1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Spring Craziness?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by jdp1152, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Messages:
    740
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Woke up this morning knowing I had to spend my day outside. Got some old solar panels taken down and the rack cut up and was planning on dropping a few maples and getting them cut and split. All part of my quest to increase the size of my yard and move the tree line a bit farther away from my house.

    Completely forgot that my wife was going to be out all day/evening, so those plans changed since I've got my 4 year old daughter to manage. She loves watching a tree come down, but doesn't like the sound of the chainsaw...nor do I want to have my mind wandering while dropping a tree near my house.

    Playing in the yard only entertained her so long and I wasn't keen on spending anymore time inside given the pristine weather. All of my quality hardwood is split and stacked. So I eye up this 1.5-2 cords of white willow that I quartered and neatly stacked behind my house in October. If you recall, the thing fell on my house during Sandy and I had a tree crew out to get it down. It was actually supposed to be cut down the day it hit the house. My boss said he wanted the wood, but only picked up a load, otherwise the crew was going to cut into small chunks and shred it. So it's sitting there, I want to be outside, so I figure what the heck. Sharpened up the fiskers (nicked my thumb pretty good doing so) and spent 4 hrs on it. I know it's crap wood, but I've got 3/4 of it processed. Am I crazy for spending time on it? I'm not a 24/7 burner but burn most evenings and will occasionally have an ambiance fire as late as June when there is still a bit of chill in the air in the evenings here. I hear everyone complain about it but read about coppicing in the UK and figure it can't be that bad.

    It might just be willow, but it was a heckuva lot more dry than when I quartered it in October. I couldn't even get the fiskars to work on it since it was so wet it just swallowed it then. Today, the fiskars worked fine and other than a few mushy spots here and there, it was fairly dry comparatively. Managed to kill a bazillion carpenter ants, who fortunately were still a bit sluggish. Even had a mouse family in one quarter. Scurried off into the field where hopefully some predator is making dinner out of them.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    958
    Loc:
    West Friendship, Maryland
    Since it was there and begging to be split today, you might as well just use it. It will provide some btus regardless. Me, I threw the standing dead one in the dump. The rounds felt about as heavy as paper. Ironic thing is that while I was dumping it, the guy next to me was picking the rounds up and putting it in his truck. I should have just asked him if he wanted the entire load and then just driven to his house. I have all my racks filled with oak, so I am not going to keep that stuff for any reason whatsoever.

    From what I have heard on here, it burns fast and it smells like crap.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,782
    Loc:
    Michigan
    For what you describe as how you are burning, the willow should fit in okay. Not too good though if you are depending on heating the home in the winter months.

    Is there a reason you don't burn more than evenings and weekends?
  4. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    It's BTUs.
    Fun to be out on nice days now.
  5. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Messages:
    740
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Dennis,

    I have geothermal heating/cooling and spray foam insulation upgrades ongoing as I renovate the house (a fixer upper), so the bulk of cost associate with heating my home has already occurred. The actual cost of heating my home these past two months is probably far less than the cost of time, energy, materials of processing the amount of wood it would have required. I only burn because I enjoy the process of cutting, splitting, and the ambiance of having a fire going. Stacking I could do without and hopefully I've paid for my last load of wood as last years efforts should be good to go for next heating season.

    When I bought the first insert (alterra), it was right after moving into a 3800 sq ft older home with oil heat. Needless to say, the shock of my first oil bill even in a mild winter was harsh given I had been living in a 1200 sq ft condo with NG. The Alterra helped cut the heating bill in the zone it was in. Once the geothermal was installed, we had oil removed completely from the house, which means the back up is electric. We lose power a lot and the energy requirements would be too much for a reasonable generator, so we put in the larger insert for the those times (well, that and we always congregated around the other insert). During the coldest spells, I'll probably run the bigger insert 24/7 to keep any back up electric from kicking on as well. The Alterra just can't handle long burn times. Now there might be a day when I put a free standing stove in the basement like the previous owner, but that's several years down the road and even then, I'd be more inclined to put in geothermal radiant floor heat since we had an extra two tons of loop put in the ground for expansion. I also travel about 25% of work days in a month and my wife would never touch a fire.

    In summary...I love fires, but don't like sacrificing my homes heat in order to have one....so we have inserts instead of open fireplaces. I love processing wood and getting ahead. I figure if I get another 2-3 cords split and stacked over the course of this year, I'll probably slow things down considerably on actively seeking out wood....maybe make some adjustments depending on next years usage. I still keep an eye out for downed wood in my area and craigslist, but I'm only a few more cords away from taking a break from that.

    Worst case scenario for the willow is I stack it with the pine I'm clearing and burn it outside.
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,782
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Sounds good jdp.

    For sure the foam insulation is great for keeping the heating and cooling cost in check. For our own place, we had been burning 3 cord of wood per year (down from 6+) when we bought the Fireview. Fast forward to a remodel and lots of foam insulation. A year ago we won't mention because that was such an odd winter but so far this winter (which has been more normal) we are just under 2.5 cord. Realizing we also added a room onto the house so are heating more space, we feel pretty good about this. In addition, you are probably aware we keep our home 80 degrees or more. I just checked and we are at 82.

Share This Page