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Ideas on how to get free/cheap wood if you don't have your own place to cut.

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Josh Hufford, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Josh Hufford

    Josh Hufford New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Messages:
    69
    Loc:
    Jefferson City, Missouri
    I don't have my own place to cut wood, so other than the occasional large limb that falls from one of the living trees in my yard, I have to get my wood from someone or somewhere. So far since I've installed my stove I've used wood from trees cleared from a friend of mine that built a house, and a large limb that fell on my Father in Laws property, but that is getting close to running out. My Father in Law and I are planning on going to his mother's property which has a lot of woods to cut, but it needs to be on a Saturday for our schedules, and the ground needs to be frozen to get access, and so far it just hasn't worked out. I've been watching on Craigslist, there have been quite a few people offering free wood from lots that were cleared or a tree that fell on their property, but they were all at least 40 miles away, with fuel prices that isn't always economical. To just buy wood from local sellers is overpriced in my opinion, I use the stove to save on our electric bill, I don't think I'll be saving any if not spending more money at the prices the local sellers are charging. So just looking for ideas any of you have of places to look or ask for wood to get.

    Thanks!

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  2. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Messages:
    2,097
    Loc:
    Kennett Square, PA
    I get most of my wood from branches and limbs that fall on the sides of the road.
    It's really surprising how it mounts up. Once you build up a year or so stash. you're just replenishing
    all the time. Kind of fun! To me anyway.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Josh, in your area you should not have to look far to find wood. One suggestion is to drive out in farm country and look at the fence rows and along ditches, creeks and rivers. Normally you will find plenty there. Then it is a matter of knocking on some doors. Most farmers will be happy to let you clean up the downed timber or limbs. As you drive around, look especially for dead trees. That should set a flag for you right away. Most will be happy to let you clean up the dead stuff; just be careful that it is still good wood and not punk. You definitely have storms in your area. Go for a drive after a storm and look for downed limbs and trees.
    swagler85 and Dairyman like this.
  4. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,625
    Loc:
    NW Indiana
    Stalk any tree service trucks you see, or just google your area for them. A 6 pack can mean a lot of wood since they often have to pay to dump it.
    Put an ad on Craigslist that you'll take wood & be specific. Tell your friends. Knock on doors with fallen or dead trees.
    Backwoods Savage and Dune like this.
  5. tigeroak

    tigeroak Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2012
    Messages:
    179
    Loc:
    kansas illinois
    Ask you local city dept. where they take trees and limbs ? That is where I get about 90% of mine, until here the other day. We have a township where all is taken. Do some checking. Drive around in the country if you can and start asking farmers and land owners to cut. Check with the local township that takes care of the country roads and ask them if the have any tress that are down and need to be cut. I have got a lot like that. Also go to local lumber yards and ask them to save junk lumber for fire starters, no treated. Or a local contractor to save cut offs and so on. My lumber yard piles them up in a area for me and I get it about once a month. They are buing a large church here in town and I went up their and got a good pickup load of cut offs and junk wood, had to go diving to get it but got a load. Check with a tree service some will bring to your house and drop off. Others will chim in with more but this is my top ways I get wood and lots of it. Right now almost 4 years ahead.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  6. rkshed

    rkshed Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    256
    Loc:
    Bedford NH
    I get mine from Craigslist and finding downed trees in people's yards. Landscapers too. Good source of wood. Dropping 3 Oaks this Saturday at a landscaper's job and I get the wood!
    Have yet to buy wood and I have 8 cords CSS out back.
    Once you get scrounging in your blood, you're hooked!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  7. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2010
    Messages:
    1,540
    Loc:
    Central Michigan
    Lots of good answers above. truth is you just have to ask. Boot leather and door knocking with tough skin for when you hear "no". I can tell you with a kind approach to a few land owners you will be into more than you can handle alone. Once permission is granted be responsible and respectful to the land and land owner and you may end up getting referals.
  8. JayD

    JayD Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Messages:
    200
    Loc:
    35 miles north of detroit
    Shipping Pallets if ya have some factories around, cut them with a circuler saw with a carbid teeth. Always works in a pinch.
  9. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    Craigslist (I see firewood under Free Stuff listings here)

    Limbs,branches,logs stacked/piled at curbside or roadside

    Ask rural landowners,farmers etc if you can harvest deadfall off their land.Even felling smaller standing snags out in the field or woods away from structures etc.once you gain more experience.

    Local tree services,county/regional landfill's woodpile.

    Like others have said,lots of wood all around you once you start looking & getting the word out..Before long you might have to turn down wood for lack of storage space.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  10. Wooddust

    Wooddust Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    83
    Loc:
    Missouri
    Since you are in Missouri, we are blessed with a great Conservation Department. They have Private Lands Conservationists all across the state who work with landowners and know of many habitat projects. Many of those involve removing trees in a timber stand improvement project. Believe it or not when one has a lot of good wood, giving it away is almost like giving away zuchinni in July. They may have a number of landowners who would be happy to let you cut if you cut what you are told and are a decent chap who piles the limbs and doesn't tear the place up.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  11. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Messages:
    443
    Loc:
    Kansas City
  12. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    976
    Loc:
    West Friendship, Maryland
    Yeah, I will drive 30 miles each way as long as I can get close to a cord. Diesel is $4 a gallon here and I can get there and back on $16. A cord of hardwood goes for around $200 here. Working on getting/building a trailer so I can attempt to get 2 cords at a time. That makes it a lot more cost effective per trip.

    My advice is for you to try to network more. Knowing a lot of people is the easiest way to get anything, including wood. If you are on Facebook, put it out there that you are looking for firewood close to you. Look at Craigslist. Ask friends that are not on Facebook. Between those 3 methods and talking to my clients about it, I have more firewood than I can actually deal with time/space wise. Always work firewood into conversations somehow. Approach it the same way as business development.

    Some other ways to go about it are to put an ad on Craigslist asking for logs and/or offering to remove logs for people for free and writing letters to all the local tree companies you can find in the yellow pages/online. I am going to try the latter this summer when I have more time to see if I can have some of the stuff delivered or just get a contact that will call when there is oak/locust available.

    If I had to guess, I would guess that I have turned down 10+ cords worth of firewood over the past year just because I had nowhere to put it and/or no time to deal with it at the time it was available. I know, others on here are going to say that there is ALWAYS more room for the wood, but not when your wife disagrees.

    Seriously, just let everybody you know, know that you burn wood as the main means of heating your house and that you are constantly looking for firewood. Even had a client/friend of mine from high school talk to a priest at a church by his house when a 40" oak came down. He gave the priest my card and the priest sent me an e-mail to see if I was interested in it. Had to turn it down because I was in the middle of litigation and did not have the time to deal with it. The more people you know, and the more people you are good to, the more they will go out of their way to help you, but you have to go out of your way sometimes to help them too.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  13. loadstarken

    loadstarken Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Messages:
    227
    Loc:
    Redmond, WA
    I agree that spreading the word is the best way 2nd to craigslist. The wife shares a lot on her facebook thing and is always posting pics of my firewood processing. Pics of my wood! Haha

    I also go to a bunch of different boards depending on whatever interest/hobby I'm working on. I have in my signature "Always looking fire free firewood to feed my wood stove." I have acquired tons of free fire wood this way.
  14. Josh Hufford

    Josh Hufford New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Messages:
    69
    Loc:
    Jefferson City, Missouri
    Thanks for the great ideas everyone. I had thought about putting want ads up on Craigslist and ad boards around town offering to go get unwanted wood off of someones property. But people are so happy to bring a lawsuit against someone for the least little thing anymore I've hesitated. I have a friend that works for the Dept. of Conservation, I'm going to give her a call today. I'm going to put a want ad on Craigslist and see what happens. Probably print up some fliers and post at gas stations etc.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  15. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    976
    Loc:
    West Friendship, Maryland
    Yeah, guess it helps that I am an attorney. Some guy, who happens to be a friend/client of mine now, had me sign a Hold Harmless General Release when I went to his lot to help him cut down some trees. Honestly, if people think that sort of document will help them avoid their own negligence, they have lost their mind. Anyway, I can understand the entire hesitation to do anything like scrounging for fear of being sued, but I think a lot of it is just nonsense. Don't do anything you cannot handle (e.g., felling trees right next to structures) and you should be just fine. A lot of landowners think the same way. They worry about letting anybody on their property for fear of being sued. Crazy thing is, they are in a much better position to defend the lawsuit on their property because their homeowner's policy would cover it. Still, just insane.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. Josh Hufford

    Josh Hufford New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Messages:
    69
    Loc:
    Jefferson City, Missouri
    Well that makes me feel better. I don't know if I will be dropping any trees on someones property though. I did leave a note in a door just this morning, they had a tree cut down in their back yard, and it was just all piled up there. I knocked on the door but nobody was home, so I left the note. I think I'll print up some papers with my name and number on it to make it look a bit nicer and keep several with me just for times like that.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  17. Auzzie Gumtree

    Auzzie Gumtree Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    Messages:
    375
    it looks like you have the collecting bug. We have kids at the local school and just let other parents know that we need / collect firewood and the offers come in.
  18. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    Got any sawmills nearby?
    Slabwood can be had very cheaply (around here anyway). It can be a pain to cut up, but it's doable.
  19. Josh Hufford

    Josh Hufford New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
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    69
    Loc:
    Jefferson City, Missouri
    I've checked on that, haven't seen anything nearby yet. My Dad and I used to get that kind of wood when I was a kid, but we lived in Illinois then.
  20. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Just a thought. I know of several within a relatively short distance from me, so it popped into my noggin.
    That, of course, does you no good.
  21. Josh Hufford

    Josh Hufford New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Jefferson City, Missouri
    It was a good thought :)
    PapaDave likes this.
  22. suprz

    suprz Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Rhode island
    I browse craigslist for free wood, and go to my local recycling yard. They always have trunks, limbs etc... That landscapers , homeowners drop off . I was just there this morning...there were some trunks lying there that were at least 30 inches around! The only problem is they wont let you cut it up inside , i am going to ask if i can drag it outside the fence and cut it up there

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