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What AM I thinking here?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Slow1, Dec 12, 2008.

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  1. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Ok - so this is my first year burning and I know I don't have enough wood for this year let alone next and the year after... so, how do I get ahead without breaking the bank (not that it's in any shape already?). So I see this posting:

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/30791/

    And it gets me thinking... How much work would it really be to cut and split this load? I imagine I would rent a splitter and perhaps even the saw until I become a regular.

    Can I get some opinions here? how much time does it take to cut and then split 6-8 cords of wood after someone dumps it in your yard? I bet it's one satisfying mess after you are done! Is this a 3-day weekend of work? a week? a month? I'm quite clueless here....

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  2. willisl64

    willisl64 New Member

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    I have never processed log loads delivered before, but I am able to fell, limb, buck, load, transport, unload split and stack 1 cord of firewood in a 6 to 8 hour day. You would only have to buck split and stack a load like that, so I'd think you could do between 2 and 3 cords in an 8 hour day, making that load of logs a long weekend project. 700 bucks for a year and a half of heat isn't a bad deal...Get or rent a good saw and a splitter and go to town.
  3. Jersey Fire Bug

    Jersey Fire Bug New Member

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    Wow !!! I'd love to go nuts on that load.....lol
    The trick is to go at your leisure !!! If it takes 3 days...so be it. If it takes 3 months....so be it.
    The wood warms you twice you know. Once when you are chopping and splitting and then when you
    are burning.
    That load in the pic would take me a few months on weekends. But I'd enjoy every min. of it.
    And 6-8 cords for $700 ? I am paying $200 a cord here in N.J.
    Go For It !!!!
  4. michaelthomas

    michaelthomas New Member

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    I got my first log truck load last winter and it was a-lot of work! I was out there cutting for about 10-12 hours, and splitting, hauling and stacking probably another 30 hours. I was working completely alone so if you had some buddies over the time would go down quickly. Yes you have the logs right in your yard but you still have to touch that wood quite a bit.
    1. cut wood
    2. toss rounds into pile to uncover wood at bottom of pile
    3. pick up wood and put on splitter
    4. toss in pile or preferably into wheel barrow or trailer to go to stacking area
    5. stack wood

    That is a hell of a 3 day weekend workout to lift around 32,000 pounds 5 times in a matter of a few days.

    I will definately do it again and I think I will be able to take off around 10 hours due to experience.

    My load is on my avatar. I had some smaller stuff which meant more cutting and more pieces to deal with but probably 1/4 of the load could be tossed right into the trailer without needing to be split.

    Good luck. I wish I had a $700 truck load this year.
  5. beau5278

    beau5278 Member

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    It takes me 4hrs/cord to cut it and haul it to my yard,once I get about 4 cords in the yard,I rent a splitter from the local rental place,I rent it for 4 hrs,I can pick up the splitter,split 4 cords and have the splitter back in 4 hrs time.You should be able to work a load like that up in a good weekend if your wanting a reference as to how much time it would take but like the other poster said,whats the point if you have it there workat it as you want.
  6. InTheRockies

    InTheRockies New Member

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    Rent a splitter. I bucked and split mine by hand this year. Four cords took a number of weeks to process, splitting it all manually. (The one rental place in the nearby town only has 1 splitter and it's always out.) If I could find a reasonably priced, used splitter I'd buy my own. It would be worth it.
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Going at your leisure is not really an option if you are paying rental by the day.

    Back in my younger years when I was in shape working construction, I might have been able to buck and split that load in three days but stacking it is another story. These days even pushing myself, it would take twice as long and I would really pay for it. Having the luxury of owning my own equipment, I typically buck about two cord a day and another day to split the same amount.

    Stacking is my weak point. It is extremely boring work and I am just too fussy to just toss up a stack. It takes me weeks and a few cases of beer to lay up a truckload.
  8. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    That is how we used to buy our firewood in our last house (1982-1988). Couple of weekends and it is done, bucked, split and stacked in the woodshed.

    You should jump on this if you have the space? Just saying that we have not been able to buy logging truck loads here for the past 10 years. And we have only moved 20 klicks away from our old place.

    Just be aware, if this is your first time working with a pile of logs, be aware of your surroundings. Deadly serious, look before you buck, make sure the log you are bucking isn`t holding up something else that is gonna roll on you. Could be something as simple as a knot that is holding the one above the one you are bucking in place. Or a simple limp looking branch, so always, always survery the pile as best you can before you start cutting into it.

    If possible, work from the ends towards the middle of the pile. Top down of course.

    Buy it, stay alert, and enjoy the warmth.
  9. Jeb1heat

    Jeb1heat Member

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    Slow1,

    Best advice is to recruit. More people = more production. We have four of us that share wood usually delivered in 18 or 20 yard dumpsters from a local tree service. We put two guys on saws, one guy on the Northstar 30 ton splitter and one guy on wheelbarrow/stacking. Adjusting the workflow as necessary. We get around 4-5 cords done in a day. Not killing ourselves, but I will say that I am usually hurting the next day or two.

    All part of the fun. Good luck with it.
  10. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    1) People (friends, co-workers, etc) approach me from time to time and say, "I've got some trees down" or "I'm going to knock some trees down" followed by "You want it?" I always say, "yes."

    2) We arrange a time and I show up with my truck, saw, axe and maul and take every last free stick of wood available.

    In this way I collect between 6-10 cord per year.

    I hope this helps.
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I've gotten log length many times, and IMHO it's the best approach for getting large amounts of wood for those who don't have a "scroungemobile"... I would say it will take a couple of days to cut it all to rounds, less w/ a really good saw, and then a variable length of time to split it, depending on whether you are working by hand or with a splitter, and then more to stack it....

    I would purchase a splitter rather than rent - I think the economics are worth it, both on just the straight math for paying back, and because I've seen multiple reports of injuries because of people rushing to "beat the clock" and letting safety slide in order to get out production... If you own the equipment you can take your time and do the job at your convenience a little bit at a time instead of killing yourself trying to get it all done at once...

    What I did when hand splitting, and probably still will do something similar now that I'm using a hydraulic, is cut for one or two tanks of gas, which will be enough to fill the area around the log pile with rounds - then split and stack them to get the area cleared up before cutting up another batch... It saves having to keep moving rounds out of the way while trying to cut the entire pile.

    Gooserider
  12. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Slow1 imo processing log loads is one of the easiest way to accumulate firewood. As far as estimating how long it would take....I dunno if that would be help or hurt you. But imo log loads are an easy take.

    My only advice to you as a beginner is to take it easy...and have the driver spread the logs out for you. Maybe even talk to a neighbor and get their advice on the proper tools/technique etc. Good luck.
  13. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    What you need to do is round up 3-5 people. My step mom and her siblings got a load for their mother this year, and with 5 of them they bucked, split and stacked 8 cords from 5pm friday to 8pm sunday.
  14. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    I think the obvious question is what kind of shape are you in, and how much trouble would you be in if you missed work on Monday morning because you can't move?

    This is hard work unless you are in shape. If you are not used to this type of work you are going to strain muscles you never knew you had. The first few days you do it you are going to run into problems, and until you get a routine going it is going to take longer than someone who knows what they are doing and what steps to take in what order.

    My own personal opinion and practice is to do some each weekend and don't kill yourself or ruin your back for the season trying to do too much. We try and put in a good days work each Saturday, and about half a day on Sunday depending on our schedule. Slow and steady wins the race.

    I would also suggest that you get your stacking area figured out and completely prepared before you start splitting. It is very frustrating to do all that work then have to stop and go figure out where you're going to stack it. The feeling of reward doesn't show up here until we can look at a perfectly stacked row. A pile laying in the dirt just doesn't do it for us.
  15. meathead

    meathead Feeling the Heat

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    My honest opinion - If you have never bucked and split a large quantity of wood before and you are going to be renting the equipment you may well end up not saving anything substantial over 6 loads of split wood. You could probably find green split for $200 a cord or less - so as soon as you hit $500 for the rentals and fuel you're breaking even and haven't factored in your labor.

    Best bet is to borrow the equipment from a buddy and have him help you in exchange for beer and maybe pizza if he's the needy type.
  16. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    Good advice Cearbhaill. Especially the planning of your work and stacking area. I would recommend slapping together a bucking horse to make the bucking safer and easier on the back. Lay pallets out where you plan to stack - do the math to figure out how many you will need. For a first timer, you will be surprised at how much wood is in a cord.

    For me, I like doing the work as it gives me a chance to get outside during a time of year when there isnt much reason to be outside. I have also used it as a work out routine - go at it for an hour or so as many days as I can carve out the time to do it. At first, my body was hurting but like any other work out routine you get stronger. How long it takes doesnt really matter, its healthy and fun (for me).
  17. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks everyone!

    I especially appreciate all the advice on how to go about getting the job done. I know I'll be posting more questions here shorty because... After thought and discussion with my wife, I've decided to bite the bullet and go for it. However, the "rent the equipment and get it done all at once" plan is not going to be the primary one. Rather we're going to go with a more slow and steady approach. I was actually surprised that my wife was willing to accept that we may have a pile of logs in process for a good part of the winter... I rather like the doing it more manually and using it as a good exercise routine - too bad the days are so short though.

    I think my first priority will be to cut into rounds and perhaps stack those - let the seasoning at least get started. Then I can split by hand a few every few days throughout the year. I don't expect to burn this for two years anyway eh? Does this sound like a reasonable plan? Of course I need to get the wood for year 3 started within a year... And I still need to figure out what to burn next year! Ug. Where does this ever end???
  18. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

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    It's amazing how hard the work is. My hat is off to people who can do a cord in a few hours. Heck, I can't process a tree into lengths I can carry and load in my truck and dump in less than a few hours. Much less buck to length and split and stack. I don't have a splitter, but have a nice pile of 4-5' logs I'm going to buck everything and then rent a splitter when I get ready. I work alone so I've learned to just take it easy and I don't try to act like Paul Bunyan. When y'all get logs delivered, how do you move them out to buck? Logs always weigh more than I think when I'm cutting. There are trunks that I can't lift that are only 18" long that I have to just leave at the site until I bring a splitting maul to half it. I can get a load of logs from a tree service for free and was thinking to do this, but didn't know how I would get them off the ground and move around without a forklift or bobcat. I'd love to have a big bucking horse with some skate rollers on it to run it down after every cut. But how do you get a 10'- 8" diameter log up on it? I checked around at the rental places before buying a decent saw, they wanted $75 a day for a saw. I got mine for under $200 and it's handled everything I've needed it for. I'm going to wait on buying the splitter though, it rents for the same amount, but is a tad bit more expensive even used. When I'm feeling fat I go process some wood, it is great exercise and you are rewarded with extra seasoning time.
  19. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    That thought has crossed my mind several times. I don't see this as a one time deal, and since we're not in a hurry to get it all split I'm going to avoid renting the equipment and trying to get it done in such a hurry. I may ask around and borrow equipment (and perhaps even beg the expertise to learn it)... I expect I'll even buy a piece or two as I go along. Buying the stove was a long term investment, this is an extension on that as well. Just have to be careful not to over rationalize things and go overboard of course. I'm rather hoping that since I like working outside that the enjoyment will be a payoff too.
  20. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Good call. You'll be surprised how much you get done - whether it's splitting, stacking, or sawing - in any given span of time. If you can hit it 15-30 minutes a day several times per week that pile of logs will be split and stacked fairly quickly and with little perceived effort.
  21. meathead

    meathead Feeling the Heat

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    That's a great way to look at it. With this approach all you really need is a chainsaw and a good maul and wedges. Good maul and wedges can be had for in the $50.00 range, and then chainsaw borrow or rental and you're off and running.

    Only advice, I don't know what your experience level is with a chainsaw, but take your time and be safe. Good chaps and a helmet with face guard and ear protection are key items - it'll take you substantially longer to buck and split if you have to do it on one leg.
    Learn saw safety before you start your saw. No joke. Just last week a tree guy in my area went back into the woods for one more cut he saw from the road after taking his chaps off. Lifestar landed next door.
  22. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I usually get 12 cord of 8 foot length delivered in Winter by a big self-unloader and dropped in a big pile. I lay out three 8 footers as skids and roll the logs out onto them, aligning the butts. I don't climb the pile with my saw, I use a large iron bar to roll them out onto the skids. I buck that up and repeat, moving the skids forward as the pile diminishes. The small rounds get tossed loose in a big pile and the large rounds I stack.

    Smaller 8 footers, I lay in my bucking horse as it's easier to carry than to bend over to buck them on the skids. Once the whole load is bucked, I spread out the saw chips to cover the area that the splits will be loose tossed to and start splitting. The first two layers are the really big splits and they get cross-piled bark side down with spacing to allow air flow. The rest just gets tossed on top. The loose pile stays out uncovered all Spring and Summer and then gets carted and stacked in my woodshed come Fall. I have a separate section in the woodshed for the bottom layer of big splits that didn't dry as well because they were close to the ground.

    Renting a chainsaw doesn't make economic sense. Splitters are more expensive but you can probably get away with hand splitting most of it and just rent one for the tough stuff and work you way up to buying one.
  23. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Sage advice to heed for sure! I've got the scars to prove how dangerous saws are and have been saved by the Kevlar.
  24. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Well like was mentioned above... 20 min here 35min there and before you know it's done...and the best thing is, you don't end of hating it.

    The curse of burning wood is the number of times you have to handle it before it actually goes in the stove. So as far as stacking up rounds, I dunno, that's a lot of extra effort and for what? to unstack and split them?

    Either push 'em out of your way or split as you go, that way the little lady can help with the stacking. The thing is with stacked rounds...once they are neatly out of the way you're less likely to split them in a timely manner cause of all the attention spent stacking 'em.
  25. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    You can quickly run out of room if you just try to roll them out of the way unless you stop bucking and start splitting.

    I only stack big rounds. Unless you like using a vertical log splitter, you eventually have to lift them anyway to set on the splitter or chopping block, so stacking them in a row makes it easier to pick up later and gets it up off the ground and snow. You don't want them to freeze down to the ground.
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