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To split or not - how small is too small

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by cgeiger, Jan 14, 2009.

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  1. cgeiger

    cgeiger New Member

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    There are probably many different opinions on this but I thought I'd make a thread to pull them together. Allow me to frame the question...

    Where I live many of the trees that I cut are deadfall and not that big around, especially as you get to the top of the tree. As I cut and split the wood I began to realize that there seemed to be a breaking point where it didn't make sense to split the small stuff. So my question is:

    how small is too small to split? And, of course, we have to ask how is the seasoning time affected for an unsplit round of x length?

    I'll start with what I usually do but it's only 2 seasons so I still consider myself a noob. If it's bigger than 4 inches in diameter, I split it in half. Less and I burn it whole. It does season slower than the split stuff.

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  2. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    blueridgelvr;
    You keep answering questions like that and you won't need to ask them. However if they are 4" and don't have any bark on them I usually leave them alone unless I feel like splitting. If they are green stuff I split them no question even if I am tired and ready to quit unless I leave them for the next time because I do quit. I make rules for splitting based on what has or hasn't worked well in my boiler in the past. One of those rules allows me to bypass certain types of green wood to age because they have more of a tendency grab the maul when they are green rather than split all the way. One of the other rules I stick to pretty good is "It don't all have to be done today" because I can use that one almost any time I like.
  3. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    I'll stop splitting in the 3-4" round range, 5-6" and I'll toss a coin...if its got a big knot or crotch I'll burni it as is. I'll also sometimes leave a few 7-8" rounds whole for those extra cold overnight burns.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    If it can be split, it will be split.
  5. AOTO

    AOTO New Member

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    I split it depending on "which monster" is going to be fed. My Indoor Jotul takes em' no longer than 24" and my OWB Sequoyah E3400 takes em 44" long (39 cubic feet of fuel). The door on the E3400 is 24 x24 so any log you can pick up is almost too small to put in it.
    I used to split everything for my indoor Jotul, but found that feeding the E3400 with it, don't make sense because it burns it right up.
    I will add some pictures to show you the normal size I use for the indoor wood. This load is currently staged in my trailer to be used for the OWB. I will still split some next year because you can always use kindling... I've never measured the diameter.

    Attached Files:

  6. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll split everything that can be split, basically. I like to have splits of lots of different sizes in my woodpile. If I come across a 3" diameter round that's nice and straight, I'll split it. Lots of wood gets left as half-rounds from 6"-8" stock, but anything much bigger than that gets re-split. Some of the nice straight ones get set aside for making into kindling. 2"-3" rounds that have a bend to them get stacked & burned. Some 4" rounds with ugly crotches or knots get burned as is, too. Also depends on whether I'm hand splitting that day, or using hydraulics. ;-P Rick
  7. jtdiesel65

    jtdiesel65 New Member

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    I have an Oslo. I only load from the side. I don't split anything that fits in that door. I figure there is enough larger stuff from what I cut that I get large split pieces along with some small split pieces. And then there are also enough small rounds too.

    My wood shed holds two years of wood and I keep a third on pallets under tarps so drying is not an issue. My woodshed has just about everything in it: apple, oak, hard maple, soft maple, yellow birch, white birch, ash, cherry, locust, and a few pieces of popular (or aspen, depending where you live).

    Having said that, in terms of blocking wood, I really try not to cut anything under 3"-4" anymore. It's just not worth it in terms of time and amount of back required for such small gains.
  8. cgeiger

    cgeiger New Member

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    All great feedback so far - thanks! I should have clarified my first post that I don't just split larger rounds in half - just ones that are around 4 to 6 inches in diameter. ;) A 30 inch round split in half would have an interesting time squeezing into the Oslo from the side... So the rest gets split into thirds, fourths, etc. A hydraulic splitter may be in the '09 budget somewhere. Until then, I get to use my maul and wedges to split most everything. I have some locust that requires Hercules and dynamite to split and I've let some of that stuff just go in whole.

    I ask because some of it seems to burn better than others - I know this is because of moisture content (mainly) and am curious what others do with their smaller logs and if folks have found a break-even point.
  9. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    Take out a ruler and get a visual on how small 3" is.... I cant imagine trying to split a 3" diameter piece with a maul. 4-5" is my starting point for splitting...some get split some dont. Above 5" I'll split most all of them unless its a nasty piece which I'll leave larger for an overnighter.
  10. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    A nice straight 3" round is a piece of cake to split with a nice light sharp Fiskars splitting axe...I do it all the time. If it won't stand up, I can handle the axe with one hand to get it started if I have to. I won't even try it with a bent or knotty piece, though...too scary. Rick
  11. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    LOL My Fiskars super splitting axe is in route (being delivered) .... maybe my opinion will change with a new weapon!
  12. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Yer gonna love havin' it in your arsenal. I have both weights, but since I'm a softwood burner, it's the lighter of the two(~2-something#) that's my workhorse. The heavier one (~4-something#) I won't use one-handed. Rick
  13. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    If it'll stand on its own, I cna split it with this.

    [​IMG]

    Razor sharp double headed axe. I use it as my main splitting tool up to about 12" rounds.
  14. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    If I can fit my gloved hand over the end of the the piece of wood an pick it up, it does not get split (unless I specifically want small pieces for startup)
  15. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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    I split smaller stuff with the Woodwiz (www.woodwiz.com) ... unless I don't want to. The 'wiz will even split <2" sticks for kindling. If small wood will cooperate and stand up nice, I split it with an old hatchet. OTOH, if its good & dry, I have no problem throwing a 3" log into the fire. Depends on my mood.

    On a slightly different subject, I like picking up green sticks (branches, actually) 'bout 2" or less in diameter, 'cuz I can usually cut 'em to length w/ one stroke of the ax and let 'em season.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
  16. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    If it's an easy split, I'll split down to about 2 in. Small rounds can roll around in the firebox, which can be real inconvenient and a nuisance.
  17. Loft32

    Loft32 Member

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    I stand up all my rounds inside a tire on top of a stump. The smaller rounds are target practice :coolsmirk:
  18. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    4"-5"
  19. cgeiger

    cgeiger New Member

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    Mayhem - I can see by the image tag that sears makes and/or sells that beast. Can you provide a link or description of it? Also, seems to be appropriate for turn of the millenium battle reenactments ;)
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