Choosing the right fireplace grate can give you a hotter fire, as Texas Fireframe® grate owners already know. But how can you choose wood to make your fire burn even hotter? We recommend hardwoods. Most wood purchased by the cord is a collection of local hardwoods. But many fruitwoods and some ornamental trees also burn hot, and you may want to add them to your log pile.
We’ve compiled a list of woods with high heat output according to Firewood for your Fireplace by Warren Donnelly. Note that a few are listed as slower to start. The beauty of the Texas Fireframe grate is that it makes starting a fire easy – for whichever varieties of wood you have access to.
Species and Heat Per Cord (million BTU)
Apple: 27 (Slower to start)
Ash, White: 23 (Black Ash is 20)
Beech: 27 (Slower to start)
Black Birch: 27 (Grey and White Birch are 20)
Yellow Birch: 23
Hop Hornbeam: 27
Ironwood: 30 (Slower to start, but check out that heat rating!)
Locust: 27 (Slower to start)
Maple, Hard: 26 (Soft Maple is 19)
Oak, Black: 24
Oak, Red: 24
Oak, White: 27
Osage orange: 29 (Slower to start, but super hot)
For comparison, Aspen, Cottonwood, Hemlock and Poplar supply just 15 million BTU per cord; Elm, Magnolia and Sycamore: 20. Contact us for heat ratings of trees not listed.
If you have a tree on your property that needs to come down or you see a tree being felled, don’t miss the opportunity to stack some “free heat” for future fires – selecting logs up to 10 inches in diameter for your Texas Fireframe grate. You can use unsplit wood, split wood, or a combination.
Please check out my previous post: Confessions of a Log Scavenger, for tips on how and where to find free wood, how to tell if it’s seasoned, and how to build a longer-burning fire on a Texas Fireframe grate. To put the laws of physics to work in your fireplace, see our three sizes of fireplace grates here.