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Burning wood is free, right?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by jotul8e2, Dec 31, 2008.

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  1. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

    Dec 10, 2008
    Central NY
    Built my new home four years ago and my current heating source is a very efficient propane boiler with circulating hot water.

    Do not yet have a woodstove in my new house but I did have one in previous houses in Idaho and Alaska. By this time next year I will have my new wood stove installed and operating. I get all the "free" wood I will ever need off my own land. Along with purchasing and installing the new stove and all its required accessories I will also need (tongue-in-cheek) a new chainsaw, new splitter, perhaps a new pickup to haul the wood, a trailer for my Gator to haul the wood, etc. It will take me many years to make up the cost of my "free" wood. All my reasons justifying the new stove can be reduced to three: 1) The wonderful heat and various environmental comforts created by a wood fire; 2) Save a few dollars a year in propane; 3) It will force me to get off my lazy butt to cut, haul and split wood.

    Thinking about this new stove reminds me of all the fishing I've enjoyed these last 30 years or so. With trucks, trailers, boats, engines, fuel (25 gallons per hour at wide open throttle) and equipment, I hate to think of the money I have spent as a catch-and-release angler/boater. I figure the few fish I ate cost me about $3,000 per pound. Would I do it again? You bet, if I had the money, time and physical ability. This same attitude seems to be driving my interest in the new stove.

    Best wishes and Happy New Year to all.


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  2. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Oct 3, 2007
    I don't have a stove yet but I've been scrounging as much wood as possible this season so that I'm ready for next season. So far I've bought:

    Echo CS400 - $300.00
    8lb maul - $35.00
    Chains, bar oil, gas, 2 stroke oil, extra "scwrench", etc... - $100.00 or so.


    Pallets for stacking
    Wedges/sledge (from my dad)

    I've spent a fair amount of hours cutting, hauling, splitting, and stacking, but the way I see it this is my "spare" time. I don't really watch sports or TV much-doing stuff around the house, handling wood, and hunting are my "hobbies." Because of that it's hard to say what the cost of my time is. I don't know what I'd really be doing otherwise. Another big factor is the fact that my truck runs on vegetable oil courtesy of a conversion kit which allows me to burn straight filtered used vegetable oil obtained free from restaurants in my Ford Powerstroke. The kit set me back $3000 but I've nearly recovered that over the last 4 months. Needless to say, being able to drive 40 miles, load my truck with nearly a ton of wood, and drive back using less than a half gallon of diesel fuel (some is needed at startup and shutdown) is nice. Another thing to consider is that I can't afford a gym membership, but don't need one either. I had gotten into pretty good shape when I first started to scrounge, but then I got busy with work and didn't have the time. I was feeling especially flabby after Christmas Eve/Christmas dinners, etc...but after a full day of cutting, splitting, and stacking (and working up a good sweat doing it) I'm back to feeling good again. All in all, I could just buy diesel fuel, heat with oil (paid nearly $1000 so far this winter), and eat beef (we mostly eat venison), but what fun would that be?
  3. Chief Ryan

    Chief Ryan New Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Long Island NY
    If you sharpen your chain by hand with a file it may not be your bar that is bent. It could be uneven filing. If you apply more pressure on one side then the other that could cause your saw to cut in a curve.
  4. jotul8e2

    jotul8e2 Feeling the Heat

    Feb 2, 2008
    I have a half-dozen chains or so on hand and use them in sequence, taking the whole lot in to be sharpened at one time - every year the last couple of years. Between sharpening I do indeed "touch up" the teeth with a file. I use one of those manual guides Stihl sells, which helps, but about four or five times with the file is about all I can manage before the teeth get too far out of whack.

    I get a decidedly lopsided wear pattern on the bars. I flip the bar every time I change the chain, of course, but it gets pretty bad after a couple of seasons. They only charge $6 to true it up, so I shouldn't really complain.

    Part of my trouble with chains and bars has been that I've been cleaning up dozer piles for four years now. I must have cut 20 cords out of them and burned even more in stuff smaller than I wanted to handle. Gave a lot away just to get rid of it. The dirt and rocks that get in that stuff is really hard on chains and bars, no matter how much care you take. But I can finally see the end of the road for that process - at least I no longer wince when I look out my windows. What a relief it will be to get back to cutting up clean fells.

  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Nov 9, 2008
    NW Ontario
    I take a raker file to my bar to even up the rails. The reason it wears unevenly is because the chain oiler feeds from one side so that side gets more oil than the other.
  6. Der Fuirmeister

    Der Fuirmeister Member

    Jan 3, 2009
    I think that day is coming a lot sooner than most expect. Who do you think is going to pay for that $700 Billion bailout?
  7. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Jul 22, 2008
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Discovered that fact personally a few months back when I noticed I was cutting some nice curves into my firewood despite my best intentions to cut straight. Oops. I now am very careful about filing evenly.
  8. scotsman

    scotsman Feeling the Heat

    Aug 6, 2008
    West Texas
    The firewood I get for "free" is so dry and hard that I cannot split it with anything and cannot cut pieces that are too long with a chainsaw. I have to use a carbide-tipped blade on my circular saw to score all around and then strike it with something (or strike something WITH it) to snap it to the cut line. This is the trick I used cutting old railroad ties back in the day. The pieces I'm getting are maximum of 6 - 8", but it will work with larger diameters as long as you have sufficient length to use its mass to snap off the pieces.
  9. kennyR

    kennyR New Member

    Jan 5, 2009
    "Yesterday a moment of poor depth perception resulted in the head snapping off of my new practically brand new six lb. splitting maul."
    I had to go and check my maul... 16 lb. steel handle "super wedge" I believe havn't broken that handle yet but when you have a big pile to split you have to give it a break every now and then or it will over heat....LOL
  10. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

    Dec 24, 2008
    Southern Calif.
    I'm gonna have to get me a fiberglass handled sledgehammer. A couple weeks ago I ordered and rec'd the rubber handle protectors for my ax and sledge. The ax handle (2nd handle so far) was okay when I unwrapped the duct tape, but the sledge handle was shattered and splintered under the tape. I'm suprised (and happy) that the head hasn't come (flying) off. I put the sledgehammer in the trash. It wasn't that good to begin with and has no sentimental value (unlike the old Craftsman ax, which formerly belonged to my late BIL). The "Super Splitter" maul has a FG handle and it's just fine. No more wood handles for me, other than the old ax.

    - Sequoia
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