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Firewood length vs. stove dimensions

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Jon1270, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    So far most of the firewood I've scavenged has been bucked before I got to it, so I've had little control over the length of the splits I end up with. The randomness makes it harder to load the stove fully, but hey, it's free wood.

    Someday I'm sure I'll have a chance to buck a tree myself, and I'd like to be less random about it. What's the typical thinking about how much space should be left between the ends of a split and the stove's sides (E-W) or back & door glass (N-S)?

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  2. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I cut my wood about 2 inches or so shorter than the maximum length of wood it can take . . . experience has shown me that just a bit of build up of ash and coals . . . or an oddly shaped split with a nub or curve to it can result in you having to quickly yank the wood out and that's not much fun when it's starting to ignite.
    Mitch Newton, jdp1152 and Jags like this.
  3. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    Also a scavenger, but also sometimes a bit brain dead when I cut my own (I end up with a few splits on the stack that are just a bit too long and I end up cutting them in half). I find that the shorter pieces are a lot easier, for the reasons firefighterjake mentioned, and also just 'cause they're just a bit less cumbersome and much easier for my better half to handle, toss in, even if there's room for a larger piece.
  4. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    So, a couple inches short, more for ease of loading (and the occasional removal) than anything to do with combustion efficiency, burn times, etc.?
  5. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    To clarify, I'm mostly thinking about the times I pack the stove as full as possible for a long burn. Does having the ends of the splits too close to the interior of the stove seem to cause any problems?
  6. gerry100

    gerry100 Minister of Fire

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    no.
  7. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    When loading North-South, if my splits are at the maximum length I find that the glass will dirty up faster.

    When loading East-West, if my splits are at the maximum length I find that it takes a bit longer to get the fire cruising along, presumably because air can't travel between the ends of the wood and the firebrick.

    In all, I'm with Jake, ideal splits for me are at least 2 inches shorter than max. That said, I have 3 cords of locust sitting in my stacks for next year, 90% of which is cut to my maximum log length <> (need an emoticon for kicking oneself in the ass)

    pen
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    yes.
  9. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Okay then, sounds like I need about 14.5" for N-S or 19" for E-W. Thanks everyone.
  10. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    I like a little space on both ends. On startup, sometimes flame will shoot out the ends between the splits. I like to leave somewhere for the flames to go instead of slamming into the walls of the stove in a localized area. Probably isn't going to hurt anything but I think the load will start better with more room to breathe.
    pen likes this.
  11. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I also like a couple inches shorter than max, and a mix of shorter splits to work with as well. My manual claims I can take 22"... the biggest I ever crammed in there was 21 and that just barely fits. Also, when top loading I can only get a couple that long in there anyway - when the stove gets to half full a full length piece like that can no longer clear the griddle opening on an angle. So the best load I could do is a 3 or 4 21"'ers with a couple 16-18"ers on top.

    Since I also get a mix of sizes between scrounges and delivered wood, I leave a 21" gauge stick in the shed... anything that looks too long gets checked before coming in the house and the long ones going into a pile to be cut down.
  12. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    that's a good tip. I should have one when I'm cutting. My eye-ball measure method isn't so great anymore...
  13. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I find I can pack the stove tighter by loading north / south (the end of the splits face the glass) rather than east / west (the sides of splits face the glass. If you want to maximize loading maybe N/S is the way to go.
  14. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    same here - the 2200 also has a bay glass door - it seems as though if the end of the split is close to the glass, the smoke there curls along the top of the bay a bit before going out the flue. I dunno if that makes any sense, or any difference, but shorter splits a bit farther back don't seem to be as much of a concern for the glass.
  15. Billybonfire

    Billybonfire Feeling the Heat

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    I also cut my firewood to 16", 2 inches shorter than max of 18".
    When cutting to length I have an old broom handle cut to 16" and mark up using a small hatchet, only takes few seconds and saves having splits that are to long.
  16. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    I did a couple of overnight burns this year with N-S loading, and it really worked well. I had read that E-W might be a better choice for prolonging the burn, but I'm not so sure.

    A trick I read about a few days ago is to have a stick with a strong magnet screwed to one end, so you can stick it on the chainsaw bar and leave it there while cutting.
  17. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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  18. Blue2ndaries

    Blue2ndaries Minister of Fire

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    Oooo...fancy. On last summer's load of wood, I just pulled out the kids extra-wide sidewalk chalk and had them mark 18" lengths using a pre-cut 18" stick. They had a blast walking down a trunk marking it up for me and I got pretty uniform length rounds which really helped facilitate ease of stacking and gave me peace of mind that the splits would easily fit into the stove come loading time.
    Billybonfire likes this.
  19. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Nice that wood shrinks a bit as it seasons:)
  20. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    After struggling with my poor eyeballing skills, I started using my kid's chalk to mark up the 16 inches (current stove takes 18, prefer 1 inch on each side). I split by hand so it also allows me to work around the knots and crotches. Just toss those aside and someday I'll rent a splitter...or so I tell myself. Will be interesting with a new insert on the way and considerably larger log capability. Guess I'm going to have to maintain separate stacks or keep a pile of my oddball cuts around to pack in the gaps.
  21. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    My stove measures 22" inside E/W, so I cut to 20" +/- 1" tolerance. I usually use a tape measure to cut one scrap firring strip or other small piece of lumber to 20", then use that measuring stick to eyeball all the logs I'm bucking. Also a scrounger, but usually scrounging full trees and bucking myself.
  22. Richprint29

    Richprint29 New Member

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    My stove will take a 21" piece of wood. However, I cut all mine to a length of 17 inches. It's just a lot more workable. I try to keep wood from being right up against the glass window. Back to cutting,, I always end up with plenty of what I call "shorts" for various reasons. One of which is my " leave no wood behind policy" as a true scavenger I have adopted this policy. Often times I'm the Second guy to find the free wood on the side of the road. This means that I get all the knotty , curved, Y shaped and short pieces that the First guy to find the pile did not want. So I take em and make the best of the situation. As far as bucking, I use my bar ( 18") as a rough guide. It seems to work pretty well.
  23. Berner

    Berner Member

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    Eyeballing is tough. I'm a land surveyor and I still miss eyeballing a 20 inch round.

    I make mental notes of lengths on my chainsaw. Tip of bar to this nut is 18, to the decal is 20, etc etc. Depending on your chainsaw and if you have a shorter desired round length it might not work. Though I havent tried it marking dimensions on your bar could work as well.

    If it makes you feel any better I bucked my entire grapple load to 22 inches assuming that I was going to be purchasing one stove only to put a down payment on another. I'm going to be spending a lot of time recutting a bunch of splits. Oh well I can think of worse things than playing with my chainsaw for the afternoon.
    bag of hammers likes this.
  24. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Berner for another great tip. Yeah getting the saw out for a couple more hours is not so bad I guess. I see you opted for the Woodstock PH. That is a beautiful stove.
  25. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

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    The Jotul 550 accepts log lengths of 24". However, it's difficult to put in a full load E/W if all the logs are that length. I cut to 18". That gives me space and better maneuverability to load E/W on the right hand side of the stove. Then I fill the rest of the space with N/S with uglies and short pieces that are leftovers.

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