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Silent Splitting

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by lumbering on, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    True, but he seems to be up for some challenges .....

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  2. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Likely the act of splitting wood already has your neighbors sensitive. I doubt quieting it down a bit will help much.

    I'd actually go to town court about this if necessary. We have those ordinances in the town where the family home is in NY. But the ordinances deal with nosie, and are in place because of landscaping businesses, primarily. You cannot operate a leaf blower or lawn mower etc before 7 AM, which is reasonable. There is absolutely no regulation dealing with a private homeowner using hand tools, or snowblowers even.

    If you are doing work for yourself on your property and using hand tools, it is reasonable for you to occcasionally be working in your yard evenings, even making a bit of noise with hand tools, until about 7 PM. After that, it's best to restrict yard activities to quiet ones...raking, cleaning, hand gardening, etc. On the other hand, I could see every single night, especially from a new neighbor, of whack, whack, whack getting old soon. People are usually pretty resistant to change.

    The object of such rules is always to prevent offensive noise at unreasonable time. For instance, loud music outside is not allowed after 10 PM. Dogs cannot be permitted to bark continuously for over ten minutes. These are not unreasonable in towns where homes are side to side and back to back on 1/10 to 1/4 acre lots. Everythin g you do that is noisy impacts others.

    If you are splitting wood at night after work and after dinner, you may be disturbing people who are trying to get their kids to do homework or go to bed. There are kids who will be distracted by such activities as a neighbor splitting wood. Or you may be disturbing folks who are just tired and have been listening to noise all day and want some peace and quiet.

    If you are splitting after dinner, and for some reason MUST do some splitting after dinner, try splitting as soon as you get home, and eating later. Or, better yet, split on the weekend and stack during the week. Stacking needs to be done, is good exercise, and is quiet. Furthermore, any neighbor looking out and seeing you clean up in the evening will likely be pleased, as opposed to irritated. If not many people heat with wood near you, the sudden appearance of large amounts of wood dropped off in the front or side yard of a new neighbor may have folks worried about what your yard is going to like all the time, and its impact on their property value. Make it clear that the actual wood processing is primarily for a few months, and as the wood is processed it will be stacked in neat, attractive stacks, placed as considerately as you can place them.

    In a suburban area, having logs dropped off and processing them in a front yard is almost akin to running a business, in its impact on neighbors, compared to the impact of most people's activities.

    Basically, try to put yourself in your neighbor's shoes, and then deal with him/her the way you'd want them to deal with you.

    Maybe invite them over to watch a basketball or baseball game on the TV with you, over a buffet meal. If it's chilly, have a nice little fire going. Try talking tree species between innings. Explain about the need for dry wood in order to burn cleanly and not pollute the air in the neighborhood, hence your anxiety to get your wood split and stacked before summer, so it has time to dry properly. Make them want you to get it done quickly.

    You really should be able to get the wood split weekends if necessary. Surely there is no ordinance against homeowner yard work Saturdays and Sunday afternoons?

    I'd be thinking more along these lines, than trying to find a tool that makes splitting a little quieter.

    I bet its the entire activity that is disturbing (as in concerning) people, not just the noise.

    {It would not bother me to have a neighbor splitting wood, but i grew up with my Dad working every minute he was home, at one thing or another. On the other hand, I wouldn't be terribly happy about truckloads of wood regularly being dropped off next door if I lived on a suburban lot...unless I knew it would only happen a few times a year. }
    lumbering on and Jon1270 like this.
  3. Scols

    Scols Burning Hunk

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    If your commute allows it move out to the north or south forks. Things are quite a bit more rural out here.
  4. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    This is the impression I get too, they see loads of wood dropped off and think they have a redneck in the neighborhood (no offense to rednecks). I understand these restrictions and to be honest if I chose to live in a neighborhood with those type of restrictions Id probably buy my wood c/s and Id stack it right away on neat out of the way racks.
    Sounds like you got a great deal on the house, if it was me Id probably live there a year or two and sell and buy a more rural property, I like my space and a little land, although it requires more work for upkeep, its worth it to me.
  5. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    +1 on this.

    I grew up on western Long Island, and some of the shenanigans the town boards came up with were amazing. My dad bought a house with a beat-up 6' stockade fence across the back property line, and the day after closing he received a couriered letter warning him he was in violation and the fence would have to be repaired. Within a week he had the fence replaced with exactly the SAME fencing, upon which he received another letter warning him that the new fence had not been approved by the town architectural board and that he was in further violation.

    He moved out within a year.
  6. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    If my (suburban/urban) neighbor was using a sledge and wedge every day if for even an hour it would probably start to bother me. That loud clank goes through windows and walls and is able to be heard for a good distance. Splitting with a maul with the occasional wedge to quarter the large ones, not a problem. And I split my wood so I would consider myself more tolerant then most.
  7. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    You hit the nail on the head. (quietly, I hope)

    New guy, driving a 20 year old subaru buys abandoned, falling apart house and does remodel himself (slowly) AND dumps piles of wood in the yard, in a place where everyone hires a landscaper and drives a mercedes.

    I completely understand their perspective. Everyone here has otherwise been welcoming, but mostly keeps to themselves. (I hear that's a new york thing.)

    I really am trying to respect them and the rules, and the original point of the thread was to learn if anyone had any experience with the Simplex plastic tools before I blew any more money on them.

    During the warmer months when the windows are open, I'm just going to have to confine my splitting to the weekends. But even then, the quieter tools is a show of good faith on my part that I'm trying.

    I think they like that I'm trying to clean this place up, but I guess adding piles of un-split wood seems like it's going in the opposite direction.
  8. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    What ever U end up doing, a maul is going to be much quieter than banging on a wedge with a sledge
    Joful likes this.
  9. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Ditto. The plastic sledge/wedge will be more quiet than steel, but surely louder than a maul.

    I recall when I first tried splitting with a maul. Dad used sledge and wedge, so that's how I grew up splitting. When I first tried the maul, I felt like i couldn't split anything large, or less than perfectly straight. But after a few weekends with it, I found myself having to switch back to wedges much less frequently. Now, 1.5 years later, I almost never get out the sledge and wedges. The maul is more productive, maybe 4x faster on nice clean stuff, and I can still tackle real big rounds with it.

    Rounds smaller than 10" just get quartered, and anything bigger gets whittled in from the edges until its small enough to quarter. I also rent a gas powered splitter once or twice per year, and can rip thru as much as 5 cords in one day, esp with someone helping to pass me rounds and/or stack. So, anything too difficult to split with a maul goes into the, "for when I rent the splitter" pile.
    Shane N likes this.
  10. Scols

    Scols Burning Hunk

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    You should park a rusty truck on the front lawn,get some chickens, and chain up a mangey looking dog in the driveway. Then paint your house the brightest and most obnoxious colors you can. Oh and dont forget to leave your shades open at night so they can see you walking around in your skivies.
    scooby074 and HDRock like this.
  11. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    Some of you guys must have superpowered hearing to be able to hear a wedge and sledge on a neighbours property. I know I can't from the days I lived in town. Maybe its because Im focused on my own life and not going out of my way to hear it?
  12. gerry100

    gerry100 Minister of Fire

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    Don't forget the Pink Flamingos or the Shiny chrome Globes on cement pedestals
    scooby074 and Scols like this.
  13. Scols

    Scols Burning Hunk

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    I know their not PC anymore,but how about a lawn jockey or 2 !
    scooby074 likes this.
  14. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Come upstate a bit. Things change fast once you get north of Westchester. ;)
  15. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    Bigger lots/more space maybe? From the center of my property there are no less then 20 neighbors/properties within 100'
  16. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    Jammed in like sardines!:eek:

    Still though, I don't think I could hear a person with a sledgehammer, and even if I could, I doubt it would bother me. Anyways, from MY perspective, even if it did, it's really none of my business what my neighbour is doing, short of burying nuclear waste;)
    HDRock likes this.
  17. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I have a different persepective. I think it is my neighbor can make it my business what he is doing. I'm on 24 acres on a lake. My nearest neighbor has (illegally) built housing for 36 (she's a very litigious lawyer, husband techie), rents (illegally) on a daily/weekend/weekly etc basis), advertises for wedding receptions etc. We are subjected to fireworks, parties with outdoor music, partying on the lake with music and multiple loud boats, lots of boisterous noise, on a very regular basis. Way more noise than one family makes. We are zoned one home on a property. To say nothing of their illegal parties with hired bands and a cover charge for guests to cover the cost of the bands. Believe me, it is irritatiing as all get out. I have to keep my windows closed at night. So, I miss the evening breezes and the calls of the loons. Forget the owls...they have left, thanks to my neighbors. Many of the birds have left. There is seldom any quiet time. Nuclear waste? No. Destruction of lifestyle? Habitat? Yes.

    One buys into/lives in a neighborhood, be it rural, suburban, or urban, expecting the rules of neighborhood(ordinances, building code, permitted activities) to be at least grossly obeyed. No one wants to spend his/her time causing trouble, and most people understand and are tolerant of the occasional deviation from the norm. However, constant bombardment by noise and/or activity that is other than that expected and permitted is seldom tolerated well by those affected by it.

    It takes a bit of arrogance to assume that one has a right to follow a lifestyle that makes it impossible for all the rest of one's neighbors to follow the lifestyle of their choice. People are generally quite tolerant until activities become so egregious that they prevent one doing just that. A certain amount of consideration and respect for others generally leads to troublefree living for all, at least re neighbor relations, be the neighbors 30 feet or 3000 feet away. If one is involved in an unusual activity that has an impact on others, some discussion and consideration while it is occurring usually soothes nerves, as long as there is a reasonable explanation and the expectation that the activity will be restricted in time. And, if the activity is beyond one's control, people generally unerstand that, if it is explained, and are better able to be tolerant.

    I don't think a reasonable response to someone being upset with my activities would be to be deliberately insulting and provokative. I realize a lot of the comments are made in jest, as a sign of support of one's right to do as one likes on one's property, and know the value of venting irritation and frustration by comedy and fantasizing about such steps. It's all very well to play around and have fun; the OP has a seriouos problem on his hands and has asked for help. Were I he, I would say: better, give me some suggestions for how I can mitigate the severity of the problem, short of leaving my home.

    If you want to have fun suggesting the best possible ways to provoke a neighbor, difficult or delightful, I highly suggest starting a new post to that effect. Then everyone can be creative, comedic and vent some frustration.
    Joful likes this.
  18. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    Rideau, how have the regulations in your case helped you? They haven't have they? Have you sought legal remedies?

    Your case is orders of magnitude different than the OPs. Would I be concerned if my neighbour had unlicensed tenements on their property, that housed 36!!? Absolutely. If they had an unlicensed basement apartment, not so much. It's all relative and comes down to what's "reasonable" as you mentioned.

    A sledge on a wedge splitting wood for personal use is hardly "Destruction of lifestyle? Habitat?" and would be considered "reasonable" noise by just about everybody.
  19. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I will say that I felt pretty bad about using a sledge and wedge in my suburban neighborhood. That clink can cut right to center of your brain. Now that I have upgraded to the Fiskars tools and put away the sledge and wedge I feel I can work just about any time of any day with bothering the neighbors. Before you spend hundreds on the fancy stuff, spend less than $50 on an X27 and see how the neighbors feel about it. You will also get much more work done in less time.
  20. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    I bought a Fiskar's x27 ($54) last night. Excited to try it out this week, if I get home early enough.
    Joful likes this.
  21. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Yes, there is a big difference in magnitude of the problem, but there is also a big difference in distance to nearest neighbor. If the OP's activity is a constant irritation to his neighbors, and questionably OK by ordinance, then he has to deal with the problem, not aggrievate it. And that is what he was asking for help doing. Which was my point.
  22. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    Why not use your current wedges and a Dead Blow....

    [​IMG]
    lumbering on likes this.
  23. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks, that's the cheapest dead-blow/polyurethane sledge I've seem. $28 on Amazon as well. Even the Stanley dead blow was $120.

    I just might give that a try. Do you own one? Is it durable?
  24. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I own a few dead blow hammers, though admittedly none that large. I can't see how you would use one to drive steel wedges, particularly without damaging the dead-blow.
  25. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    I have a couple of Harbor Freight Cheapies that have worked great. Biggest I have is 4lb. for $28 you really cant go wrong

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