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  #161  
Old 03-31-2012, 02:02 PM
Journeyman
 
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Default Re: Choosing and finding wood

I've just been skimming this thread. Apologies if this has been discussed before, but its fascinating how people view the calorific value of timber as being wildly different across the various species.
See, I've always thought that all timber has pretty much the same calorific value. Yet there have been tables posted in here that show a massive range of values.
I've always wondered how it came about - and now I reckon I've figured it out!
Its because many people have to buy their wood by volume!!
From my point of view, a kilogram of dry (zero percent moisture) wood is pretty much the same amount of energy, no matter what the brand.
But not all woods have the same density, so if you are buying wood by the cord, a volume measurement, you are getting wildly varying amounts of energy for your money.
When equal size pieces of pine and redgum are burned, people think there is a lot more heat in the redgum. There is, because the redgum piece weighs more.
That's bothered me for years - why people think differently about wood than I learned in chemistry class.
Here in OZ, they are supposed to sell firewood by weight. If they are honest enough to do that properly, a lot of crooks use estimated weights, then you'll get the same amount of energy whether its pine or redgum. Then its just the characteristics of the burn you need to worry about and the combustion products.. Do you want the wood to give up its energy quickly in a fast burn (pine) or release it more slowly (redgum)? And how do you feel about acid gases, etc.
On the subject of whether eucalyptus wood is safe for food. We always smoked our ham, bacon and metwurst in redgum smoke, and I'm still here to tell the tale. I still smoke fish using redgum turnings. If that hasn't killed me, I don't think cooking a pizza in redgum fired oven will either.
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  #162  
Old 03-31-2012, 06:49 PM
Serf
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Default Re: Choosing and finding wood

How is poplar wood for pizza oven use? I think I'll be able to get some soon and was wondering how it would do.

Erd
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  #163  
Old 03-31-2012, 07:59 PM
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Location: brisbane australia
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Default Re: Choosing and finding wood

[QUOTE=wotavidone;129491]I've just been skimming this thread. Apologies if this has been discussed before, but its fascinating how people view the calorific value of timber as being wildly different across the various species.
Gudday
I look at at this way...
A overfull barrow of "slash pine" offcuts will not be enough to bring my oven up to temp for a pizza cook. I'll use it ... you bet cha but I'll finish it with good hardwood after removing the excess ash.( the hardwood smells better when the pizzas are cooked to)
A 2/3 barrow of well dryed hardwood would do the job and no excess ash to clear just push to the side.

Regards Dave
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  #164  
Old 04-01-2012, 09:43 AM
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Default Re: Choosing and finding wood

"From my point of view, a kilogram of dry (zero percent moisture) wood is pretty much the same amount of energy, no matter what the brand."

Quite right Wotavidone. Most firewood (hardwood or softwood) produces about 12 to 13 million BTUs per ton.

In fireplaces or wood stoves, hardwood is prized in part because a lower volume is used (you need to load the stove less often) and less ash is produced per BTU. In a wood fired oven this is less of a consideration. Buy what ever is cheapest by weight.

Last edited by Neil2; 04-01-2012 at 09:49 AM.
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  #165  
Old 04-01-2012, 11:26 AM
Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cochrane, Alberta
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Default Re: Choosing and finding wood

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi_in_canada View Post
thanks Spunkoid, just wondering if i need to be super pickey about my wood, hard to be pickey when its free too!! mostly red oak and maple so with a few punky bits scattered in the mix i cant complain. all seasoned indoors for a winter with fans on it... think im golden.
You're right, you are golden... and I'm jealous. Don't worry about a few pieces being a little punky. You've got access to some pretty nice hardwood. In Alberta, white birch is prized for burning in a wood stove or fireplace. In Ontario, some people will only burn it if they have no other choice.
There has been some interesting discussion about energy release per pound, etc. There is a difference in energy release between wood species. It is more than just density, but also composition. To suggest that all species of wood burn the same is like saying that all grades of coal burn the same too.
My Grandmother used to burn poplar in her wood stove and used it to cook bread in the clay oven out back on their homestead. She could stoke the stove full of poplar without too much concern. Dry tamerack on the other hand burns much hotter and if you left the damper open on your stove, it would burn hot enough to warp the stove.
Here is a link to a chart about the burning characturistics of different wood species.
Burning Wood - Which is the Best to Burn?
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  #166  
Old 04-01-2012, 11:32 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cochrane, Alberta
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Default Re: Choosing and finding wood

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erdbeereis View Post
How is poplar wood for pizza oven use? I think I'll be able to get some soon and was wondering how it would do.

Erd
My Grandmother had a clay oven on their homestead that she used for baking bread. She pretty much burnt mostly seasoned poplar or aspen. Black poplar or balsam poplar, or cottonwoods tend to have a lot of moisture in them. Regardless, make sure you split the wood, stack it, and let is dry or season before you try to use it. I have used poplar in my forno for both pizzas and bread.
Memories of her bread is what got me thinking and then building a forno in my backyard....
Rick
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  #167  
Old 04-01-2012, 11:33 AM
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Default Re: Choosing and finding wood

Just thowing this in. I don't have any experience cooking with softwood. The native pine around here has a certain amount of turpentine in it. The resins are said to coat chimney flues if used in abundance. Most people around here burn very little pine in the fireplace for fear of the build up creosote causing a chimney fire. Our local pines also leave an undesirable taste in food if it used for smoke. None of this would probably of any consern in a pizza oven, if like Dave suggests, "finish it with good hardwood after removing the excess ash".
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  #168  
Old 04-25-2012, 03:35 AM
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Default Re: Choosing and finding wood

I've been given the chance to pickup some 'bloodgum' ,'bloodwood'..(not sure which)for some firewood in my pizza oven, does anyone know of this wood, would it be ok for burning in the oven, does it have any nasties in the wood.
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  #169  
Old 04-25-2012, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: Choosing and finding wood

Gudday
I grew up in the gold coast as a kid blood Gum grew in swamy areas and a stick of that thrown on a fire would give of a red fluid which would kill any fire.
I know this sounds a little like "hoop snake" and "bunyip" stories but the stuff exists check it out first....

Regards Dave
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  #170  
Old 04-25-2012, 04:26 AM
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Default Re: Choosing and finding wood

hhmmmm, thanks for that dave, the conundrum i have is that the wood (plenty of) is for free, but it is about an hours drive....so with fuel costs and time, i dont want to get there and find that it might kill me when fired up.

Firewood is not that common around me especially not for free

I also haven't seen the wood either, so makes it hard, the bloke has told me it burns real hot and is about the best wood around, "best wood", best for making furniture, best for firewood, best for cooking...who knows
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