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Need Some Advice for Wood Collecting

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by shaw24, Jan 22, 2009.

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  1. shaw24

    shaw24 New Member

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    I want to buy an add-on wood furnace at the end of this coming summer. Problem is I have no supply for wood. I just wondered how you guys acquired wood without owning woods or know very many ppl with woods. How difficult is it to go around and scavenge for wood?

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    the wood furnaces you can count on using 8-12 cords of wood a year! Thats alot more than the wood stove so it would be best to start getting wood now. What kind of equipment do you have on hand?
  3. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    Craigslist is a good place to start in the "free" section. I bookmarked the one for my area and try to check it three or four times a day. Free firewood tends to go quick. Powerline ROWs can be good too, but again, you have to keep an eye out for when the tree service is there because that will go quick too. Also, see if your town/county/state parks have a program where homeowners can cut deadfall or cull trees for home heating use. Finally, if you ride around rural areas and find folks with wooded lots you might try sending a letter. I tried this and ended up with a piece of property with a ton of deadfall that I can simply buck to length and haul away.
  4. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Dutchess Cty, NY
    The answer probably depends on your area. Regardless scrounging wood takes a significant effort. Most here, me included, enjoy the work...but understand it does take time and effort. Some ideas:
    Contact your town highway department and see what they do with the trimming they do
    monitor Craigslist daily - search on "firewood" - every now and then you will find someone looking to get a tree cut up and removed for free
    let as many people as you know that you are interested in gathering wood....eventually they will get a tree/branch they want removed and call
    As you are driving around look for potential scores - if you see something down, ask the land owner if it would be ok to take.... dont just take it assuming its ok
    Some states give permits to remove down wood from state parks

    If you are willing to put the time and effort in, you can gather enough free wood.
  5. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Central Illinois
    I'm at the end of cord #3 now and anticipate using 5-6 cords this winter. Run a Daka. For 8-12 cords you must be thinking an OWB. My in-laws used to run through 4 cords per year with a stove in the livingroom.

    As to the OP, the best thing you can hope for when scrounging is the occasional score when you don't have any hook-ups. You need to make friends with a farmer/co-worker w/land. Otherwise be prepared to probably have to supplement your supply by purchasing a couple of cords per year.
  6. Risser09

    Risser09 New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    You're gonna have to start off getting anything and everything you can. Craigslist, neighbors, friends, work, businesses, etc. Also go for pallets at businesses which can be had for free. Check lumber yards, hardware stores, mills, furniture makers for scraps/kindling. Check with farmers who would love someone to clean up downed trees.

    The first year is the hardest because you always want to be 2 or more years ahead. This means you'll have to do 2x the work in your first year.

    Also, consider a free-standing stove or insert.
  7. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Iam running a furance and through 7 cords already burn 24/7 and 95 percent wood heat gas bills running under 30 bucks a month (last year 12 cords) hopping to come in under 10 this year? (heating 2600 sq ft)
  8. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Northern Kentucky
    I think the area that you live in has a lot to do with the resources available to you. When I lived in the city I had to scrounge a couple cords of wood for our summer camp and it was not easy. Before that I had to scrounge wood for my sons Boy Scout camp outs and that was pure hell. I would go for drives in outlying areas and would rarely see wood on the side of the road and the wood that I did find was usually crap. I'm sure I wasn't the only one scrounging it. This was before craigslist, but even now, on craigslist, the pickins are slim in this area. Now that I live out in the country, the resources have opened up for me bigtime. I should have at least two seasons worth after I'm done splitting this spring.

    I think one thing that might be good for you to do is look for areas of woods that have power lines running through them and check with the land owners around them to see if you can scrounge the wood that's cut by the power companies. I see wood laying in power line swaths all the time around here. Another good way of finding wood is to acquire connections with the right people.
    Do you know anyone that has some country acreage? This can be a great resource and you can actually end up helping someone in the process.
    Ask around and see if you know anyone that might know someone that needs some trees cleared.
    Get in touch with some tree services and find out what they do with their wood.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Michigan
    Near Indy it should not be a big problem. One of the best and easiest ways to get free firewood is to go to a local farmer and offer to trim around his fields. That could be in fencerows, along ditches and especially along the woods line. It is a shame that very few go this route but you would be surprised how many would take you up on that one.

    The only problem comes that it all has to be done during the winter months. Probably in your area you can count on some field work beginning in late March. Regardless, it has to be done before the frost comes out else you'll bury any equipment.

    I have a nephew who did this for several years. The way he tackled it was to just go in and cut and stack everything into pole lengths. Some of this he could do outside the winter months and also in the spring when mud season hits. Then the following winter he went in with a borrowed hay wagon and hauled away his wood. So the wood cost him only his time, gas and wear and tear plus hauling; much the same as us who have our own wood supply. He just had to haul his 3 or 4 miles where I haul for 1/2 mile.
  10. shaw24

    shaw24 New Member

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    Loc:
    Indy
    Thanks for the info. I checked Craigslist last night and found a couple leads. A guy probably 25 miles away has 300 acres of woods and had some clearing done and is wanting ppl to help him clean up. Only problem is he wants a little something for the wood...either $15 a pickup load or cut a little wood for him. Still not a bad deal. Wish I had a trailer or something more to hold more wood so I dont have to make more trips, but I guess I should be happy with cheeeap wood!

    Thanks again guys. I was thinking more of the range of using 3-4 cords of wood during the winter. We have a well insulated 2000 sf house. I talked to someone that has a MUCH bigger house with no insulation and he is using about 4 cords a year and has the same furnace. http://www.yukon-eagle.com/FURNACES/SUPERJACK/tabid/59/Default.aspx
  11. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Hamilton, IL
    this is just conjecture, so YMMV.
    I have a little trailer 4x5 or so.
    I work on my woodpile 1-3x a week during the winter for anywhere from 20min to 1hr. This includes splitting, stacking, moving, etc.
    I get a new load of wood for the trailer every 2-3 weeks.

    At this rate I'll be lucky to have 2 cords by the end of the winter. (when I say winter, I really mean Mid Nov to Mid March).

    I figure I get somewhere between 1/3 of a pickup load of wood on the trailer, but probably have gotten around 1/2 a p/u load before with very light wood. Lets say I get 8 loads over the winter. 2.33 to 4 pickup loads (lets say 3 for math's sake).

    SO, Betting you need something more like 5-6 cords (I mean, you can get as little as you want, but 6 cords would probably let you burn as much as you'd really like to and not worry about supplies). That would mean you need to work 3 times as hard as I have been (really not a whole lot of work, IMO)

    So:
    1 to 3 hours a week of woodpile work
    9 pickup trucks over 4 months (or equivalent).

    So every two weeks you need to fill up a pickup truck. It takes some work to get that truck full, I didn't even get into that. I'd expect to spend every day trying to find a tree (or trees) to get, and then once a week you'll need to work at these scrounging locations for a couple of hours.

    Stop and ask EVERY time you see:
    downed major limbs in someone's yard
    A standing dead tree in someone's yard
    A crew taking a tree (electric, tree removal service)

    Let people you work with know you have a saw and burn wood
    Let people in your neighborhood know
    post on CL
    Put a quick poster up in the grocery store

    good luck.
  12. shaw24

    shaw24 New Member

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    Loc:
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    This kinda puts it in perspective a little lol we are now debating between a geothermal heat pump or an indoor gasifier. I'm still on the fence.
  13. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I would call around to the tree services in your area. I have one that drops off in my driveway if he has a job close to me. Another company just dumps all of their wood in a lot behind their shop and is free for the taking. Also, if you live in the city, keep an eye out for anyone working in your area.

    If they are a busy company, they probably aren't going to take the time to cut and split and if they take it to the dump, they have to pay so they may be very happy to get it. To improve your odds, don't ask for oak. Be happy with elm or anything besides cottonwood!
  14. CrappieKeith

    CrappieKeith New Member

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    Loc:
    Northern Mn.
    There are a few things you should look for in a wood add on so you burn the least amount of wood possible.....

    Wood has about 8000 to 8700 btu’s per lb available to be made if it has a moisture content of 20% or lower.
    With out a reburn burning the smoke you are loosing out on 30-40% of the heat that is available.
    Next ,once you have made the heat you need thermal mass to help retain the heat from flowing out your flue pipe.

    The more dense the bricks are the more heat they can soak up and exchange through the heat exchange surface area.
    The more heat exchange surface area the more heat and the faster it will exchange instead of going out your flue.
    Cycling burn rates with a thermostat giving the furnace time to exchange the heat is also key and lastly a barometric draft regulator in the flue alleviating draft speeds is nessesary.Better furnaces allow for a .04 which equates to about a 400 degree flue gas temp or stack temp.Any hotter and you are waisting your heat.Any cooler and those flues gases can condense to liquid.
    Burning solid fuel with a full natural draft will be about .08” of water column which is not nessesary. A draft only needs to be fast enough for good combustion and proper venting.

    I have a Yukon BJ90 and it does all of these things...to be fair I work at Yukon.
  15. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    The one realization I came to when I joined this forum was that there are a lot of people here who go to great lengths to store, collect and burn wood for domestic heating. For some it may be out of necessity, but clearly for others it is more of a hobby. I fit into that later category as I don't really need to heat with wood. My house is not that big and fairly well insulated and we have a heat source air pump, so if I was to just use the heat pump for all my house heating expenses through the winter it would not be that bad, I am guessing $600-$900. There are a lot of people paying more than that for their wood they burn every year, but perhaps in many cases thier alternative heating method is a lot higher than mine. For me getting wood is a fairly simple straight forward mater, drive up the mountain (crown land, free wood), cut the dry standing timber, bring it home and store enough for that winter, and burn it that winter. I can generally get all the firewood I need for a winter in 3 or 4 days. If I had to scrounge around worrying where I was gona get next years supply of wood or had to pay for it, or start storing 2 or 3 years supply in my city sized lot I just wouldn't bother with the whole ordeal.
    Everybody's situation is different, and you really gota weigh your individual circumstances and preferences to figure out whether it will be worth it to you in the long run.
    I like going in the bush and using my chain saw and coming back with a big truck load of wood. I already have a big truck and a chain saw and know how to use it. I also have a couple of young boys who need that kind of exercise and the experience of what is involved in collecting wood, and one of them at least enjoys makeing a fire in the stove and keeping it going, so for me it's a no brainer.
    I also have the satisfaction of knowing that if the power fails I can still keep the house warm. :)

    What are your reasons for wanting to heat with wood?
  16. bambam

    bambam Member

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    Feb 15, 2009
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    Loc:
    south/central Pa
    I have been cutting, splitting, stacking, and burning wood for at least 30 years(counting the time I lived with parents). Never remember having to buy any wood. What we did as mentioned in many other replies is let it be known that you are planning on burning wood to heat your home and eventually by word of mouth wood concacts will come your way. Always be thankful for the wood and remember a little kindness goes a long way in life.
  17. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

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    Loc:
    Colorado
    Burning wood is both a commitment and really a lifestyle. I did it with my dad when I was a teenager (30some years ago), and then installed my add on furnace this year.
    I have 5 acres, so have some wood on my property to cut, but not enough to use just my property. I have found 2 sources nearby. One is a friend who has 120 acres of hunting property that he wants cleared in some areas. He is pretty picky about where and when I cut, so I don't cut there that often. The other source is the state wildlife area. I have a permit through the end of March to cut in certain areas all the live hedge, locust, and elm I can find, and anything dead. I asked a lot of people, made lots of calls, and used all of my connections to find these sources. I am hoping to get a year ahead using them, so I am working my behind off this year, at least 5 Chevy S10 loads per week through the end of March, then go looking for sources again in October.

    I also thought about the heat pump option, which, with the wells was going to be at least 10,000. Truthfully, if I did not live on 5 acres in the country, where my wood pile at least at times can look like crap, kind of hidden behind the shed, then I would not have done wood and gone for the heat pump, put in a wood stove to add some kick and because I love fire, and bought a cord or 2 a year, cut and stacked.

    If you choose wood, it's hard work, lots of time, and some mess.

    For me I made the right choice, I really like doing this. I look forward to going out and cutting. But if you are on the fence, maybe the heat pump is the way to go.
  18. wellbuilt home

    wellbuilt home Minister of Fire

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    The wood furnace burn a lot of wood . Every one i know burns 8 to 12 cord of wood . My house is 3000sq feet and burn 3 or 4 cord with a stove in side . I really don't see the value in the wood furnace . 12 cord of wood is alot of wood .
  19. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

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    Have 2 stoves, not sure of brand, they were there when I bought the house. When both are going, the 2 rooms they are in are way too hot, the rest of the house is way too cold. They burn at least as much, really probably more wood then my furnace, and I think I burnt less than 5 cords heating a 4800 sq ft house to 74 all winter.
    The value of a furnace is that it moves the air, it keep the whole house warm. I think you could also accomplish that if you had a WELLBUILTHOUSE, that was planned around a central fireplace, that wasn't too big, but you can't accomplish keep my house warm with a wood stove.
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