can be pulled off fairly easy,but I bet a lot of the oil from them lingers on the bark--I wait until the logs dry enough to let the bark peel off before I try burning them in a stove..and dont burn the vines,period..

I hate poison ivy--you cant get rid of it even after its dead,the poison lingers "forever"...cant burn it anywhere humans might get exposed to the smoke,and if you leave it lying around its liable to start sprouting again,or give anyone who comes in contact with it a rash..

Elm wood doesn't burn for beans either,and smells like pee...Willow isn't much better...
 

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Senior Moment
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We have Red Elm around here. One of the best burning woods available. Splitting it, on the other hand...
 

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When I was a kid, we had a wood room in the cellar filled with cordwood. At one point we had a dead elm tree cut down and bucked up into firewood. The cellar smelled like cat pee for a couple of years. Truly amazing.

The one thing you should never even think of burning is pressure treated wood of any kind. Old, new, whatever - just don't do it. It will release arsenic (cupric arsenide, I think) into your breathing environment. The older it is, the more likely you'll get sick from standing around while it burns. Bad juju.
 

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Most of the Elm trees here were killed off long ago,so you dont see that many any more..the stuff I had didn't burn well and threw little heat..maybe it wasn't well seasoned,I dont know..the smell alone was reason enough not to use any..

I had some very stringy wood that was red inside that burned great,long lasting and lots of heat,but I think it was red oak or maybe some kind of locust,but maybe it was a red elm--it was a huge tree nearly 3 feet thick and very tall,the power company took it down when it threatened nearby power lines..was nearly impossible to split by hand,just a small strand would hold the log together..had to chain saw them lengthwise to "split" them..

I burnt a lot of Willow wood a neighbor gave me years ago when a few large trees in her yard were toppled in heavy snow one year--I let it dry almost 3 years and it still hissed and had water boiling out of it when I'd toss a log in on top of a already roaring fire,and it stunk like pee bad,whether it was just stacked or burning...took a long time to get rid of it..
 

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Blank Space
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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, that's what I was going to say, but I don't remember the cutoff, and I don't know what they're using now that may be worse.

I do burn some PT scraps from trimming deck boards, etc., but it's mixed in with other stuff so the smoke should be carried away well.
 

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Anything that has been treated with creosote should be avoided. Burns hot but really messes up a chimney and will saturate the house with a horrible stench that sticks around for months. Old railroad ties, power poles, pilings and the like. Lot of the old telephone poles were treated with the arsenic based preservatives as were many old fence post. Evergreen wood needs to be well cured before use, if it's green it will really creosote up a chimney and can cause some spectacular chimney fires.

I think we quit treating fence post with arsenic based treatments in the early 70's but it may have been earlier.

Mike
 
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