Is Sycamore Good Firewood?

Mostly known as giants, sycamore trees have a variety of uses, including serving as a fuel source. So, do sycamores make good firewood? The objective here is to provide you with all the answers you seek. By researching about burning efficiency, you improve your chance of getting the best outcomes.

In discussing the combustive efficiency of sycamore, we’ve covered relevant points such as its BTU, as well as the definition of the term “good firewood.” Also, we’ve discussed details like how it compares to other hardwoods in terms of combustive efficiency. Stick around for a highly informative read.

Sycamore BTU

Understanding the combustive efficiency of sycamore firewood is hinged on finding out its thermal unit (also called the British thermal unit) BTU. As the name suggests, this is the unit of measuring the combustive energy emitted. Higher BTUs translate to more heat.

Now, as hardwoods, sycamores are expected to be dense and produce a lot of heating energy. In other words, they’re expected to burn efficiently, but is that the case? Read on for details about that and more. Sycamores have a BTU of around 24.1/cord (lbs).

This is significant because it isn’t far behind those with the highest BTU ratings such as hickory, ironwood, and the like. This partly answers the question of whether sycamore is good for firewood. However, what’s the actual definition of good firewood? This takes us to the next point.

Sycamore Types

It’s pertinent to note that sycamore comes in different species. This may affect combustion and overall efficiency. These species include the Californian sycamore, American sycamore, and Mexican sycamore. Irrespective of the species used for firewood, one thing is sure; their general characteristics are similar.

What is Good Firewood?

To answer this question, we need to first determine what “good firewood” means. Comparisons will then be made to determine how sycamores measure up. Good firewood simply has to do with overall combustive efficiency. Here, we’ve identified multiple features like the degree of smoke and creosote buildup.

Other indices of identifying efficient combustion include ease of split, how it smells, and how long it takes to season. Good firewood measures favorably under each of these parameters, but does the same apply to sycamore? Well, let’s take a look at the ratings shall we?

i. Amount of Smoke Produced

The best woods are those that don’t produce a lot of smoke. Smoky combustions are considered toxic as they can directly affect your health. The smoke from burning sycamore is mostly deemed moderate. In other words, some hardwoods perform better than sycamores.

On the flip side, sycamore firewood gives off more smoke compared to other hardwoods. This can be a deal-breaker for persons looking for firewood with the lowest smoke emission.

ii. Creosote Buildup

Whichever wood species is used, one thing is sure; creosote buildup. However, the rate of accumulation varies based on firewood type. Here, owning a fireplace requires paying close attention to the degree of creosote accumulation. The reason is simple; regular maintenance will be required to keep your fireplace & chimney running optimally.

Now, these black tar deposits on your chimney wall can be rapid with some firewood types while the story may be different for some other types. So, how does sycamore firewood measure up? Thankfully, sycamore wood is less sappy and thus has low creosote accumulation.

iii. Ease of Split

Most users of firewood prefer those that are easy to split. This makes things a lot easier in the sense that you’re able to get your wood ready much easier and quicker than those that are difficult to split. Is sycamore firewood easy to split? Unfortunately, it isn’t.

You’ll have to deal with the challenge of splitting your wood. However, this will only be a problem when using rudimentary tools. Better splitting can be done with equipment like an automatic splitter or similar industrial equipment.

iv. How it Smells

If you’ve used firewood for an appreciable amount of time, you’ll know that some types have a fragrance that lingers around your home. Such firewood species include cherry, apple, cedar, birch, and many others. Are sycamores in this category? These firewood types don’t have a bad smell.

Plus, you might not get a strong scent from these. However, it depends on who you ask as there’ll be varying perceptions. In other words, some users may agree it smells nice while others may have contrary opinions.

v. Seasoning Duration

How fast can sycamore firewood be ready for use? In other words, what’s the drying time or duration? Freshly cut sycamore will take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to be fully dried. Of course, this depends on environmental and climatic factors.

For some, this is too long a period to wait. If you feel the same way, there are ways to fasten the drying process. Raise the wood from the ground, expose more surface area through splitting, or arrange the logs in a way that enhances airflow.

The Verdict

In a nutshell, sycamore wood is considered generally good for firewood. It burns well and produces good heat. However, it has some drawbacks like difficulty in splitting and may produce more smoke when compared with other hardwoods.

However, these problems won’t disqualify sycamore firewood from being considered good. However, it may not be as dense and efficient when it comes to combustion compared with some of the best hardwoods.

 Where to Use

Questions have been raised about the best place to burn sycamore wood. If you have a wood stove or fire pit, they’ll serve just fine. In other words, you can burn sycamore firewood in either a wood stove or a fire pit. Also, you can burn sycamore firewood wherever you’ve burned other firewood species.

Is it Readily Available?

Are you wondering how readily available this species of firewood is around your area? Sycamore firewood is abundant around areas with ample presence of the tree. So, if you live around the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia, this shouldn’t be difficult to find or come across.

Does sycamore make good firewood? From our discussion so far, yes, it does. However, it may not be as efficient as other hardwoods which are denser and less difficult to split. Sycamore firewood would serve your basic heating needs when properly seasoned.