Different types of wood can make a big difference in the smell and quality of fire. Silver maple is an abundant tree in North America. But is it good for firewood?
Does silver maple wood make good firewood?
Yes, silver maple is a very good choice for firewood. It is affordable, available, produces sufficient heat, catches fire quickly, and contains low moisture levels. In addition to that, silver maple is not difficult to split. More importantly, this is a clean source of heat.
The cold season requires sufficient stockpiles of firewood. When you are choosing the firewood to use, you must make a prudent choice to avoid wasting time and money.
Factors to consider when choosing firewood to use include affordability, the level of moisture content in the wood, availability, and the difficulty in splitting.
In addition to that, you ought to evaluate the amount of heat that your wood can generate and whether this will be viable and sustainable.
The silver maple is an ideal wood for firewood. In addition to being affordable and available at your local firewood supplier, maple wood burns well and produces moderate to high heat. This deciduous tree burns long enough, produces a good aroma, and makes quality coals. However, with so many types of maple wood species, it is difficult to decide which tree species make good firewood.
Regardless of this, the silver maple tree is one of the best-known maple species for firewood.
The silver maple tree is a prevalent and fastest-growing maple species. Also known as Acer Saccharinum, it is commonly grown as an ornamental tree in the eastern US.
It is considered primarily for its shade and decent heat output whether you are starting a campfire at home or smoking meat.
However, there are still concerns about whether silver maple makes an effective firewood considering that it is soft maple wood.
Here, we will look at silver maple as firewood and whether you should consider it for your fire pit, campfire, or wood stove.
Are Silver Maple Trees Good for Firewood?
One way to check whether the wood is good for firewood is by considering the heat output. Generally, the amount of heat produced by burning firewood is measured in the British Thermal Unit (BTU).
The higher the BTU rating, the more energy is required and the higher the amount of heat produced. Silver maple generates about 20.1 million BTUs, which is a bit low compared to red oak, white oak, birch, and other types of maple trees.
Despite this, silver maple can still make good firewood since it catches fire quicker and generates enough heat to keep you warm during the cold months.
This is especially true if your home is well-insulated. Furthermore, silver maple makes an excellent choice for shoulder wood, which burns well when you don’t need a lot of heat.
On the other hand, you may need to combine it with another high-heat output wood if you live in colder regions.
With a fire starter, you can quickly start a fire and enjoy moderate burn time. Like other maple trees, silver maple produces quality coals that will make your fire last for several hours.
Another benefit of silver maple, when used as firewood, is that it has a lower moisture level when contending with other maple woods.
Consequently, it tends to dry out quickly, and it can burn well when properly seasoned. Furthermore, it is very easy to split since it is among the softest maple varieties; hence, you won’t require much time and effort. It is also a clean burning wood, and it does not produce a lot of heavy and suffocating smoke.
Like most maple species, the silver maple tree produces sap. The amount produced, however, is relatively low compared to sap produced by the red maple firewood.
The sap is also watery and not as thick as that found in other wood varieties like pine and cedar. As a result, silver maple firewood produces very minimal amounts of creosote, making it non-toxic when used in an indoor fireplace.
Additionally, this maple species is resistant to rot and has minimal spark production, Because of this, you can use it both indoors and outdoors. You will have no difficulty finding a silver maple tree considering that it is one of the most prevalent maple trees in the US.
Pros of silver maple as Firewood
Low Production of Creosote
Typically, creosote refers to the amount of soot produced when you burn firewood.
If you have a chimney, there should be regular cleaning because the buildup of creosote will block the chimney’s airway.
It can lead to adverse effects, especially on the respiratory system. This is because soot contains harmful elements such as carbon monoxide.
All trees will produce creosote when burned, but the silver maple tree produces less creosote because it has less moisture content and sap than most other hardwood trees.
Additionally, the silver maple tree must be properly seasoned and dried to produce less creosote.
Produces a Sweet Scent
The silver maple produces a sweet smell when burned due to the presence of maple syrup in its tissues.
Therefore, you can light up a fire indoors and outdoors because the sweet scent is comfortable and pleasant.
For individuals who like to eat meat, maple firewood is a suitable choice when grilling meat because the maple scent will give the meat a lovely flavor. Therefore, you do not have to worry about unpleasant smells because the silver maple will produce a sweet and fruity scent.
It easily splits
The silver maple tree is easier to split because it is soft and light wood.
Additionally, since it has a relatively high moisture level, it is advisable to start splitting and seasoning the wood while it is still green.
The splitting process will be simple if you have the correct axe and other related tools.
While splitting the wood, it is ideal for hitting the vulnerable parts, such as the small hairline fissures, because other parts of the tree, such as the crotch, may be challenging to split.
Low Production of Sparks
Typically most indoor fire outbreaks in America are linked to the use of firewood that produces a lot of sparks and electricity.
Sparks can fall on carpets and other things that easily catch fire, leading to a fire outbreak.
When using silver maple as a source of firewood, it does not create any sparks while burning.
Therefore, you can light up a fire and enjoy your TV program without worrying about how maple firewood burns. Keep in mind that you should always monitor fires regardless of whether wood produces sparks or not.
Low Production of Smoke
Burning a Smokey firewood, especially in a closed space, can be uncomfortable since smoke may make you cough, irritate your eyes, and interfere with your respiratory system.
When it comes to the use of silver maple trees as firewood, it produces less and cleaner smoke while burning.
It is suitable for open and indoor fireplaces. The tree produces less smoke due to the low concentration of maple syrup.
Not that hot
Silver maple doesn’t burn all that hot, so you won’t likely to have to manage the overall heat through the day or not. Silver maple is still a great wood to cook with and can make your stove hot enough for most anything.
There are lots of silver maples in the United States. Your yard might also have some. They also grow pretty fast, so planting some silver maples will make them useful in the future. The firewood itself – and others just like it, can be found in many places for sale too.
Cons of Silver Maple as Firewood
Low Heat Efficiency
Regarding heat efficiency, the silver maple tree has a low heat efficiency producing about 20 million BTUs for every cord.
It classifies it under medium-quality fuel.
Therefore, if you want a fire that can last for a long period, combine male firewood with other kinds of firewood with high heat efficiency and a long burning time since it burns quickly.
High Accumulation of Creosote
A high accumulation of creosote can occur if you season the silver maple firewood in the incorrect ways.
Since the tree has a high sap content, it will require various methods to season and dry them. Typically, a silver maple tree can take about three months to 2 years for it to be properly seasoned, depending on the size of the wood.
When you split wood into large sections, it will take a long time to dry, while small chunks of split wood will take a shorter period.
Lengthy seasoning process
The seasoning process involves getting wood dry and exposed to air for some time to give it the best possible burn. Even a small piece of silver maple could use a year and a half to of seasoning to get the best possible burn.
On the counter of this – if you store to buy your wood – you might not have to wait – it’s already seasoned!
Note that the lengthy seasoning process doesn’t apply to smaller pieces of silver maple – so just chop it up further and it will dry out and be ready faster.
Not that hot
Yes, this is listed as both an advantage and a disadvantage. Silver maple doesn’t burn all that hot. Of course, you are going to feel the heat! But compared to other, harder woods silver maple produces low BTUs.
This is perfect when you are just trying to compliment an already strong furnace or just like the crackle of a good wood fire without sweating too much.
Another option here is to burn harder wood with your silver maples if you are worried about additional smoke or heat. You’ll just want to find the right balance of the two – heat and ease of use.
Still, if you want high heat to cook food faster or enjoy an especially warm house, research which woods produce higher BTUs and try those instead.
Silver maple burns quickly. If you want a fire going all night, consider adding some harder, more resistant wood to your fire in addition so you don’t have to wake up and add more fuel to the fire.
As mentioned before, the same thing can also apply to making a fire hotter or cooler.
Is a Silver Maple a Hardwood?
No, silver maple is one of the 4 maple species that fall under the soft maple category. The others include red maple, bigleaf maple, and boxelder maple.
Ideally, silver maple is characterized as being lighter, softer, and a bit weaker compared to hardwood maple trees.
However, it is worth noting that, although being a soft maple, silver maple can still be used for various purposes, including those that require woods with moderate density. It falls in the category of some hardwoods, which means that it can serve as a substitute for hard maple where hardness and strength are not key factors.
How Long Does It Take for Silver Maple to Dry Out?
While some local suppliers offer seasoned silver maple firewood, you may still need to prepare your wood logs for the best results.
Generally, it takes at least 90 days to get a small silver maple tree seasoned properly. Yet, it may take up to two years of seasoning to get the best quality product. If you want your silver maple wood to dry faster, I highly recommend splitting the log into smaller pieces since smaller-sized woods are more likely to season quickly than their larger counterparts.
It is also highly recommended to burn silver maple firewood in the splitting season. Besides splitting, storage is the other factor that can affect the drying period.
Make sure that your silver maple wood is correctly stored in a dry place with plenty of sunshine. This will allow your firewood enough time to dry out before using it on a fireplace.
What is Silver Maple Wood Good For?
Silver maple wood is a readily available choice for firewood whether you want to smoke meat or keep warm on those chilly nights. In general, it is ideal for smoking meats since it adds a mildly sweet smoky taste.
The fact that it is also highly available makes it a go-to choice for fireplaces and furnaces in the US. Being a softwood, the silver maple tree may not be the most suitable option for making cabinets and furniture.
Still, you can use it to get a striking finish as long as you use the right tools. This is thanks to its fine, even texture and straight or sometimes wavy grain. Overall, silver maple is easy to work with whether you are using your hands or a machine.
- Silver maple is highly available, particularly in eastern North America.
- Its firewood generates safe heat to warm your home in a cool climate.
- Silver maple wood is highly workable, and it can withstand the use of both hands and machine tools.
- Silver maple is a soft maple that is also categorized under medium-density hardwoods.
- On average, it may take one season to 6 months for silver maple to dry out completely.