Beech is considered to be an amazing choice for good firewood. It is a hardwood and valuable timber. If you can grow it in the area where you live, nothing can be luckier than that. You can find beech in the northeastern states of the United States.
The best thing about beech is that it can grow in a variety of soils. They usually grow as tall as 150 feet. So, the more the height and strength, the more wood you receive.
Beech firewood grows along with a sugar maple tree and ash tree. If you get a hold of many beech seedlings, you can soon expect a canopy that converts the entire area into a dense forest.
The unique feature to identify beech firewood is its silver bark, which is very smooth. The branches and bark of the tree don’t flake out, making it a great choice amongst other firewood. It is considered to be a clean fuel with less smoke produced on burning. Other uses of beech include:
· production of pallets
· manufacturing railroad ties
· manufacturing furniture
· beechnut is a delicacy for many animals
· ornaments and certain types of utensils
Splitting Beech Firewood
The task of splitting beech firewood can be easy to a moderate job. Some of them can be split easily by hand because they are that soft. Others require the use of a splitting ax or maul tool to split the wood. Whether splitting beech wood is easier or tough also depends on its wetness and dryness. The ideal time for this is late winter months or early spring days.
It is best to split beech firewood after you have harvested it. The reason is simple: when the timber is split when it is wet, the pores open up easily since it has a lot of moisture. It is softer to chop. This allows the water to evaporate soon, and firewood starts to dry quickly. But this case is not always true.
Certain times when beech wood is large and wet, the splitting process can be complicated. What is the alternative now?
In such situations, it is better to allow it to dry for a few days until the wood starts shrinking.
After that, it can be easily split and chopped according to your needs. It should be noticed that beech firewood is the easiest to split as compared to other firewood.
If you’re new to splitting wood, I wrote a helpful guide on how to do it. You can check it out here, How to split wood by hand
Seasoning Time For Beech Firewood
Seasoning or drying time is different for every firewood. It would be best if you had firewood to generate more heat and warm you during cold winter days and nights.
You should have noticed that the more the firewood dries, the more heat it produces when burning. Beech comes under the category of good grade firewood.
Since beech firewood has a high content of water, it requires a long seasoning period. This period is usually one to two years before burning. The best choice is to keep it for a good two years’ time. After that, you can get the best out of the beech firewood you stocked up on.
The following characteristics will help you determine if your firewood is properly seasoned and ready to be burned.
As the wood dries, the smell fades. The scent changes from a strong aroma of green wood to the light scent of wood.
The color fades. It is no longer green, but more of a brownish color.
The shape changes considerably. It is easily noticeable how the size shrinks.
It becomes harder since all the water inside the pores has been evaporated.
Weight change can be seen. Seasoned wood is lighter than wet wood.
The bark on seasoned wood is light and loose.
The cracks appear on dry wood. These extend to the edges of the wood from the center. More cracks mean they have been dried properly.
A hollow sound is produced when two pieces of seasoned wood are stuck together.
It will burn quickly and produces less smoke. Greenwood produces a lot of smoke and does not light up quickly.
Seasoned wood is dry from every end. Split it open, and if it feels dry, it is good to use.
You should buy a moisture meter if you are still unsure whether beech firewood has had proper seasoning time. You can easily purchase it from hardware stores.
Insert it into the wood. If the reading is between 10-25%, it is good to use it. If not, you should let it dry for more time. Here is a link to the one I have. Moisture Meter.
BTU Of Beech Firewood
BTU or British Thermal Unit of beech firewood is excellent.
It stands at 28 million BTU’s per cord. This implies that a large amount of heat is produced by burning a small amount of adequately seasoned beech firewood. It burns very hot, and as mentioned above, it produces less smoke, hence making it clean fuel.
Beech firewood does not produce many sparks. The residue left after burning is very minimal. You won’t have a lot of bark lying here and there in your living room.
If you want to learn about firewood BTUs, check out my article on it. It has a chart also if you want to look up what another type of wood BTU is. BTU Of Firewood
Even though beech firewood has low economic value, it can be quickly grown on your farm. It produces beautiful wood. The benefit it has in household-related works, especially during winters, makes it a perfect choice for most people.