Red Oak Firewood
With winter here in full season, it is now more important than ever to make sure that you are choosing the right firewood.
Whether you are investing in a wood stove or you just had a new fireplace installed, you have a variety of wood burning options available to you.
You can hit up any forum you want or ask any ax man you want and you are going to get a variety of answers as to which wood is the best.
Some like the white oak firewood and others swear by ash. Well, when it comes right down to the line it is really hard to argue against the red oak.
Is Red Oak Good Firewood?
Red oak is certainly a fine choice for anyone that uses firewood as a means of heat. And, the qualities that make it such a fine choice is that it is very dense and provides an excellent amount of heat.
Red oak is not only capable of providing a high amount of heat, but it burns for an extremely long time providing a high amount of BTUs over an extended period of time as compared to other firewood options.
The oak species is all around a unique species as there are at least 30 different types of oak. Some oak trees can live for 200 years and grow as 100 feet tall. However, not all oaks and oak trees are built the same.
The red oak is without a doubt a gorgeous tree with a long, elegant lifespan. Red oak trees can grow up to 150 feet, but for the average, they usually only make it between 70 and 100 feet tall.
However, their trunk diameters will range anywhere from three to six feet, which is quite impressive. You literally would not be able to wrap your hand around this immense tree.
At the end of the day, red oak is only good for firewood and not much else. For instance, it rots pretty easily, which doesn’t make it a good choice for fence posting or railing. However, it is sometimes used to make beautiful furniture.
Splitting Read Oak Firewood
Splitting red oak is only going to be an easy task when you are dealing with very straight pieces that are properly dried and free of twists and knots, which is not often the case.
In fact, in most cases, the wood grain will be all twisted and full of knots. Such splitting is going to require the assistance of a wedge and proper splitting techniques.
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
Best Way To Split Red Oak
Once your red oak wood is completely dry, you will want to attack it in a very specific manner. You do not want to strike it right in the middle.
You will want to start on the outside and work your way around the wood in a clockwise manner chipping away at the wood a little bit at a time until you make it to the center. A wedge will come in handy when you hit rough patches.
Once you have the initial cut started, drive in the wedge and strike it with the back of the ax or sledgehammer and further split the wood.
Keep in mind that there are log splitters available, but these products are expensive and sometimes the residential splitter might even have a hard time dealing with the density of red oak.
The keys to cutting road oak successfully are having a good sharp ax and wedge along with knowing exactly how to attack the wood.
How Long To Season Red Oak
Red oak firewood might be able to provide an extreme amount of BTUs over an immense period of time, but it has one downside. And, that downside is that it takes an extremely long time to season.
You can ask most experts and they will tell you that it will take anywhere from 18 months to 2 years before red oak fully seasons.
And, since red oak won’t burn effectively until it is seasoned, you are going to have to wait it out. However, seasoning red oak isn’t all about just waiting. You need to make sure that you have it stacked and stored properly.
If you want some tips on seasoning your firewood, check out my guide on how I do it. How to dry wet firewood
Stacking Your Firewood
You want to stack the wood loosely leaving some air spaces between them. You want the air to be able to circulate around the pieces.
It is also a good idea to stack the piles where they will get an adequate amount of sunlight.
Just keep in mind that it will be a good idea to keep them out of the rain because you do not want to be left dealing with any added or unnecessary moisture.
Red Oak Firewood Btu
When it comes to BTUs red oak is certainly impressive. It is capable of burning at 24.6 million BTUs per cord. This is certainly quite a bit of heat and will keep you warm through many a long winter’s nights.
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
Red Oak VS White Oak Firewood
White oak is another species of the oak family and it is just as equally impressive as red oak. White oak trees are typically found in the eastern United States and Canada.
The trees grow anywhere for 65 to 85 feet tall, which is much shorter than the red oak. White oak is just as strong as the red oak and will burn just as long.
However, the major difference between the two is the BTU output. Above you learned that the red oak is capable of producing 24.6 million BTUs per cord.
Well, the white oak is capable of producing an even higher BTU rating. With the white oak, you can expect to get 26.4 million BTUs per cord. White oak takes just as long to season, but it will be much easier to split thanks to its fine grain.
At the end of the day, red oak is certainly fine burning firewood that is capable of giving off a sweet like smells. Some individuals prefer the white oak while others swear by the oak, but at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference and how much work you are willing to put in.