Is Sycamore Good Firewood?

Between various BTU ratings and the build-up of sticky, tarry creosote, it can be hard to figure out what firewood to use.

The most important thing is to know how long that firewood will burn and how efficient it will be as a heat source. Let’s take a look at whether Sycamore is a good option as firewood.

Sycamore is the perfect firewood to get your fire going. It produces a moderate amount of heat and maintains that heat for a moderate amount of time. Though it does produce decent quality coal which can be used to keep your fire going.

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Varieties of Sycamore

Firewood NameSycamore
BTU21.3 mil./Cord
Wight Dry2808 lbs./Cord
Weight Wet5096 lbs./Cord
Seasoning Time1-2 years
Resin/ Sap ContentLow
Splitting DifficultyVery difficult
Coal ProductionHigh quality
Cerostee build-upMinimal

Heat Output and Efficiency of Sycamore?

According to the Utah State University Forestry Extension, sycamore burns at 21.3 million./cord, which is moderately high heat. However, it cannot maintain this heat.

For the short while that it does burn, it can give out enough heat to warm a room.

As a quick source of heat, sycamore is a good choice. As long as you have other wood ready to mix with sycamore, for example, locust varieties, maple, or hickory firewood.

Fire Characteristics Of Sycamore

Creosote Build-Up

Sycamore though called a ‘lightweight wood’, is still a hardwood. So, as firewood, it does not produce a lot of sap.

The naturally low sap content means little creosote build-up when sycamore is burnt.

Amount of Smoke

When first cut, sycamore is a very water-heavy wood but most of this water will evaporate when the wood is seasoned.

However, sycamore is liable to produce a moderate amount of smoke if not seasoned properly.

There is always the option to season the wood for longer which will reduce the smoke output.

Spark Production

When it comes to getting that first spark, sycamore can catch on quickly and begin a fire with ease.

Despite this, the wood releases very few sparks while burning.

Does it Produce Coals and Why Is It Important?

Sycamore’s fairly high 21.3 BTU does mean that it is a wood capable of producing better quality coals. But those coals are unable to sustain the fire for long.

That isn’t to say that the coals would not sustain other woods.

How Long To Season Sycamore Firewood?

Due to the heavy water content, sycamore requires a longer seasoning period than other hardwoods.

2 years of seasoning is enough in most cases to dry out the wood and reduce the amount of smoke produced when burnt.

Some people only spend 6 months to a year seasoning sycamore before burning it.

Sycamore carries far more water than other hardwoods, so unless enough seasoning time can be dedicated to it, there is little point in using it.

moisture meter will certainly be a handy tool to have.

Is Sycamore Firewood Expensive?

Sycamore is native to southeastern climates and tends to be found growing near streams and rivers. Hence why its wood carries so much water.

Like any firewood, sycamore will be cheapest when brought from areas where the tree grows naturally.

It is a moderately priced choice in most cases but can become expensive when turned into timber.

As such, stick to buying sycamore as firewood if that is how you intend to use it.

Pros and Cons of Using Sycamore as Firewood


Sycamore is firewood that requires little to no attention once you have a fire going.

Its short life span means that you won’t need to maintain it. Minimal sparks add a level of safety that other woods don’t carry so you don’t have to keep an eye on it.

Likewise, the wood requires a longer seasoning period so you can stack the chopped wood up in a dry place and leave it to season over a few years.


Unless you have a hydraulic chopping tool available, sycamore is a difficult wood to split when first cut down.

The wood also requires a noticeably longer seasoning time. For a short-lived source of heat, some may say that the wait isn’t worth the payoff.

How Does Sycamore Compare to Other Firewood?

The most obvious characteristic that sets sycamore apart from other woods is its high-water content. Though it is still able to produce a comparable heat level to Elmwood whereas elm produces better coals.

Other eastern trees for firewood, such as oak and ash are a far more effective heat choice with a higher BTU rating. They can generate a lot more heat for longer.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sycamore Good Indoor Firewood?

Despite the heat that sycamore can produce, it is more suited as ambient firewood than a source of heat. Though it can be used throughout the entire winter season, it is considered to be a good shoulder wood for cold autumn and spring months.

However, sycamore can be used as a fire starter and is safer due to the lack of sparks.

What does BTU stand for?

BTU is an acronym for British thermal unit which measures how much energy wood produces when burnt.

Can I only use seasoned firewood for burning?

Simply put, the better seasoned your firewood is, the better it will burn.

More time drying time for your wood will reduce the amount of smoke produced when it is burnt and will allow the fire to burn for longer.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t use unseasoned firewood. Just that the fire will be less effective and with more smoke.


Sycamore firewood is an effective firestarter but is not the best choice for a long-term heat source.

Its long seasoning time means that you should stock up a few years in advance. But once the wood is ready to use, you can get a fire going in no time.

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