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Buy Tree Length Logs or Buy Already Split firewood

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by isipwater, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. isipwater

    isipwater Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    292
    Loc:
    Southeastern, MA
    Hi,

    As a new wood burner I am looking for some advice.

    Here is some background:
    • I am trying to get 3 seasons ahead, as recommended by many on this forum.
    • I have never split firewood before.
    • I am in good physical shape.
    • I do have some spare time.
    • I anticipate using 2 cords per year, so I want to get 6 cords of wood stacked and seasoning.
    Here are my questions:

    1) Should I buy tree length logs at $100 per cord and buck and split them myself. I would have to rent the splitter. I found this one at a local tool rental shop for $85/day. It looks like is has a four-way blade:
    [​IMG]

    2) Or, should I just buy already split firewood for $250 per cord?

    3) How long should it take me to buck, split and stack 6 cords of wood with the above splitter? Is this possible with renting this splitter for one day.

    4) Is there any other equipment that I would need besides a chainsaw and a splitter to buck and split my own firewood?

    5) When is the best time of year to buck and split wood? If I can't get it done in the fall, will winter be alright?

    Any other advice on this matter is appreciated!

    Thanks!
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013

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  2. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    SE CT
    .....and a log lifter. Nice looking splitter for the rental fee. Possibly a Timberwolf.

    Personally, bite the bullet and buy a splitter, it will last you a VERY long time. When I started out, I limited myself to wood < 12" diameter for ease of splitting, and I avoided all knots, etc. All I had was a maul, sledge and "wood grenade" 4 way wedge. Over the years wood burning matured from just fires on my days off to more of a 24/7 thing anytime it's below 45 deg out.

    I've thrown 24" dia x 20" long stuff on my 31 ton MTD splitter and it simply eats it up. When I get in the "zone" I can easily cut, split, haul a short distance and stack a cord a day with a saw, splitter, lawn tractor and wagon. I also have 8000 lb winches on 2 of my vehicles which makes it very easy to drag stuff off the pile, etc.

    I've ordered tri-axel loads and full tractor trailer loads. It's nice to walk out back and work a while, come inside for break / lunch and not have to beat your truck up hauling it around. Also in the event of a mechanical malfunction, you are only feet away from your supply of spare parts, tools, and if things really go awry and put you out of production for the rest of the day, you are close to the adult beverages as well. LOL.

    If you are a devout DIY'er, buy the tools and get a routine going. If you have lots of other things (hobies, projects, childrens activities, etc) you may be strapped for time and the cost of cut / split / delivered may be worth it. It all depends.

    For me, I sit behind a console full of PC's all day, I enjoy the sweat, work, execrcise, fresh air, etc.

    Here's my setup: http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/woody-mustash.110700/
  3. curtis

    curtis Member

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    Loc:
    northern michigan
    1. Do you have a chainsaw already? Where I'm at I can get logs delivered for 70/cord.

    2. 250/cord is pretty steep again where I'm at you can get a cord for around $180. Where are you located?

    3. With a chainsaw it takes me a solid 3 hours to cut and split a cord of wood. I would say if you had it all cut up it would take 9-10 hours of splitting. So maybe 2 days would be best.

    4. Besides safety equipment no.
    5. Anytime is a good time. I like to do it in the fall or spring just because of the outside temp for working in.
    isipwater likes this.
  4. isipwater

    isipwater Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Southeastern, MA
    I live in Southeastern, MA

    I do not have a chainsaw but plan to rent or buy one.

    Does your 3 hours per cord involve using a 2 or 4 way splitter?

    thanks
  5. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    With that disparity between split and log length I'd buy a truck load (7-8 cords), a chainsaw, get it all cut to length and rent a splitter for 2 days. In this part of the state I can get $100 cord log length or $135/150 split so the decision is easy. Try it you may found like a lot of us you like doing it and look around for a splitter, if you're burning full time you may go through more than 2 cords a year, I go through 4.
    Now that I'm 3 years ahead I like to scrounge wood (craigslist, word of mouth, etc..) and cut and split at my leisure. I would say most of us like to do the work in the spring or fall, too hot in the summer, I'd rather cut and split when its 15 degrees than when its 90.
    isipwater likes this.
  6. WiscoWoodman

    WiscoWoodman Member

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    Loc:
    SW Wisconsin
    Since you're in good shape and assuming you have a saw, id vote to get the $100 per cord logs, cut with saw, buy Fiskars x27 axe, and split by hand. Since you dont need wood for years you have time to conveniently split wood at leisure. It's good exercise and stress relief. Some rounds like red oak and ash dont take too much longer to split by hand versus use of a splitter if you have a good setup/ process. Spend the $800 - $900 you just saved wisely.

    Just make sure you don't buy any Elm... Too much of a pain to split by hand.
    Gark, Scols and isipwater like this.
  7. WiscoWoodman

    WiscoWoodman Member

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    Looks like a lot of that "savings" is going toward a new saw. Enjoy.
  8. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    I was you just 8 months ago, due to sandy, I have been able to find my wood. I got my insert in February, I had to buy a face cord, to get me through the season, but since then I have acquired about 6 cord on my property, about 4 1/2 CSS with the rest that is ready to go to the splitter when I get the time, if you are not able to scrounge free wood, then I say buy the logs, I hand split over 3 cords by hand with axe and i loved every minute of it, kind of got axe arm from it, worse then tennis elbow due to the long term pain that is involved, but now that I have my new splitter, things are still going great, getting it done as I have time. I found buying a splitter is the way to go for me, I wanted to rent it but I'm glad that I bought it, I can split what I want when I want...
    isipwater likes this.
  9. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    My vote is buy a chainsaw, splitter and pole length load of wood.
    Don't forget protective gear.
    The cost up front will be savings merely a couple years or so down the road.
    Scols likes this.
  10. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    If I read this right, you have no experience. So IMO I would buy this years wood. If all goes well, hook up with a buddy who does the cutting up and splitting. Get some experience working along side someone who can show you the ins and outs. Two cord a year isn't a whole lot of splitting. I used to rent a splitter and run through 5 cord in one day. (Family event). A chains saw is a good investment. But two cord seems a small amount to invest in that much equipment.
    isipwater likes this.
  11. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    New York
    I hand spilt 30 to 60 minutes a day. Its exercise. And it's productive. But I don't mind taking my time with it.
    Gark likes this.
  12. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    You are asking a bunch of drug addicts if you should buy drugs.
  13. paul bunion

    paul bunion Minister of Fire

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    NJ
    Here's my vote.

    IMGP9500.JPG

    Get yourself a Fiskars X27 splitting axe for now. You will be suprised how easy it is, especially if your logs are straight and clear of knots.. You can split clear wood as fast or faster than with a splitter. (till you get into the crotches that is.) Yes, eventually you will want a splitter but it isn't as essential as a chain saw. I split many a log load by hand, didn't get a splitter till this year.

    As for the time question: With every thing else going on in life it took me 2 months to get this load (about 6 cords) cut/split/stacked.

    Keep in mind that processing a log load will really mess up your yard. It will trash your lawn if you have to work there. In order to preserve what's left of mine I waste a lot of time rolling the logs into my driveway for cutting so that it is possible to clean it up. And then even more effort is wasted getting the rounds out of the way to cut the next log.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
    JOHN BOY, isipwater and albert1029 like this.
  14. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    In Mass , if your planning on doing any 24/7 burning, your going to need more than 2 cords.
  15. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    I probably use about two cords a year but it's a small house. I have to stack about five or six a year though, all told.

    I like splitting by hand but I over-did it a while back and aggravated an old muscle injury between my spine and shoulder blade, because I can still feel it, months later. But it sounds like you're younger and more resilient, so I say have at it with a maul. Toss any crotches to the side and rent a splitter later for those.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
    Gark likes this.
  16. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    So you need to get to 6 cords, if you have nothing, I would buy 2 split, buy a chainsaw, not rent, and buy a fiskars for now, get the logs delivered and get to it as you can, this is a long term hobby that you picked up. Your young and strong so I don't think buying 6 cord split is the way to go
    JOHN BOY, Bluezx636 and isipwater like this.
  17. isipwater

    isipwater Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Southeastern, MA
    Thanks to everyone for your input. It seems that the consensus is that I:

    • Should go with the tree length logs for $100/cord as opposed to $250/cord split
    • Try out splitting by hand first with a Fiskars before renting or purchasing a splitter. I already have a Fiskars x36, so I can give it a try. If it seems too much I can always switch to a splitter later.
    • Should buy not rent a chainsaw.
    The good news is that I already have wood for this winter. I am just trying to be better prepared for future winters!

    Any recommendations on chainsaws? I have never owned one before. How about electric vs gas saws? Seems like this one gets lots of good reviews on amazon:

    [​IMG]
    http://www.amazon.com/WORX-WG304-1-...&qid=1380889475&sr=1-3&keywords=worx chainsaw
  18. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    I think your on your way with the plan....I say stay away from electric chain saw, get at least an 18 inch bar. I got an echo 18" at HD for$299 that works well, if I had the money, I would go for a 20" stihl. Good luck and have fun....
  19. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

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    Don't waste your time with that Works saw, You'll beat the piss out of it in no time. get yourself a mid size Stihl or Husky (or whatever you can afford)
    I have learned the hard way, and I have learned volumes from this site and it's helpful members.

    Just my .02....
    Get yourself 2 cd split for next year, get it stacked, and start to build your arsenal with a saw (Necessary), an axe/maul/wedges (necessary), and eventually a splitter.
    Is this to be your primary source of heat? I'm also in S.E. MA and 2 cd would last me about 1.5 months, maybe 2.

    We won't even go into equipment for scrounging....(yet)
  20. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    Having an electric saw is good. They cut slower but can be handy to have on hand. They are much safer on a ladder when you are pruning yard trees, for example.
  21. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

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    Why would an electric be any safer than a gas?
    Applesister likes this.
  22. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    1) If you are healthy and burning only 2 cord per year just split as you buck, with a Fiskars.

    2) If you have to buy firewood buy it as unprocessed as possible. 6 x $100 = $600. 6 x $250 = $1500. For $900 you can buy a very nice saw that will never wear out bucking 2 cord per year, and still have a couple hunj in your pocket.

    3) I could probably buck, split (by hand) and stack 6 cord in. . . 18-20 hours broken up over 3 days

    4) That up to you

    5) I process wood year round
    isipwater likes this.
  23. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    I think its a girl thing, actually. And "safer" isnt probably the correct word. Maybe "convenient".
    I cannot pull start saws holding them in my left hand and pulling starter cord with right hand. I have to put the saw on the ground and hold it down with my foot to pull start.
    So I climb ladders with gas saws running.
    Whereas an electric saw starts running at the squease of the trigger.
    Its simply a physical strength issue.
    Soundchasm likes this.
  24. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

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    Understood, You're better off working with what is at your comfort level.
  25. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    I know thats not OSHA approved but...they are my trees and my ladders and my saws. Its probably why orchards have switched to the smaller hybrid grafted trees over the old style orchard trees.
    Workers Compensation.
    Anyway...we have hand saws, electric, battery powered, PTO powered pole saws, gas powered...
    My preference is the top handled gas saws.

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