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Your 101 on Honey Locust Firewood

Your 101 on Honey Locust Firewood

The honey locust is one versatile tree. During the Civil War, soldiers used their thorns to pin their uniforms; today, its honey is used to treat arthritis and even cancer.

But its benefits don’t just end there. A tree that keeps giving, it’s also a popular choice as firewood for indoor and outdoor activities. 

In this article, we’ll tell you why many people love it and everything else you need to know about using honey locust as firewood. Let’s get started!

Is honey locust a good firewood?

Is honey locust a good firewood
Image: Home Stratosphere

Honey locust is an excellent choice for firewood for indoor and outdoor burning activities. It produces high heat output of 26.7 BTU and a good amount of hot coal, making burn times longer and with low smoke. 

It also emits a slightly fragrant smell and low smoke and creosote levels. With its good coal production, it can keep the fire going overnight. 

Honey locust firewood can also be used in wood stoves because it produces a lot of heat, little smoke, and high-quality coals that make it burn slowly and retain heat longer. 

Here’s an overview of Honey Locust firewood’s physical and fire characteristics.

Tree NameHoney Locust
Common Name• Sweet Locust

• Bean Tree

• Thorny Honey Locust

• Honey Shuck

• McConnel’s Curse
Scientific NameGleditsia triacanthos
Height 30 to 70 feet
Life Span120 to 150 years
Type of WoodHardwood
Dry Weight 3,832 lbs per cord
Green Weight4,640 lbs per cord
Density670 kg/m³
Seasoning Time12 to 24 months
Heat Content (million BTUs per cord)26.7
Heat ProductionHigh
Splitting DifficultyEasy
SmellSlight fragrance
Coal ProductionGood
Creosote Build-upLow

What are the fire characteristics of honey locust firewood?

What are the fire characteristics of honey locust firewood
Image: Arbor Valley Nursery

Honey locust firewood is easy to split, has high heat output, low creosote build-up, low smoke output, and good coal production properties. 

Read on and learn about each of these fire characteristics.

1. Easy to Split

Easy to Split
Image: Hudson River Park

Honey locust is an easy-to-split firewood that you can break it using your hand. It’s best to chop this wood while still green because it will also speed up its seasoning process. 

2. High Heat Output

High Heat Output
Image: Firewood Centre

Honey locust produces a high heat output of 26.7 BTU, making it an excellent wood for cooking and burning indoors and outdoors. It also produces hotter and long-running fires than others because of its high density as a hardwood. 

The high heat output makes this wood perfect for fireplace burning on winter nights or bonfire parties outdoors.

Below is a table comparing honey locust with other types of firewood.

FirewoodHeat Output (million BTUs per cord)
Osage Orange32.9
Honey Locust26.7
White Ash24.2

3. Low Creosote Build-Up

Low Creosote Build-Up
Image: Chimney Saver Solutions

With its low sap content, honey locust has low creosote output, making it ideal for indoor burning. 

Expect less of that black tar-like substance in your chimney and less worry of the flammable creosote risking your home to fire. There’s also less chance of your lungs getting irritated from a lot of exposure to the fire. 

4. Low Smoke Output

Low Smoke Output
Image: Freepik

Correctly seasoned honey locust wood burns cleanly and produces low smoke. This makes it ideal for open fireplaces. 

Never burn unseasoned honey locust because it will only end up using its energy to evaporate moisture in the wood instead of producing fire.

5. Good Coal Production

Good Coal Production
Image: Freepik

Honey locust firewood burns hot yet slow, thanks to its ability to produce a good amount of coal. It can also leave embers until the next morning, which you can re-ignite quickly.

You can also use honey locust for cooking because the high-quality coals can retain heat for a longer burn time.

Pros and Cons of Using Honey Locust as Firewood

Pros and Cons of Using Honey Locust as Firewood
Image: Arbor Day Foundation

At a glance, here are the advantages and disadvantages of Honey Locust firewood.

High heat outputNot good for kindling
Easy to splitThick, long and sharp thorns
Low smoke and creosote build-up
Insect and rot-resistant

Honey locust firewood is an optimal firewood that produces a high BTU of 26.7 million per cord, with low smoke and creosote build-up. These make it safe for both indoor and outdoor use. 

It’s also easy to split, so chop it into smaller pieces to extend the surface area and speed up its year-long seasoning process. 

Honey locust wood is highly resistant to rot and insect damage so it can stay in your storage area longer than softwoods. 

However, honey locust is not a kindling type of wood, so it would take a lot of time to start the fire. 

How does honey locust compare with other firewood?

How does honey locust compare with other firewood
Image: Gertens

Honey locust is slightly heavier than other firewood green and dry weight such as Sweetgum, Red Cedar, Fir and Pine trees. 

In terms of heat output, it has one of the highest BTUs, with 26.7 million per cord, compared with the American Elm (20.3 BTU), Red Oak (24 BTU), or Mulberry (25.8 BTU) firewood. 

Finally, honey locust inherited one of the hardwood tree’s greatest fire characteristics: low smoke output. In fact, this firewood produces a lower amount of smoke than most softwoods. 

Here’s how honey locust compares to other firewood.

FirewoodHeat Output (million BTUs per cord)Splitting DifficultyCoal Production
Honey Locust26.7EasyExcellent
Bur Oak26EasyGood

How long should you season honey locust wood?

How long should you season honey locust wood
Image: Bless Your Hearth

Honey locust wood must be seasoned for 12 to 24 months to achieve maximum heat output and fire quality. 

As a hardwood, honey locust has a high density, so it will naturally take longer for water to evaporate out of its wood fibers. We recommend cutting this wood into smaller pieces to speed up the seasoning process.

Before using it as firewood, use a moisture meter to check if its moisture content is less than 20%. Otherwise, you might end up burning honey locust with more smoke and creosote output.

FAQs on Honey Locust Firewood

Is honey locust good indoor firewood?

Honey Locust is a great choice for indoor firewood because it produces high heat but with less smoke and creosote build-up.

Can I burn green honey locust firewood?

You can burn green honey locust firewood, but it is not advisable because unseasoned firewood is difficult to ignite and produces a lot of smoke.

When is the best time to split honey locust firewood?

It is best to split honey locust firewood during winter and early spring because they contain less water and sap, making them season faster.

How long does a cord of honey locust last?

A cord of honey locust firewood can last between 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the type and length of fire activity as well as the level of dry wood.

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