Sycamore trees are easily identifiable by their peeling white bark, which gives the tree a camouflage-like appearance. Sycamores can grow 80 feet tall or more and spread some 60 feet wide. While sycamore is not very common as firewood, it is abundant in many areas. Like firewood from elm and sweet gum trees, it can be difficult to split and produces a moderate amount of smoke; however, when properly seasoned, or cured, it burns at moderate temperatures with very few pops or sparks.
Cut logs of sycamore to length based on the size of your fire ring or fireplace. Overcrowding will suffocate the fire and cause greater smoking with less heat.
Use a maul (or a wedgelike axe) to split the sycamore pieces. Splitting creates smaller pieces of wood for faster drying.
Stack the cut and split sycamore by laying the pieces in alternating layers of 90 degrees. This helps with air circulation. It is important for green sycamore to dry thoroughly; it is nearly useless as firewood otherwise.
Place in the centre of the space for the fire some paper, dry leaves or small twigs for tinder. Sycamore is difficult to ignite at times, and this small fire will help to add the needed heat to start it.
Using smaller sticks of wood (sycamore or any other available), build a cone or pyramid shape around the tinder in the centre. Do not completely cover the tinder. Leave room for air to reach the centre.
Lay larger pieces of split and dried sycamore firewood around the outer edge of the pyramid without covering the top.
Ignite the tinder in the very centre and feed the fire with air until the smaller pieces begin to burn.
As the fire advances to the larger outside wall of firewood, carefully add larger pieces of sycamore over the top of the kindling pyramid. Be careful not to suffocate the fire.
Dry firewood will smoke, pop and spark less than green firewood.
Only start fires in a controlled and approved space, such as a fire pit, fireplace or inside a fire ring.
Tips and warnings
- Dry firewood will smoke, pop and spark less than green firewood.
- Only start fires in a controlled and approved space, such as a fire pit, fireplace or inside a fire ring.