Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is the only species left belonging to the genus of sequoia. As such, redwood is the oldest living tree, shrub, or general living thing still alive, predating humans for thousands of years.
Today, redwood is a very high valued timber wood. But is it worth burning as firewood?
Redwood is a softwood and carries the poor burning qualities that are common in softwoods. It will generate a decent amount of heat (18.3 BTUs) but will not last for long and will smoke terribly.
What Are The Varieties Of Redwood
Two types of redwood are native to the US and are therefore more common than other redwood varieties. They are:
- Coast redwoods – preferring to grow along the North American coast, coast redwoods are the tallest trees in the world
- Sequoia redwoods – expanding more in width, sequoia redwoods prefer the mountains of Nevada
You can expect both varieties of redwood to burn similarly and generate just as much heat as the other.
What Are The Physical Characteristics Of Redwood
|Heat per cord (Million BTUs)||18.3|
|Weight dry (lbs per cord)||2652|
|Weight green (lbs per cord)||4675|
|Seasoning time||1 year|
|Resin / Sap content||Moderate|
|Smell||Spicy and earthy|
Does its Wood Split Easily?
As a softwood, redwood split very easily. It naturally grows in a straight grain, so is able to split just as easily dry as it does when green.
That being said, redwood is better suited as kindling. Kindling is always easier to split and produce once the wood has been seasoned, so you better wait until then to slit the wood if that is your intended use of it.
How Much Sap Does It Have?
Redwood does have a moderate amount of sap within its wood, though not as much as other softwoods like the notorious pine.
Neither is the sap produced by redwood particularly sweet. It will not catch the attention of invasive bugs and beetles as easily as the sweet sap of sugar maple logs would.
How Does The Wood Smell?
A very pleasant-smelling wood, redwood will make your home smell like a forest with a hint of spice. It is not an overwhelming smell, just the right amount to be fragrant.
Heat Output And Efficiency Of Redwood
For softwood, redwood has a brilliant heat generation of 18.3 BTUs. Though the heat will not last long, you will definitely be able to feel the heat of a redwood when sitting a fair distance away.
Fire Characteristics Of Redwood
Even though redwood is classified as a fire-resistant species as a tree, that is not the case once it has been turned into firewood logs.
It is a low-density softwood and burns up very quickly. You will be lucky to get more than two hours of heat out of one pack of wood in the stove. With next to no coal production, redwood struggles to maintain its own fire.
The fire itself is fairly aggressive due to its high levels of sap. However, the smoke produced by redwood is mostly due to its high moisture content rather than its sap content.
This means that redwood will produce moderate smoke and creosote but will not be as dangerous as other sappy softwoods.
Is It Okay To Burn Redwood In A Fireplace?
It is better to only use redwood as kindling if you plan to burn it in your fireplace.
High moisture and sap contents mean that it will happily crackle away when burnt, which will create a nice atmosphere if used in a log burner or a campfire.
However, for the same reasons, it will also spark so it is not exactly the healthiest wood to burn in an open fireplace.
How Expensive Is Redwood Firewood?
Since redwood is not usually sold commercially as firewood, it is hard to determine the cost of it. However, you can expect to pay a similar price for a seasoned cord of split redwood as you would pay for other types of firewood, around 450USD.
How Long To Season Redwood
Because it is already a very light wood when green, redwood will only take a year to season fully.
In most cases, you will mostly need to ensure that it has fully dried out, which can be checked via a moisture meter.
If your redwood has not fully seasoned after 12 months, you can leave it to season for longer. It is a fairly rot-resistant wood so it will not hinder the wood’s performance.
Pros And Cons of Redwood Wood
- Easy to prepare
- Rot resistant
- Good kindling
- Pleasant smell
- Poor coals production
- Fast and agressivly burning wood
How Does Redwood Compare To Other Firewood?
Redwood tends to grow in areas where hardwoods thrive. That is why it is not commonly picked up as firewoods as there are other preferable woods within the same area.
When pitted against other softwoods like pine, redwood performs moderately well. It will burn substantially better than white pine firewood for example and will not be as messy.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Which Is Better To Burn: Hard Or Softwood?
Hardwood is typically denser and has less sap so, they will burn for longer and throw out less sparks and create less creosote if seasoned properly.
What Is Greenwood?
Green wood is wood that has not been seasoned yet, in other words, it is freshly cut wood.
Redwood is better used as timber than as firewood. It can be considered a fair burning softwood, but there are far better hardwoods to choose from in the areas where it grows.
I am the guy behind Theyardable.com. I grew up on a homestead and I am here to share the knowledge I have and things I learn while living in the countryside.