Blackwood Firewood: Can You Take the Heat?

Blackwood Firewood

If there’s one tree that can protect you from fire, it would be the blackwood tree. Its thick and corky bark is known for being fire-resistant, and it can insulate the tree from heat and become a firebreak in areas prone to wildfires. 

But blocking fires is just one of many things blackwood is good at. It’s also high heat-producing firewood, making it a popular choice for heating and cooking. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the fire characteristics of blackwood firewood and how to use them to achieve the best results. 

Is blackwood a good firewood?

Is blackwood a good firewood
Image: Trees of Stanford

Blackwood is a high-heat producing firewood of 35 million BTUs per cord, great for fire pits and campfires. However, it emits an unpleasant smell and high smoke and creosote, making it safer for outdoor burning activities.

This hardwood is one of the densest woods in the world, making it burn hot yet steady heat for your cold winter campfires.

Although it’s hard to ignite, blackwood can still burn for long hours with the help of its very good quality coals. 

Unfortunately, when burned, blackwood emits an unpleasant smell and a high amount of smoke and creosote. This is why blackwood we do not recommend burning blackwood in your fireplace or indoors.

Check out the table below for an overview of blackwood’s physical and fire characteristics.

Tree NameBlackwood
Scientific NameAcacia melanoxylon
Common Names• Mudgerabah
• Tasmanian Blackwood
• Blackwood Acacia
• Australian Blackwood
FamilyFabaceae
Height 15 to 40 meters
Life Span15 to 150 years
Type of WoodHardwood
Dry Weight (lbs per cord)5,127
Green Weight (lbs per cord)6,290
Seasoning Time2 years
Heat Content (million BTUs per cord)35.3
Sap ContentLow
Splitting DifficultyDifficult
SmokeModerate
SmellUnpleasant
Coal ProductionVery Good
Creosote Build-upHigh

Fire Characteristics of Blackwood 

Fire Characteristics of Blackwood 
Image: Recreating the Country

Blackwood is a hardwood that is difficult to split, with low sap content, high heat output and excellent coal production. However, it also has unpleasant small and produces high levels of smoke and creosote when burned.

Let’s look at each fire property and how it affects blackwood as firewood.

1. Difficult to Split

Difficult to Split
Image: Local Seeds

Blackwood is difficult to split because of its knots and interlocked grains. It’s easier to split blackwood while still green because once it starts seasoning, it will harden and become extremely hard to break.

2. Low Sap Content

Low Sap Content
Image: Local Seeds

Blackwood has low sap content, and its sap does not help it create a healthy burn as it contributes to the smoke output. However, it tends to produce a lot of sap during warm months with excess water. 

3. Unpleasant Smell

Unpleasant Smell
Image: Firewood for Life

Like most Acacia wood species, the smell of burning blackwood is likened to the urine smell. On the slightly brighter side, this smell is tempered when the wood has completely dried out, but it will smell unpleasant nonetheless.

4. High Heat Output 

High Heat Output 
Image: M&A All Seasons Tree Service

Blackwood is one of the best heat-producing firewood, releasing 35.3 million BTUs per cord. Its high BTU output beats oak varieties and almost all hardwoods.

5. High Creosote Build-Up

High Creosote Build-Up
Image: Full-Service Chimney

Its high creosote production makes blackwood a dangerous wood to burn in the fireplace. We don’t want this black tar-like substance filling up your chimney and flues and causing a fire hazard inside your home.

6. High Smoke Output

High Smoke Output
Image: Cutting Edge Firewood

Besides its unpleasant smell, burning blackwood will give you an overwhelming and hazardous amount of smoke. That’s why it’s not the firewood you’d want to use regularly for your burning activities.

8. Excellent Coal Production

Excellent Coal Production
Image: Snowys

Blackwood can sustain its high heat for a long time because of its very good coal production. Once it reaches its peak heat output, these coals can help blackwood burn for hours.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Blackwood Firewood

Benefits and Drawbacks of Blackwood Firewood
Image: Blackwood Growers
BenefitsDrawbacks
Very high heat outputUnpleasant smell
Excellent coal productionHigh smoke and creosote output
Difficult to split

Blackwood burns long-lasting flames of 35.3 million BTUs per cord, making it a great heating source for cold winter campfires in your backyard. It also produces very good coals that keep the fire going long. 

However, blackwood is dense with knots and interlocked grains on its bark, making it difficult to split. 

It also has a strong and unpleasant smell likened to that of urine, so it’s not advisable for indoor or cooking use. 

When burned, blackwood releases high levels of smoke and creosote, which can be a nuisance and fire hazard for its users.

How does blackwood compare with other firewood?

How does blackwood compare with other firewood
Image: Blackwood Growers

Blackwood burns hotter than oak, hickory and most hardwood varieties, with its 35.3 million BTUs per cord heat output. 

However, it produces a more overwhelming and unhealthy smoke than most firewood. Compared with pine wood, it still gives off more smoke. 

How long should you season blackwood firewood?

How long should you season blackwood firewood
Image: Blackwood Growers

Blackwood takes at least two years to season thoroughly. 

It’s better to be patient and complete its seasoning time; otherwise, the high moisture content will add to the acrid smoke it already produces when burned. 

FAQs on Blackwood Firewood

Is blackwood smoke toxic?


Although burning blackwood itself is not toxic, the high level of smoke it produces when burned is unhealthy and damaging during prolonged exposures.

How long does the blackwood tree last?


Blackwood trees can live between 15 to over 150 years.

What wood is similar to blackwood?


Blackwood is similar to Koa (Acacia koa) wood in terms of their timber properties, tonal features and growth form.

Can I use blackwood for cooking food?


Blackwood cannot be used for cooking food because of its high smoke output and unpleasant smell that can ruin food.

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