Is Acacia wood a good choice for firewood? Or would it be a costly mistake to throw this pricey hardwood onto that log fire?
There are over 1,000 different subspecies of Acacia wood in the world. Nevertheless, this oily hardwood can be expensive, and downright difficult to get a hold of. So, is it really worth using this lumber for firewood?
Well, in this post, we reveal what you should be looking for in a good clean burning firewood. You’ll also learn why Acacia woods natural rot-resistant qualities also make it less-than-suitable as firewood.
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What Is The Best Type Of Firewood For An Indoor Fireplace?
When it comes to indoor fireplaces, there are a few things you need to look for in firewood:
1). Good Firewood Should Be Dry
Dry firewood will catch light more easily than using wood that has a high moisture content. Moisture content simply refers to the amount of water present in any wooden log.
If there’s a lot of water in firewood, then as that log burns, the water will vaporize. And this can fuel high amounts of smoke emissions.
2). Good Firewood Is Dense
Fire burns and consumes. So, the more stuff it has to consume, the longer and hotter that fire will burn.
So, dense firewood such as White Oak and Birch, produce more heat than very soft, lightweight lumber.
3). Good Firewood Has Very Little Sap/Pitch In It
Tree sap is a clear, (although sometimes cloudy looking), liquid that trees produce to protect themselves from bugs and insects.
However tree pitch, (also referred to as tree resin), is much thicker than tree sap. And the reason why tree pitch is thicker is because it’s job is to seal over damaged sections of the tree.
Now, if there is a lot of sap or pitch present in firewood, then it can contribute to excessive smoking. What’s more, it can also add to soot build-up in your chimney flue. And all of that extra build-up will increase the risk of a chimney fire.
4). Good Firewood Doesn’t Come From Poisonous Trees
You’ll want to avoid highly carcinogenic lumber (such as Camphor), and poisonous trees (such as the Yew Tree). Poisonous sap can vaporize, filling your home with the kind of fumes you do NOT want to risk inhaling.
OK, So What Is A Clean And Safe Firewood Choice?
You won’t go too far wrong burning White Oak or Birch wood in your fireplace. These two hardwoods contain relatively little sap, and their trees aren’t poisonous.
And, best of all, they’re dense enough to produce a good amount of heat. Certainly more than enough heat to efficiently heat your homestead.
They’re also affordable — Oak grows abundantly across North America — so you can stack those logs high on the cheap.
What About Acacia Wood? Does It Contain A Lot Of Sap?
This fairly pricey tropical hardwood doesn’t contain a lot of tree sap, because this timber is naturally bug-resistant. Thanks to the high levels of natural tree oils saturating Acacia wood grain, bugs struggle to burrow into it.
Acacia’s natural tree oils act like a wood preservative (or a penetrating oil finish). It can help to stave off rot and decay, helping to make Acacia wood a very durable lumber.
Nevertheless, excessive tree oil content can also create an excessive amount of smoke — just as much as sap or pitch. And, unfortunately, this means that Acacia wood isn’t the best choice for an interior fireplace.
Related Post: Acacia Vs Maple Cutting Boards (4 Key Pros And Cons)
Is Acacia Wood Poisonous?
It depends on which Acacia wood you’re referring to.
At last count, there are over 1200 different kinds of Acacia wood. And many of them have characteristics unique to their particular subspecies.
Nevertheless, certain Acacia wood types, such as Acacia Georginae (also known as the Poison Gidyea), contain poisons and psychoactive alkaloids.
On the other hand, there is the Acacia Koa. Popularly used to make ukulele instruments, this hardwood is not poisonous and is free of toxins.
In short; some species of Acacia produce poisonous lumber. But, not all Acacia wood types are poisonous.
So Can You Use Acacia Wood For Firewood?
Based on it’s naturally oily content, it is not suitable for an indoor fireplace.
Acacia often gets recommended as a good firewood choice. But, honestly, there are much better, safer — and more affordable — alternative firewood options.
To Sum Up, Here Are 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…
- 1). Good firewood must be dry, and contain very little sap/pitch. Too much sap/pitch can cause excessive smoke emissions.
- 2). Acacia wood contains a high amount of natural tree oil. If you burn Acacia wood, then its tree oil content can also produce excessive smoke.
- 3). Both Oak wood and Birch wood make for better choice firewood. They contain relatively little tree sap, and they produce a lot of heat.
Leong, L. E.; Khan, S.; Davis, C. K.; Denman, S. E.; McSweeney, C. S. (2017). “Fluoroacetate in plants – a review of its distribution, toxicity to livestock and microbial detoxification“. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology. 8: 55. doi:10.1186/s40104-017-0180-6. PMC 5485738. PMID 28674607.
Acacia | Wikipedia.org
The Difference Between Tree Sap & Tree Resin | Sciencing.com