I was gathering wood for my fire pit last year and had difficulty finding good pieces. Before I went out and bought new firewood, I decided to look at what scrap pieces of wood I had in my workshop. I found a few pieces of cut pallet wood, but they had nails in them, which concerned me. It made me wonder if you can burn wood with nails in it in a fire pit?
You can burn wood with nails in them in a fire pit as they will only end up in the ashes, and you can scoop them out after everything is cooled down or use a magnet to get them out. Even though wood with nails is not innately dangerous, you need to take precautions as hot metal can be hazardous.
I was not going to use the wood with nails in them until I had a bit more information as I didn’t want to take a chance and then someone might get hurt. I phoned a friend who is an avid woodworker to get his opinion, and his answers surprised me. After speaking to him and doing some additional research, I wanted to share what I found.
Can You Burn Wood With Nails Embedded In It In A Fire Pit?
When you have extra wood pieces that you can’t use for much and want to use in your fire pit, you might find a few nails, especially if you are dealing with pallet wood or wood that has been used before.
The big question is if you can burn the wood with nails in it? You can burn wood that has nails in it, but there are certain points you need to consider. Typically when you are burning wood with nails in it, the nails will end up in the ashes.
You then have to wait for the ashes and hot nails to cool down before sifting them out, or you can use a magnet to remove them from the ashes. You have to take safety concerns seriously to keep yourself and those around you safe and also consider potential damage to your deck or patios as well . We have tips on avoiding damage when using firepits in this article here. Do fire its cause damage to decks and patios.
Safety Considerations When Burning Wood With Nails In It
While burning wood with nails in it is not unsafe, there are certain safety precautions you can follow to make sure no one gets hurt. Here is what you need to do:
Fresh Or Wet Wood Is Dangerous
When you want to use wood with nails in it in your fire pit, make sure the wood is not fresh or wet. Wet wood has too much moisture, which could be a major issue when nails are embedded in the wood.
If you have burned wood in a fire pit before, you know that sometimes wood crackles and pops (just like cereal). It’s usually because of the water in the wood evaporating and escaping. When using wood with nails in it, the nails get really hot. As the water evaporates, it can turn the nails into hot and dangerous projectiles.
You don’t want to turn your relaxing time in front of the fire pit into an unwanted and dangerous fireworks display. Check if the wood fibers are densely packed and wet; you need to wait until the wood is completely dry, or you might need to remove the nails.
A last word of precaution: if you are burning pallet wood with nails in it, be careful not to use stained wood painted or has any chemicals in it. It could cause a dangerous reaction when heated with the metal of the nails, not to mention that the chemicals on their own can be deadly when the smoke is inhaled.
Wood That Has Too Many Nails In It
To avoid the people around you from getting hurt, if you have wood that is nail riddled, it may be best to remove as many nails as you can. It pays to be safe and not take unnecessary risks. It can be more hazardous if you have to cut the wood into smaller pieces using a chainsaw.
You need to ensure that you remove as many nails as you can because if the chainsaw hits a nail the wrong way at the wrong time, it could become a fast-flying projectile that can cause serious harm to anyone in the nearby vicinity.
If the wood doesn’t have too many nails embedded in it, you can burn it in your firepit. You only need to be worried if the wood is riddled with nails.
When You Are Done Burning The Wood
It’s very important to remove the nails from the ashes after you have burned them to ensure anyone doesn’t unwittingly step into a pile of nails. After you have burned any wood with nails in it, you need to wait until the ashes are cooled down before removing them. You can remove the nails using one of three effective methods:
- You can use a powerful magnet to get the now cool nails out of the ashes
- You can use a shop vac so you can properly dispose of the nails and ashes
- You can sift out the nails using a fine mesh or an old sieve.
It’s also nice to think about recycling the ash by putting it in your garden. It works well as a natural fertilizer and keeps the water in the ground from evaporating too fast.
What Wood is Good to Burn in a Fire Pit?
While you can burn almost any wood in a fire pit there ae some that add a little extra to your fire, we actually have a full article here and below on Great woods for outdoor fires but you can check the list below as well.
We have a series of fire pit articles for your help advice and inspiration here on the site. We have listed them below.
- Mortar and firepits
- Patio Damage and fire pits
- How far between a pool and a firepit?
- Marble and fire pits.
While you can burn wood with nails in them, it’s important to take the right precautions to ensure no one gets hurt by hot nails or nails in wet wood that might pop out of the wood at high speeds, making them dangerous projectiles. A few nails in the wood won’t be a problem.
It’s crucial to remove the nails from the ashes after burning them to make sure someone doesn’t unwittingly step into a pile of nails. Remember it’s better to remove the nails from the wood if you use a chainsaw to cut the wood before using it in your fire pit, but only if the wood is nail riddled.