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New to wood scrounging

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by skrebel33, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. skrebel33

    skrebel33 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Messages:
    18
    My wife and I have been burning wood in our for 15 years. I've been purchasing two cords for a local farmer friend that charges $230 for a cord. However; he splits the wood just before he delivers it. Which means it's not seasoned. I'd like to start getting/processing my own wood each year.

    As a volunteer fire fighter for 15 years, I've learned how to use and respect chainsaws. Looking at the local craigslist, there is tons of wood to be had. I'm a bit concerned about unknown implications of getting wood from someone's house. Any trees near a structure I'd not bother with. Are there any other factors I should take into consideration when deciding whether it's worth getting free wood from a homeowner?


    I'd also love to get recommendations for an intro log splitter.


    Thanks

    Skrebel33

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  2. The Beagler

    The Beagler Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
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    153
    Loc:
    Northern Ky
    I always find wood that is down & usually sawed into manageable pieces (Craigslist). However, I try to stay within a few miles of my house just in case some idiot is having fun posting something that's not there. Also, it helps when they have pictures of the wood. Sometimes the stuff they're showing is just garbage. You'll get burned a few times, but you'll make up for it with some nice hauls. I would stay away from the ads that want you to take trees down near houses or power lines.
    skrebel33 likes this.
  3. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    I won't cut any standing trees on some one's properity unless they are in the middle of a field with no power lines or structures near buy. Most of my scrounges have been trees taken down by "pro's" and left pretty much whole in the customer's yard. It's cheaper for the customer that way in most cases. A few have been cutting trees for folks clearing land to build a house or expand pastures. Cut what you feel comfortable with cutting and try to get a hold harmless agreement signed if the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up straight.

    If you spend enough time searching C.L. you'll flip your wig :eek: over some of the things folks want done for nothing. You may find people wanting $5000 tree jobs done for nothing from you. In some cases thay want you to do the cutting and hauling and charge you for the wood! All in all C.L. is a good thing, just be careful.

    Contact your county, town township, town or city's public works dept and see what they do with the wood they cut. Being a firefighter you've an "in" that many of us don't have.

    Make contacts with local tree services many of them don't mess with processing firewood and have to pay to dispose of the wood they cut. They may deliver to you for nothing or at a very good price.

    What ever you do for scrounging keep it fun! I'll give you 2 months, or less, of scrounging and you'll be as sick as the rest of us here!;lol

    I'm sure you will get more and better advice for other sick minds here.
  4. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    I forgot, bypass close poplar for hard maple that 10 mile further. If the poplar is still there later and you need shoulder season wood take it. Just using poplar and maple as an example. Quality can over ride close sometimes.
  5. schlot

    schlot Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Iowa
    I too only like to cut trees that are away from structures. I'm not crazy about having help from the owner, but having them there so there is no confusion on what to take is important. I too like to take downed trees off someones property, even though I prefer bringing a unwanted tree down myself. Make sure they understand what you will and won't do is important. Such as branches not taken, will they take care of them or do I have to do something with them. I don't pay for any wood, so I'm not too picky as long as I have room to store it, but it's nice to do a drive to see what they are offering since a lot of people have no clue on what kind of tree they have.
    Ralphie Boy likes this.
  6. HardWoodW

    HardWoodW Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
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    73
    Loc:
    Indiana
    I'm kind of a "low grade" scrounger- I'll just take stuff that's already down. In our hood the power company is always taking down trees, I've gotten an oak and my neighbor's hickory that way. Took the ash that the city cut down in my front yard, a cherry tree that was down in the park close to me. A friend cut down a pear tree and so I took that. I just kind of take stuff like that and it's kept my stove full. If there are a lot of trees where you live it might just be a matter of making sure all your friends know you burn wood.
  7. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    Stay away from weeping willow.
    Takes forever to dry and then its like balsa wood.
  8. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    and it smells like PIZZ when you burn it.......one of the only woods I refuse to burn.
    Ralphie Boy likes this.
  9. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    Agree 100 percent Scotty!
    ScotO likes this.
  10. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I gave away a CHITLOAD of it last summer, I mean a PILE of it....around 3 or 4 cord.

    A guy around a mile and a half from here used it in his OWB. I could tell when he was burning it as on my way to work, when I neared his house, it smelt like pizz on a hot campfire.....YUCK!!

    Not to mention when I felled the one tree (which had some storm damage and cracks in it), it shifted on me and I had to sacrifice a chainsaw to it.....smashed it to HELL....

    But I did rebuild that saw, and it's my ol' favorite to this day.....
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  11. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    Yeah Scotty but so does BL. I bet you'll burn that stuff ;lol
    Backwoods Savage and ScotO like this.
  12. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    yes, chief....it does stink too. Not QUITE as bad as willow though. At least BL gives you lots of heat and lasts a long time.

    Willow, well that stuff don't last long at all!
    Backwoods Savage and tfdchief like this.
  13. skrebel33

    skrebel33 New Member

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    Jan 3, 2013
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    18
    Sound advise, thank you.

    Do any of you order a truck load of logs, and then process it at home? I seen where you can get a load of logs for around 600-800, and it will produce between 7-9 cords. That is a great deal cheaper than the $230 I've been paying, and it eliminates the need to scrounge.
  14. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    Never cut or burned any Willow,but Ailanthus/Tree Of Hell is the only wood I wont cut or bring home.Got rid of 1 medium sized & 2 huge ones on the small property in March/April 2000.Never again.Only reason I dried it (6 months was good to go) & burned it was I didnt want to pay to dump it at county landfill or take it to parents property.Effing nasty stinking stuff,left more ashes than any wood I've ever seen.
    Backwoods Savage and tfdchief like this.
  15. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    958
    Loc:
    West Friendship, Maryland
    Just put my first couple of pieces of black locust in the furnace yesterday and it smelled like complete crap. Could not shut the furnace door quick enough.

    Knew better about weeping willow when we moved in two years ago. Had a standing dead one in the backyard that we cut down and took to the dump. The thing was light as could be. Made seasponed poplar and sweet gum feel heavy. Still have two alive ones standing in the backyard and will do the same with them if they die during my lifetime.
    tfdchief and Backwoods Savage like this.
  16. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Connecticut
    I never offer to drop a tree, I just don't have enough experience, but I'll be happy to cut up and take what ya got after the tree guy drops it.....and I'll clean up afterward;). I usually get mine thru word of mouth, let everybody know that you're on the hunt, and I also listen for Chainsaws running in the heighborhood. I did have some luck with a tree service who dropped off a chit load of logs at about the same time we hired a tree guy to drop 4 trees in my yard after sandy came thru.....wood overload, still dealing with it.
    skrebel33 likes this.
  17. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Northern Kentucky along the Ohio River
    "Wood Overload" now there's an ailment from which I've never suffered! But I wish I could catch me a big dose of it!:p
    tfdchief likes this.
  18. skrebel33

    skrebel33 New Member

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    I am leaning towards ordering a truck load of logs. While this will cost money, it will save me from running all over. I would also suspect that by getting a load of logs, I will end up with logs that are good for burning. Please let me know if anyone has experience with ordering firewood by the truckload.


    Skrebel33
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  19. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I would first start by talking to people you know and by simply stopping and asking tree service guys or people who have a fallen tree in the yard. Many professional tree cutters either burn wood or sell firewood, and so they keep some of the wood they cut, but they make most of their income by getting jobs done fast, which doesn't always allow them to haul all the good wood back to their own yards. If they are in your neighborhood they may be happy to dump the wood in your yard even though it may be good wood they'd keep if it were more convenient.

    If you see a power company or road maintenance crew cutting ask about the wood. If they simply leave it where it lies ask the property owner. There are lots of people who don't burn wood and would like to see downed wood go away.

    In some of the townships near here the township will collect brush from the curb, so homeowners will put out brush and sometimes fairly large diameter wood on the curb. I have gathered a lot of firewood by picking up a piece or two at a time.

    I am not an expert tree feller so I will fell only trees that cannot hit anything valuable no matter how badly I miscalculate the fall. I also pass on trees that seem likely to hang up in other trees, leaving a dangerous situation. If you want to fell trees maybe you have a friend who is experienced felling trees and could help you with the planning/know-how part of felling. Once the tree is on the ground you can handle it yourself.

    My opinion is that a power splitter is not a necessary piece of equipment for most people. Many of us split all of our own firewood with a maul or splitting ax, and for me splitting by hand is by far my favorite part of the firewood process. 100% of volunteer firemen could split their own firewood and probably enjoy it.
  20. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    Upstate NY
    Sorry you are hearing from a girl but yes a log truck is best deal. If you can spare the money. No brush to deal with. No liability hassles. If you have a guy friend who owns woods you can barter with him but cutting trees down on private land or homelots is cutting into someone elses livelihood. Plus you should carry workers comp and liability insurance for that.
    But Im speaking as a New Yorker. And if you buy a truckload you can ask for smaller diameter logs so you dont need all the ground equipment needed for the big stuff. No fuss no muss. Best way to get ahead.
  21. chazcarr

    chazcarr Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Wolcott, CT
    Ordered a truck load of logs this year and have been doing pretty good at it for the last month. If you want to order logs in my area, there are a few things to keep in mind that make it a good experience IMHO:

    1) Do it in winter, you won't notice the cold and the rounds split easy.
    2) Get a cant hook, I have a log rite with a lifting attachment and it is essential for me.
    3) Multiple chainsaws, you might get one stuck, or the chain hits a nail in the tree and dulls or breaks. You don't want the downtime. Get one primary beast and then a few extras of craigslist or tag sales that you fix up.
    4) Get something like these inspection glasses so you can work at night, they are amazing.
    5) Use your protection equipment, shoes, chaps, etc... goes without saying!
    6) Read up and know your wood! Refuse a delivery if there is a bunch of pine, cottonwood, or rotten wood in the truck. I've seen it happen.

    Lastly, do this in an area of your house visible to the street. People will notice you processing and actually stop to offer you wood. It has happened to me twice.

    Hope that is helpful, good luck, and send pics.
    skrebel33 likes this.
  22. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    Welcome - I bought my huskee 22 ton from TSC on advice from here. A few threads in "The Gear" forum are helpful.
  23. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like your farmer friend does exactly like the normal wood sellers do. That is okay if you can stack it for a year or two before burning it. In addition, at $230 per cord, that is some expensive wood! As for getting wood from someone's house or land, it all depends upon the situation. Some work out nicely while others don't.

    Getting logs by the truckload is a good way to go for many folks. If we did not have our own woodlot this is probably the way I'd buy wood. But I would buy it long before it would be burned. It just does not work worth a hoot to burn green wood and until we learn how to burn water, I'll be stacking my wood for a few years before it gets burned in the stove. Once folks try some really good dry wood they are amazed at the difference. Not only does the stove perform better and less or no creosote, it takes less wood to heat the house if it has been dried properly and drying does not start until the wood has been split.

    Logs by the truckload really is nice to in that you don't have brush to handle and don't even have to cut off any limbs. Most truck loads are what we would call medium sized so that a large saw is not needed.



    On the log splitter, there are many on the market. My advice is to not get sucked into the bigger is better crap. Our splitter is over 20 years old and has split well over 200 cord of wood. A lot of that wood has also been elm which is well known for its ability to grow in a twisted mess and very hard to split. Naturally we have split a lot of knotty stuff too. It is a little 20 ton MTD, which is a lot like the splitters sold at Tractor Supply. You can usually buy those for around $1000 or if you insist on the very best and/or powerful splitter you can spend well over $3000.

    For sure you want a splitter that you can use in either a horizontal or vertical position. Vertical is the best way to use them in 99% of the situations. If you look at my avatar, this is how I split wood. I sit and split. I simply can not see any sense in lifting every log up onto a horizontal splitter. That is crazy. But of course, you can also buy a log lifter if you care to par with another thousand or two...

    Another thing to not get hung up on is cycle time unless there is one that is super slow but those are few and far between. The reason I stay this is because once you learn how to use the splitter, on a lot of the wood you split the ram does not have to use the entire length of travel. For example, you can let the ram (wedge) go all the way back up every time you split but there is no need to. Just let it go up high enough to get the next log in there or to turn the log you are splitting. Also on a lot of wood, ash for example, you simply do not need much travel distance with the ram. 3-6" will do just fine. But, if you are splitting a 16" log and the splitter can handle a 26" log, then if you let the ram go up each time, there are 10" of travel that is doing nothing.

    Good luck.
    amateur cutter and Ralphie Boy like this.
  24. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly Minister of Fire

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    I would think the truck load of logs will still need to be C/S/S (obviously), and seasoned for at least 2 years depending on species
  25. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    Off the topic but, but with only 27 posts, I will say welcome to the forum and no apologies for "hearing form a girl".......around here, we would just as soon her from a girl as some of the "other" members ;) Post away!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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