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Many people have the same question — is madrone good firewood?
Madrone is a scenic evergreen tree comprised of silvery bark and oval clustered leaves.
As an ideal landscape choice, it is widely sought-after in both California and Oregon.
But do its aesthetic qualities match up with its firewood potential?
Let's take a closer look at these trees to truly find out whether or not madrone is a good firewood choice.
Madrone is a beautiful, light-colored wood with the much sought-after smoothness in the grain.
The tree itself is an evergreen that grows on the west coast of North America, between British Columbia and California.
Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) can grow up to 70-80 feet tall and its trunk
diameter averages between 2-3 feet.
It belongs to the heath family (Ericaceae), related to plants such as blueberries, mountain laurel, and rhododendrons.
Thus making it a hard but durable species of wood ideal for furniture, decks, and other projects like guitar designing.
Because of its warm coloring and grain pattern, it’s perfect for creating some of the most stylish looking pieces!
Madrone is considered a hardwood despite its evergreen family affiliation.
It shares many of the common characteristics of other hardwoods, including hardness and a tendency to warp and twist during drying.
What sets this unique hardwood apart from most is its two-year cycle when shedding leaves, instead of the yearly pattern other hardwoods usually follow.
When milled, madrone lumber carries many qualities as other dense, fine-grained hardwoods such as oak, being very heavy but prone to splitting when worked on.
Its heartwood possesses a pale brown hue reminiscent of apple wood, while its sapwood can often be seen with a cream color, providing attractive contrasts between heart and sap that are reminiscent of other fruit or nut trees.
Madrone is a well-rounded tree in terms of its uses.
Those who are particularly interested in lumber will find madrone to be very sought after, as it is an almost exotic lumber with burls that can provide a higher price point.
It mills just as easily as any other dense hardwood, making it perfect for turnings and joinery.
The colored madrone lumber can prove to be
desirable when making fine woodworking projects like furniture or turning
stock, as the contrast between the heart and sapwood is one of its more
Native Americans were known to consume the berries right off the tree, and this is still a popular way of eating madrones today.
The sweet yet slightly sour fruit can be used in pies or turned into an easy-to-make cider.
The bark from madrone trees has healing properties and can be steeped into tea to treat sore throats and colds, as well as an effective wash for skin sores.
Some also chew the leaves of madrone trees to help with stomach aches or cramps because they are naturally bitter.
Lastly, and most importantly, madrone makes an excellent firewood that burns hot and produces minimal ash, which makes it perfect for use in the Pacific Northwest.
Is madrone good firewood to split?
I would say it's moderately easy....if the wood is green.
With madrone firewood, it's important to split the wood as soon as possible after cutting it into rounds.
mechanical splitter may be better for drier pieces with knots in it, and a maul
or splitting axe can work on green wood.
To get the wood properly seasoned in just one year, place stacks of the firewood where there is plenty of sun and wind exposure, so it can dry out more quickly.
When compared to other types of woods such as red oak, madrone is a much denser wood, yet still able to season and dry relatively fast when handled correctly.
Madrone firewood should be stored either in a well-ventilated wood shed or outdoors.
To maximize air circulation, start with something on the ground, such as used pallets, and only cover the top of outdoor stacks.
A material like old metal roofing is ideal for covering these stacks.
However, you can also just use a tarp that can then be tied down.
Remember to keep the sides of these stacks open, as this will help ensure proper air circulation, allowing the firewood to dry out properly and prevent mold due to dampness.
Madrone firewood is fast becoming a highly sought-after option for those looking to burn wood in a wood stove or to simply use it as campfire wood.
It can be as good, if not better, than oak, as it often produces
more coals and holds heat in much longer.
The cost of madrone firewood may be perceived as higher than other woods, but its exceptional performance means it is well worth the purchase.
For anyone searching for a long-lasting and hot burning fuel, madrone is definitely something to consider.
With its moisture content and structure, madrone firewood is known for its intensity of high heat.
It can produce up to 30 million BTUs per cord, which will ensure both a generous amount of heat as well as a smokeless burn.
Thought to be the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, madrone firewood is highly sought after and easy to light.
Not only does it give off an intense amount of heat, but it also provides ash that is used as garden fertilizer, making it a great all-around choice for your winter fire.
For anyone who has recently purchased madrone firewood, you may be wondering if this is considered a safe burning fuel source?
The answer is yes!
Madrone firewood produces very few sparks and very low levels of creosote compared to other types of wood.
It is most commonly used either indoors or
outdoors due to its superior performance and minimal sparking potential.
Plus, due to its unique cellular structure, when this wood is burned, it reaches high temperatures allowing any buildup of creosote to be greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.
So those looking for a safe, efficient and clean burning wood should definitely consider purchasing or cutting your own madrone firewood.
If you have access to madrone trees and want to use them for firewood, go ahead!
It's a good wood to have on hand, especially if you live in an area where madrone trees are common.
Give it a try the next time you build a fire......I think you'll love the results!