OT: Firewood splitting/burning qualities questions

Since we got our log burner and my chainsaw I’ve developed a bit of a serious “hunter-gather” habit.
Earlier this week I got some nice freshly cut oak to add to my collection that was easy to split, possibly because of its “greenness”. Yesterday I found a large bough from an ash tree (that’s been down for an indeterminate time).
The wood still feels quite moist (and 35% humidity on my cheap meter for whatever that’s worth) but it’s a bastard to split! Out of all the wood I’ve collected it’s been the hardest so far which was a bit of a surprise to me. It just laughs at my log splitting axe! (These are 14-18” diameter slices). Is this typical for ash? Might not bother collecting too much more of it if it’s all gonna be so tough.
As an aside, it’s often said that green ash still burns well. I’ve no intention of burning it before it’s a lot drier but I’m curious as to why it has this reputation/property.
Regarding wood types, I’ve avoided collecting any softwoods but are there any softwoods that are okay to burn in a log burner (which won’t clag up the chimney with creosote)? Lastly, is there any easy way to identify soft vs hard if you come across a felled tree with no branches or leaves to aid identification, I.e. when you only have the bark and wood to go on?
Tim
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It can get you like that eh. ;-)

(Because of it's good burning characteristics) I've split quite a bit of ash but have used a hydraulic (manual) splitter and not split much else (esp oak) to compare it with. On my splitter I'd say that clean / straight lengths of ash seem to split fairly easily?

Re the reputation, because you *can* burn it green (saves waiting for it to season)?

Pass.

I'll ask our daughter. She and her b/f at the time went to a *big* arb show up near Peterborough and one of the stands had a 'guess the species' display / competition, with several bits of tree, allowing you to see the end grain and bark (and sometimes a leaf). They carefully filled in an entry and put it in the box ... and checked at the end and were told they had won. ;-)
Cheers, T i m
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I think wood usually splits easily when fresh cut, or when it pretty well dried. I think this wood has naturally part dried and is going through a “difficult” age. ;-)
Tim
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On 13/06/2019 13:51, Tim+ wrote:

Years ago, when I was a young man, my father used to go into the local woods and "harvest" fallen trees. Ash burns quickly and strongly oak slowly. He reckoned mixing the 2 gave the best fire. It was not long after WW2, so coal was in quite short supply, so wood fires were the only practical solution. It also supplied out hot water via a Back boiler in the main fire place.
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On Thu, 13 Jun 2019 14:09:49 +0100, Broadback

I put a few chunks of my well seasoned split ash in a garden incinerator and suspended a couple of trailer wheels over the top (on a steel rod) that I needed to get the paint off.
Once lit, the whole thing was like a blast furnace, stripping the paint in seconds! ;-)
Cheers, T i m
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Because it's naturally low in water content, I thought it was around 25% when newly felled but maybe that's a bit optimistic.

As long as the water content is low enough you can burn softwood OK, it doesn't last as long as hardwood but no problem otherwise.
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On 13/06/2019 13:51, Tim+ wrote:

Usually when you cut into it, you can tell by the smell. Most locally grown softwoods will tend toward pine / fir etc and have a distinctive smell. (as does cedar, but that is less common here).
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Yeah, I guess that’s almost certainly the case. Prefer to work it out *before* sawing the stuff up though. ;-)
Tim
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On 13/06/2019 19:54, Tim+ wrote:

Enough of a cut to make a bit of sawdust is enough - no need to log the whole thing!
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John.
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On Thursday, 13 June 2019 13:52:02 UTC+1, Tim+ wrote:

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The reason for tarring is bad design of the stove. If the combustion gases are cooled before combustion is complete, the combu stion process stops. Unburned hydrocarbon vapours condense in the chimney ( usually at the very top.) Few stoves sold in the UK are properly designed, they are all about appeara nce.
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On Thursday, 13 June 2019 16:28:02 UTC+1, harry wrote:

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There's a bit here on high efficiency wood stoves https://woodstoves.net/blog/post/burning-wood-cleanly-and-efficiently
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On 13/06/2019 13:51, Tim+ wrote:

1. I broke three ribs trying to liberate a large piece of tree at the side of the road.
2. I tried burning some railway sleepers. They had some stuff in them to prevent burning. It didn't do that but it caused them to smoke, then the smoke ignited all at once. It blew the stove door off and the pressure wave smashed a window.
3. Always use a mechanical log splitter. An axe is ridiculous for a never-ending job like making firewood.
4. Softwood is OK but it burns very quick.
5. Don't let the chainsaw blade get slack. And dip the tip in oil rather than keep unblocking the oiler.
6. I got bored with all this palaver and switched to Calor Gas. Never looked back.
Bill
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Like the OP, I had a lot of problems trying to use a log splitting axe but on *all* wood.
I now have a different way of doing it that works really well.
Firstly chainsaw into 12 inch logs.
Secondly leave the logs to dry out till they start cracking at the log rings.
Thirdly, when you are ready to split, look at log to see where the cracks are. Also note where the knots are in the sides.
Fourthly put the log on a concrete floor such as in a garage.
Fifthly get a SDS drill with rotostop and put a masonry chisel in the chuck.
Sixthly position chisel so that it is line with the centre of the log rings and over one of the cracks and at the edge of the log and over where it is knot free from top to bottom.
Seventhly, start "chiselling" with the drill and the log will split very easily.
Eighthly, Repeat till the split pieces become small enough for the wood burner
I have never looked back!
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On 13/06/2019 18:14, snipped-for-privacy@tesco.net wrote:

Hydraulic log splitters aren't very expensive and make a tedious, tiring job into a quick and fun job.
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Every one I’ve seen on YouTube has been so fecking slow though! An axe is way quicker.
Tim
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<snip> >> Hydraulic log splitters aren't very expensive and make a tedious, tiring

Sure, an axe might be quicker to start with, but how long can you do it for?
How safe is using an axe?
The problem with an axe (apart from safety and keeping everything together and dealing with the knotty bits) is that you need to maintain a minimum swing / hit or risk not splitting it the first go so you end up lifting the axe and chog and down several times or freeing the axe from the chog.
With the hydraulic ones, you lay the chog on the splitter (mine is the horizontal one), use the fast handle a few pumps till you make contact and often the fast handle will also split the chog. If it doesn't (because it's large or knobbly) you go to the slow handle and pretty well nothing will stop that. ;-)
Once split, you just release the valve to allow the piston to return to the required length, lift / roll the chog the few inches back onto the splitter and go again.
I've split the best part of a whole ash tree on my own over an afternoon and the biggest issue is dealing with all the chogs (thank goodness for several 1 tonne bags). ;-)
I do have a reasonable log splitting maul and a felling axe and neither was as 'controlled' or efficient as the log splitter (in my hands anyway).
Cheers, T i m
p.s. Daughter had an electric / hydraulic log splitter that was probably quicker but then you hardly get any exercise at all (and part of the point for me).
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Interesting. This might be the excuse I’ve been looking for for an SDS drill. ;-)
Tim
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<snip>

And without some fairly good hearing protection, tinnitus. ;-(
Another advantage of the hydraulic log splitter is that it's nearly silent, not even as noisy of the constant / annoying noise of someone splitting wood with an axe (especially if you have tinnitus). ;-(
Cheers, T i m
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Eejit.

Eejit.

Nonsense. I’ve split all my wood with an axe and hatchet up till now. It’s therapeutic. ;-)

Calor gas isn’t (nearly) free.
You have no soul. ;-)
Tim
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On 13/06/2019 19:50, Tim+ wrote:

That's what the doctor said.

That's what the wife said.

I'd rather bang my head on the wall.

I don't give a damn!

I agree. I'm better without one.
Bill

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