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Two topics... wood processing retirement and wood cutting time commitment

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Bster13, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    I am 34 yrs old., newly engaged, new homeowner.

    I don't necessarily mind all the work I am doing around the house (good exercise!), but I do notice things changing with my free time. I tend to do more home improvement or (lately) splitting/cutting/stacking/savaging wood as opposed to backpacking, camping, working on cars, hobbies of the past, etc.

    So two questions...

    1) How much time a week/month/year do you spend on splitting/cutting/stacking/savaging wood? It's not inconsequential to me thus far. The $ I've invested is not the problem (thus far chainsaw & safety equip., though no wood stove insert yet), but I wonder if folks on this forum who have been doing it for some time feel like they are missing out on other things....When I purchase an insert and have it installed, man is it going to hurt the piggy bank. If a lot of folks thought they were missing out (I see folks in much colder climates collecting a TON more wood that I ~think~ I'll need each year. That's gotta take some time!) I might just turn up the thermostat and pay more bills. Haha.

    2) How late in age do you reasonably think (barring major accident or health conditions) your body can go? (Do you notice peers "retiring" around a certain age?) And then what? Buy wood from someone else, knowing you saved a ton of $ all these years processing it yourself already? Turn up the oil/natural gas?

    Just curious as I stare at my open masonry fireplace and read forum threads on CAT stoves. Cheers!
    oldogy likes this.

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I will be 65 in February. I am done this year cutting/splitting (of course I said that last year too) and will buy wood for the first time in my life next year to stack behind the two years I have out there. As to "missing" things 28 years ago I hung up my golf spikes and running shoes and made my hobby heating my house. I live in five acres of oak and beech trees. At 5' 10 and 165 pounds I figure I can veg out from here on out and probably not have buy too many larger pants sizes after I quit whacking trees. Purchased wood still gotta be stacked and hauled in to burn. Can't turn up the oil or natural gas. Don't have either and the heat pump died from lack of use back in the nineties. Keep swearing I will get a new one some day.

    Of course there is Backwoods Savage. When God said "Let there be light." he went over and flipped the switch. And he is cutting and hauling wood as we type.
  3. PLAYS WITH FIRE

    PLAYS WITH FIRE Minister of Fire

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    My uncle is a 72 year old farm who just had his knee replaced. He cut and hauled wood, among other thing, the day just before his surgery. The guy is a real work nut, he is going nuts right now because he is not ready to do what he wants. He is already walking with out an aid and the surgery was just 3 weeks ago. He is already asking me if he drives the tractor can I help him load, of course yes but he needs a bit more time. Plus my aunt would kill us! He has an outdoor boiler heating 2 houses. Working smart keeps you young.......I'm 36.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    All totaled I spend maybe a week or two a year dealing with wood in one form or another. (cutting, splitting, stacking, restacking in the wood shed). I'm following right behind bro bart for years. I spend a lot more time gardening and even more time here than processing wood. Gotta have something for exercise so it might as well be something you like doing. I have no way of predicting how long any of us will be around on this planet. In Bulgaria I saw 80+ yr olds cutting up firewood. They may be going slower, but they seemed to be doing pretty well with 16" rounds. Stay as active as you can. Your body and bones will be better for it.
  5. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    37 married with two young kids.(3 years+ and 9 months) I find this hobby keeps me close to home and keeps me from missing out on the new things in life that are most important. I still find time to hunt, fish, race my car, go camping etc. I don't do as much as I used to but that has more to do with things in life having different priorities. Cutting, splitting, scrounging wood I try to do in the winter months when I wouldn't be doing much besides sitting in the house. I find this "hobby" brings me just as much joy and satisfaction as any of the other ones. A couple weeks a year dealing with wood with a couple vacation days mixed is about my investment. I try to spread it out so I don't get burned out.

    I have a neighbor who is 77 and until some resent back issues he handled all his wood gathering on his own. My back is already shot(microdiscectomy surgery already along with spondylolisthesis) at 37 so who knows how long I'll be able to scrounge. Even being a little slower than I used to be I've processed 8-10 cords over the last year. I plan to work as long as I can and hopefully by the time I can no longer my kids will have some interest. ;lol Worst case I start buying wood or buying log loads at some point. I could buy wood and still save a bundle, we only have propane here so it's easy to save when you spend 3-4k yearly heating with propane.

    It's hard to imagine giving up wood heat at this point.
    ScotO and Backwoods Savage like this.
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Sometimes I lay in bed at night and go to sleep dreaming of a thermostat. ;lol
    Pallet Pete and Backwoods Savage like this.
  7. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    You know the heat isn't close to the same! I spent a few days at the inlaws a couple days ago and their t-stat was set at 68. My wife and I both felt cold for the entire visit!
  8. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Speaking of thermostat. Due to the products name, very difficult to search the forum for information. Anyone know anything about these?

    http://inveninc.com/products.htm
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Real up to date site. To register for their forum you have to enter the first name of the Pres. of the United States. Barack doesn't work. George does. ;lol
  10. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    I didn't go into their forum, just read their product details. Not sure on pricing but the thought crossed my mind for a second to combine one of these with a Buck 91 stove to have a (possibly?) cheaper BK Princess Insert. But could not find any info on how it actually connects/adapts to an individual stove.
  11. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Looks like something many Big Green Egg users install. Supposedly works great on the egg, no idea for a stove. Quite a bit more at stake than a ruining a 14 pound pork shoulder.
  12. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Well, I am ahead for another year. I used to chase wood around town, but my time became limited (I am 42 with three daughters, two who are competing in karate tournaments all,over New England).

    I never thought I would buy wood, but this year I bought two years worth, but with a compromise....I bought a grapple load of log length. Cut it when I had some free time, then had a splitting party (two splitters, 6 people) and split most of it in one day. I still have to stack next years wood, but it baked in piles in the sun for the latter part of last summer.

    Once you get ahead, it is a little easier to keep up with it. As for when will I stop? I am going to let my body tell me that, but I hope it is not for many, many years.
    rkshed likes this.
  13. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    To answer the original post. I spent entirely too much time this year on wood. The good news is that other than some opportunistic scrounges and some more trees on my own property, I don't plan on spending anywhere near that much time in next couple of years. I enjoy it, but there are many other things I enjoy with the reward of labor factor (not to mention making the wife more happy).

    My brother's neighbor said she bought 10 cords of green hardwood cut and split for 700 bucks. If that's true and I can get it delivered to my area, I'd never pick up a chainsaw again unless I had to.
    Bster13 likes this.
  14. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I processed apple and cheery wood for many years when I lived and worked on a fruit farm.
    Now I buy my wood. I heat for maybe 700 bucks..would be prolly 4 times that with my heat pump and forced air electric furnace.
    Sometimes I have it delivered.
    last few years I been buying from a older guy down the road a mile or so.
    He is 74 and the power company cut a bunch of wood on his land so he has that plus his trees on his 10 acres.
    Then he scored a bunch more wood from a guy down the road.
    I like buying from him and talking with him.
    His nick name is "Tex" but he's from Jersey..go figure..lol.
    Bster13 likes this.
  15. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I bet it was face cords?
    Applesister likes this.
  16. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    You and me brother. You and me. I would put the saws and splitter on craigslist.
    jdp1152 likes this.
  17. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    I plan on finding out. Wood is anything but cheap up here. 300+ for split cordwood delivered.
  18. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    1. How much time does it take?

    I guess I am old school - I don't count the 'time' it takes. It's like any other 'job'. When the 'job' is done then I can play. :)

    2. At what age will I stop?

    Depends on my body. :) Physical work is good for the body and brain. :)
  19. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    I'll hit 46 in a few weeks. My Dad is late 70's, and his neighbor in his 80's. They cut and split 20-30 cord a year, and neither burn wood. Of course they have the time, but they really do it for the exercise. Plus the people who need wood get it for minimal cost, delivered by a couple of old farts.
    The neighbor really, really wants to truck out a few cord of Ash for me. No dice, 'cause I;m not doing CPR on him when he gets here.
    toss a split, toss a split, toss....aaaack. Umm, no.:confused:
    As for me, I may actually buy a cord or two this spring. We'll see.
    I'm far enough ahead I'd prefer to use my 3 months of summer to re-build my decks.
  20. katwillny

    katwillny Guest

    In Spring Summer and Fall I probably spend about 3 to 5 hours a week scrounging, splitting and stacking. I search Craigslist for free wood probably most days. I fly a desk for 8 hours and have some free time to peruse the internet and i make it a habit to search for free wood. Lately I'm getting more selective on what i pick up on CL. As far as how much longer I plan to do this, I will continue to do it until its no longer fun. Its been fun for the past 8 years, the last two years its been really fun. I purchased a truck earlier this year and it has made the experience that much more complete. It is something that I hope to instill in my son so that one day when he is of age and has a family of his own, he would look back and remember this time and hopefully do it also in remembrance of his old man. To me and my wife, its a way of life by choice not so much for savings, we enjoy the entire process and it gives me a certain amount of ME time which is an important part of any marriage. I hope to be able to do this for many years God willing.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  21. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    My folks gave it up last year, both are 52. My dad is waiting to retire at 55 so he can get a hip replaced. My mom has a bad back (broken twice).

    Sure they "could" still mess with it, but after 40+ years of messing with wood was enough. They burn rice coal in a stoker stove now. A winter's worth of coal takes less than 30 mins to load in the basement and its only about 300$ more than wood.

    Me... Dunno. I have a bad back. Some days I'm doing good to be able to walk.
  22. rkshed

    rkshed Feeling the Heat

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    Once you get ahead, it is a little easier to keep up with it. As for when will I stop? I am going to let my body tell me that, but I hope it is not for many, many years.[/quote]

    Absolutely true that once you're ahead you can relax a bit.
    I'm about 2 winters ahead now.
    At 48 I have no plans to stop chasing free wood unless by body tells me to.
  23. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I'm only a few years older than you bster, but one thing I can tell you that I guarantee everyone else here will back me up on, if you think you are having free time issues now, you haven't seen ANYTHING yet - wait till you have kids.

    1 like everyone else it got easier after the first year. I burn about 2 cord a year.. I cut and hand split a cord over thanksgiving break working about an hour a day. I figure maybe 12 hours of labor a cord not including getting the wood here. If I had hydraulics I could do it in a fraction of the time.

    Add an hour for the fall clean out and chimney sweep.

    All told I spend far more time on yard work than wood.

    2 At 68 my Dad still can put me to shame sometimes as his job keeps him a lot more active than me. I don't think I will stop anytime soon.

    Worse comes to worse, just buy split wood :)
  24. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    I I bought a truck load of logs and had them dropped in my front yard and had access to a splitter, I would figure two weekends. Unfortunatley for new burners, they need a couple of more weekends to get ahead a year or two and that makes it seem to be a bigger commitment initially. As it is I cut on property that is about 20 minutes away and have a S-10 type truck and had split so it takes me longer.
    albert1029 and remkel like this.
  25. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    My back yard is fenced, about 260 linear feet. I have about 1/2 of the fence blocked by stacked wood. When I completely ring the back yard, I can start a second row inside the first (pallet width).
    I am 48. Might take 3 or four more years to finish the cord fence.
    It is very true that as you get more ahead you can be more selective as well as productive. I seldom fell trees anymore, I will not haul long distances any more (except for locust), most of my wood gets delivered to my yard. (free)
    I took this entire year off from wood to start a new business for my son to have a job. (he has zero interest in metalworking)
    I am building a firewood processor for a local tree firm. I expect to complete my cord fence more easily when it is finished.
    Heating my home is a partime job for me (tax free!).
    I will not stop unless I install an outdoor chip boiler or am too crippled, but I will have ten years or more wood stored by then (why I will go out of my way for locust; it doesn't rot.)

    As to the other part of your topic, while home maintenance never really ends, you will spend a lot less time on it after a few years. I have been here 19 years, I have a few projects to attend to, but the every weekend home improvement days are long past.

    Oh, and finally, I had to work VERY hard to get a few years ahead, but it was some of the most worthwhile energy I ever expended.
    I have heat security now, and as long as I put up a few cord a year, I will always be ahead.

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