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What To Burn On Open Fire?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 4:52 am

I recently had a fire at my parents house in their open fireplace and the fire started smoking badly. We got a chimney sweep in shortly after and he said we were lucky to have not had a major chimney fire as there was a lot of soot built up.

We reckon this was due to burning freshly felled wood (sap residue and all that) but were wondering also about burning wood that has previously been painted/treated - we have had a lot of this from timbers used in old buildings.

Does anyone out there have an open fire, and if so what wood do you/do you not burn? I have heard conifer is bad but other than that have been advised that any wood is good as long as it has been seasoned for at least a year.

Answers please!


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RE: What To Burn On Open Fire?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 4:57 am

Why use wood if you can use 50 gallons of fine LPG
[edit post]
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RE: What To Burn On Open Fire?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 5:12 am

Try not to use treated wood, it can give off toxic chemicals.

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RE: What To Burn On Open Fire?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 6:12 am

Using wood scrapped from buildings is NOT a good idea -- that sort of wood is usually treated with anything from pesticides to arsenic compounds to prevent rotting and pest infestation. You could be poisoning yourself as you enjoy a fire.

Try using wood that has dried for several months. You could harvest wood in the summer and let it dry on a concrete slab, preferably *uncovered* (I know, that's counterintuitive, but any rainfall will dry fast from the surface layers.) If you don't have a concrete slab, try a mesh tarp, one which will keep the surface dry at the same time preventing pooling under the bottom layer of wood. By the end of November, much of the wood should be dry.

My parents burned anything from pine to oak. We had a lot of birch in our back yard, too. Generally, the heavier/denser the wood, the longer it burns and the more heat it gives off. Also, the less light bark you have, the better fire you get... Bark burns like paper -- only medium-temp and very fast.

Just my 0.02.


edit: spelling!

[Edited 2004-12-17 22:40:50]
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RE: What To Burn On Open Fire?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 6:30 am

We were burned out once - to the ground and lost everything. It was due to an old chimney in which the mortar had crumbled. I've had chimney fire just a few years ago. We'd been burning tamarack, which is like a pine. It burns very rapidly and evidently builds up quite a bit of creosote in a chimney. I'll tell you it was my first chimney fire and that thing went into afterburner! It roared like a jet engine!

Burning dried hardwoods, oak and myrtle right now and creosote buildup seems to be slight. I agree with Redngold about burning scrap lumber. No idea what you might find in it!

Also, have the chimney swept at whatever interval is recommended for your locale. Losing your stuff in a fire is a lifelong bummer. We were not left destitute, but it was family things that we mourned. Years later we would remember something that had been lost.

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RE: What To Burn On Open Fire?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 6:44 am

we have an extinguisher near ours lol it doesnt look right, being there, but it's worth it  Smile
The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
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RE: What To Burn On Open Fire?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 7:03 am

I always find wood is good in an open fire , but just make sure it is not treated with the green cyanide dip as this tends to make you a little bit sick.
Another good one is the local pesky cat but this should be done when you are not in the house as the smell can be a bit much.
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RE: What To Burn On Open Fire?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 7:39 am

Get some of those logs that u just light the paper that they are wrapped in and they burn--- starter logs.... those are good. ... but then u need alot of plain old wood to burn along with it. Voila, you have a nice fire.

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RE: What To Burn On Open Fire?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 7:43 am

We used big square 4x4s that you commonly see on the top of flatbed trucks. My dad used to bring the stuff home from work by the trunk full, the stuff was kept in wire bins off the ground so they were nice and dry. Plus to get it started he broght some smaller blocks home to throw in there. But I cant exactly remember what the type of wood was. But, I can say, it burned really hot if you fed it enough wood.

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