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Which do you favor - branches or trunk?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Jon1270, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    A neighbor intends to take down a good-sized white oak in the spring, and I can probably have as much of it as I want. It's about 60' tall, the trunk in the neighborhood of 2' near the base. It's also a city tree, with a large crown. I don't have the space to take all of it, so I'm contemplating what part of the tree I should ask the tree service to leave for me. Worth noting: the only splitters I have are made by Fiskars and Estwing. I've already hand-split some large branches from the same tree. They split beautifully, but I don't have any experience dealing with larger rounds of white oak.

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  2. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Easy; take what you can safely process. The trunk has more heartwood than limbs. But if you don't have the capabilities for cutting, moving and splitting large pieces of wood take the largest limbs you can process. For a giant white oak, I think I'd find room for every last piece, even if I had to stack it from an extention ladder!==c
  3. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I always take the larger rounds because there is more heartwood (the middle part) and less sapwood and bark. Sapwood rots much faster than heartwood and is not as dense. I'd ask for all wood larger than about 4 inches in diameter. I would definitely try to store as much as possible, so i'd take all of it and give away what I cannot store. It should be easy to give away excess firewood.

    One problem with this tree is that White Oak will take three years to season enough to really burn well.
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  4. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    The bit about heartwood rot resistance hadn't occurred to me. That's a good point.

    I guess the answer also depends on which parts I can process most quickly, with the least mess. This big tree will be dropped into a very small yard, and I won't have any way to move pieces larger than I can lift myself. Inevitably a lot of the processing will have to happen in the neighbor's yard. Much as I'd hate to see wood wasted, it's not worth making a nuisance of myself.

    The three-year horizon is a big part of why I don't think I should take all of it. My yard is small too.
  5. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    A friend that I let come over and cut called the limbs "eye of round". I use to laugh. You don't have to split them and they will dry faster. Also an unsplit piece will do nicely in the stove.
  6. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Oak splits pretty easy(relatively) so I would take the big stuff and peck away at it. Wedge and sledge is rather inexpensive if the Fiskers cannot get them halved. Once halved the fiskers should be able to make firewood out of them.

    For Oak - Make space if at all possible and take it ALL!!
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  7. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I prefer both the branches and the trunks, it all serves a purpose in the woodpile. But if I had to choose one or the other, I'd pick the trunks. The bigger the rounds, the better. Nothing like getting 30 to 50 splits from one round......almost all heartwood, you can make the splits nice and squared (with the hydraulics its REALLY easy), which leads to nice and neat stacks!!
  8. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    White oak can be a bit tough to split, especially in an old yard bird that probably has at least some twisting in the trunk. That, and 24" oak rounds cut to 16" lengths are going to weigh right about 300 lbs each.

    The tops are going to be easier to process into firewood, but the wood from the trunk will be better firewood.
  9. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    With the equipment list that you stated, I would stick to the limb wood. If it we ME doing it, I would rent a splitter and attack the trunk. I will take a good solid trunk over limb wood any day. Much more production at the end of the day.
  10. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    I've found that oak splits better with a wide angled maul than with a narrow one, I don't know why. If its all twisty and knotted that's a different story. I'd take the trunk, although 24" is about the limit of what I'd consider splitting by hand.
    I wouldn't worry about the sapwood of oak rotting.

    TE
  11. Redlegs

    Redlegs Feeling the Heat

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    For small equipment, I would stick with the limbs.
  12. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for everyone's thoughts. I'm leaning towards the trunk, partly because it occurs to me that there's no place to put all the branches that will come off of this thing while they wait for the saw. The brush pile would fill the yard from house to garage. Here are a couple of pics for the curious.

    Looking at the bark, I don't think there's much twist to worry about.

    oak.jpg
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  13. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    If oak is Gold, white oak is platinum gold. I would take everything right down to 1/2 sticks. And I'd make room.
    White oak isnt as common as it was. Its worth renting a vertical splitter.
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  14. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    alot of nice eye of round
  15. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Trunk has the best & straightest wood.
    White oak spits a little harder than red oak.
    Since you can be picky & are hand splitting , try to not get many knots & crotches ;)
    Good luck & remember pictures :)
  16. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    You will be surprised how big of oak rounds the Fiskars will handle. The trick is not to try and split it in half directly, whittle away at it - lop off a slice and then keep whacking off the corners.

    Nice score however much you end up with!
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  17. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I play no favorites.I take whatever I can get,anything sound from 2" branches to 40" main trunks.I take it ALL.Huge knots,gnarly crotches,twisted branches etc etc.It all burns.
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  18. elwoodps

    elwoodps Member

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    +1

    And white oak has real good rot resistance (not as good as locust, but far better than red oak), so you can safely defer processing some of it until you free up more space in your stacks. This argues for being even more piggy than usual. ::-)
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    If I had to choose, I'd take the trunk. That is not a huge tree but you'll still get plenty of good firewood from it. Just don't plan on burning it next winter. For loading that wood, take a couple 2 x 6 or larger planks to roll it up onto the trailer or truck.
  20. westkywood

    westkywood Feeling the Heat

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    It all boils down to what you can handle. The trunk is great but can you handle a 2 foot wide piece of Oak? I'm cutting a Red Oak now. The guy told me to take what I want. What I dont take, he's going to push it in the woods. I'm taking the wood thats around 15 inches to 5 inches. But thats just because thats all I can handle by myself. Oak is some heavy stuff.
  21. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

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    If you cant' take it all, I would take the trunk. Your Fiskar's will chip away the rounds from the outside without much difficulty.
  22. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    You take the branches, I'll take the trunk. :p

    For a score like that, make room, rent a splitter, buy beer. (The beer is to attract some weekend help.) For lesser wood like silver maple or the like, I'd say take what you can process and don't worry about the rest. But this is white oak. The splitter will more than pay back it's rental fee.
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  23. blwncrewchief

    blwncrewchief Burning Hunk

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    That is a pretty nice firewood tree. Decent assortment of fairly straight wood in the trunk and the branches look pretty nice for allot of rounds and half rounds. I wouldn't want to have to get it on the ground but once it's down I'd be all over that. If you have the room and the time to stack and season that it will be a great burning winter a couple years down the road. If you can season it properly as they say, that's the good stuff. Once dry, you can laugh old man winter in the face a couple years from now with that stuff.;)
  24. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    I agree, it looks like a near-perfect firewood tree. Unfortunately my lot is 0.15 acres, including the house, and mostly on a hillside. It's a stretch for me to give *any* space to a wood that takes 3 years to season. A trunk like this is... what, maybe 3/4 of a cord? Stacked in rows, that's a lot of space for me.
  25. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    You gotta be creative. Empty cupboards, attic, trunk of the wife's car...etc....;)

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