#1  
Old 11-16-2010, 12:11 PM
Laborer
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Vancouver Island BC
Posts: 78
Default Maple or Arbutus (Madrona)?

I can get either of these woods and both are rated well for burning and low smoke. If the cost is similar, does anyone have any input on a preference for one over the other?
I could get oak too but for 40% more.
Thanks!
Karen
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11-16-2010, 12:50 PM
SableSprings's Avatar
Apprentice
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Roseburg, OR USA
Posts: 235
Default Re: Maple or Arbutus (Madrona)?

I'm in Roseburg, Oregon and have been using Madrone (the local name for Arbutus) in my oven for the last 18 months. I prefer it to oak because I get a better/hotter fire with significantly less ash. The only thing you have to be careful of is burning the smaller twigs and branches while cooking. The smaller stuff seems to initially burn with an "off" smell...maybe it's in the thin bark since I don't notice that smell with older, split and seasoned Madrone pieces.
Hope that helps, Mike
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-16-2010, 01:56 PM
lwood's Avatar
Master Builder
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: philippines
Posts: 642
Default Re: Maple or Arbutus (Madrona)?

Either will be fine. The madrone may be a little hotter than maple.
__________________
Our Facebook Page:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-16-2010, 03:54 PM
Neil2's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 1,374
Default Re: Maple or Arbutus (Madrona)?

Go with the Maple. You have to split the wood down to 3-4 inch diameter pieces. Arbutus is a bear to split.

Also remember that these ovens are not fussy and that all firewood has the roughly the same BTU per pound. Buy the cheapest stuff by weight that is also easy to split and will season quickly. I use mostly Douglas Fir and alder.

Last edited by Neil2; 11-16-2010 at 04:07 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-16-2010, 09:01 PM
Laborer
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Vancouver Island BC
Posts: 78
Default Re: Maple or Arbutus (Madrona)?

Thank-you both for your input. I will take it into consideration.
We burn alot of Doug fir in our firepits as we have it on our lot but according to the burning charts (and our experience) it can be smokier than the others. Then again, if our oven chimney/vent draws very well, will extra smoke matter....? Hmmmmmm. I'll let you know what we get.

Karen
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-16-2010, 11:32 PM
Master Builder
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Washington State USA
Posts: 778
Default Re: Maple or Arbutus (Madrona)?

Karen,
I would vote for the madrona (arbutus, if one is speaking Canadian). Here in the Pacific Northwest we have several varieties of maple and their characteristics are a great deal different than the maples that grow in the east. The varieties I have tried (vine maple and western curly) are alot less dense and do not produce hot long lasting coals like the madrona. As for ease of splitting: the western curly is a real pain compared to madrona, vine maple is about on par with alder. Neither IMHO are on a par with madrona with respect to being the best wood for hot long lasting coals (if that is your goal).

Another common wood hereabouts is wild cherry which is comparable to the madrona for density and burn characteristics although very hard to split by hand power regardless if it is wet or dry (one has to cut the bark lengthwise otherwise it acts like barrel bands). If your wood supplier offers that it is worth considering.

Since you are inferring that you are purchasing the wood I would personally go for the madrona. That depends a bit on any price difference between the two. And since (if) you are purchasing most likely the seller will have cut it to some nominal length and split the wood prior to stacking it into a cord (regardless if he's selling it wet or dried).

It is a common sight to see people selling wood loaded in the back of pickups where I live....they call it a "cord" and the practice of people getting ripped off by "short cords" and "face cords" is so bad the listing in the Classified adverts has a warning to buyers to make certain they understand what they are buying and what the seller is selling before purchasing. Unless one uses alot of wood it is very hard to look at a pile of wood and know it it is a cord.

Reputable sellers hereabouts have a yard with stacked wood and one looks at and pays for a given stack of wood. The stacks are usually measured cords. It is then delivered or one collects it themselves. Otherwise it is best to forget the idea of a cord but rather one accepts that they are paying so much for a certain load of wood.

Fortunately, I have never had to pay for fire wood, I cut my own.

Hope this helps,
Wiley
on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-17-2010, 10:43 AM
Neil2's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 1,374
Default Re: Maple or Arbutus (Madrona)?

To get to the temperatures you want, any wood you use has to be well seasoned and dry. Good wood management and a well ventilated woodshed will help in the success of your oven.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-17-2010, 05:55 PM
Laborer
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Vancouver Island BC
Posts: 78
Default Re: Maple or Arbutus (Madrona)?

Thanks, Wiley. That was certainly helpful and has swayed me. In my research, I did notice that not all maples are alike and perform quite differently. Not being tree experts, I doubt that we'd be able to tell the difference between, say, a silver or a sugar maple. I think I will go for the arbutus. It may be difficult to split, but this isn't a worry since we split a fair amount of fir already - we have the tools, set-up and man-power with adult sons around!
I appreciate your input on the cord/Craigslist issue. Luckily, my contractor husband has purchased alot of wood over the years (we used to live in Oregon and had a wood-burning furnace) and he has a keen-eye for the capacity of his dump trailer and 1-ton truck. The size of a cord (4x4x8) was probably one of the first construction dimensions our sons learned (as well as stacking wood "as tight as a duck's arse"!).

Neil2: You're right, of course; the wood will only burn as well as it is seasoned. We are taking this into consideration when comparing loads/prices. Hubby's plan is to load our 16' dump trailer with the wood and then park it in one half of the workshop as we don't have a wood-shed specifically. We'll have to carry it from there, loading some under the oven, but it will be dry at least.

Thank-you both.

Karen
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-17-2010, 06:18 PM
Mike D's Avatar
Journeyman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Berkeley, Ca.
Posts: 342
Default Re: Maple or Arbutus (Madrona)?

So an Arbutus is a type of tree in the same family as a Madrona (it is also called a strawberry tree). There are different types of madrone type trees, most a very hard. They are not hard to split when they are wet (2-3 weeks old max). After that, the wood hardens up and is not fun to split by hand. I am an arborist and get too much wood to use. As long as it's dry, it should be fine.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-18-2010, 07:23 AM
Laborer
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Vancouver Island BC
Posts: 78
Default Re: Maple or Arbutus (Madrona)?

Thanks, Mike. Will add that gem to the info I've mined.
(Strawberry tree - nice!)

Karen
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Alder for less or Maple for more? kebwi Firing Your Oven 5 02-05-2010 11:42 PM
alder or maple for firewood? waynebergman Newbie Forum 9 12-09-2007 12:37 PM
Rustic Meal: Sausage, Sweet Potatoes & Maple Cinnamon Apples sarah h What You Cooked Last Night 3 11-22-2007 01:45 AM
what is the type of maple considered hard maple? waynebergman Getting Started 2 10-02-2007 07:00 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:27 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
2006/10 Forno Bravo, LLC