When you talk about "the best wood to burn" in your stove, you're actually discussing the wood's density. Density is the difference between hardwood and softwood, and determines how well the wood will burn. Hardwoods are more dense and create more heat when burned; they are also likely to burn longer. Softwoods, on the other hand, are less dense, tend to hold more moisture, burn quickly and give off less heat. When burning wood in your home, you want to use a hot-burning hardwood.
Walnut is considered a high-density wood, and therefore will burn well in your stove. It puts off limited smoke while burning at a higher temperature for a longer period of time. Another advantage of walnut wood is that it does not contain a lot of pitch, which is the thick resin inside the trees. This makes it even better for burning in a stove, because excess pitch can build up on stove and chimney walls and create a serious fire hazard.
Other Wood Types
Other hardwoods that will burn well in your stove include maple, ash, oak, yew, beech and hickory woods. Avoid low-density, softwood trees such as willow, hemlock, poplar and cottonwood. For safety reasons, avoid all wood that has a high resin content, including spruce, fir and all pine trees.
Use only walnut wood that was cut at least six months before burning and was safely stored above the ground in a covered area with good airflow. This will ensure that the walnut wood is dry, making it burn better with more heat and less smoke. Follow all stove safety regulations, including having your stove and chimney inspected and cleaned each year to avoid dangerous creosote buildup, which will lead to accidental fires. Burn only one walnut log at a time until you know how to properly handle the stove, and understand completely how much heat and smoke the wood will give off. Remember to never leave a fire in your stove unattended.