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How did you get involved/interested in burning wood?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by PA. Woodsman, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. PA. Woodsman

    PA. Woodsman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,115
    Loc:
    Emmaus, Pennsylvania
    We got married and bought our "little piece of Heaven" in 1989, and it had a top-loading Godin wood/coal stove in the family room and a very sloppy little pile of wood out back. I even remember me saying "we'll probably never use it" :eek: when we were in the process of buying the house. I couldn't have been more wrong; one day I decided to give it a try and I was hooked like an addict on crack ;lol I sold that Godin because in 1992 I actually won an Efel cat stove in a raffle in a local woostove shop's marketing event, sold that piece of junk after 1 season and have had my Dovre Aurora since 1993, and as they say "the rest is history".

    I'd like to hear all of your stories and history please.....

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  2. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,978
    Loc:
    Near Williamsport, PA
    We bought our piece of heaven about 20 years ago and burned oil until 5 yrs ago. Our lane is 1/4 mile long and uphill, one winter I let the oil tanks get very low and quickly called for delivery. Apparently the driver saw snow on the lane and passed us by, they never called to let us know. 2 days later I realized we had not had any oil delivered and were just about dry. I called my oil co.(dealt with for 14+ yrs) and they told me driver was concerned about getting up/down the lane...I was pretty pissed off that nobody bothered to call, got oil from a different company and decided that between relying on other people to keep us warm combined with the ever increasing cost of heating oil we were gonna make a change. One of the best decisions we ever made. We still have oil in the tank and it will probably last us another 5 years.
    D8Chumley likes this.
  3. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    1,600
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    Other than camping, we bought a house with a fireplace.....nothing like the crackle of a fire. Then when we bought our current home, Wife insisted we get an Insert as soon as we close on the house.....started collecting wood, and loved doing it....it's been down hill from there, now I can't help myself, it's become an obsession.....oh,and what a savings in Oil:cool:
    Hills Hoard likes this.
  4. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,469
    Loc:
    Arrow Bridge,NY
    Grew up with parents/grandparents burning wood. Graduated high school and bought my own place on propain . Heat wasn't the same and couldn't afford the 'pain so I put in a stove. 'Cepting an injury that will keep me from feeding the stove. I will prolly burn till I take a dirt nap.
    Hills Hoard likes this.
  5. Scols

    Scols Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Messages:
    237
    Loc:
    Springs New York
    We moved back north in 2008 and the cottage we rented had a brand new Englander13. The landlord was cool enough to let us partake of his pile of green wood lol!. Even with the hassles of getting heat out of unseasoned wood we were hooked. So we got an insert for our next rental and then installed the stove again when we bought our own piece of paradise. We really enjoy the whole self sufficient aspect.
  6. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    291
    Loc:
    Western WIsconsin
    I like processing firewood. Have helped friends and myself make wood for 30 years.
    Hills Hoard likes this.
  7. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,049
    Loc:
    Northern Kentucky along the Ohio River
    Had an open fireplace for years. A beautiful thing it was, but useless for heat. The last straw was the price of propane. The only time my gas heat has been on over the last 2 winters as the 10 days over Christmas this year when we were away and couldn't burn. I set the thermostat to 45 so the pipes wouldn't freeze. Thankfully the whether was mild while we were away and we didn't use much.
  8. lowroadacres

    lowroadacres Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    515
    Loc:
    MB
    Mom and Dad bought a Fisher baby bear to install in the family room addition on our mobile home when I was about 6 years old.

    That stove moved into two different homes after that.

    When the power went out for 3 days straight when I was 9 I got it in my head that if possible I would not live without some form of wood heat.

    Since that little Fisher stove came along there has only been about 4 and a half years in total where I haven't been building and burning stacks of wood.

    Still learning and looking forward to many more years of liberating carbon for heat.
  9. geoff1969

    geoff1969 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2012
    Messages:
    76
    Loc:
    australia
    grandparents had open fire place in there house remember dad helping them cut and stack wood etc , then at the start of the 80s mum dad brought another house that had a oil heater in it = was useless so dad installed a pot belly stove kept the house realy warm { and boy did it } they had that heater for about 15 years then connected to natural gas , remeber like yesterday the days i spent with dad c-s-s the firewood and going out collecting it , loved it , then when i brought my house aprox 13 years ago , after approx 3 years being in our house i installed a wood heater all though i do have natural gas connected 90 percent of my heating comes from burning wood and the strange thing is now my eldest son collects firewood with me and has been running the saws etc , often when where out collecting cutting , splitting im telling him things and ways to do it safly and easy then i grin to myself and think i sound just like my dad when he was teaching me ..lol... so in 10 years of my burning ive never purchased any firewood and 15 years of my parrents the same = 25 years plus and never paid for wood , friends come over when the fires going some have gas heaters others electric heating etc but all comment and say theres nothing like the warmth of a wood heater and then start talking about when they where kids and how there parents burnt wood and how they would collect it etc ..lol
  10. terpsmandan

    terpsmandan New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Penn Yan, NY
    Bought an old Victorian (1900) ten years ago and it came with a small Lopi and about a cord of wood. First winter we got into a thermostat war and the NYSEG bill for one month was over $500. Started using the Lopi the next season and thought that we could get away with 6-7 FC for the whole winter (Western NY)... I do not know if my gas furnace even works now. Haven't run it since we bought a TL200. I hated that stove. We have been running a TL300 for 4 years now and I prefer to give my money to someone local.
  11. Sinngetreu

    Sinngetreu Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Messages:
    405
    Loc:
    North Iowa
    My story is a little bit different.
    I went back to school later in life to get a different career. I had a house with a stove that we used for fun (and it cooked us out part of the time), but with a new career, we had to move to a house with no stove. The new house was heated with propane.
    After many years with the new company, I was promoted to a position in a new plant (in the same town) and worked my tail off with no added pay in order to have a later pay off. I did what I thought was the best for my family. After 8 months of training and getting good at my new position, the guy that I took the position from decided he wanted his job back and they waited until I made a little mistake, treated me like I killed their dog and moved me to a different position. The new position paid the same hourly, but with less hours. I lost 400 to 800 dollars monthly in my new position.
    I had to do something and so I cancelled our TV service and cashed out some IRA to get a new stove and install it in order to avoid a big heating bill.
    I’ve been CSSing my tail off since July, but it sure is nice to sit here in front of my stove knowing that my family can stay warm this bitterly cold winter and I wont have to have three jobs to do it. On top of that, I lost 40 pounds and am looking and feeling pretty good. Pounding a maul does have its benefits.
    When things do change and get better financially, I doubt that I will stop heating with wood. I’m hooked.
    The savings even allowed me to buy a new chainsaw to continue my new addiction. TAKE THAT BOSS MAN!!!!!!!! ::-)
    It hasn’t been and/or isn't easy, but my family likes me being a little more relaxed too.
  12. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,227
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Always loved having fires in the fireplace prior to 2008. Then oil prices hit near $5.00/gallon and it was a no brainer. I enjoy the burn of wood vs pellets so it was a no brainer.
    Scols likes this.
  13. bassJAM

    bassJAM Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Messages:
    321
    Loc:
    Cincinnati OH
    Up until I was 12 my parents had a house with an insert, but we only used it when the electric was out because it only heated that one room. 2 houses and 8 years later they built a log house and decided to heat it with an insert, so I helped gather and process wood until I moved out around the age of 24. I liked the idea, but hated that the insert kept the living room at a blistering (IMO) 80° while the outer rooms were lucky to hit 60°. It was pretty phenominal though when an ice storm knocked the electric out for 2 weeks! We cooked Christmas dinner on the insert that year.

    Then 2 years ago, I bought a house built in 87 and it had a hydronic system set up in the basement right next to the heat pump. It took last winter to re-run water lines and the heat exchanger because the system hadn't been used in the 5 years since a new heat pump was installed and not hooked up to the wood stove. I'm still working on it this year, installing a programmable thermostat and trying to figure out how to get it to cycle my HVAC blower so it doesn't run full time, but I love the "warmth" of this heat vs the heat pump. I'm already thinking 10 years down the road when I'll probably out-grow this house, what type of wood burning system I want.
  14. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,736
    Loc:
    Beautiful British Columbia
    Ever since I can remember I've lived in places that have had wood stoves, and places that didn't, and always preferred the places that had them. When I was a little kid I remember the feeling of sitting and getting warm in front of the wood stoves in the places that had them, and it was always a nice "warm" feeling, and I'm not just talking about the temperature, if you know what I mean?
    The last place I lived I owned a mobile home and had all sorts of available wood right out my back door, but we were caretakers on some property and had free electricity as part of are caretaker compensation package so I just used the electric furnace to heat the joint, but I really wanted to install a wood stove just for that warm feeling sort of heat. 14 years later we ended up moving and buying a place and renovating it, we tore out the electric wall heaters and had a full $12,000 heat pump system installed (mainly for resell value),,,,, BUT, I also installed a wood stove. We do use the heat pump system, but almost entirely for air-conditioning in the summer time, and we usually leave the furnace blower running with the wood stove going to help circulate the air and moderate the heat in the house (in my case that works quite well), but we almost never use the heat pump to heat the house. We have it set to kick in around 17 deg C (62 F), but it rarely drops that low in the house because we seldom go away in the winter time and the wood stove is more than adequate for heating the entire house. It's true that the bedrooms do stay a little cooler at night, especially if we keep the doors shut, but personally I like that, and my kids have indicated they prefer that too, and when they get out of bed in the morning they always come and stand or sit in front of the wood stove and warm up,,,, just like I remember doing when I was a kid. ;)
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
    blazincajun, D8Chumley and Sinngetreu like this.
  15. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,133
    Loc:
    northwest Virginia
    Growing up both parents and grandparents burned wood, and my job as a kid was to haul wood into the house or help Dad gather it on the truck. I really liked it, it was one of the only chores as a kid that I didn't mind at all. Before I got old enough to split, Mom got rid of the woodstove and grandparents also switched to natural gas. When my wife and I got married we spent 3 years renting a farmhouse that had oil heat. The fireplaces were closed off and I wanted to try wood heat but the renters wouldn't go for it. The old drafty house was pretty cold and the oil furnace had a habit of breaking. When we bought our house it came with a woodstove and I thought "No more oil bills or worrying if the furnace breaks." Once I started working with wood again I was hooked! 13 years later it's become a bit of an obsession.....
  16. ErikR

    ErikR Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2013
    Messages:
    100
    Loc:
    northern WI
    Those are some great stories, mine is similar. I grew up in a house with 2 open fireplaces. My parents really only used them for ambiance not for heat. My aunt and uncle had an old steel and cast iron stove in their kitchen and a old pot belly style at their cabin. When I moved out, my first place had a ZC wood burning fireplace. I liked it, and it did throw out some heat. A few houses and relationships later, I had a place with a natural gas fireplace, it just wasn't the same.
    I've now retired and moved further north. I found a good deal on a home that had been in foreclosure. It has a ZC fireplace with a glass front. The significant other loves it, I hate it. It burns wood like there's no end to it! We've discussed removing it and putting a wood stove in it's place. She doesn't like most wood stoves. We found a compromise in a fireplace made by RSF, the Opel 3. I'm pretty sure she'll win this discussion and hopefully by next winter I'll be making better use of my wood!
    WiscWoody likes this.
  17. firewoodjunky

    firewoodjunky Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    114
    Loc:
    Central/Western MA
    I grew up with an old smoke dragon, I have very fond memories of dozing off in my Dad's LazyBoy after a long day of skiing with my feet roasting next to the stove.

    Fast forward to adulthood, I lived in quite a few cities overseas, and then rented in Boston for a few years with my current wife - no woodstoves in any of those locations. While I was overseas my wife called me and said that she landed her dream job 200 miles from where my permanent station was. She is not from the area and thought that the location was closer, so over Skype I tell her we can discuss it and figure out our options. Well, it's too late for that she says, I already accepted the job (gotta love her!). OK, I will deal with it when I get back stateside.

    Next day she calls and says that they called her back and offered her a different location that was about 90 miles from my permanent station - things are looking better! The new location put us west of the city, holy cow, now our budget could actually buy a real house!!! Well, after literally walking through 62 houses (our realtor was counting) we found our very drafty, rambling, old, dream house with 3.75 acres and a beat up VC 2550. I immediately fell back into my woodburning from my youth. I can only imagine how many gallons of oil this beast of a house would use - I am thinking at least 1200 gallons a year, maybe more.

    Then we picked up 18.75 more acres that is contiguous to our home (I had to sell that purchase pretty hard - I NEED a woodlot and a place to walk the dog afterall), purchased a Defiant 2n1 and thats where we stand today.

    My wife and kids are warm, I enjoy being self sufficient, and I am not broke due to heating bills. I don't see myself ever giving up burning wood as long as I remain in this home, and I plan to die here. So as long as my physical health is solid I will continue to cut my own wood and rely on wood as my major/primary heat source.
  18. DuckDog

    DuckDog Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    Messages:
    133
    Loc:
    Eastern Ontario
    I grew up in a house with a NewMac wood/oil combo furnace. Learnt from my dad. Wood was always cheaper than oil. Seemed completely normal for me to buy a house that heated with wood too.
  19. razerface

    razerface Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2014
    Messages:
    556
    Loc:
    Ohio
    I bought 40 acres of woods because I like to hunt squirrels and such. I built a new house a few years ago on the property. It has geothermal, which is cheaper then cutting wood. I put a tl300 in for "prepping" purposes, not intending to use it until the end of the world came around.

    Then my son, his woman, and my 1yr old grandson Caleb, were in a car wreck. My son now has titanium in both his legs, woman is fine, but my grandson was paralyzed from the neck down. Docs said it was hopeless. He would not do anything but stare at the ceiling.

    My little buddy had other ideas. In the next 2 years he started moving his hands, then his arms, then his whole upper body,,then his legs. He never stopped smiling the whole time.

    We logged the woods and started selling firewood to get him stem cell treatments since insurance would not pay for it. We wanted him to walk!

    I sold $17000 of logs and firewood to finance the stem cell treatments. In the meantime, we had to burn a lot of treetops and junk. We found out Caleb really liked fires, so it was a celebration every time there was a fire around here.

    Caleb would set in my kubota for hours watching me cut and split. We would drive around the woods and he would pick the next tree to cut up. It was actually the tops of what was logged, but he called them trees.

    I started burning so he could set and watch the fire thru the window.

    Caleb left me on 1-1-14, he was almost 4, but I will keep burning fires for him. He taught me a lot in his short time with us. I miss him terribly.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  20. Hickorynut

    Hickorynut Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    western ky.
    Bought this house about 21 years ago. Had a wood country flame insert and three acres of mature woods all around. Main heat was a heat pump which being 10 years old gave us problems right off the bat with breakdowns and inadequate heat. Those things are not for me especially in the part of the country where we live. However, the wood burning sort of evolved slowly. Mostly I didn't have enough wood for the first few years and always ran out and my wood wasn't seasoned that well either. But with the heatpump giving me problems I got more serious with the wood heat. After several years of burning wood with the country flame, I starting getting concerned with all the tarry creosote building up in the chimney so I got a modern epa (lopi) stove and a ss liner. I also got a husky saw and got rid of the poulans. Probably for the last 7 or 8 years I have been burning exclusively with wood and really enjoy the whole process although age and some back problems are catching up with me.
  21. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    1,541
    Loc:
    Long Island NY
    Have had a fireplace in most every place I've lived in. Starting from when I was a little kid (6-8 yr) I would start the fire and roll up sheet after sheet of newspaper and burn them one at a time. Later the family got an airtight insert from Elmira and used that for a few years before I moved out.

    First house had no fireplace so I had to satisfy myself with a caste iron chiminea. New house has two fireplaces so bought the insert 3 yrs ago and learned about the virtues of dry wood here at hearth. Still have the chiminea for the uglies and such.
  22. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Messages:
    2,083
    Loc:
    Kennett Square, PA
    Bought an old drafty house 30 years ago. Started with a big franklin stove. Heated most of the house with it. Cut wood split it and throw it right in the stove hissing and not getting much benefit. Then got a Fisher stove and "seasoned" the wood for a few months. Got better at that. Now with a Jotul stove and 3 year seasoned wood it's pure heaven:)
  23. OldLumberKid

    OldLumberKid Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2012
    Messages:
    280
    Loc:
    Sandyland
    Thanks for sharing. That kinda puts it all in perspective.

    Asked my mum the other day how they heated things back when I was young. She said when I was a baby, she used to bath me by the fireplace every night. Might have picked up the habit then.

    But really, it took Hurricane Sandy and being without power and heat for a few weeks to rekindle the interest.
  24. n3pro

    n3pro Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    551
    Loc:
    Enola, PA (near Harrisburg the unknown Capitol.
    My first experience was when I was about 5, in the early 80's. Power was out so dad lit a fire in the Timberland stove he had installed during the 70's oil crisis. Well, a spark came out and burned the carpet where I was playing. Mom jumps ran and yelling. Dad put water on it, it went out and mom yelled "NO MORE FIRES EVER AGAIN!!!!!"

    Many years later we moved into this house (our first) no stove, no chimney just a heat pump Went our two years in a row during the coldest part of the winter the heat pump died. Even when it was working though the thermostat was at 78, we never felt warm when it got real cold and had to use blankets.

    Around the same time I joined a radio club that has a cabin. A barrel stove was the only source of heat. Enjoyed the heat. Began to do some do some research and found this site. The heat pump was replaced with a propane furnace and I had the Napoleon and stainless steel chimney installed. My intent was only as backup for the furnace (refused to suffer without heat again). The more I used it the more I wanted to.

    Then I got more and more addicted and hated to hear the furnace and get the propane bill. Though the Napoleon was undersized, for my original plan it was perfect and did a decent job. Then the addiction got be to the Englander and for the coldest temperatures in 20 years, I have been more then happy. Got my first bill since last February, used 43.2 gallons of propane. I found a place after getting ripped off with Amerigas that put me on the emergency generator plan which they fill once a year at the rate but I have to pay for tank rental once a year which is still way cheaper then Amerigas.

    Collecting wood, building fires, being hot, getting splinters and burns, it is what I call a hobby. Something that is a lot of work, something I choose to do not have to do, but because I love it I can't get enough of it and find it worth it no matter the cost or time.
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  25. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,218
    Loc:
    Croton-on-Hudson, suburbs of NYC
    Razerface, you darn near made me tear up at work. I'll be burning for Caleb when I get home tonight.

    When I was a kid my best friend had a fireplace. His father worked had a small constyruction company that also sold firewood so my friend and I messed with firewood and splitters from about 9 years and up. My neighbor also burned and I "helped" him cut and split too as a kid. My parents put an addition on the house with a prefab airtight fireplace when I went to college so I started scrounging for them when I was home. We never burned that seriously, but I liked cutting and splitting for them until they sold the place in '99 and my cutting was reduced to Christmas tree bottoms and no burning. In 2003 I got married and we bought the house. We were happy that it a had a Franklin stove. I started to do some scrounging that fall. Around Christmas time the furnace crapped out and we became 24/7 burners overnight with wood that I bought from a local tree guy while waiting for a new furnace. The old smoke dragon made some serious heat for about 2 or 3 hours and could easily burn a wheelbarrow full in one night. It was kinda like a wood incinerator. I was buying 2 or 3 cords and scrounging some per season and burning lots of propane too. In 2009 I found out about modern stoves and we bought the Fireview. I also started hanging around here and got heavily into scrounging. I haven't bought any wood since then and have also bought MUCH less propane.

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