Good ole sassafras. One of my favorite smelling woods. Also one of the prettiest woods you’ll see. Sassafrass is known for its roots because there used to make root beer.
And the wood does kinda smell like root beer when your cutting and splitting it. But does it make good firewood? I’ll let you know my thoughts and opinions on it in this guide below.
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Is Sassafras Good Firewood?
Nope! At least not in my opinion it isn’t. It burns rather fast and doesn’t give the heat you would think it would, burning as fast as it does. It does, however, make awesome kindling.
So, never shy away from getting your hands on sassafras wood. But I wouldn’t go out of my way for it either. Here is a short clip of me starting my wood stove with sassafras. You’ll notice it does pop and spark a good bit.
Splitting Sassafras Wood
It also makes a great source of fuel for a fire. It doesn’t compare to oak firewood, however, it does perform as a pretty good alternative for firewood.
The wood splits very easily because of its straight grain and dries extremely quickly compared to most wood types. It does burn fairly quickly but it makes up for that by setting off a beautiful colorful fire with an amazing aroma.
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
Sassafras Firewood Drying Time
This is one thing that’s really nice about it, it doesn’t take long to season at all. If it’s split, it might take 2 or 3 months to dry out. I personally split the pieces up into kindling green or seasoned, it burns nicely either way. I mostly use a wood stove though (not in my home), I wouldn’t burn any wood that’s green inside a home.
If you want to make absolutely sure it’s dry enough to burn, get yourself a moisture meter like these from Amazon, Moisture Meter.
Make sure the moisture content is below 20% and it’s safe to burn. Also, keep in mind, this stuff likes “pop” or spark a lot. So I would recommend keeping the fireplace glass doors closed if your burning sassafras.
If you want some tips on seasoning your firewood, check out my guide on how I do it. How to dry wet firewood
Sassafras BTU Rating
The BTU (British Thermal Unit) of sassafras is pretty much the same as poplar. It’s nothing to write home about. It will give you quick heat but not a lot at one time.
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
Is Sassafras a Hardwood
Sassafras is an attractive hardwood that is native to North America and most commonly used to build fence posts, window frames, boats, and furniture.
The trees are approximately 30 to 60 feet high and their leaves turn into vibrant colors during the fall. The color of the bark is a medium to light brown, but sometimes it appears as an orange or olive hue.
It’s widely known as one of the easiest materials to work with and it can last for a long period of time.
You can usually find the Sassafras tree in well-drained rainforests along creeks. The tree can last for up 150 – 200 years at most and you can notice how old a tree is by the color of their leaves.
If the tree has yellow leaves then it’s very likely that they’re very old.
What is Sassafras Good For
You’ll never believe it, but the root bark and flowers of the Sassafras trees have been used to make teas and tonics for several years.
It’s even possible to make root beer out of the bark as well as oils which can be used as fragrances in candles and soaps.
The leaves, bark, fruits, and twigs of the Sassafras tree are extremely good for the wildlife. For example, rabbits eat the bark during the winter, and the fruits are consumed by birds in the spring.
It doesn’t only add value to the wildlife, but it has also been used as a great material and medicine in China for centuries.
So, much like pine, sassafras shouldn’t be your first choice or even your second choice of firewood to go after. It’s best used for kindling in my experience.
So, like with all different types of firewood, it has its use. It also has a nice smell to it. You’ll know if it’s sassafras or not as soon as you split because of the smell.