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alder or maple for firewood? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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alder or maple for firewood?

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  • alder or maple for firewood?

    Getting a little ahead of myself here (still waiting for fire bricks to arrive) but it is the season to buy firewood right now in my neck of the woods. I am in BC Canada. I thought cedar would be a good choice for kindeling and not sure to look for alder or maple. Fir is also in abundance around here. Any suggestions?..... wayne
    see below for my oven album of progress to date


  • #2
    Re: alder or maple for firewood?

    Maple has the highest BTUs and among those choices I would use maple primarily. To get the oven started any of the others are reasonable. Alder is a distant second as a choice to burn while making pizza. I have the exact same selection in my area. The first cord of wood I bought (still working through it) is a mixture of alder, fir, and maple. I haven't used much cedar, but the fir makes excellent kindling to start the oven. The advantage of buying now is you can be sure the wood is protected from the elements when the rainy season picks up so it is well seasoned. You also get plenty of time to split it further and allow it to season as smaller pieces - most firewood is cut larger than you'll want for the oven (ideal pieces are 2-4" width).


    • #3
      Re: alder or maple for firewood?

      Ditto on the firewood choice. My experience is that cedar, fir and hemlock are pretty good for kindling (if real dry) and making a lot of soot in the oven if you try to heat with it. I've used a lot of alder in fireplaces but it goes pretty quickly and doesn't have a lot of BTU's in it. Maple would be great. I used a lot of Madrona a few years back and it was very good. Lots of BTU's. Anyone tried it in an oven?
      "The road of excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom."


      • #4
        Re: alder or maple for firewood?

        Thanks....Maple it is.....Wayne
        see below for my oven album of progress to date



        • #5
          Re: alder or maple for firewood?

          Here is some information that I picked up from one of my wood sources.

          Hardwoods burn hotter and cleaner which means you actually burn fewer hardwood logs than softwood to obtain the type of fire you want. Hardwoods leave less creosote, a sap residue that can clog chimney flue and even cause fires in extreme cases.

          Oak is a long-burning hardwood that is typically used in pizza ovens, wood-burning grills and barbecues. Oak is usually seasoned for four to six months.

          Mesquite is typically used in pizza ovens or wood-burning grills and it is a favorite for barbecues. It is a slow-burning wood that creates a hot fire. It produces a great aroma and gives barbecued meat or poultry a Southwestern flavor!

          Almond is usually dark in color and is seasoned for nine months. It produces about 20% more heat per cord than Oak, making it a good value, and it burns clean for an easy clean-up.

          Walnut is usually light in color and produces much more heat than typical warehouse or grocery store bundles, making it a good value. It burns clean for an easy clean-up and is typically smaller and easier to carry than some other woods.

          Citrus is another good choice.

          Approximate Heat Content Per Cord of Woods Used for Firewood in California (Dry Basis)1

          Type of Wood Heat Value/Cord (million BTU)

          Alder 15.7
          Almond 32.9
          Apple 27.5
          Apricot 28.3
          Avocado 20.7
          Cedar, Incense 16.0
          Cedar, Port Oxford 17.6

          Cherry 27.0
          Chinkapin 18.9
          Citrus 33.8
          Cottonwood 14.0
          Cypress, Monterey 19.3
          Douglas Fir 21.5
          Elm 20.7
          Eucalyptus, Blue Gum 28.0
          Eucalyptus, Lemon Scented Gum 30.6
          Eucalyptus, Mountain Gum 24.3
          Eucalyptus, Red Gum 30.6
          Eucalyptus, Rose Gum 27.5

          Fig 23.3
          Fir, Grand 15.2
          Fir, Red 16.1
          Fir, White 15.7

          Laurel, Bay 23.3
          Laurel, California 23.3
          Laurel, Myrtle (Oregon) 23.3
          Laurel, Pepperwood 23.3
          Madrone 24.8
          Mahogany, mountain 39.8
          Manzanita 32.0
          Maple 19.6
          Oak, Black 22.6
          Oak, Blue 38.2
          Oak, Coast Live 28.5
          Oak, Canyon Live 31.7
          Oak, Tanoak 26.1
          Oak, White 28.2
          Olive 37.3
          Peach 32.5
          Pear 32.0
          Pine, Digger 20.5
          Pine, Knobcone 17.2
          Pine, Lodgepole 17.3
          Pine, Monterey * 22.0
          Pine, Ponderosa 18.3
          Pine, Sugar 16.2

          Plum 25.6
          Redwood 18.5
          Walnut, English 22.5
          Walnut, Black 23.5

          1Wood specific gravity and heat value are both necessary for calculation of fuel value. Both have been determined for most woods but data were estimated for a few uncommon species, based on local laboratory experience.
          * Pinyon is very close to Monterey Pine in heat value.

          I have highlighted those that I feel that we need to stay away from, at least from a cooking point of view.

          I typically burn oak, hickory [when I can find it], mesquite, and citrus. I was fortunate to find olive once, and did not buy enough [only a small sample]. My biggest problem is storage - not enough room]

          J W


          • #6
            Re: alder or maple for firewood?

            That's great info JW. It confirms a lot of what I suspected about the local woods in the NW. I guess I'll stick with apple. It's easier and cheaper for me at this time.
            "The road of excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom."


            • #7
              Re: alder or maple for firewood?

              Just thought I would add mesquite to the list.
              It grows everywhere around my neck of the woods.

              28.8 m btu's per chord

              And a nice article on firewood.
              My thread:
              My costs:
              My pics:


              • #8
                Re: alder or maple for firewood?

                I'm in need of firewood in the wet NW. I found this link as another reference for Western woods:

                (Fire Wood Chart Western Trees The Chimney Sweep)
                Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.



                • #9
                  Re: alder or maple for firewood?

                  What about white birch tree? did not see on list and have some available


                  • #10
                    Re: alder or maple for firewood?


                    I also live in BC (Vancouver Island). After a year of cooking I've found that the oven is not fussy. I've used arbutis, maple, alder, douglas fir, and even coal.

                    It is not like a fireplace or wood stove where quick burning wood is a nuisance - you have to keep adding wood - therefore something like maple or arbutis (madronna to you yanks) is preferred.

                    With the pizza oven you are just loading it once to bring it up to temperature.

                    Although BTUs per cord vary, all well seasoned firewood gives about the same BTUs per pound. The key is to get well seasoned wood and have a good place to store it.

                    I generally now prefer the alder or douglas fir. Locally it is good value, easy to split and, if bought in the spring, will season well in 6 months or so.

                    Again, these things are not too fussy about the kind of wood you use.
                    Last edited by Neil2; 12-09-2007, 01:43 PM. Reason: spelling