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First full season burning...how much do I need?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by kbrown, Jun 3, 2009.

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  1. kbrown

    kbrown Feeling the Heat

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    This next winter will be our first full season to burn. Started on Jan 1 2009 (what a great way to start a new year!) as that was the day we picked up the door for the Napoleon and fired it that evening. (I think we can officially take the tax credit next year since it wasn't "in service" until 1/1/09 no?). Anyhow...we burned through what we had in the yard which was about maybe 2 face cords or so. Being our first time burning, we didn't do any overnights, but did burn about 12 hours or more on most days. So far, I have been very lucky to score some nice wood from Craigslist as well as word of mouth and such. So far this year, I have hauled about 10 loads home in the Sirrea 1500 with an almost full size bed minus a work box up front. I don't overload it, just slightly above the sides. About how much would you experts estimate this to be? In the yard, I have so far built 6 - 4'x8'x16" racks with plans for another 3. Racks are actually 5' tall but the rails are mounted 6" off the ground and the racks sit on 8" landscaping blocks I had left over from an old flower bed we tore out. I wanted to make sure no critters set up home under them and it allows the dogs to make sure of that along with good air flow to the stack. This should give me 3 cords when full correct? Once I split the wood I have hauled home so far, wouldn't that fill the 6 racks so far? I am trying to avoid buying any wood for this next season, but really don't know how much we will burn. We have a 1500 sq ft ranch but that includes basement. Stove is in dinning/living area. My gut estimate is we need 4 -5 cord. Any thoughts? I certainly plan to post some pics of the yard once everything is split and stacked. Living in what is just a normal 40 year old subdivision neighborhood, we don't have much room in the yard to store anything more than 4 cords without it looking like a lumber mill! Total lot size is only 110' x 110'. :-S Thanks to the crappy economy, our plans on buying a 10 acre homestead will just be burned along with the wood! :coolmad:
    Oh yea, I can't help but be proud of the racks - all built from pressure treated lumber from Home Depot; best part was it was on the cull pile at 85% off! :coolgrin:

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  2. Stevebass4

    Stevebass4 Minister of Fire

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    i would plan on 3 to 4 full cords per year and you'll want to get at least a year ahead

    more is always better
  3. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Since you're dealing with limited storgae space I'd say to hell with how mich will you need for next year. Fill your available storage space and hope it lasts you the season.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Too bad about the plans for the 10 acres going up in smoke. I could never trade my 18 acres for city living.

    Ja, more is always better. It's like having money in the bank, only better. Given the size of the house and location, I can't see you burning 3 cord but as mentioned, a year ahead is a good thing.
  5. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    I burn 24/7 and if had a lot of silver maple last year in Wisconsin weather. I think I went thru 5 plus cords/ Now this year is mostly oak and some ash...my guess is 4 cords max. I will let you know next June 1st :)
  6. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    "My gut estimate is we need 4 -5 cord" In mich. Id say your in the ball park for sure!
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm with Mayhem. Fill your available space and hope for the best. If it will hold 4 cord, you will be in the ball park. Scrounging is what it is, but if given the choice...and with limited space...you may want to be a little selective (this assumes that you are a successful scrounger ;-P ) on the species you take home. Just food for thought, but 4 cords of silver maple DOES NOT EQUAL 4 cords of white oak, or hickory.

    Edit: and if your are currently scrounging for this year, I am sure you have read all about seasoning times...12 months, burning unseasoned wood,blah, blah blah. By the way, its all true.
  8. boostnut

    boostnut Member

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    My advise is to stop worrying about your future requirements and get what you've got split. Its already too late to many of us. Dont waste any more time, get your current supply split and stacked then worry about adding to it.
  9. jj3500

    jj3500 Member

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    IMO....forecast for more! without a doubt.
  10. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    There's no way to know for sure. I say fill up your woodshed. If you buy wood, it probably won't be cheaper next year. If you cut your own wood just never stop cutting - get all you can whenever you can.
  11. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    As to the space problem, you might try a Holz Hausen(geman for "wood house", which is what it looks like), essentially just a round tall wood stack rather than a straight row. They tend to be a bit more stable than rows, and can be built up to 10' high+ to use your vertical space. They are also a bit more aesthetically pleasing, and therefore less likely to get you any flack from your neighbors or homeowner's association.
  12. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    It seems every time I read about someone making one this would not be true. It seems they end up being wrapped with a wire mess to keep them from falling over. I'm sure some people have good luck with them but after reading some horror stories online I've decided to not even try. http://www.woodheat.org/firewood/holtzhausen.htm
  13. kbrown

    kbrown Feeling the Heat

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    All very good points...especially about making sure it's seasoned. So far I would say most of the supply has aged about a year but not in a nicely split/stacked fashion. I have been thinking about this a lot since the predictions for next winter is that in the Great Lakes area we will have a colder than normal fall. Already we are colder and more rain than a normal spring. I'm starting to think that I should approach this like finding a dollar bill on the ground. If you see it, of course I'm gonna pick it up, but I am not going to make it a full time job looking for dollar bills on the ground! I will be very happy with 4 good cords full.
  14. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, it depends on how you build them. I had one collapse on me cuz I tried to make the top plum with the bottom, as it dried it started to bulge on one side and finally gave way. You need to taper inwards as you go up to give it a rounded top so they are more stable. There was almost 3 cords in this 8' holz.

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  15. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    The best piece of advice in that woodheat.org article is to navigate to www.holzmiete.de and look there to get some ideas. Plenty of them on that site that haven't fallen over. I was never one to believe the claim that the wood seasons faster, I just really like the fact that it saves space, has nice looks to it, and can be considered part of your landscaping. There's no doubt it is more time consuming, but if your straight row falls over, and the HH doesn't, how much time are you spending rebuilding?
  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Here are a couple of my heap-hausens. Very stable, never fall over and easy to stack. They may not season as fast as others, but after a couple of years, its all good.

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  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    We live a bit further north than you and burn 3 cords and always plan on burning more; that way we have enough. We also do not put up wood this year that will be burned next winter. Better to season it and it won't season worth a hoot if it is not split. So my recommendation is to get split all that you have on hand now, get it stacked in the wind and sun and hope it will be ready to burn next winter. Remember, time is what wood needs and it will reward you with good fires and lots of heat. If you don't give it time it will then give you hard to light fires, cause you to keep the draft open further sending more heat up the chimney instead of in the house and as dessert it will give you lots of creosote so you can practice using that chimney brush.

    Good luck.
  18. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    +1
  19. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    I use heap-hausens in the early stages then change them to stack-hausens. They both work fine for me also :)

    Oh and I forgot my holtz-hausen was a pain to build and seemed unstable from the start so I converted it before finishing it.
  20. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Just another idea to throw out there. Last year I made a 7x7x6' cube of firewood. I cross hatched the corners and the inside middle as I went up. It turned out to be pretty stable all through the winter and held a little over 2 cord. I took it apart to fill up my wood shed this spring, but it was much easier than building a round HH and much easier calulating how much wood is into it. Also fits nicely on top of 4 pallets laid out in a square.
  21. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    You never seem to have enough. But I hope you always have a friendly fire. It's worth the effort!
  22. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    I season in heap-hausens, like Jags', then keep ~ a year's worth of ready-to-burn wood in my shed-hausens. For me, burning almost exclusively softwoods in two stoves, a year's worth can be around 7 cords. Rick
  23. kbrown

    kbrown Feeling the Heat

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    Well, scored another load tonight; the family and I were out to check out some logs by the side of the road, possibly left from the local public works fellows when I heard about a tree across the roadway (I also work as a part time firefighter for the neighboring city). We high tailed it back to town and over to where the tree fell and met up with my guys already cutting it up. Turns out it was a 20" diameter 40' long branch off a cottonwood. Homeowner said to take it all so I came back with the gear and got a nice truck load. Don't know about the quality of cottonwood, but I do know that free wood always burns good ;-) . Talking to people around, they took my number since this opened the eyes of a lot of people around there who now think their cottonwoods are suddenly going to fall. It was a clear, sunny evening, no wind and only saw about 8" of the limb with beginning rot. Funny thing why it fell. Whats the feeling about cottonwood? Take as much as you can when offered? Gonna be splitting everything with weekend with friends splitter.
  24. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    It is decent shoulder season or when you are home anyway heat. Free wood seems to make the best heat.
  25. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    If you are tight for storage space, then pass on it. It takes twice as much as a good hardwood to get the same heat and it makes four times as much ashes that fly out of the stove every time you open the door.
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