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This year's cutting

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Backwoods Savage, Jan 6, 2009.

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  1. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Whenever I can during this time of the year, I'm out cutting wood. Yesterday was cold in the morning but in the 20's during the afternoon. A beautiful day to be cutting wood. Today I hurt so no cutting today.

    I got curious and decided to measure to see what I've cut in this past month. Looks like 4 1/3 cords all piled up waiting to be split. Last year we burned just under 3 cords, so it appears we are on schedule. Maybe I'll stop at 6 cords. Come March, it is then splitting and stacking time if the snow and ice goes away. That will take a few days as I work pretty darned slow.

    99.9% of the wood that has been cut this winter has been white ash. Not much moisture in it, but it won't be burned until the year 2015. It should be pretty well seasoned by then.

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  2. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    You're making very good progress Backwoods Savage. I got stymied by the snow while still in the log gathering stage but I was thinking I got a good 6 cords of trunks staged up so far. I also subscribe to the slow but steady way of processing wood...not only safer but it reduces the drudge factor.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Savage, I'd like to cut faster but this old body won't allow it, so I do only what I can when I can. Methinks 99.9% of the good folks on this forum could well outwork me any day of the week. I've just learned to do what I can when I can and accept it. That was difficult to do at first but no longer a problem.

    The snow did stop me for a while also but am once more able to get back where I need to cut.

    I do love cutting the wood and always have. Just can't do it as much as I once could. So it is really nice having so many years on hand and ready to burn.
  4. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    Ya'll are crazy, I don't do this winter stuff... I wont go out and cut unless the temp is over 40 or so. This weekend we were at the snow cross snowmobile races, there at 8:30am sunday until noon working with my radio station, then watched the racecs till 3.

    never again.
  5. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    The colder the better. I don't even fire up the saws in the summer. Maybe for an odd tree here and there. But if it is above 70F and the bugs, snakes, weeds and poison ivy are out, I don't even bother. I'll take the cold over the sweat in the summer anyday.
  6. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    No way man, that cold stuff is not for me.

    I literally spent all summer cutting, being my first year doing so. Yes, I was really sweaty. But with some good bug spray and lots of water, its really not that bad at all.
  7. TKeller

    TKeller New Member

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    Backwood Savage, I am really impressed. You are 10 years older than me and I am gradually losing my desire and energy for firewood. I still want to do it but less hours at a time and not as often. Keep it up. I am curious with your wood supply done to 2015, do you worry about some of the tree species losing their btu valve. Seems like cherry, persimmon, maple and many others loose their bark, get bugs and the wood gets really dry. I am talking about even wood up off the ground. I have even had hedge after a couple of years get bugs etc and be a royal mess with sawdust and loose bark. I was thinking at least after four to five years most wood except locust starts going the other way. Especially tops that have as much or more sapwood as heartwood. What do you think. Tony
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey, they don't have the name of Savage for 'nuthin! :cheese:

    I do have to admit, that I like somewhere in the middle for temps. Above 20 and below 60F would be my "ideal" temps to work wood.

    Sounds like a little at a time is doing good for you. When you are several years ahead (3 for me) you have no reason to kill yourself on any given day. A little at a time will build a big pile by the end of the year.

    p.s. I STILL don't know how you can get away with 3 cords a year. I go through ~5 and still burn some propane, and I think my winters are a little easier than yours. My hats off to ya.
  9. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    tonykeller that's not my experience with good fire wood going bad with age...and I've burned 4yo stuff. and I'm talking about my outdoor wood sitting in the open exposed to mother nature. I'm sure that there is a shelf life but I haven't found it yet. Now if you store well seasoned wood indoors...I'm thinking that will last 20 years or longer.

    Just saying I was told a long time ago those that grew up in the horse and buggy age that fire wood stored outdoors needs morning sun to dry off properly. Otherwise moss, bugs and dry rot could result. Now in the winter that isn't an issue up north.
  10. caber

    caber New Member

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    Why stop at 6? Make hay while the sun is shining I was always told. If your time and health and equipment is all lined up, cut as much as you can. You never know what will happen down the road. You could always sell some of it to pay for fuel, oil, chains, etc.

    i prefer the cold too. Only problem is putting on the helmet. I work up a sweat wearing my knit cap, then pull it off to put on the helmet and it's like sticking my head in a bucket of cold water.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Cowboy Andy: Don't be such a pansy! lol I'll bet you don't even like to shovel off the sidewalk either! lol

    Cutting wood during the winter months has many advantages:

    1. Most of the sap is not in the trees then so the wood seasons faster.
    2. Felling a tree in winter, you do not have to worry about disturbing the new bird families.
    3. The ground is frozen (hopefully) so you don't have to worry about hauling that weight out and getting stuck in the mud.
    4. Naturally getting stuck in the snow could be a concern, but not when you have a 6-7 year supply already on hand. But with that much on hand, if the snow gets too deep, we simply stop cutting.
    5. I have yet to swat a mosquito while cutting wood in the winter.
    6. You don't have to worry so much about poison ivy.
    7. Most people could stand the extra exercise during the winter...and this way you have no gym fees to pay.
    8. If you get too warm while cutting wood, you can remove some clothing. During the warmer weather there is only so much you can remove and then you just expose more for the insects to get at.
    9. If you get cold while cutting during the winter, you can easily start a fire using some of that brush you just piled up. Heck, you can even take along a lunch and use that fire for warming a sandwich or roasting a hot dog, etc.
    10. With more clothing and heavier boots and such, you have a little bit of safety protection.
    11. During the warmer weather there are so many other activities to be involved in that there is not much time for cutting wood compared with winter months.

    I could continue, but this gives some ammunition for the argument of cutting during the winter.
  12. Risser09

    Risser09 New Member

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    I cut all year long b/c I scrounge or only take trees down that need to come down. Processing wood in winter is way better than in the summer...who wants to spend all those nice summer days working? Plus, there's gardening to do. I was outside recently, finishing off the hackberry rounds and it started snowing. It was a sublime experience not to hear anything, standing there with a maul not wanting to be anywhere else.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Thank you Tony. But with age my desire for cutting wood has not decreased although my energy has! My wife used to always be with me while cutting wood but the past few years she has been with me only a couple of times. I haul wood using the atv and a 14 cubic foot trailer. So as you can see, our loads are pretty small and it doesn't take very long to get a load. This works out pretty well for us. You have to remember that I am partially disabled too so can not do much at one time.

    As for the wood going bad during that time, we never worry about it. With a lot of the wood, when we are getting it off the stack, the bark is pretty loose or already off. We do have to watch for roaches that like to use this space between the bark and wood and kill thousands of them buggers. We also have some powder post beetles that especially like the elm, but that also is no big problem. Just knock the dust off before taking into the house.

    We just don't find any wood that has gone bad or has started any punk. Remember, we cover the top only after the first summer and fall of being stacked.

    As for your comment, "Especially tops that have as much or more sapwood as heartwood. What do you think." If you cut your wood during the winter months you will not have more sapwood in the tops than at the bottoms!
  14. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    I spend more time than I care to clearing the driveway during the winter... usually takes me an average of an hour+, longer if there is more snow. But, that is just something that has to be done, don't have a choice.

    Now, there are a few other things that come into play besides the cold temps... for example when the kids are in school, they get home at 3 and have homework, dinner, chores, etc and by the time that is all done its dark. Weekends are spent getting caught up on other stuff around the house that there was not time for during the week.

    Some advantages of cutting during the summer:

    -stays light out later, so more hours for cutting in a single day. easier to do during the week without having to worry about homework and early bedtimes.

    -better mobility due to less clothing

    -go straight from unloading a trailer of wood to the pool.

    -kids complain less about the heat then they do about the cold.

    -more people to help after they are done work in the evening (inthe winter it would be dark before then)

    -no surprises as you are walking through the woods (sticks, rocks, other obsticles on the ground)


    If you had young, school age kids (3, 9, 13) then you might agree with me a little...


    Besides, I HATE THE COLD!!!
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Jags, that is only one of the reasons for the name of Savage. lol I usually don't cut much when the temperature is under 20. I like it between 20 and 35 the best, but sometimes under 20 isn't bad if it is not windy.

    As for 3 cord per year, that has also amazed me! We used to burn much more. One year we burned around 7 cord but 6 cord was pretty regular. We put in the new stove before the 2007 season and I was amazed at how little our wood pile went down! So we use less wood and the best part is that we even stay much warmer in this old drafty shack.



    Savage, that is fairly true about the older gents wanting the morning sun on the wood pile. Most did it this way but I also found that most also never covered their wood piles then!



    caber, we're not stopping! At our age, one never knows if some winter we might not be able to cut. Or like this last summer when I was injured and had to stop riding the bike. If I can't cut some winter, no worry. And perhaps I'm dumb, but I have never worn a helmet while cutting wood or riding bike. Perhaps some day I might. In fact, just yesterday I was thinking about a helmet for in the woods. I've been hit in the head a few times by limbs....maybe that explains why I am so weird! lol



    Riser09, you have the right idea.
  16. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Hey Andy. We used to have those young kids around to help....during the winter months. lol Now, our grand children are even past those ages. How in Sam Hill did they get that old so quick????!!!!
  17. gerry100

    gerry100 Feeling the Heat

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    I've got a little more of next year's ('09/'10) wood to get in the shed.

    I'll start on the '10/'11 wood a little as weather and the snow pack in my woods permits.
  18. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    iam running 96 cu ft a week cut and splitt 25 miles from the house!(down to 4 cords season and 5 unseason sold 3 cords this week)
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I was just reminded of some old wood being burned. A relative of our passed away and the widow never did anything about their wood pile. She heated with LP after he passed away. I was chosen for some clean-up and selling various equipment (they had a small farm) and I got rid of the old wood. We were not able to determine the exact age of this wood but after discussing this yesterday we were able to determine that the wood was at least 20 years old! Not much was split as they did not need to split theirs much but it wasn't that big of logs and all cut to 16". That was some of the best wood I ever saw! It burned like a charm too.

    So, we don't worry about wood getting old. Now please excuse me as I'm going out to cut some wood that we'll burn in 2015 or 2016.
  20. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    You are the MAN!!!!! Props to you! I just wish I had more time for cutting.
  21. Malatesta

    Malatesta New Member

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    I'll have to agree with Backwoods Savage Cutting in the winter is the Best ! No humidity ! Ive been cutting for the past 3 months and have gathered up Enough till 2010.

    We burn about 3 chords,Ive got a good 5-6 Chords out back thats almost all Split. Mostly Different Oaks a pinch of Sweet Maple,locust,ash and Mulberry.

    Other factors to consider cutting in the winter are no Leaves and those God forsaken Bugs !

    Man i love the Winter, Put on the insulated Undies and off we GO ! :lol:

    CowboyAndy ive tried cutting in the Summer,way to Hot and to many Bugs. Tried the Spray dont like it.

    Plus so much easier to breath with out the Humidity. OH iam not getting any Younger !
  22. Tudorman

    Tudorman New Member

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    After reading how you guys are all set for a few years to come I'm even more determined to get myself two years ahead.

    Talk to ya later. I'm out to make firewood.

    Tudor
  23. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Ja, I hate to sweat too. When I worked pipeline and heavy construction, I preferred to do Winter work and take the Summers off.

    Winter cut wood is the best too. Clean, no mud, very little sap. The big truck can drive anywhere and not tear up the road and yard.

    Around this time last year I was bucking up what I'll be burning in 2010/2011. Waiting now for a truckload of logs for 2011/2012 to start in on.
  24. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    I'm too new to it all, but I think spring/summer/fall for me mostly. Heck, I'll cut most any time unless it is real wet from rains, or there is snow on the ground. Yeah, I'm a sissy. But I cut often- smaller lots of a half cord plus/minus- whatever will fit OK in my 1-ton van for one trip. I dump it at home in rough piles to split later. Certain trees that are down and buried in weeds/brush are best left for late fall. I prefer not to deal with bees, snakes, poison ivy, etc. Lately I've been bringing home some lovely Oak deadwood, horizontal and off the ground. I can split it and burn right away, pretty much. It's 4 years old and ready to go.

    The splitting and stacking is a much more frequent activity. I've been getting a lot of quality time with my woodpiles this year. ;-) Toasty warm house and no oil bills this year suits me to a tee.
  25. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    While the snow stopped my more productive log harvesting routine I still cull some smaller dead wood. Here's today's target of opportunity, the standing apple with white engineer tape tied off at eye level. Pay no attention to that hypotenuse-like topped tree in the background ...that's left over from hurricane Ike and I gave it a bye...too dangerous.
    [​IMG]
    A closer survey revealed a varmint hole of some kind so I cut up 4' to spare whatever it is that calls that dead apple home.

    The second pic shows a bucket full of wood processed in the field. From prior experience I know that the bucket holds 6 one armed loads. It takes 3 one armed loads to heat the house in an ave 24 hr period. So that's 2 days of wood heat in that bucket.
    [​IMG]
    Including prep time in the garage I executed that take in less than an hour. That would include bringing the forearm sized tops, 2 loads into the house. I really don't like cutting apple...lot of twist and turns making hand splitting a little harder. Also except for the tops Apple still has to season and that would go for elm too but most of the smaller dead wood I cut like this can go right into the stove. The stuff I cant burn...and I just know what's gonna burn when I handle it goes into another pile

    My main objective here is sustaining the good wood I already have processed. Every 15 times I can do this I have saved a months supply of good processed wood. Yeah it can be a pain to work outside in the winter but it's satisfying to get out there and have a productive outdoor winter pursuit. I don't really like cutting in the winter mostly cause of the trip hazards but an hour/90min here and there adds up and isn't too fatiguing.

    My favorite winters are the colder ones with little snow...get most of the hard work done and enjoy the summer. My advice to anyone thinking about winter cutting is to lower your goals...it all adds up.
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