Olive tree wood has so many benefits and usages, especially when we talk about woodworking and creating small furniture, souvenirs, etc. In my country, many people use olive wood (especially stumps) as firewood for heating. But is olive wood good as firewood for heating? Today, I’ll discuss that topic and give you my thorough answer.
Olive wood is excellent firewood for heating because of its high calorific value and slow-burning properties. It quickly raises the temperature of the room, and its embers last very long. However, because of its high price and low availability, not many people use it.
However, we can’t only look at calorific values, burning properties, and ember lasting. There are many other things we should take into consideration, such as price, availability, etc. It can be the best tree out there, but if you can’t afford it, or it’s always out of stock, then it’s not so suitable for heating.
Olive Wood Is Extremely Dense and Calorific
Olive wood is one of the densest woods out there. On average, it’s denser than oak and beech, which are known as the best firewood. Usually, when the wood has a higher density, it’ll burn better, produce more heat, and burn longer. As always, there are some exceptions.
Olive wood density is 990 kg/m3 (61.8 lb/ft3). For instance, the average density of oak wood is 740 kg/m3. And oak wood is considered one of the best firewood out there.
Because of its density and other properties, it burns for a long time and produces a large amount of heat. Also, its embers last very long, so it’s a great wood to leave in the furnace through the night because you won’t have to light up the fire again in the morning.
Olive wood produces a very bright flame and has a very sweet aroma when burning. That’s because olive wood has some oils in it, too. Also, since it burns well, it won’t clog up your chimney like some other trees (pine, spruce, cypress, etc.).
Check the video of the olivewood fire below.
Price and Availability Of Olive Wood Are The Problem
Olive trees can’t grow everywhere, especially in colder climates where people need great firewood the most. Also, it grows very slowly compared to other trees, which isn’t a good thing for firewood.
Of course, the main purpose of olive trees isn’t to heat firewood. It’s to produce many olive products such as olive oil, olives, cosmetics, olive tree wood crafts, etc.
While some trees, such as oak and beech, can provide you with plenty of firewood because of their size, with olive trees, the story is completely different. Since they grow slowly, and usually olive trees don’t grow so tall, you won’t get plenty of firewood out of them.
Because of all of the above, olive wood costs much more than other woods used for heating in homes. You can expect to pay slightly more than $600 for a full cord (4′×8′×4′) of olive wood, while the average price of firewood is around $300 in the USA. In Europe, because of higher availability, prices of olive wood may be slightly cheaper than in the USA.
Of course, if you have your own olive farm or something, you could use some thicker twigs and branches as firewood, and it’ll be great. If you have to buy it, it’ll be too expensive.
When it comes to heating products from olives, people mostly use biomass made out of olive pits, which is much more affordable, and it’s a renewable source since it’s produced in the olive oil making process. In my opinion, that’s much better than using olive wood, which is extremely expensive.
Olive Wood Is a Great Cooking Wood
As I already said above, because of its price, not many people use olive wood for heating, even though it has great density and properties. It’s better for a different purpose – cooking.
Making barbecue with olive wood instead of some other types of wood is beneficial, especially if you’re cooking Mediterranean meals. Olive wood has a mild flavor, similar to mesquite, but much stronger.
Olive wood can be used both for grilling and smoking meat and vegetables. It’ll give them a unique, intense smoke flavor.
Olive wood is especially great for cooking:
So, if you’d like to try olive wood as firewood, I advise you to start using it for cooking purposes. That way, you’ll get the most of it, and it won’t cost you a fortune.
Even though olive wood has great burning properties and is overall fantastic firewood, I don’t advise you to use it unless you get it for free or from your own garden. It’s too expensive compared to other firewoods, especially oak and beech, and that’s because of slow growth and low availability.
If you have a weekend cottage with a fireplace, using olive wood would be fantastic there since you won’t use it very often, and olive wood will give you a nice and aromatic pleasure, especially during colder days.
Instead of using it as firewood, I advise you to try using olive wood as a cooking wood for barbecuing, cooking pizzas, fish, and similar. It gives food a great and smokey taste, and its embers last long, which is fantastic for grilling.
Also, most people use olive wood as a decorative wood for making small furniture, souvenirs, dishes, and similar. It’s great for woodworking, lasts long, and smells nice. Woodworking with olive wood is also one of the reasons why it’s expensive.