At What Temperature Does Wood Burn?

Depending on the type of wood being used, ignition temperature will vary. Under room temperature and medium density, wood will ignite at around 572°F or 300°C. It will burn hot at a temperature of 1472-1742°F or 800-950°C.

Are you looking forward to enjoying a campfire? Do you want a warm home in those colder months? To fulfill those wishes, correct wood burning is critically important. The main question seems to be, at what temperature does wood burn?

At What Temperature Does Wood Burn?

Different types of trees have an important role in detecting the temperature when the wood burns. An example would be that we know Victorian Ash is an average wood. It begins displaying flames at around 590°F. On the other hand, birch trees will do the same thing but at over 1500°F.

We all enjoy the heat from our fireplaces when we burn wood. But we typically do not know the wood does change during the process of burning.

Trees get their water from the soil. After absorbing the water, it stays in the stem which helps them to grow better. So, when wood starts to burn, the first change will be losing almost all the water. Then, it will loo dry.

When wood is freshly cut or wet, it requires little heat in order to burn. The heat will be lower than dry timber. Wood that is wet will use energy to make the water into vapor. Then, it takes more power to pipe into the fire.

There can be a lot of smoke while the wood is in the process of burning. This is normal; it is nothing but flammable gases. The gases require enough oxygen to live. At the end, the pyrolysis stages will take place, giving the flame along with the heat.

How Hot Does Wood Burn?

There are factors that determine the amount of heat you that you’ll get when burning wood. Below are some of those factors:

  • Grades of wood
  • Air volume access to fireplace
  • Amount of moisture in the wood

The factors above will provide you the knowledge about the ignition productivity of wood. You may also learn about the rising temperature volume during the combustion process.

Keeping the air inlet of the fireplace open will allow you to ignite the wood. This will help to lower air pollution as well. Remember, fresh cut wood could contain more water. It will burn quicker, but you will get less effective heat.

If the wood contains a lot of moisture, it is recommended to dry it out with high heat for a lengthy time. The energy it takes to dry the wood is wasted to get rid of all the moisture. That is the reason you will not get high heat from wood that is wet while burning it.

Two options to get more heat from the ignition of wood

  1. Dry the cut wood first. It can take up to a year for the natural drying process of wood.
  2. Store the wood for a longer period of time. This will reduce the moisture below 20%.

You can always ignite the wood and not concern yourself about the moisture. If you choose to do that, you could need more wood to get enough heat.

The best scenario is to use dry wood for fireplaces and campfires.

Evaporation and melting wood from ignition

Whatever we melt will break all the molecules apart from the physical thing such as wood. It also means the molecules are free to move around one another. However, the physical thing stays the same, if you melt the wood, it will still be wood afterwards.

The prolonged form of melting is evaporation. It is the complete breakdown of intermolecular bonds to be able to float freely in the air.

You can not melt wood, it’s not possible. The wood will ignite and catch completely on fire. When the molecules break down, they join the oxygen in the air. Consequently, new compounds are present in the air.

There is no chance of the wood evaporating if the wood melting is rough to happen. Although, it can still be possible if the wood ignites at 8720°F. That is the temperature in which carbon comes to a boil. Typically, you cannot get that high a temperature.

The best temperature for wood burning

If you’re trying to decide what the best temperature is for wood burning for your particular project, then you should be familiar with the features of the wood you’ve chosen and what your design requires.

You should consider the room in which you will be doing your project in when deciding at what temperature does wood burn. If there is a breeze or the room is cold you will have to set your pen at a higher temperature. Also take into consideration the tips of your pen that you plan on using when deciding on the temperature. They need to be attached properly and you also have to be certain they are clean. Tips that are dirty will not heat up as well and you’ll have to increase the temperature.

Light and thinner tips will be good at lower temperatures. Thicker tips such as those used for shading or patterns could require longer times to heat up so they will work properly.

Safety Tips for Wood Burning

  • Don’t use treated wood
  • Be careful and mindful when using the pen
  • Do not inhale fine dust or toxic fumes

Lastly, here are a few recommendations and tips to work safely with wood burning.

If the tool you are working with is very hot as wood burning temperatures tend to be extremely high, the risk of burning yourself is present and you want to avoid this completely.

Wood burning pens come with holders that allow you to position the pen correctly when not in use. This will help to avoid burning yourself and any surfaces that you are working on. It also makes it very convenient to grab when you’re ready to continue your wood burning.

Smoke will be produced during the wood burning process. It is suggested to stay a little bit away while doing the work and do not lay it in the wood. You can wear a mask to prevent inhaling all of the smoke.

It is vitally important to always evade wood that is treated. It can let out fumes that may be toxic and you will put your health at risk. Rather, use natural raw wood for all your wood burning projects and avoid painting and staining prior to burning the wood.

A small amount of smoke is typical, but it should not create a lot and it shouldn’t be dark. If the smoke appears dark, then you may have to adjust the temperature to a lower setting. Work in a well-ventilated room to avoid too much smoke inhalation.  

Final thoughts

To get better ignition, choose a dry wood. Less energy is used to ignite and provides more heat in return.