A very popular choice for firewood is Oak firewood!
You must have heard a lot about the Oakwood being used as firewood. And that is because of its amazing firewood qualities. Oak is considered to be one of the top choices for firewood according to most of the people who burn firewood for cozy and warm indoors during winters.
When it comes to firewood, there are a lot of choices for everyone. But not every firewood will serve you well. Oak firewood produces a lot of heat output and burns slowly and safely. Use Oak firewood for your fireplace once, and you’ll know there’s no other firewood that could beat it!
You’ll be amazed to know that there are around 600 different species of Oak. And the heat output ranges from 24 million BTUs per cord to around 25.7 million BTUs per cord, depending upon the species. But obviously, you can’t just burn up any of the species. Only some specific ones are to be used as firewood.
Seasoned red oak and white oak are among the most commonly used firewood types Oak. And the reason is their density and water content. Both are dense in nature, produce dry wood after being seasoned, burn clean, and produce fires that last longer.
Continue reading to know about Oak firewood in detail.
Does Oak Burn Well?
Oak burns extremely well. In fact, it is one of the best firewood for burning.
However, you’ll have to be very patient with this firewood. Along with being the best, it is also the slowest firewood to season. It will take a minimum of 2 years to season. But depending upon the moisture content, it can even take up to 3 or 4 years for perfect seasoning.
Also, Oak burns slow yet it lasts very long.
How Hard Is It to Split Oak Firewood?
Being a dense and hard wood, Oak isn’t very quick and easy to split which means, it’s pretty much hard to split.
It does require a good effort to split Oak, especially if you’re doing it manually. If you keep the Oak firewood to dry up for a few months before you actually split it, it might make splitting a little easier but won’t make a lot of difference.
Compared to red oak, white oak is more difficult to split.
Highlights of Burning Oak Firewood
Burning oak firewood would surely prove to be your best ever decision but only if you do not get in a hurry with it.
It takes time to season well, it is difficult to split, and it also burns slowly. But it would burn longer and better than all other firewood and keep you indoors warm and cozy throughout the night.
Here are some highlights of burning oak!
- Oak produces a very high heat output. Depending upon what type you burn, it would generate 24 to around 26 million BTUs of heat per cord. Most commonly used and popularly known is the white oak with a heat output of 26.4 million BTUs per cord.
- Oak is usually good to go with after you’ve seasoned it for two years. But for an even perfectly dried oak, it can be seasoned for 3 to 4 years.
- Oak firewood is easy to light up, starts up slowly, and burns slowly as well. And because it burns slowly, it burns a lot longer than other firewood. Also, it produces very little smoke and sparks making it a completely safe wood to burn.
- Lastly, burning Oak doesn’t really smell nice. But if properly seasoned, it produces a mild, pleasant fragrance. Also, when seasoned properly, Oak burns very clean.
Types of Oak Wood
Although there are about 600 types of Oakwood, the most commonly known ones fall under either of the two categories: Red Oak or White Oak.
White Oak – It is widely used as firewood. It is hardest to split but burns up extremely well. The leaves of white oak trees are round in shape and their acorns mature in a year. There are deep grooves on the barks of white oak, making them appear more textured.
Varieties of White Oak include Bur Oak, Post Oak, Eastern White Oak, and Chestnut Oak.
Red Oak – After white oak, Red Oak is the one commonly used as firewood. Comparatively to white oak, it is a little less hard to split and burns extremely well too. Their leaves have pointed tips and their acorns mature in two years. Also, their barks are less textured and smoother in appearance.
Varieties of Red Oak include Pin Oak, Black Oak, Southern, and Northern Red Oak, and Scarlet Oak.
Is it Oak Hardwood or Softwood?
Oak is hardwood. It is a lot harder and denser than much other known firewood such as Ash and Maple. Due to a higher density, it burns longer and produces more as well as hotter heat.
How Long to Season Oak Firewood?
Oak is one of the firewood that takes a lot of time to season. So, you’ll have to be patient if you want perfectly seasoned firewood. Mostly, people season it for around two years, which is a good seasoning time for Oak.
But some people also season it for 3 to 4 years which results in just the perfect form of firewood! The better a block of wood is seasoned, the better it burns.
Also, no matter how much moisture content the wood had initially; make sure it only remains 20% after you’ve seasoned it. So, after seasoning, if the moisture content is more than 20%, you better season it more.
What Does Oak Firewood Look Like?
The oak firewood consists of normal annual rings that you’ll be able to see while looking at the end grains on a piece of Oakwood. Also, the rays are pretty much visible on the bark. They are perpendicular to the rings and from the center of the wood, they spread outwards.
How Does Oak Wood Burn?
Oak is hardwood, so it takes a bit of time to burn. It lights up quick but does take time to start and then burns slowly. Also, it is super dense. And heavier the wood, the hotter and longer it burns. The same is the case with Oak. Once it starts burning, it keeps burning slowly, yet for a long time.
The best part about burning Oak is that it burns super clean. It produces very little smoke and only a few sparks throw up when lighting it up, hence, it’s totally safe for indoors. Moreover, a well-seasoned Oak will produce a mild, pleasant fragrance. But if not seasoned properly, it might not smell good while burning.
Post-Oak Vs Red Oak for Smoking
Both the Post Oak as well as Red Oak is great choices for firewood and both are hardwoods. So, they burn really well and produce a good amount of heat that lasts long. However, as far as smoking is concerned, Red Oak is smokier. Post Oak is also smoky but not as smoky as Red Oak.
So, for the purposes where producing smoke is the goal, Red Oak is preferred.
Black Oak Vs White Oak
Black Oak is one of the varieties of Red Oak because of its dark-colored bark, which is nearly black. Their inner barks, however, have a yellow or orange color, making them suitable for making a yellow dye called quercitron.
In spite of the fact that native black oaks are most commonly found in dry, poor areas, they prefer soils that are rich in nutrients.
While the White Oak have whitish undersides of the leaves which make them unique as compared to all other oaks. Moreover, their barks are ashy gray in color and usually have rectangular blocks and scales which make their texture look broken and divided.
Both the black and white oak can be used as firewood.
Bur Oak Vs White Oak
Bur Oak is one of the varieties of White Oak but differs from white oak in its appearance as well as features.
Bur Oak is also a great source of heat when burnt as firewood as it burns hottest and longest. The barks of Bur Oaks have a rough texture and furrows, and deep ridges break up that texture. And they’re dark gray in color.
White Oak, on the other hand, is without a doubt, the best Oak wood for fireplaces. For the texture of their barks, they’re smoother and are light gray in color.
Both the Bur Oak and White Oak are great sources of heat.
Swamp Oak Vs White Oak
There’s only a little difference between Swamp Oak and White Oak. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish one from the other. However, swamp grows faster, and their lobes are more uniform than those of white oaks.
Also, White oak is more widely used as firewood because the wood of Swamp oak is known to be less valuable.
Chestnut Wood Vs Oak
Chestnut is also hardwood just like Oak and grows very fast as well. In terms of strangeness, the lumber of its wood is almost the same as that of Oak, but it is lighter in Wight.
Chestnut and Oak greatly differ in the structure of their bark. Oak wood has annual rings and the rays (also known as fleck) run perpendicular to those rings while Chestnut wood does not have rays.
The most common species of Chestnut include the American chestnut and European Chestnut.
Oak Firewood – FAQs
Oak is the most widely used wood for fireplaces. Its high BTU rating makes it worth all other firewood that would mostly have lesser heat output or would simply not burn well. But with Oak, you not only get the best and maximum heat output, but it also burns very long.
One thing you might be concerned about is its seasoning time period. But when you’d burn it up after it has been dried perfectly, you’ll know it is worth all the effort and time you’ve given to it for seasoning!