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What to Consider When Choosing the Best Wood Burning Kits

Before choosing a wood-burning kit, take a few minutes to think about what you will use it for and the other important shopping considerations detailed below.

Wood Type

While all wood burns well, not all woods are equal. Different types of wood have different burn characteristics, some of which are favorable and others unfavorable. Burn time, temperature, and color can vary dramatically between species.

  • Maple is generally considered one of the best hardwoods for burning because its strong and stable. Its also very durable, which makes it a good choice for outdoor applications.
  • Walnut has a naturally dark color that burns extremely well.
  • Beech has a light cream color that turns a bright shade of brown during combustion.
  • Acacia is another favorite for burning because its strong and resilient and produces a relatively clean ash.
  • Teak is another popular option, especially for outdoor applications.

Burn Time

The amount of time it takes a piece of wood to fully burn can vary significantly between species and even between individual pieces of the same species. While some hardwoods may take 10 minutes to burn completely, others may take 30 or 40.

Its difficult to give a precise estimate of how long a particular wood burner will take to burn without having the fuel in hand and putting it into the fire. However, if you purchase a kit with multiple pieces, the combined size of the kit should allow you to get an idea of how long it will take to burn the entire thing.

Temperature

The temperature at which your wood burner operates can affect the quality of the burn. If the flame is too cool, the wood may not burn enough to produce a sufficient heat.
The ideal temperature for a wood burner depends on the type of wood thats being burned. For example, maple can tolerate a cooler flame because it burns slowly and consistently produces a high heat.

If the wood burns too hot, however, the flames may be too intense and could cause the wood to catch fire. This could potentially ruin your furniture, your tools, or your clothing.

Color

The color of the wood itself isnt as important as the color of the smoke. Blue and gray are often the two colors people look for in a wood-burning kit because they tend to produce the most desirable results. Deep reds, oranges, yellows, and even purples can be attractive depending on the kind of furniture or art project youre making.

Keep in mind that while color is a matter of preference, many manufacturers dye their wood burners to achieve specific colors. If you find yourself disappointed by the color of a DIY project you helped create, you might want to consider other options.

Ashes

When a wood burner is properly made, the result should be a sturdy stand-alone tool that lasts for years and doesnt require any maintenance. However, even the best-quality wood burners cannot prevent soot from forming if the fuel source contains moisture.

Soot, also known as dust, is undesirable because it can become airborne and land on surfaces such as skin or furniture. If the wood burner you choose creates a lot of soot, either the wood chips youre using contain moisture or the design of the burner is faulty.

Features

Most wood burners operate via a simple system of gravity. A funnel collects the wood chips you load into the device, and a second smaller funnel collects the ash that drops out when you shut off the ignition. These funnels must be removed before you can clean out the unit.

Some models feature secondary air vents that release additional oxygen into the fire, which can help it burn hotter and more efficiently. Theyre typically located on the side of the device where the ash is emptied.

Other features can make a wood burner easier to use. For instance, a large knob tends to indicate that the burner is well designed and easy to turn. Knobs with smaller diameters, though, might indicate a less sturdy product or one that requires more effort to turn.

Ease of Use

The best wood burners are designed to be easy to use. For instance, a device with a large knob should be easier to turn than one with smaller knobs that need to be manipulated with greater dexterity. Also, a sturdy build with well-fitting parts should make the operation of the wood burner easier.

Some kits come with a built-in chimney starter, which helps provide a proper draft through the vent holes. You can also purchase a separate chimney starter and use it with your wood burner if needed. Either way, a well-designed wood burner should include a protective cover to shield you from falling debris and a bag to collect the ash once the burning is complete.