Black Locust Firewood: [Is It Any Good?]

Black Locust Firewood

Black locust firewood comes from the black locust tree which is a medium-sized deciduous hardwood tree and can get as tall as 80 feet. The black locust is a shade-intolerant tree and needs plenty of sunlight. It grows best in well-drained, moist soil made up of limestone The wood is extremely hard and durable which makes it a favorite for furniture making and flooring.

This species is incredibly adaptive and has even been described as invasive for its rapid growth and sharp thorns. The bottom line is that there are many benefits to this tree but it is a tree that needs to be managed.

Is Black Locust Good Firewood

Black locust is one of the best firewoods and for good reason. The wood is very dense and has a density similar to that of anthracite coal. This allows for a very hot burn with a long flame.

The wood is great for anyone with a fireplace or stove. It produces a tremendous amount of heat and can create a nice slow-burning bed of coals.

One of the only cons when using this wood is that it may be difficult to get it started but once it’s set expect a very hot fire. It’s a relatively easy cleanup as a small pile of ashes is left behind – another reason why it would be great for fireplaces.

Easy cleanup plus it wouldn’t be an eyesore in your home. As stated above, it is a very hot firewood and if using indoors for your fireplace or stove it may be a good idea to mix it with other wood, or even start the fire out with other wood so that some of that high rising temperature can be controlled.

Simple research on the type of firewood you use for burning is essential to keeping your home, your property and yourself safe from damage.

Splitting Black Locust

Black Locust Firewood

Wood splitting is a technique used to cut tree logs into firewood or for various other purposes like woodworking and fence making. In order to split the wood properly, it’s best to use either an ax or a splitting maul.

Due to black locust being such a dense hardwood it can be an extremely difficult wood to split. Because of this, it may be best to split the log into multiple pieces.

The splitting maul may be the better choice when dealing with black locust wood as it’s less inclined to get stuck in the wood.

When striking the wood be sure to position yourself slightly uphill and on the hard ground so the log gets the most effective blow.

Forceful swings are needed along with a steady concentration to hit the intended target. Splitting wood can be very dangerous and it’s easy to get hurt if the focus is changed.

It has been found that splitting black locust wood while it’s still green (meaning unseasoned) may make it easier. It may also be easier to split the wood into smaller logs. Whatever the rate, while splitting wood every precaution should be taken to keep yourself safe and make sure no injuries occur.

Seasoning Black Locust

Seasoning wood, also called wood drying, is effectively reducing the moisture in the wood before it’s used. Seasoning is done for either furniture making and woodworking or for burning wood. Wood needs to be dried before it’s burned to burn hotter and also to be more effective.

Seasoned firewood is considered having 20% percent or less moisture content. To season properly, the wood needs to be cut and stacked and kept in a dry location.

Times can vary but it seems that anywhere from six months to eighteen months is when black locust wood reaches a moisture content below twenty percent. How small the logs are split and also where they’re kept should also factor into that timeline.

Another note of importance is that burning unseasoned wood (green) in your fireplace or stove can cause a build-up in your chimney that may potentially cause a fire.

Learning how to properly season wood is key for every homeowner wishing to use a wood-burning stove or fireplace.

When it’s time to check if the wood is seasoned there are several ways to do it. Throwing a sample piece onto a fire and watching for water or steam coming out of the end grain is indicative that the wood is still unseasoned. Looking at the ends of a sample piece and checking for cracks that go from the core to the bark indicates that the wood is seasoned.

A firewood moisture meter can be used to take the easy way out. This device can measure the amount of moisture that’s present. Simple tips and tricks like these are essential if the wood will be burning indoors.

You might want to look into a moisture meter to test the moisture content before you burn it. You can find them on Amazon for a decent price. Here is a link to the one I have. Moisture MeterOpens in a new tab. (Link To Amazon). Just make sure its 20% or lower and it’s safe to burn.

Black Locust BTU

BTU (British Thermal Unit) describes how much energy firewood has. Firewood from different trees burns at different speeds and can have varying rates of smoke and sparking. Knowing this information before burning firewood is vital.

When looking for the perfect firewood one with a higher BTU is essential. Black locust firewood measures in around 28 million BTU’s per cord. It is one of the higher firewoods on the BTU scale due to its density which allows it to burn hotter. It makes it perfect for keeping homes warm all night during those long winter months.

While black locust trees themselves can be seen as invasive if not managed, there are many positive attributes towards this firewood.


While it can be used for woodworking and the construction of fences it seems most useful as firewood. This very dense wood can create a very hot burn with a low flame making it perfect for indoor use. The leftover small pile of ashes along with low sparks while burning gives this firewood a high ranking.

Although splitting the wood may be a difficult chore it’ll all be worth it when you can snuggle up with your family on a cold winter’s night and enjoy the warmth from the fire.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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