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- Jan 3, 2013
- Nov 18, 2005
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- St. Louis, Missouri
- Suburban Stealth Wood Burner, Ex Computer Professi
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Minister of Fire, from St. Louis, Missouri
- Mo Heat was last seen:
- Jan 3, 2013
- St. Louis, Missouri
2004 - Now: Vermont Castings Winter Warm Large (Catalytic Wood Burning Insert)
- Suburban Stealth Wood Burner, Ex Computer Professi
1976 - 1981: Monkey Wards Cast Iron Franklin Stove (I'm alive! I'm alive!)
1978 - 1981: No-Name Little Cast Iron Potbelly (Burned: Cow Patties, Deadfall)
I fire up my VC-WWL insert below 50*F between 2pm and 5pm. I load the final few splits around 10pm. No overnight burns for safety reasons. Besides, the stove is on the lowest level and doesn’t heat the bedrooms at all. But it's changed our coldest room into our warmest room. Nice. I still need a reliable wood supply in the form of a trailer or a PU to scrounge with, or an honest, dependable, Wood Man.
Mauls, Saws, etc.:
I hand split all my wood.
Mostly use a 12 lb, Ace Hardware, Monster Maul (Collins Axe).
Also use 8 lb Ludell, 6 lb Sears (broken wooden handle), wedge + 3 lb. hand sledge.
Chainsaw: I barrow the B-n-L's 2002, 18" Sears, with an inertial chain brake.
I've learned to sharpen it myself with the help of hearthnet lumberjacks. You can, too.
It's amazing the difference a sharp chain makes.
I relay splits up the hill in the backyard using a Sears, lawn mower dump cart.
Then into an $80, POS, green, 4-wheel, Chinese, garden cart that fell apart fast and has already been repaired several times.
I keep about two weeks of wood in the basement for easy access to dry wood.
I leave the last load in the green cart next to the stove and try to keep it full.
I have a Home Despot canvas tote that doesn't see a lot of action if the cart stays full.
I have a stove-side scissor type log holder for soft wood used to start fires.
CO detector: battery powered, 1 downstairs 10-feet from stove, 1 upstairs in bedroom, Nighthawk brand.
Smoke detectors: 4 hard-wired, interconnected, First Alert brand.
Primary Heat: Natural gas, forced air furnace, set at 66*F.
Furnace attached humidifier: Lennox brand, foam element.
Portable humidifier: Sears brand, 12 gal/day, paper element. I add softener and anti-bacterial.
From Sam's Club, $30, 500 Watt inverter and a car battery runs insert convection fan during a power failure.
Burn about 3 cords per winter.
Mostly Oak, some Hickory, Ash, Siberian Elm, Dogwood, Honey Locust.
Buying wood is a real hoot with lip-biting frustration at every delivery.
Below, I've included a bunch of details about my wood acquisitions in the last few years since installing my insert in a suburban house. I include this for the benefit of other suburban wood burners like me, who may not own a pickup or a trailer, have enough land to harvest wood fuel on-site, or know someone who does. This should illustrate that the main focus of wood burning, after your stove is installed, will quickly turn to acquiring fuel and the potential difficulty that may be encountered if you live in the suburbs.
Acquired Spring 2004: To burn in winter 2004. Helped B-n-L buck and split 3 big trees he had taken down in his back yard. I got about 3/4 cord of mixed ash and oak. Ash burned great, oak burned okay, that same winter.
Acquired early Fall 2004: To burn in winter 2004. $250 for about 3/4 cord of "well seasoned", mixed hardwood. It was raining. It got wet. Based on the mold I saw, it was cut in spring, and never stacked. It was marginally dry, but burned well enough. It could have been worse. This guy was a landscaper by summer, tree service and firewood man by winter. He had a homemade splitter he employed to split wood as he felled trees for people. One reasonable sized truck also used for mulch, two helpers, and him. He cruised my neighborhood, knocked on my door, and said he did landscaping for some of my neighbors. They carried the wood around back and stacked it for me. It had been raining and the lawn was soggy. They tore it up pretty good with their boots and a 2-wheeled, homemade wood cart. The splits varied greatly in length, and he sold his wood in 4' x 6' lots rather than cords, so I was never exactly sure how much I had received. a common issue buying wood. Nice guy, expensive wood, but they trucked it around back and stacked it, which is worth something. This same guy came back the next year and tried to sell me a dump truck load of wood for $300 just before he was going to take down a tree in my neighbor's yard. Neither he, nor I, had any idea how much wood was in the truck so I declined. When I offered to take the bucked rounds they were cutting at my neighbor's house off their hands for free, thinking I'd save them a trip to the dump, they all got perturbed and said, "Why would we give wood away when we can sell it". That was the last I heard from those guys, although I see them in my neighborhood several times a year delivering mulch and firewood.
Acquired Winter 2004: To burn in winter 2004. $160 for (almost) 1 cord, "well seasoned", mixed hardwood. Based on the mold I saw, it was cut that spring, and never stacked. It was marginally dry, but burned well enough. It could have been worse. The guy told me it was the first cord of wood he'd ever sold. He was just getting into the business. I called him back for another cord, but he'd already quit, too much work, I guess. I think mine was his first and only transaction. This guy brought one friend along to help him unload. He used a wheelbarrow and took the wood to my back patio where I stacked it. It had been raining and the lawn was soggy. I had to put plywood and 2 x 8's for the wheelbarrow track, which worked pretty good, but was a hassle. Only one of them brought a pair of gloves. After a few splinters, the other agreed to barrow a pair I'd offered earlier. He lived on some land, used a tractor splitter to feed his own big fireplace, and thought he'd sideline by selling wood. He decided to open a drive-through coffee shop, instead. Nice guy, cheap wood.
Acquired Summer 2005: To burn in winter 2005 and 2006. $425 for 2 cords mixed hardwood. 1.75 cords actually delivered, including the 0.75 cord make-up delivery, which was also 1/3 short). This firewood dealer counted splits to determine a cord and he said there were 400 splits in a cord. He was wrong, very wrong. This was a huge, well established, well respected, full service, tree company with certified arborists, cranes for big, dangerous tree removals (I watched them cut down a dying, 100 year old, enormous white oak tree, only 30 feet from a neighbor's house), a fleet of trucks, cherry pickers, trailers, bobcats, etc. They even sponsored a local gardening radio show on the weekends. I spoke directly to the owner once, who explained some of his business to me. I was impressed until my so-called two cords of wood was delivered. At that point, I was shocked. Neither he nor the deliveryman, who said he'd been selling firewood with his own family for years, before recently taking over the firewood part of this big business, neither of them knew the legal definition of a cord of wood.
Acquired Spring 2006: For winter 2007: I harvested and split about 1/2 cord Red Oak and Siberian Elm from my 0.66-acre backyard. I noticed a neighbor with a sign in their yard reading "Free Firewood, Red Oak". I stopped and got permission to carry it off. I returned on foot with my cheap, POS Chinese garden cart. Loaded it and proceeded to push and pull it the 1/2 mile home with the help of the lovely Mrs. Mo Heat. Up hills, down hills. We were both beat. Wore out. This wasn't going to happen. We explained to the neighbor that we'd bit off more than we could chew, and they offered to hook up their Harley trailer to their SUV, and move the wood for us, which they did. Two Harley trailer loads later, we had a new friend and about 1/2 cord of Red Oak. I also ran to the sound of chainsaws in the neighborhood two other times and was rewarded with an additional 3 cords of White and Red Oak, already bucked into firewood lengths. It was dumped in my yard, next to my driveway in one instance, and just dumped into the street in front of my house in the second instance. I put out some orange safety cones in the street and hoped no one would run into it while talking on their cell phone or slapping their kids in the back seat. It took a few hours, but I eventually got it all around back, bowling it down my hillside and knocking the bark off a couple trees, but that seemed a small price to pay for free wood, delivered. The Chinese garden cart died once again that day so I went to Sears and bought a slightly more stout dump cart to pull behind the riding mower. Nice.
Sweet Mrs. Mo Heat; Bicycling; Brain probe of alien in remote bedroom.