When gathering firewood, you will occasionally find logs with nails in them. Although the firewood you found is great soft or hardwood, that is perfect for your fire, nails can be somewhat of a concern. Can you put wood with nails in a log burner? Can you burn it safely?
In a word, yes, it is alright to burn wood that contain nails. Usually, the nails will just fall to the bottom and you will find them amongst the ash. With that being said, there are some safeguards you should seriously consider.
During the cold months, burning wood at home or while camping is a calming and cozy way to relax and stay warm. However, when making a fire, you need to be responsible about doing so and take the utmost caution. You certainly don’t want the fire that was meant for relaxing to become a nightmare.
Safety Measures When Burning Wood
Fresh or wet wood
Fresh or wet wood contains water, so be sure the woos is not wet. This can cause the woos to pop, crackle and even sometimes explode which can all be dangerous. If the fibers of the wood are tightly packed and it is fresh or wet, you should either tale out any nails or wait for the wood to be dry.
If the nails are left in the wood and it is fresh or wet, it can be dangerous, as the nails can turn into hot, fiery bullets. Think of a fireworks display, but this one will be out of control and extremely hazardous. Better to be safe than sorry.
Wood with Nails in Log Burner
Even if the wood is not wet but riddled with nails, you should remove them just to be safe. However, if the wood contains just a few nails, it should be alright to put wood with nails in a log burner without removing them.
Can You Put Wood with Nails in a Fire Pit?
Yes, follow the guidelines mentioned above, and be sure the wood is not loaded with nails and that it’s dry. You only have to remove the nails if there are too many.
If you’re going to have a really big, wafting, hot fire, take the nails from the wood before using them in the firepit. High temperatures can make the nails scorching missiles. Fireplaces in the home don’t typically get hot enough to be cautionary about nails becoming hot bullets.
Removing Nails from Firewood
You can choose to take the nails out of the firewood either prior to making a fire or after. It does depend on how wet the wood is and how many nails the wood contains.
Removing nails prior to a fire
Before making a fire, remove the nails ahead of time in case the wood is wet and contains too many nails. Some may be hard to get out, so it’s alright to leave them in. However, remove as many as you can before build the fire.
Removing nails after the fire
Wait until all the ashes have cooled down. Most people choose this option as it is safer and easier in the long run. You have the following options:
- Using a magnet, run it over the ash pile to gather the nails. Most likely you will have to do this many times in order to get all of them. Then recycle or discard all the nails.
- Remove the ash pan or brush the area using a dustpan; this would depend on how you are set up. Be sure to empty the dustpan in the recyclables or garbage far from bare feet and tires.
Gardens like fire ashes as they serve as compost. Some use the ashes in their driveways as a substratum. If the ashes contain nails however, do not dump the ashes in walkways, yards, driveways or any areas that are heavily trafficked.
If you have an ash vacuum handy, don’t use it if nails are present in the fireplace or firepit. They will more than likely damage the vacuum. The nails may get caught in the tubes or pipes causing a puncture and could be damaging.
So, can you put wood with nails in a log burner? In most instances, yes. However, use your best judgement and caution when you find nails in wood you are going to use for a fire. Regardless of whether you are going to use the wood in a fireplace at home or an outdoor firepit, be sure the wood does not have too many nails or is not too wet. Otherwise, go ahead and burn the wood.
For the most part, burning wood containing nails should not be a problem as long as you use caution and make good decisions. Remember, if the fire in your firepit is going to be super-hot, take out the nails first to avoid any hazardous situations.