Beech trees grow throughout most parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia. It’s an excellent wood for tool making and furniture, but does beech make good firewood? This guide examines the pros and cons of beech and whether it’s worth burning.
Is beech good for firewood?
Beech is excellent firewood with one cord of seasoned wood, providing an impressive 27.5 million BTUs. It also burns clean with minimal smoke and a pleasant fragrance. Beech produces high-quality coals, meaning your fire will continue to give off heat through the night.
- One of the top few firewood varieties for heat output, along with Black Locust, Oak, and Hickory.
- Doesn’t pop or spark much compared to larch, alder, and pine.
- Produces excellent coals that’ll keep a fire burning longer.
- Can range from easy to extremely difficult to split depending on whether the grains are twisted and the number of knots.
Beech firewood burn qualities
1. Heat output
If you want plenty of heat from your fire, then beech is one of the best types of firewood you can use. Its low moisture content means the fire doesn’t have to waste energy evaporating water.
The resulting heat output of 27.5 BTU puts this firewood in the top few. Whether under the stars camping or relaxing at home, you shouldn’t go cold with beech at your disposal.
Check out the following table comparing the heat output of beech to various other common types of firewood.
|Wood variety||Heat per Cord (Million BTUs)|
Well-seasoned beech produces minimal smoke like hickory, ash, and oak. It is a much better choice than hard maple or pine. Of course, tossing green wood into the fire will result in plumes of smoke. Always allow time for the firewood to season.
3. Ease of splitting
Splitting beech wood can be a serious challenge if you get it with a twisted grain. But if you get it with straight grains, you’ll find it relatively easy to chop up.
Try to split beech wood while it’s still green. Once dried, the wood feels like rock when using an axe. Using a chainsaw could be a better option if you have a lot of hard-to-split wood.
The last thing anyone wants is to be ducking sparks from the fire. Popping wood can cause nasty burns if an ember lands on you. Also, bushfires and house fires can start with aggressively sparking wood.
Beech gives off few sparks, meaning you can relax without worrying about fires or injury. It is a much better choice than mulberry, known for significant sparking.
It’s hard to beat a crackling fire that gives off a pleasant fragrance. Indoor and outdoor fires, BBQs, and meat smokers all benefit from nice-smelling wood.
Beech has a decent smell, although it’s subtle. Some beer manufacturers use this type of wood to make beer barrels. Its aroma adds depth to the beer.
Beech firewood won’t win any awards for its fragrance, though. It doesn’t compete with favorites like apple, cedar, cherry, and hickory on smell.
The quality of coals produced by firewood impacts how long the fire continues to heat through the night. Wood stoves, smokers, and pits that slow-cook meat are more effective with slow-burning wood.
Beech produces excellent coals that’ll produce heat through the night. When morning comes, the fire can often be restarted by tossing another log into the embers.
7. Creosote build-up
Hardwood varieties like beech contain minimal sap, meaning creosote won’t gunk up the chimney. This feature is beneficial, as too much creosote is highly flammable and can cause house fires.
To get the best heat output from beech, season it for at least 12 months. Many argue that two years is best, as well-seasoned wood produces less smoke.
Beech is similar to oak for seasoning time, which isn’t ideal if you need wood for the upcoming winter. If space permits, begin seasoning beech and get another type of firewood quicker to season.