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Cutting 4' logs

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Arc_Dad, Jul 9, 2009.

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  1. Arc_Dad

    Arc_Dad Member

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    I've just started scrounging for wood. I bring the wood home in 4' sections and pile them in my driveway. How do you guys cut it up? I've been cutting it up into 16" rounds. I've just been cutting as it sits in the pile and turning each round. This is slow and I'm thinking there must be a better/quicker way.

    Thanks, Arc_Dad

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  2. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Is the wood 4' when you get it? If you are cutting it, you are much better off blocking the full log to 16" where it lies. I often pass on anything that isn't an appropriate length to split and for whatever reason can't use a chainsaw where it lies. It makes for one more handling/processing step to sort out the oversize pieces at splitting time.

    Gooserider has a trick where he has essentially a box on its side that he stacks oversize rounds in and then makes one cut through all of them at once. This works well for the slightly oversize rounds but probably not so well if you are trying to get from 48" to 16".
  3. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I despise cutting small chunks of wood into smaller chunks of wood. As stated above I also always buck to the right size where the tree lies. I find myself being a little too "dangerous" when I have to stand on a 4' chunk to cut it into three pieces....

    But if the wood is free I wouldn't argue. I'm sure you can come up with a good way to hold the logs to make it safer and quicker. Just might take some lumber and a little time....
  4. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

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    I used to cut logs truck length (4-8' depending on how big and heavy) and take it home to process. I find it much more efficient now to buck to length (20") and then take it home. If someone was giving me 4' lengths though, I'd not pass them up because I had to process them at home.
  5. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Agree, cut in place whenever possible. You might already do this, but if not, this makes it very easy to cut the length you want. Attach a #9 steel wire to a bar nut and perpendicular to the bar, length of the rounds you want to cut, and put a 90 degree bend, about 2" long, at the end of the wire to slip over the end of the round. This measures accurately each round and allows very fast cuts. Make all cuts about 3/4 through, then rotate the log, and finish the cuts from the other side.
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I buy most of my wood in 8 foot lengths. Anything I can lift goes into my sawbuck which is designed with 20 inch spacing. What I cannot easily lift, I roll out onto skids to buck and use a notched stick to measure.

    When felling trees in the woods, I buck them right where they fall and use the distance from the saw handle to tip of bar to measure.
  7. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    cut 3/4 through each section then roll it and cut the rest. I find cutting with my knee's on the ground the fasest way to get through smaller sections that are already buck up.
  8. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Absolutely cut it there if you can. I use a 2x4 cut to 15" (max size for my stove) with a line drawn at 14" (ideal length) and use a piece of my kid's sidewalk chalk and just quickly mark my cuts, cut it 3/4's through, roll it and finish.
  9. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I'm kinda surprised so many of you actually measure your cuts when bucking. I just go down the tree and cut rounds based on what I've always cut. I typically come out between 16 and 18 quite consistently based on the "feel" I guess. I've never measured.....measuring would cut into my beer drinking time...
  10. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Well, for me, 14" on a 24" round looks a lot different than 14" on a 4" one and if I guess, i end up cutting them too small as the time it takes to take off an extra inch or 2 in the middle of winter so it will fit in the stove more than makes up for the marking time. I think if I had a bigger stove, I wouldn't need to be so careful.
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Measuring is how I get consistent looking and stable 9 foot high stacks. Longer splits mean a more stable stack and for overnight burns, I need to fill the stove to capacity. I cannot eyeball it to within an inch and I cut my wood close to the maximum size the stove will take.
  12. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    That makes sense when you explain it like that. I really never thought of the whole "maximizing" capacity issue. For me I never really fully load my EKO and it never burns over night. So I suppose I have the luxury of the "plus or minus" cutting method. Thanks for the explanation!
  13. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    LLigetfa Has got the wood stacks down to a science! never seen but a few people on all the wood stites that puts more effort into stacking wood! Iam sure it pays off big in Jan.feb.
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    It's not a science, it's an obsession! Highbeam is still the king of stacking. I wonder if he has a daylight visible laser level.

    I even try to make my temporary uber-heap-hausen look straight and plumb but that one split at the far end is sticking out about an inch and it bugs me.

    [​IMG]
  15. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    When I'm shortening pieces on the ground I cut most of the way through then roll the log over to finish the cut.

    When I'm bucking a tree that's down I mark my rounds at 16" with chalk and make my cuts. I find it's much faster for me to mark a tree up then take the time to look at each cut and wonder if I'm where I want to be. I've done a bunch of free loads that were cut by tree services at random lengths and I try to stay with a 16" length, if I'm going to waste to much off the end I cut to 17 1/2" and if that still doesn't work out right I'll cut down the middle and end up with 2 short pieces which I can't stand. I save the short pieces and stack them along the top of my stacks since I find putting them in the middle of the stacks screws up the balance.
  16. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I have the obession with the saws just cant get into stacking heap hausen for me!
  17. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Normally I cut the rounds in place and haul them to a pile for splitting at a later time . . . the exception being when the rounds are just so large that it's easier to cut and split at the site (rare). To cut the rounds to size I do the cut 3/4 of the way through and roll over technique (that would be rolling the log over, not me.) :)

    I've never bothered with marking or measuring wood . . . as long as the wood fits in the fire box I'm OK with the fact that I'm not going to win Heath.com's "Best Looking Wood Pile" contest. :) ;) Then again, my wood usually has plenty of twists, turns, knarly splits and crotches so even if every piece was cut exactly to the same length the wood pile wouldn't be all that pretty. I figure it's just fuel. That said, I do realize that just eye-balling the wood does mean I lose some potential BTUs and time as the entire firebox will not be completely filled and the woodshed/pile will not be as compact as it could -- but I can live with these facts.

    I will admit that right now I am hauling and stacking wood that is 4 feet or so in length (actually it measures out to be a bit shorter -- again doing just the eye ball technique) since I'm cutting 19-21 inch pieces for firewood so the actual wood is a little over 3 feet to be technical.) The reason for this however is that a) I am attempting to clear a lot as quickly as possible since excavation crews are slated to begin digging out a fire pond there by next month and taking the extra time at the site to cut wood to size just means more time for me and time is a very precious comodity for me right now and b) the site of this future fire pond is in a muddy swale so I am using my ATV to twitch the wood out as I cannot get close enough with my 4Runner and trailer. In this case, cutting to the longer lengths is allowing me to more quickly and easily pull the wood off site and get it home . . . where this Fall it will be cut to length and split for 2010-2011.
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    You can also make a sawbuck for cutting those 4' logs. Just make the standard X. Make it short enough so that you make one cut on one end and another cut on the other end and you end up with 3 16" logs.
  19. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I've thought about getting a thumb for the little backhoe on my tractor to do this. Backup to the pile of logs, grab a log in the middle, drive over to the wood shed and buck it waist high.
  20. smabon

    smabon New Member

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    Arc-Dad I am doing that exact same thing that you are. Bucking the tree to 4' lengths and piling them in my driveway. The reason why I am doing it this way is because I am trying to get the wood out of the lot as quick as possible. I have a pretty good deal going right now. The owner of the lot drops and limbs the tree then I come in and buck it to the length I want and take the wood. I don't have to worry about what to do with the branches. My soon to be wood shed is going to be built about 100' away from where I have all of my wood on the driveway. I would like to build some sort of trailer that I can load the 4' logs on, bring them up to the shed and have some sort of sawbuck on the end of it to cut them up and split them up at the shed. At least thats the plan, while see what actually happens.
  21. Arc_Dad

    Arc_Dad Member

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    Thanks for all the input. I have been cutting a few smallish trees into 4' lengths. I'll stop and cut them into proper size, on site. I figured 16" would give me 3 pieces per 4' log. I am getting a Kozy Heat Z42 that will take a 21" log. What length should I be cutting the firewood? I'm hoping my 15YO daughter and stay at home wife will be loading the fireplace and bringing the wood in from inside. My guess is this will last about 1 month but don't want to make the wood too heavy yet.
  22. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I cut the trees to 3 foot lengths and load them on end for a 6-pack type load. This way the logs can't fall out of the truck or trailer during transport. I cut to 18" for my 21" max length stove and really wouldn't want them any longer since that 3" allows some angle to the split when loading.

    Here's a load of the 3 footers. They are cut exactly to 3 feet with a measuring stick and then I usually eyeball the 50/50 cut at the woodpile. My new Stihl saw has the dawgs on the saw body that helps to prevent the short log from kicking around on you.

    I just finished an 8' deep x30' long by 4 foot tall stack that would make you all proud. But I'm now more than three years ahead on wood supply so I need to sell what's not stacked.

    I even threw in a picture of it all split up plus my next score of LARGE fir and cedar wood. This wood collecting thing is an addiction.

    Attached Files:

  23. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Id say you are the perfect person to see how a 290 folds up with alot of use! You got enough wood to make your money back on that 290 yet?
  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Highbeam, how are you ever going to pass me if you sell some of that wood now?

    Have you considered just cutting those 3' logs in half before unloading? That is, just swing one off the end and cut it in half right there? Not sure what your process is but it might save a little labor. You could even have another trailer there to throw them into as you are cutting. Maybe you can even convince your wife to help. lol
  25. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I'm a little afraid that the softwood might rot or get to dry after 4 years of waiting to be burned so I think I may sell or give some away.

    I did not have the time or energy to cut those logs on the trailer. I left in the morning for my woodlot with an empty truck and trailer, arrived at the log pile and cut the logs to 3', loaded the truck and trailer, then drove home, then unloaded it that same day. When you laod a trailer you need to load them on the deck and then get up on the deck and relift them to their position. All logs get lifted and moved no less then four times. 4 times lifting 10,000# and I was pretty worn out. Those three foot logs get pretty heavy and when you are trying to get a decent pile you need to throw them. The big ones are pretty tough to throw. I want those three footers on the ground for maximum roll away resistance before cutting. I don't even cut them while they're in the pile so on the edge of the trailer would get really dangerous for me.

    The wife would like to help but you can imagine that I get a little particular about some things. She's pretty small so she could only really stack the wood and that's where the art comes in.
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