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For those of us that scrounge wood...

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Wet1, Mar 31, 2009.

?

Wood scroungers, what is your yearly household income?

  1. Less than $25,000 per year.

    14.0%
  2. $25,001 to $50,000 per year.

    21.3%
  3. $50,001 to $75,000 per year.

    27.0%
  4. $75,001 to $100,000 per year.

    17.4%
  5. $100,001 to $125,000 per year.

    10.7%
  6. $125,001 to $150,000 per year.

    3.4%
  7. $150,001 to $175,000 per year.

    1.1%
  8. $175,001 to $200,000 per year.

    5.1%
  9. 200,001 +

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
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  1. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,847
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Kinda in the same boat here. I think I get some personal satisfaction from getting the wood free, and also the same idea that I am supplying my own heat.
    Sometimes I pick up a few rounds and put them in the trailer....seems like some hassle for an hour or so of work, but after its cut/split and stacked...I might look at the small pile of scrounged wood and say..."well, thats about 3-4 days of heating right there"
    Also, have 3 small kids, and since daddy sits on the computer all day I think its somewhat good for them to see me in some "hard work".
    I asked my wife once if she found it embarrassing that I look for free wood from time to time....not that I really cared...but was just more curious.....she just smiles and said "I really like it when its 72 degrees in here in January vs 64 degrees" enought said :)

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  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,908
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    My neighbors have about the same house as I do. They spend each month what I spend all winter to heat the house. A few hours of work makes the disposable income go a bit further. And the wife is warmer. A warm wife is a happy wife.


    Matt
  3. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,908
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    I was just thinking, when I was a bachelor, I hated making the bed. I remember having the made bed with a sleeping bag laying on top of it. I could throw the sleeping bag into a corner and it would look like the bed was made.

    If I didn't have a family, I'd probably still be using the sleeping bag. Why not? It was warm and comfy. My house would probably be kept much colder than it is now. My heating bill would probably be cut in half and I would be camped out in the room with the stove.

    Matt
  4. fespo

    fespo Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Messages:
    432
    Loc:
    South West burbs of Chicago
    There is a fine line between tight and cheap. I just look at my self as being tight. The more I can save one way, the more I can spend the other way. I look at all the money I saved on my gas bill for the last couple of years, I just spent on my cruise. :lol:
  5. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2007
    Messages:
    312
    Loc:
    Chester Springs, Pa
    I do not consider myself wealthy, just thrifty, but according to the survey I find my self in the upper third of the ranking.. Why spend good money on something I can get for free. I would rather spend the money on something that is not available for free or easily accessible.

    I have a greater sense of accomplishment if I do it myself rather than have someone do it for me.
  6. prairiefire

    prairiefire Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    101
    Loc:
    rural saskatchewan canada
    i scrounge because i enjoy it . from finding to falling to splitting and stacking and paying lower gas bills i can honestly say i enjoy it all! i don't think i will ever pay for wood and i don't see a reason why i would, the guys around here are selling cords of poplar for $150 to $200 when i can cut poplar for free at many different locations. yes i know it's just poplar but it is abundant around here!! i think even if i was a millionaire i would still scrounge i would just do it with allot nicer equipment :cheese:
  7. SmokinPiney

    SmokinPiney Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Messages:
    307
    Loc:
    In the Pines, NJ
    Well said! I enjoy the "hunt" of scrounging and the work of hauling, splitting, and stacking has helped keep me in shape (sorta haha)


    It's like a saying my buddies and i always said growing up building our mud trucks. "built not bought".. There's just more satisfaction in it.
  8. thewoodguyz

    thewoodguyz New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Central NJ
    Here's why I started wood scrounging...my 16 year old son was having trouble figuring out what work really is; he quit his last two jobs when they stopped being fun. So I decided to "hire" him to help me scrounge wood by helping people remove downed trees from their yards with the firewood as payment; and yes, I pay him an hourly wage. We enlsited the help of my other son; 11 years old, and called ourselves TheWoodGuyz. Our first "customer" gave the boys a $20 tip for an hour of work removing a 25 foot spruce tree that fell in his front yard right next to his drive way. My older son absolutely loves the work, hauling the wood, splitting it and seeing the wonderful fruits of his labor. When he started the work, he couldn't even come close to hitting a wedge with a sledge of any size. Now he swings it with confidence and skill. The younger son can't swing the sledge yet, but he's a great stacker and can split with the axe after quartering the big ones.

    Before we started this work, my older son was going to join the army, take basic training between his junior and senior year of HS and enlist directly out of high school. Not that I think military service is a bad thing, but he was doing it because he thought he had no other options; he is an amazingly intelligent kid, runs circles around most of his classmates, but not much of a student. After starting TheWoodGuyz, he sees employment options he might never have dreamed of...tree service business, forestry, arborist, tree climbing etc. He is GOOD at something, his buddies say that he's now lumber-jacked, and he thinks it can take him somewhere other than the battlefield.

    As for me, my wife gets up at 5:15 AM and spends an hour each morning working out and running on the treadmill in our basement; oh such fun...NOT! I on the other hand, get up at around the same time, have a cup of coffee while waiting for sunrise, and then head out to the woodpile and split and stack the wood we have been collecting. I get to work out in the fresh air with the sun rising and the birds singing all while providing "free" heat for my family for the winter. What could be better? Oh, I have lost 8 pounds since starting the wood scrounging.

    It has taken me a while to hit upon this, it really has changed the lives of our whole family...and THAT'S why I do it.
  9. blondmom

    blondmom New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    East Tennessee
    Hey I'm proud to say it--I'm cheap!! Make a decent living-I guess according to your income chart I'm in the top 20%. That being said, I love the fact that my actual heating bill for the entire season-Mid October thru April 1st was less than my 2 next door neighbors March heating bill!

    I get a lot of satifsfaction from "scrounging" for wood. Scored a biggie last weekend-one of my friends is clearing 3 acres for a house site and had all the trees taken down. I offered our backhoe, dump truck and trailer to load haul them off. They cut all the trees, trimmed off the branches and delivered 16 equipment trailer loads of logs over to our shop (have 20 acres-plenty of room to unload them). I don't know how many trees there are, but it's a crapload!! Now all we have to do is saw them up! You would not believe some of the logs in this batch. I've got a guy from a timber company coming to look at some of the logs-veneer quality. Lots of maple, oak, walnut, cherry, etc. Can't wait to get them sawn up and split.

    I love the warmth of a wood stove and would not trade it for anything. When we are away from home in winter, we can't wait to get back to our warm, toasty home!
  10. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    450
    I scrounge because i enjoy and get satisfaction from it. I can think of other things to spend money on other than giving it to the oil man each month. I wouldnt mind paying for split wood because i know the money will stay local and not go overseas but i have the ability and time to score my own wood and drag it back home. So far Ive managed to scrounge about 5 chords since last October.
  11. leftyscott

    leftyscott Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Messages:
    194
    Loc:
    arkansas
    I like to scrounge b/c I have the opportunity to..... (50 wooded acres). I'm also cheap..... take my lunch to work every day, carpool with my wife as much as possible. My ultimate goal is early retirement at 55 (10 years away)which will be easier b/c we have no kids.

    I also enjoy the exercise and more importantly the feeling of satisfaction I get at the finished product ..ie a toasty warm house. It's the same feeling I get when I go out to the freezer and bring in a venison steak, or pheasant that I harvested.
  12. esh21167

    esh21167 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Messages:
    48
    Loc:
    Central PA
    There seems to be some similar thought from everyone. Some level of self-sufficiency (not having to buy, buy, buy everything we need in life) and the satisfaction of that, savings (regardless of income), and enjoying the hunt.

    I started burning last year purely for savings because the prior year I spent almost $3000 on oil to keep my 100+ yr old house at 60! I don't even have $2000 in my entire insert purchase and installation and used about 75 gallons of oil this year. But, like the original poster, I wondered a couple times if the work was worth it.

    Overall, I'd say yes, and I do like the release of going out and cutting, splitting, stacking for a couple hours every now and then. I just keep my eyes open for downed trees and tree cutters, found a farmer with a few acres of woods, and take advantage of those situations when I find them. I work my supply little by little, so I don't find the time overwhelming.

    Even if I made six figures, I'd probably still scrounge and burn. I just enjoy doing it.
  13. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,440
    Loc:
    Delaware, Ohio
    As a new wood burner, I'm still trying to get into the swing of things. I found a local source for firewood that charges $130 per cord, cut, split, delivered, and stacked. I've placed an order for 5 cords. That, plus the rounds I've scrounged so far this year will set me right at a good 2 year supply of wood.

    At $130/cord, I wonder if I'm not better off just buying my firewood. Either way, it certainly is worth getting ahead of the game. For an investment of ~$650, plus a little time splitting the rounds that are already in the driveway, I'll have 2 years worth of wood stacked and ready to go into the woodshed that I plan to build this summer.

    My time is probably worth more building the woodshed this year, instead of scrounging the firewood.

    -SF
  14. burtman

    burtman New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    vermont

    I always think of the money I save in terms of tax free dollars as opposed to the heavily taxed dollars in my paycheck. It is also not contributing taxes to pay for entitlement programs for people who refuse to work, but live higher on the hog than I do.
  15. joshlaugh

    joshlaugh New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Messages:
    330
    Loc:
    Granville, Ohio
    I read through the posts and see that most of us do it for similar reasons. I like to burn wood for many reasons such as the whole self-reliance thing I am going for, exercise, saving money, and I truly enjoy the hunt of finding, cutting and burning "free" wood.
  16. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    889
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    My parents were teens during the great depression. Some of that rubbed off on me. I've always been frugal, and I love to find a bargain. I like yard and garage sales for example. It's a good feeling to find a great price on something you can use.

    It was both economics and circumstance that led me to wood burning- and scrounging. It's wonderful to have eliminated the need for 2-4K dollars worth of heating oil I used to burn every year. It's also very satisfying to feel self reliant and get some needed exercise. It probably started mostly because of the huge old Red Oak which died in our back yard. Had to have it taken down by pro tree cutters. Although I got a pretty good price on that, it was still some expensive wood that ended up laying around my back yard, so I was motivated to look into getting a wood stove. When oil briefly touched 150 dollars a gallon, that was it- I jumped in head first, got the basic hand tools for processing wood, and made it all happen. (Perhaps I'll get my own splitter later, but for now I can borrow as needed)

    It's a great feeling to be able to acquire and process my own wood. Wood burning has changed my life in some good ways. Friends have helped me a lot with it. I'm fitter and stronger and more positive about the future now. If I became wealthy overnight, I'd likely continue on as before, because of the value I place on my new lifestyle. Despite trials and tribulations, each new wood score is a joy just the same.

    Edit: 150 dollars a barrel. Sorry. :red:
  17. Apprentice_GM

    Apprentice_GM Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Messages:
    237
    Loc:
    Central Coast, NSW, Australia
    Cluttermagnet, is that a typo? Did heating oil really hit 150 dollars a gallon in the US? We don't really use heating oil Down Under so I don't know how much it goes for, but it sounds very high. Or do you get such high heat from oil that you dont burn much?
  18. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    889
    Loc:
    Mid Atlantic
    Oops! Cue the red face smiley. Heh! It was late when I posted that, half asleep.

    No, it was briefly just over 5.00 USD/gallon that I was quoted when oil was nearing 150USD/barrel. Sorry. My bad.

    I was quoted 5.05/gallon with a 150 gallon minimum delivery at that time. In other words, about 1,390.00 USD to fill my 275 gallon tank. There was no way that was going to happen. BTW we used to use 1-2 full tanks of oil, depending on the winter. Our cost had been running around 2,000.00 USD per year, minimum, including a service contract. There was no way I was going to pay 3-4K per year for heating oil!

    We went from that to zero oil and about 2 cords of wood per year. Totally quit using electric space heating, too. Downstairs now gets down into the 50's F. Chilly but quite tolerable (we move upstairs for the winter).


    Much work remains in tightening up our house. Lots of single glaze windows. Attic insulation was inadequate. I'm working on that lately. Found out that the turkeys who built this house in 1960 had, incredibly, omitted all insulation in the outside walls between studs. Scandalous but true. We have brick, composition wood sheathing, dead air space, and 1/2 in gypsum sheet rock. Unbelievable! I'm planning to install loose fill cellulose in those stud walls, as I get the time.
  19. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    It's fun to get wood!!!!

    1) Gives me an excuse to go in the woods, and take the wife and kids with me.
    2) Gives me an excuse to ride my XR600R on the forest roads & trails, hunting for wood.
    3) Gives me an excuse to have a stihl 390 w/ 25" bar.
    4) Gives me an excuse to invest in a Magnum ZC for the house.
    5) Gives me an excuse to have a fire pit in back, and have outside fires all the time making smores for my kids.
    6) Gives me an excuse to borrow the brother in laws vertical wood splitter.

    Yes I am a well paid Mechanical Engineer and I could buy ...... but I love working. Take the same approach on my veggie oil and BioDiesel production. Both of my diesel vehicles get superb gas mileage, and I can afford the gas prices over the year. But its just so much fun collecting, filtering, and tracking how much $$$$$ I am saving by doing it. I can brag about a small carbon foot print to :eek:).
  20. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,444
    I hear ya! There's no better feeling than coming back from a day of scrounging in my fully loaded F-350 and knowing that I'm burning free veggie oil instead of diesel fuel. I made the cost of conversion+filtering equipment back in eight months-now its all gravy ;)
  21. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    120
    Loc:
    Vancouver, WA, USA
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