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How do you measure when cutting rounds?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by bogydave, Jan 16, 2010.

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  1. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I have the same issue, my 18" is not anybody else's 18", when friends & family help cut I get a very mixed length.
    I can fit 24" in the BK but prefer 18" +/- 1".
    I've been called anal by buddies when helping build my shop (36 X 52) but, I cut every stud exact. It went together square.
    That said, I'm only asking for 18" +/- 1" or so. It stacks better & always fits into the stove the same.
    The stick helps but is slow.
    I may come up with an attached 18 wire on the bar nuts.
    Anal, yeh, but I've witnessed worse people problems & behaviors going the other direction.
    Now that I'm retired & can do it my way, I do it my way best I can.
    I know if I was selling wood 18" +/- 1" it would be that.

    After a few weeks of steady cutting I'd probably get good enough to be in specs, but other projects keep getting in the way.

    So I'll put a mark on the bar, have my stick handy & when cutting a bunch of logs, like now I'll hook a wire or something to the bar nuts like
    jebatty "If I have a lot of logs to cut, then I use a marker fixed to one of the bar nuts. Nothing more than a piece of #9 steel wire with a loop the diameter of the bar bolt to fix it under the bar nuts"
    Good one Jim

    Thanks,
    I learned allot

    Good bunch of folks here, lots of knowledge too.

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  2. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    One of the main reasons I'm doing my own cutting now is that the cordwood cutters I could buy from just don't understand the limitations of a small stove. I ask for 16", and I get anywhere from 16-18". Then, I have to chopsaw 20% of the splits to smaller sizes to fit them into my stove. It's a major pita.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Hey, if you wanna talk anal, I was thinking of mounting two laser pointers, one on each side of my saw and have them converge on a spot that is 20 inches away from the nose of the bar when the bar is perpendicular to the log.
  4. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    I use the bar to the dogs. I just touch the dogs to the end then touch the tip to the log with the chain spinning. I then cut on the mark, after a few of these my eye is trained well enough.
  5. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Seriously?!? You guys have time to measure every piece??

    At 8 cord a year, I eyeball it. True, true, I suck at the eyeball method. But I set the long ones aside and load them N/S on top of an E/W load. The too-long-end ends up as nice coals at the end of the burn, which then becomes the base for the next burn.

    Jimbo
  6. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    On Grapple loads ......it's easy to mark 4-5 trunks at a time and have at it.

    WoodButcher

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  7. JoeyD

    JoeyD Minister of Fire

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    My stove takes 18" pieces and I have an 18" bar so I use that as a guide. 18 1/4" won't fit. For some reason it seems easier to eyeball 24" then 18".
  8. Vande

    Vande Member

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    Wow, I cannot believe that no one has posted using the Mingo. I have used this tool since I saw it on Bailey's and had to have it. My stacks have been very even and much easier to deal with since I started using it. Plus, my one week supply that I load on Sat or Sun's depending on the past week weather has to fit in the antique wood bin in my breezway, and it will only fit 18" or less. So it is important that I have a accurate cutting plan. Hopefully here is the link http://www.baileysonline.com/itemdetail.asp?item=265&catID;= different diameters are available and I have found a time savings versus using the stick method. You have to be careful rolling over obstacles, like limbs, but the time savings is worth it in my experience.
  9. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

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    I have seen some construction like that but not mine , when accuracy is called for that's what I do. After all I am not building anything with my firewood much less a house. For some reason I have a good eye for lengths and levels and can get pretty close on length and almost perfect on level on the other hand I may have lost my marbles. ;-P
    As for the tree guys I never asked , one guy cuts almost perfect 18" by eye because his guys haul by hand and another guy uses a triple axle grapple loader so he is any size up to 800lbs I don't complain.
  10. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    When I was cutting 10+ cords a year, working & didn't wear "bifocals" (another benefit that comes with age)
    I was with an inch or so.
    Now the glasses make things right in front of you knee high or lower, looks bowed or looks like it has a hump & bigger so I cut shorter. Make sense?
    Maybe I should leave the bifocals in my pocket & just use safety glasses when cutting wood.

    I seem to cut the smaller ends of the log longer " & the big ends shorter" & don't know why.
    Must be an optical illusion between my glasses, eyes & brain. :)
    I believe that as I get back into the swing of things & am cutting more, I'll be able to stay within a usable margin of error with out measuring.
    Maybe.

    Sounds like I'm not the only one who's a little finicky about the length. sure stacks better also if the lengths are the same.
  11. Birdman1

    Birdman1 New Member

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    Dude a chainsaw with a laser?
    Thats awesome!!!
  12. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Well that's funny, I use a measuring stick and while I was reading this thread was thinking about how I started using a stick and why I still use one, and came to the exact opposite conclusion, I tend to cut the skinny logs short and the bigger diameter logs longer.

    I carry a couple 17" measuring sticks that are sprayed painted florescent orange so they don't get lost That habit started when I use to cut cedar shake blocks for a shake mill. They had two sizes they wanted them cut at, 24 " and I think the other size was 16",,,, anyway, if you sent them many blocks that were much bigger or smaller they didn't like it and we would hear about it, so we always used marker sticks and made notches in the logs before we cut. In fact we use to make two or three notches for each cut because the logs we were cutting were so big. Some were 8+ ft in diameter.
    Old habits don't die easy and although I can eye them up pretty good, I can't do it 100% of the time and now I'm the one who gets upset if I get a round and has to be cut down so the splits will fit in the stove.
  13. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I was splitting wood yesterday and took a look at the lengths of my rounds. I see, to 'eyeball' 16 inches plus up to two inches and minus about 6 inches. The fact that I scrounge all my wood and it comes in variable lengths with lots of angled cuts from the tree service guys makes it tough to be consistent, but I am also not very careful and it doesn't really matter that much to me. As long as the splits aren't too long for the stove, i don't mind if they are a little short. I stack all of it in round holz hausens, so you can't tell if they are long or short- all you see is one end of some of the splits. I do like the holz hausens to look nice and uniform, but fortunately I don't need consistent length splits to achieve that.
  14. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    I don't saw too much wood these days, but when I do I always just eyeball it and I get it real close after a couple cuts. It comes out a lot more consistent than the guys who deliver my wood ever get it. I can't stand running out of room and ending up with a bunch of shorts, so I keep eyeballing the log until I get to the point where I can mentally divide what's left into stackable pieces. As long as it goes in the door, though, the stove doesn't seem to mind much. I do realize, however, that a goodly proportion of folks here put their wood into the stove in a N/S orientation, so for that I guess I'd like to measure.

    I have spent much more time in my life cutting camp wood than stove wood, all with a big Sandvik bow saw. Many thousands of cuts over the years. You get pretty good eyeballing wood that way, too.

    I'm a bit compulsive by nature, so if my wood was all really close to the same length, I'll bet I'd spend too much time making the stacks look perfect. More important to me is to not angle the cut. Just hate trying to stand up pieces that keep tipping over. But then, I haven't tried the tire method yet.
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    With a swede saw, you have the saw itself as a constant frame of reference. Lay it on the log sideway and the distance from blade to bow tells you where to cut.
    The trick is to have your splitting block on a bit of an angle. That way you can turn the angled piece and cancel out the error. See, two wrongs do make a right!
  16. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Dear non-measurers - We don't have to measure. I eyeballed all my life up to two years ago. Every stage of processing to burning is much easier with uniform length wood, and THAT is the point.
  17. GatorDL55

    GatorDL55 Member

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    [/quote]The trick is to have your splitting block on a bit of an angle. That way you can turn the angled piece and cancel out the error. See, two wrongs do make a right![/quote]

    Yeah, but with that method, a right will make a wrong and fall off.
  18. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Ya, I know that trick with the saw, but no real need to do that in the woods. A little variety in length is better for campfires anyway. Know the splitting block trick too... still some that are a PITA. A little chunk of wood as a shim solves the problem, but a level block and a square end are best. All of the energy goes straight down into the wood. I'm a woodworker, so when I cut 'em, they're square. Those firewood guys, however.....

    A close friend of mine used to live in UP Michigan. His entire family cut pulp wood for a living (Ray's now an organic chemist), and I always love to listen to his stories of his summers spent in the forest. They used those big Husky saws they had back then, bone-nimbing things that weighed a ton. One guy, Big Pete LaBarge, used a bow saw (they called them "Finn saws", a little ethnic variation) to do everything. Ray said Pete could cut pulp wood with the very best guys using chain saws. He said they'd get through the tree a lot faster, but Pete would blow them away in trimming the fallen trees, and he'd have more energy at the end of the day because he wasn't carrying and fighting that saw all day long. They'd get .15 a stick (between 8' and 8' 4" and at least 4" across at the smallest end), but they'd work so hard they made over $300/wk. Back in the early 70s, that was a serious hunk of change.

    Favorite Ray story is about Ray's dad stopping by where Big Pete was cutting. It was the height of black fly season, and there was Pete sweating like a demon, shirtless and covered with black flies. Ray's dad says, "Pete, you're getting eaten alive." Without slowing down a single stroke, Pete responded, "I've got plenty of meat, let them eat."

    Tough men up there. I'm sure you've met your share, LL, sounds like you were one of them yourself.
  19. skyline

    skyline Burning Hunk

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    Enjoyed reading all of these ideas.

    Like most of you, I tried several of these techniques... the tape, a stick, the bar, Bailey's mingo (borrowed the neighbors), played with a laser pointer but eventually come back to my basic finger spread.
    From end to end, I know the distance from thumb to my index, middle, ring finger so I can easily do 16", 18" or 20" depending whether I'm cutting for myself or someone's smaller stove. I find it a lot less hassle than the other methods mentioned.
    I have to make a slight adjustment if using big gloves on as they can mess with it a bit.

    The best thing is so far, I've never forgotten to have them with me at the wood pile;-)
  20. chrisfallis

    chrisfallis Member

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    I dabble in wood working and some of my work looks as though I meassured with a micrometer and then cut with a chain saw.
  21. ken999

    ken999 New Member

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    You want 16" wood??...cut a pencil sized measuring stick 16" long and hold it on top of your grip with your left hand while cutting. Lay it on the wood quick to find your next mark, then cut again. I rest the tip of the bar on the log while measuring with my left hand, then grab the handle and cut another round. Simple, accurate and after a few cuts you don't feel the stick in your left hand against the handle. I work from left to right down the log while cutting.

    24" wood?...24" stick...

    I hate stacking wood, and I hate stacking uneven length wood even more....irritates the crap outta me.
  22. ROBERT F

    ROBERT F Minister of Fire

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    Thats the girls job, run the tape out, and use a hatchet to notch the log, then I use a hatchet to quick limb the small branches while she starts on the big end with limbing and marking the notches with the little pull-on. By the time we meet in the middle, Im off to the big end to start cuttin the rounds. But then again we usually working on 90 foot + straight pines.
  23. maplewood

    maplewood Minister of Fire

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    When dad is helping me cut, he often holds a stick with a couple of measured marks just above where I'm cutting.
    But mostly I get 18" from the end of my saw to the bolts that hold the bar in place. I'm used to swinging it sideways
    after a cut, to measure the next piece.
    Dad thinks it's crazy - too much motion. "Just eye-ball it, son." (Yeah, right, dad.... That's why when you cut my wood,
    I'd have to stack stuff from 14" - 22"!) (But I'm glad the 72 year-old fella is still out there with me!)
    Happy burning.
  24. gerry100

    gerry100 Feeling the Heat

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    Take a Sharpie and measure your log length from the nose of the bar and mark the saw.

    With practice you'll be able to quickly and accurately 'eyeball" with this guide.

    You'll get the occasional long piece that you can load on the diagonal during the day.

    You really only need right lenght for packing the overnite load.
  25. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Gonna go try this

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