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Ever discouraged someone from getting into wood?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Bster13, May 13, 2013.

  1. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    In my suburban neighborhood I'm fast becoming the "wood nut" with my stacked proudly displayed in my side yard. I spend a lot of time outside tending to the stacks and a couple of neighbors have stopped by to inquire. They complain of their oil heating bills and then ask about my startup costs, but I just don't feel like I can convey everything they need to know as a newb (heck I'm a newb!), especially the work I have into this and my time.

    From where to get the wood, to countering "pine is bad!" to where I got my little splitter, to the time it took to collect this much wood, to the difference between my insert and their traditional fireplace's ability to heat the home, to cost of all the supporting equipment (chainsaw, splitter, wood hauler, patio bricks to support pallets & 2 x 4s, bow saw, splitting axe, plastic sheeting to cover stacks, ear muffs, 12 gauge extension cord for splitter, blade sharpener, work gloves, safety glasses, kevlar chaps, and on and on and on....

    Have you ever steered someone away because you didn't feel like you could give what goes into burning wood justice and you'd be doing their a disservice by glancing over everything in 5 minutes on your front lawn?
    Hills Hoard likes this.

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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  3. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    Gathering wood is productive excercise....unlike going to a gym. I ask people are they willing to do a lot of excercise. Do they have time? Do they have an area to store wood? I think those are the main questions. Any car can haul wood. Just add a 4 by 8 trailer and a hitch and a daily driver car can do a lot of work. Splitters sure are nice but not necessary. And people can burn as much as they have time for.

    I have discouraged my brother (no storage room), my cousin (single dad of 4, poor layout for a stove), and my sister, but have encouraged others. I think it is a great part of my life, but it takes a bit of commitment and craziness to be a hardcore woodburner. A part timer who buys their wood? Easy Peasy and still can be cost effective over the long haul if burning oil.
  4. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Nope. Just about everybody should heat with wood. Even if only for ambiance, survival, or fun and even if the homeowner is only taking the first steps towards wood heating, I will encourage them.

    You can always just install the stove. Buy firewood, buy manufactured wood. Just a bit. Every log burned will be a dent in their oil bill.

    Some wood burners don't do any processing at all, don't even own a chainsaw, just buy wood.
    ddddddden, nate379, gyrfalcon and 2 others like this.
  5. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    I've not tried to dissuade anyone from burning, but I have tried to encourage a thoughtful approach to it.
    We see quite a few people on here who come looking for advice after they've bought the stove, etc., then had a poor experience.
    My son-in-law intends to start burning when he retires in a few years, and insists he'll get himself a stove just like his family had when he was a kid.!!! He's 42 this year.
    He's seen my stacks, but I'm not sure he realizes how much time/effort is involved in getting that much wood. I've been working on my brother's approach to wood burning for a few years (he's lazy about it), since he insists on waiting to get wood until fall. They use the furnace too, so now they have a couple cord left from last year which should give them a real good feel for drier wood next winter. At some point, they'll get more wood, but it won't be dry. I'm not sure they'll do the correlation. >>
    Someone here could write a book about all this, but I doubt it would sell well.
    You've been here a while and seen some of this yourself. Most don't care about the details, they just want a pretty fire. We seem to be the exception.:cool:
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Retire at 45? He has time to start a second career. Such a great opportunity.
    raybonz likes this.
  7. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    I've steered my FIL away from it simply because he thinks I would share my efforts of wood processing with him. if he wanted to buy his own wood, I'd be all for it, but I'm not giving my wood to him simply because he tries to copy my projects.
    raybonz, osagebow and ScotO like this.
  8. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic Minister of Fire

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    You should try the Tom Sawyer approach with inquisitive neighbors. When they start asking you questions tell them you'll give them a call the next time you are going to do some splitting and stacking and they can come over and see first hand what's involved in the process. If they take you up on your offer you'll know they are really interested and you can have them join in doing some of the work to get a feel for it. If they blow you off you'll know not to waist your time explaining too much to them since they probably aren't really that interested in becoming a wood burner.
    gyrfalcon, Gark and Backwoods Savage like this.
  9. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    @jdp1152, sounds like you are very found of your FIL, haha.

    @Nick, tried that with the wife, no dice. What gives? :p
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    No. When someone inquires, I attempt to give both the positives and negatives of wood burning. The negatives are not necessarily what I would call a negative but knowing how some folks think and live, there certainly can be plenty.

    On the other hand, I know of several that should not be burning wood and I have advised a couple to discontinue burning because they just are not suited for it. When it becomes a danger to a family, then they should not burn wood but just give a twist on that thermostat and pay the oil man.
  11. Gark

    Gark Minister of Fire

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    If I did manage to get an interested person to go out on a scrounge, splitting and stacking trip, I'd make sure they stop by on a cold winter day later. Kick back with them with our stocking'd feet pointing at the hot stove. They could see the best reward IMHO for doing wood.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  12. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

    What, encourage competition for a finite amount of a carbon based energy source?!? There's only so much wood to go around. Haven't we reached "peak wood" or "peak scrounge" or something?

    :0)
  13. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    I think he's planning on 50 or so, but he's a bit of a dreamer. He won't have it set up, so.....I doubt it'll happen.>>
  14. tomahawk

    tomahawk Member

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    I try to be honest about how much work it takes to heat with nothing but wood. Between the falling, bucking, splitting, stacking, moving, etc it takes an extreme amount of time. Most people are just interested because of the money saved on heating costs. You have to WANT and enjoy heating with wood if you are to do it properly.
  15. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Very true. It is a lifestyle. One that nobody I know outside of the forum understands.
  16. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic Minister of Fire

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    I agree that it is a definite lifestyle and for most people who live a fairly conventional life aren't likely to be well suited for it unless they are someone who is open to making BIG changes. If someone's holding down a full time job, perhaps raising a family, etc. you're talking a lot of re-prioritizing in order to fit in becoming the type of wood burner you typically encounter here at Hearth.com. Of course, there are people out there who are fortunate to have a lot of money who could get into wood burning without all the labor by just paying people to do everything, but sit in front of the stove with them. However, to do the Full Monty - cut, haul, split, and stack you are talking about a big investment of your time.
  17. tomahawk

    tomahawk Member

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    We starting heating with nothing but wood in 2006. We had just built a house and the power went out for 3 days. We ended up having to go to my wifes parents for the last night because it was December and the temp in the house was around 40. I swore that I would never be dependent on the grid again for heat. We bought our woodstove and never looked back. It was a huge juggling act when we starting having kids but you make it work. I figure we save probably $300-$500 a month by using wood and that makes it worth it right there.
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    For the last twenty five years when I am asked what my hobbies are I reply "Heating my house.".
    Got Wood, n3pro, gyrfalcon and 3 others like this.
  19. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    I agree, it IS a lifestyle, one that's become my hobby, exercise, cost-saving investment, stress relief, and excuse to be outside.

    But there's a happy medium between total commitment and buying $600 dollar cords of kiln dried hickory and paying to have it stacked.

    I drive by a few common wood dump areas on the way home from work most days and fill up the trunk (15 minutes). Paid a tree guy $150 for a truck load of already cut trees that just need splitting (3-4 cords, no chain saws or hauling involved). And split for 30 minutes every night for exercise and stress reduction. Eliminate the cut and haul, and still saving money just with the split and stack.
    Gark likes this.
  20. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I could get right into that.
  21. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    No real issue with him. Nice enough guy. My MIL is another story altogether. She drives both my wife and I nuts.
  22. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I go back and forth on this. Most of the time I think I like the cut and haul better. I wish we were neighbors. I could bring the wood home and you could do the rest. I've said before that one of the biggest reasons I like this hobby is that I get to play with chainsaws.
  23. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Jon1270 and Backwoods Savage like this.
  24. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Generally most folks underestimate the cost to get equipped and the hours needed to be spent. If they see it in writing they will usually rethink. Heck I have run into some folks who wont go near pellets as its "too much work"
    n3pro likes this.
  25. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I almost had my 30 yr old unemployed nephew talked INTO a wood stove until the welfare office talked him out of it by offering to give him FREE heating oil for his 50 year old oil burner while he was there to get some other freebies.

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