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Holz Hausen and firewood on Vancouver Island.

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Lastchance, Jul 30, 2009.

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  1. Lastchance

    Lastchance Member

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    I'm new to the site, looks great. I'm a firewood connoisseur in the rough here.. I've been burning pallets and wood scraps for a few years, but have now gotten serious about it. I've bought me a Stihl MS 361 and a 22 Ton Swisher splitter, and have been burning Douglas Fir for a couple of years now.

    I live in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, where our summers average a nice 20 degrees C, so we have a good drying season. The bulk of what I cut is left on the ground after logging operations, and has been de-barked, so it's pretty seasoned already. Water squishes out of it when I split it, but in a couple of months it seems to burn allright.

    HOWEVER, I want peak BTU out of the stuff, as my old house is only slightly better insulated then your average carboard box, so I want good and dry.

    I have done some searching, and has anyone done a conclusive test on an HH vs your standard log pile? And overall how is Doug Fir as a burner? We have Pine, some broadleaf Maple around here, and if we are REALLY lucky, we get some Arbutus (Madrona), but that stuff is usually taken before I can get near it, as most of it is protected by law.

    Can anyone also reccommend something decent to burn on Vancouver Island, or is Doug Fir about as good as it gets? We only have Gerry Oak Trees here, and once again they are protected by law.

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  2. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Then it is not really seasoned. :) If you let it season for a year after you cut and split it, I think you will find it will burn better than all right.

    I have no experience with Douglas Fir here in the MIdwest and there is an active member here, Bigg Redd, who hates the stuff but most people think it is a very good wood to burn.

    Welcome to the forum!
  3. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    and, if you search for Holz Hausen, there have been many threads on this topic, but the consensus seems to be that they do not speed up the seasoning process.
  4. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    Holz Hausens save space and look good, that is the only pluses over standard stacks.
  5. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    Doug fir is good stuff, but preferably after about 9 months. You might get away with 6 months. That's after splitting. Big leaf maple isn't bad, lots of ash, few coals. Same story on seasoning time. Pine is fine, just goes hot and fast. You'll do fine with any of them as long as they're truly seasoned. Minimum 6 months after splitting. I'd choose them in that order: Doug, Big leaf, pine. Of course, you've already guessed that I'd choose the arbutus first if possible. I mixed maple and fir last year and was happy with it. I cover the top of my stacks when the fall rain starts. No fancy designer piles for me.

    What's your stove?
  6. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Yes. Holz Hoserheads are purely aesthetic and offer no advantage when drying.

    EDIT: I've been burning Doug Fir and Hemlock all my life. A standing green Fir cut and split and stored properly in the spring will be ready to burn that fall/winter.
  7. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    What!?


    I hate many things: under-barred saws, the Dolmer bandwagon, cat stoves, paying for firewood, 1/2 ton trucks, etc. Doug Fir, however, I love.
  8. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Geez, Redd, I thought I'd get a better rise out of you than that. I think everyone here is well aware of your love affair with Doug fir. That's why I think it was kinda funny!

    The End.
  9. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    Maybe it's becuase Big Red had to buck doug-fir with his under barred Dolmar and then blew out a leaf spring in his 1/2 ton truck on the way home.


    WoodButcher
  10. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    LastChance if you live in an upscale development a HH is easier on the eye...but for all the extra work there's no drying advantage.
  11. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    There's an aussie here currently running a drying experiment to see if HHs actually do speed up the process. If I remember right, his exp design seemed pretty sound.

    This upcoming October/November I'm going to pull down the first two HHs I built. When that happens it will have been seasoning for 18 months. One is stacked in a partial sun area. The other gets less sun than that. We'll see.
  12. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    I built three HH piles back in Nov, Dec and Feb this past year. My November pile is the only one that hasn't toppled over... most likely due to only having about a cord of wood stacked. The Dec and Feb stacks were two cords each and they were about 7' tall. Once the ground started to thaw, the piles started shifting and down came the top half. The Dec and Feb piles are now about 1 cord each and the other new regular piles measure the balance of what fell.

    I terms of drying quicker, time will tell. I'll know once November 2009 arrives! Lesson learned, make sure you build these on solid, level, ground that drains well.
  13. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Not funny, Wendell. Not funny.
  14. Lastchance

    Lastchance Member

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    Thanks for the tips! As far as a stove, it's this piddly little thing that came with my house, I'm going to look at PAcific Energy or something like that once our renovations are done. As far as wood, unless I can get Madrona which grows a lot around here, I'll stick with the Douggie Fir. I guess I won't bother with a Hausen, I'm far from a master craftsman at anything, knowing my luck it would just topple over in my driveway behind my truck one morning on my way to work!
  15. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    I don't think HHs are tough to build if you don't get overambitious. I don't go 7-8 ft because I want to be able to reach everything more easily.

    I lay 4 pallets down and shim them level somewhat. Just make sure the splits that radiates out from center (like spokes on a bike wheel) angles in toward center. I have 3 that are 6-6.5 ft diameter and are 6 ft high. No topples yet (2 built in spring 08). Slowly been building my 4th.

    Good luck.
  16. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Don't pass up one for the other. Get all you can, all the time. It's the only way I can keep the voices quiet.
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