The hemlock wood tree is sometimes regarded as more valuable than mere firewood.
For years, the tree’s bark was mostly used by fur-processing and leather-tanning industries due to its high content of tannic acid. It strengthened and softened skins and hides.
This led to stripping off the trees’ bark, which destroyed and led to the death of thousands of hemlock trees in Canada and the US.
Can Hemlock Be Used In A Wood Stove?
Yes, hemlock can be burnt in a wood stove. It is not a common choice for most firewood users, but burns smoothly and comes in handy during the cold season. Hemlock is softwood and one of its characteristics that makes it less desirable as firewood. Most people prefer hardwood such as maple or oak. But, it does not mean hemp wood is not ideal to use in a wood stove. It is a great option where you can easily obtain it and it’s properly seasoned.
Most firewood users know that any wood that is dry and available is worth burning.
If you have hemlock trees that need to be cut down or trimmed, put some in your yard and let them dry. You should not hesitate to turn hemlock into firewood.
It has good BTU, which is good enough for a campfire and indoor wood stove use. Add the wood in your firewood rack, and you will not regret it.
About the Hemlock Tree
The hemlock tree can be either large or medium-sized. It is evergreen and grows up to 100 feet tall.
You will find it mostly in the US and Canada.
It does well in acidic soils and moist areas with proper drainage. The tree is part of the pine family and therefore has a shallow root system ad that makes it easy for them to get blown over during strong windy storms.
Once they are fallen, the trees dry up and make a good source of firewood.
Some people relate the hemlocks with the poisonous hemlock plant called Conium Maculatum.
The two are different because the poisonous hemlock is a flowering plant that doesn’t grow beyond 8 feet, while the hemlock tree is large and non-flowering.
The poisonous hemlock is known in history for killing philosopher Socrates.
The hemlock wood is used in the timber industry. It is used as wood pulp, but they can only be grown in private areas due to their shallow roots.
Planting them in a city or near homes puts residents at risk because they easily get blown down.
Mature hemlocks are harvested and used in house construction.
It offers quality and even competes with some of the hardwood, and the best thing is that it hardens with age.
In 1847, a botanist known as Stephan L. Endlicher christened the hemlock tsuga as its genus name.
It means “yew-leaved” which refers to the tree’s short, non-poisonous flat needles.
The tree is popular in Canada and the US, especially in areas near lakes and other water bodies because it thrives in moist soils.
The hemlock tree shrinks as it dries up. So, you should not consider the measurements you get in its raw form.
Eastern hemlock is light brown, but with a reddish hue making ideal for artistic constructions.
However, it is coarse and quite rough though quite strong with a hardness rating of up to 500 when dry and 400 when still green.
In the US, it is regarded as the wood to go for cribbing and areas that require some solid strength. It is one of the hardest pines you can find. I
n its dry form, hemlock is not easy to use, so you require strong tools to handle it. Apart from making homes, it can be used to construct garden beds, barns and fences.
The wood can last for years and has been reported to remain good shape for over seven years. The price of hemlock is way different compared with cedar. It is a great choice for farm and outdoor use.
Hemlock as firewood
Hemlock is softwood that can be burnt in a stove. However, the wood has to be given ample of time, which can be as long as six months to season properly. The best thing about this wood is that it’s not sappy and will, therefore, lose moist within a few weeks.
Once it’s completely dry, hemlock burns and splits easily, it does not leave big coals and is therefore not your ideal wood for an overnight burn.
It leaves a lot of ash, and you may have to mix it with other hardwoods to long-lasting fire.
It comes in handy during a chilly day; it starts a fire fast and warms up your space rapidly.
This wood also smells good, crackles and gives you a brilliant flame.
This type of firewood brightens your space within a few minutes after lighting up the wood in a stove.
Other Uses Of Hemlock Tree
The hemlock tree is popular for timber firewood uses. However, it also has some medicinal benefits. Here is how parts of the hemlock are used to treat various ailments.
The hemlock twigs have many needles and are used to make tea, which is then consumed to treat kidney diseases. Also, the tea’s steam helps to treat coughs, colds and rheumatism.
The bark is also used to make tea, which is taken to treat scurvy, cough, fevers, colds and diarrhea. Besides, the bark poultice stops bleeding, and its astringent properties draw the skin together to enable fast healing.
Features of the Hemlock Tree
When burnt, the hemlock does not make the spark or popping sound that occurs when other types of pines are used as firewood. This means no creosote build-up, which can fill up your wood stove quickly.
Hemlock is softwood, and like other pinewoods, it does not leave big coals after burning. If you want your fire to last, you must mix it with other hardwood.
Hemlock firewood is easily available. Besides, it is affordable and common with most firewood dealers.
Compared to hardwood firewood, hemlock is affordable and offers equally quality flame.
Hemlock is perfect for less cold days during the winter and fall days.
Since it has low BTU, you can also use it on a cool spring day.
For the best fire, combine hemlock with hardwood.
Comes in handy when looking for cheap firewood.
The BTU of hemlock is the same as that of sugar maple and birch.
Burning Hemlock Indoors
Burning wood not only bring warmth in your home but also save a lot of money spent on electricity used to heat a house.
Hemlock bursts into flickering light and offer sufficient heat along with a nice scent from the burning wood.
It is an easy way to bring some pleasure on a cold day or night without worrying about the expensive cost of buying wood or increased power bills.
While it’s true, you should not just burn any wood; pines are perfect, including the hemlock tree.
If you are afraid of using this wood due to certain myths, learn the truth about the wood, and it will help you find the ideal source of heat while saving your pocket.
Some people will advise you not to burn any pine in your wood stove or fireplace.
Some claim that hemlock and other types of pines create creosote. This dangerous soot that forms in your chimney, but is not proven that hemlock can cause this.
It remains a safe option to use in a wood stove.
Softwood Plus Hardwood
The best way to ensure your fire is sufficient is to have a mixture of both soft and hardwoods.
You can mix your hemlock firewood with maple or oak. The dense wood will keep your fire burning for hours.
However, the softwoods like hemlock are easy to ignite and produce hotter flame as they burn rapidly.
This wood is most ideal for kindling and lighting up your logs. It keeps you fire burning brilliantly.
Don’t Worry About Creosote
You shouldn’t worry about the creation of creosote; all woods do so. Only that most people believe pinewood produces more creosote because it burns rapidly.
However, it has been found out that hardwood can cause more creosote compared to softwood.
Hemlock produces a hot flame, and its smoke travels fast, it means very little, or no condensation takes place.
Hardwood burns slowly and produces smoke that lingers in the chimney leading to formation creosote.
How To Prevent Creosote When Using Hemlock Wood In A Stove
Since hemlock is excellent for kindling and making romantic fires, you do not have to worry about creosote accumulation.
However, it will happen if you add hardwood for long-lasting fire. Allow your hemlock firewood to season properly by leaving to dry for over six months.
This ensures your firewood burns efficiently without producing much smoke.
Avoid adding any treated hemlock or any other trash as they can cause creosote formation.
Look out for any signs of creosote as it can be dangerous.
It is flammable and one of the major causes of house fires. Have your chimney cleaned once per year or more of you are a heavy user of the wood stove.