What's the most interesting woods to look at in a fireplace?

Meaning, either crackly, or different flame colors, or (i've seen at some point) very bright white embers burning in the draft.
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dean wrote:

Hmmm, that is an interesting question. I have found a few that were interesting, although maybe not the best wood to burn. Sasafras tends to pop and sort of mini-explode sending small pieces of hot embers across the room. It is lively and can be loud, but it could be a fire hazard I would guess. Wild Cherry tends to sparkle a lot, almost like a 4th of July sparkler when the fire is adjusted or moved with the poker.
A well dried oak (I burn white oak most often) can create a very hot fire with a lot of blue in the flame.
Rob NE PA USA
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

Not the best for any metal flue or damper, but driftwood taken from saltwater tends to have multiple colors because of the salt.
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Cedar is really nice I used to use it to get my oak burning. Cedar burns really easy and very hot
Wayne
dean wrote:

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I like Cedar. It smells good when cutting/splitting. Makes the house smell wonderful! And crackles.
Also it is cool to burn a cardboard/paper egg carton with the cover closed. It burns then keeps its shape for quite awhile. One whiff of air and the whole thing will collapse.
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Bill wrote:

What part of the country do you all who burn cedar live in where you can find it growing locally? Where I live (Pennsylvania) there are no species of cedar that grow here. We do have a variety of juniper tree that is commonly called "Red Cedar" but it is not a true cedar species. I thought I had heard that the only place real cedars live in the US is in California, but I was not sure.
That being said, I would definitely make a fence out of juniper, but not burn it in the fireplace as it has sap like other evergreens and is a big source of creosote in a chimney.
Rob NE PA USA
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"Rob" wrote in message

I live in Oregon and plenty of Cedar here.
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Atlas Cedar (Atlantic Cedar) should grow fine in PA. Port Orford Cedar, which is the good stuff for making arrows, is mostly limited to CA/OR. But I think that that's actually some kind of cyprus variant.
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Goedjn wrote:

I have seen the specimen tree called the Atlas Cedar you mention in specialized landscapes, but it is very rare in the US since it is not a native species. Technically, there are no native cedars in the eastern US.
Rob
NE PA USA
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Eastern white cedar makes it down to the north eastern states. It's a true cedar (unlike eastern red cedar which is really a juniper) and native to North America.
See http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_1/thuja/occidentalis.htm
We have _lots_ of it on our property, about two hours drive north of the border.
It's great kindling for starting up hardwoods in the fireplace.
It's lighter, whiter, softer and more splintery than western red cedar, but can be used in much the same way. Supposedly, it's better for making canoes than western red.
It's locally available as lumber, but there's not a great deal of demand because the trees usually don't get that big, and decent heartwood lumber is much more difficult to come by in the larger sizes. So most cedar lumber available for sale here is western red. Eastern white is mostly used as rural rail fencing (in the round).
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Chris Lewis wrote:

I'm familiar with the tree you describe as it grows here and it is called arborvitae here. Not to be technical but it also is not a true cedar, just a species that is mis-named as a "cedar".
Rob
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Ah, you're going for the super pedantic view ;-)
By that measure (cedar == members of the Genus cedrus), there are no cedars native to the western hemisphere - they're all in the Himalayas and Mediterranean area.
In "normal" usage, in North America, "cedar" refers to the genus "Thuja". Western Red Cedar and Eastern White cedar are both Thuja. So, if western red cedar is a "cedar" in your terminology, then eastern white cedar is too.
Eastern Red Cedar, on the other hand, is a member of genus "Juniperus". Juniper.
Just to confuse things completely, the other "cedar" in North America is "Port Orford Cedar", but, it's not a cedar, nor a thuja nor even a juniper. It's genus Chamaecyparis, and is a form of cypress tree.
In north America "Cedar closets" and "cedar chests" are made with eastern red cedar (ie: _juniper_, not cedar). Vastly more aromatic than Thuja.
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